Hansard: Debate on global warming and climate change: The planet's emerging crisis and the need for global agreement / Statement by the Minister of Basic Education on Curriculum Review Process / Members' Statements
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 04 Nov 2009
No summary available.
Thursday, 5 November 2009 Take: 556
THURSDAY, 5 NOVEMBER 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:00.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
NOTICES OF MOTION
START OF DAY
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr G R MORGAN: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House–
(1) notes the drastic increase in the poaching of rhinos in South African protected areas during the last two years;
(2) debates the issue of the poaching of our wildlife; and
(3) comes up with possible solutions to reduce the incidences of poaching.
Mr M MNQASELA/ End of take
Mr G R MORGAN
Mr M MNQASELA: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House-
debates the need to assess and analyse the successes, challenges, opportunities and threats of our proportional representative parliamentary electoral system and the implications thereon.
Mr P D POHO/ End of take
Mr M MNQASELA
Mr P D POHO: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House-
debates the need for government to implement urgent steps to protect the rich architectural heritage of our country, in view of the very tragic fire that destroyed the beautiful, historic post office in Johannesburg.
Mr I M OLLIS / End of take
Mr P D POHO
Mr I M OLLIS: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House–
(1) debates the current financial state and the future of the Sector and Education Training Authorities, the Setas; and
(2) comes up with possible solutions for them.
Mr G P D MAC KENZIE/ End of take
Mr I M OLLIS
Mr G P D MAC KENZIE: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House–
(1)notes that the water situation in cities in KwaZulu-Natal, served by the Umgeni River, namely Pietermaritzburg and Durban, is dire; and
(2)engages in a debate to determine what measures will be implemented to deal with the present crisis, as well as with any that may be exacerbated by drought.
Mr S G RADEBE / End of take
Mr G P D MAC KENZIE
Mr S G RADEBE: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House-
debates the matter of shifting the burden of the cost of education from the poor, with the view of ensuring the progressive realisation of free education.
MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
NOTICES OF MOTION
FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF DEATH OF MIRIAM MAKEBA
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House–
(1) notes that 9 November marks the first anniversary of the late
Mama Miriam Makeba's death;
(2) further notes that Mama Africa, as Miriam Zenzile Makeba was fondly known, died last year after suffering a heart attack while taking part in a concert in Italy;
(3) remembers that she was the first African cultural activist, and in 1965 was invited to testify about the situation in South Africa before the United Nations and that her articulate presentation earned her respect and virtual admiration from every African ambassador as well as also worldwide;
(4) further remembers that, more than any other African singer,
Miriam Makeba was able to use her art as a weapon of the
struggle and that her international stature contributed immensely to the worldwide campaign for sanctions and the isolation of the apartheid regime; and
(5) believes that her outstanding contribution to African music and art and her fight against colonialism will be celebrated by the rest of the country and that the world will never forget Miriam, but will remember her as a songstress, tireless activist and a selfless patriot.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
BEST WISHES FOR SOUTH AFRICAN SWIMMING TEAM AHEAD OF THE SWIMMING WORLD CUP
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House–
(1) notes that the second leg of the Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup starts in Moscow, Russia, on Friday;
(2) further notes that in preparation for the event Darian Townsend set a new South African record in the 200m freestyle, at the Finnish Grand Prix over the weekend;
(3) wishes Team South Africa best of luck during the World Cup; and
(4) extends its undivided support to them during this event.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION
IMPROVEMENTS IN THE LIVES OF CHILDREN THROUGH MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes that 20 November marks the day on which the UN General Assembly in 1959 adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and in 1989 the Convention on the Rights of the Child and that this day is recommended as a day to be observed as a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world;
(2) further notes that in 2000 world leaders outlined Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/Aids and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015, and though the goals are for all humankind, they are primarily about children and that Unicef notes that six of the eight goals relate directly to children, and meeting the last two will also make critical improvements in their lives;
(3) believes that the best interest of the child is paramount and that child-headed households should be given a priority in child protection and care;
(4) supports the strengthening of childhood development centres and urges communities to understand and deal seriously with the rights of children; and
(5) commits itself to strengthening the current safety nets that deal with child poverty, ongoing murders, disappearances, abuse and neglect.
STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION ON CURRICULUM REVIEW PROCESS
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Hon Speaker, Members of Parliament ladies and gentlemen, for some time now I have been aware of the wide-ranging comments on the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement. While there has been positive support for the new curriculum, there has also been considerable criticism. This has included criticism of teacher overload, confusion and stress. Most worryingly, there is consistent evidence of widespread learner underperformance in both international and local assessments.
When I assumed office as Minister of Basic Education, my
predecessor Minister Naledi Pandor, had already initiated a process to review the implementation of the curriculum.
I accordingly appointed a panel of experts in July 2009 to investigate the nature of the challenges and problems experienced in the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement. This decision to review was based on our commitment to improving the quality of teaching and learning in our schools in both the short and long term.
The team was tasked to develop a set of recommendations designed to improve implementation. I asked the team to focus specifically on curriculum policy and guideline documents, the transition between grades and phases, and assessment - particularly continuous assessment. During the hearings they decided to include a consideration of learning and teaching-support materials and teacher support and training. A report has now been presented to me, which I have accepted, and I have started a process of implementing its recommendations.
The question on everyone's lips is why we do not, as Mamphela Ramphele always wants us to do, declare the death certificate of outcomes-based education, OBE. I must say that we have, to all intents and purposes, done so. So if anybody asks us if we are going to continue with OBE, we say that there is no longer OBE. We have completely done away with it. [Applause.]
I do not wish to be drawn into simplistic ideological debates on this issue and forced into a disavowal of our goals. The question is how we can disentangle our goals from the outcomes in which they are expressed, and the very concept of outcomes.
It is instructive to remember that the introduction of both Curriculum 2005 and the National Curriculum Statement were highly contested. These involved professional, business and religious constituencies. We should be steadfast and not let them determine what is good for education now. In order for there to be learning outcomes and educational experiences of the majority to improve, we need to focus attention on dedicated, inspired teaching based on a curriculum that is teachable.
The review panel reviewed documents and conducted interviews and hearings with teachers from all nine provinces as well as with teacher unions. They received electronic and written submissions from the public. In the process of their consultations - that they undertook across the country - there was a remarkable consensus amongst teachers and unions about what the problems were. The team also reports that there was an overwhelming sense of the overall commitment of teachers across the country to try to improve learner performance.
The task team has recommended that the changes occur within a framework of a five-year plan from 2010 to 2014. This plan needs to be widely communicated. The plan will be shared with teachers before the end of the year. I will present the recommendations within the timeframes anticipated for implementation.
Some of the changes will take effect from January 2010. Some of the recommendations to be implemented from the beginning of 2010 should definitely bring immediate relief to teachers. Others will need more planning and consultation. The emphasis is on ensuring that there is more time for teaching and learning. Teachers will be relieved of administrative burdens that impact on teaching time. The system will provide systematic support to teachers to strengthen their teaching.
The measures to be implemented in January 2010 revolve around the relief of the administrative burden on teachers, increasing teacher support and improving literacy and numeracy. Allow me to provide some of the details. Some of the details will be on our website – and, again, we will communicate them through the media and also copies will be sent to all 28 000 schools in the country.
With regard to the relief of the administrative burden on teachers, we are going to ensure that learner portfolios as separate, formal compilations of assessment tasks are discontinued from January 2010. What the team found is that some of the assessment requirements that we had placed on learners did not add any value, but instead distracted both teachers and learners from the core function of the curriculum.
We are also going to make sure that the number of projects required as formal assessment tasks for each learning area is reduced to one project per subject. We are also going to make sure that promotion and progression requirements for Grades R to 12, as well as grading descriptors for all grades, are finalised. The balance between year marks and exams should be 50% for Grades 4 to 9, and 75% exam mark for Grades 10 to 12.
Because there was a very strange anomaly in our system in which the importance of textbooks in curriculum delivery was no longer appreciated. The department has noted teachers' concerns that the development of learning materials is best placed in the hands of experts, because it is only people who are experts in their fields of study that are best placed to develop textbooks and learning materials. In this review teachers said that the development of learning materials is not the core business of teachers. It also erodes their teaching time. Therefore, textbooks are going to be used as an effective tool to ensure consistency, coverage, appropriate pacing and better quality in terms of instruction and content.
There were also enormous planning requirements of teachers and these are going to be rationalised. The review also suggested that we must give more support to teachers, teachers being our tools of service, and, more than anything, being the key element in ensuring that we get quality education. Some teachers have voiced the concern that they have not had sufficient curriculum training. Targeted in-service training that will be subject specific and targeted only where needed will be provided for teachers from 2010. This in-service training will not, however, under any circumstances be allowed to disrupt teaching and learning. In-service training is built into the five-year plan for improving teaching and learning and the department's plan for continuing professional development training.
All principals, heads of departments, district and provincial support staff will be trained on the curriculum and content and assessment requirements. Again, this will be built into a five-year plan for improving teaching and learning.
The other matter that was raised through the review was the role of the subject advisers as school-based subject experts rather than as curriculum developers. This was because there was, again, an anomaly in which subject advisers themselves had started papering on top of the current curriculum. So what we are saying is that subject advisers will only focus their work on the delivery, implementation and moderation of the curriculum. They will offer learning area subjects and support teachers only.
The major issue that has been affecting us is about international testing of literacy and numeracy. We are going to be implementing the Foundations for Learning Programme from 2010. The programme establishes the non-negotiables of resources, teacher planning and effective teaching. The focus is on reading, writing and mental maths each day, and on regular, standardised assessments of learner performance. The Department of Basic Education has developed extensive learning and teaching packages for Grades R to 6 teachers to assist with planning, teaching and learning. These packs will be distributed to all primary schools at the start of the school year in 2010.
Moving beyond 2010 – from 2011 and beyond – the Department of Basic Education will begin to concretise the following recommendations for implementation by 2011 onwards. We will be looking at reducing the number of learning programmes. This is because, again in the study, the review committee raised concerns about the number of learning areas in the intermediate phase - that our children are expected to jump from four learning areas to about eight or nine learning areas. This is a huge jump and creates a major problem in terms of articulation. Therefore, moving forward from 2011, this will reduce the overload on learners and allow more time for language teaching and learning during the critical transition fromGrades 3 to 4.
All learners from Grade 4 to 12 will receive their own textbooks for every learning area. The department will issue guidelines fortextbooks and distribution, and the selection will be done nationally. There is a plethora of policies, guidelines and interpretations of policies and guidelines at all levels of the education system. Thus, the other matter that was raised by the curriculum review was that we have to streamline our policy, clarify it, and make sure that all of us have a common understanding and interpretation of what is required of our learners.
The department will develop a set of simple, coherent curriculum documents per subject per phase from Grades R to 12. This will simply describe the content, the concepts and the skills that are supposed to be taught. Anyone who has taught before will know what we are talking about: the syllabi, which spells out what your aims, your objectives, your learning areas, your methodology and your assessments are in very simple and clear terms.
By addressing the curriculum implementation challenges, the Ministry will create an enabling learning and teaching environment through which we can focus on laying the foundations of quality education for all.
In addition to these reforms being monitored by the Presidency, the department is developing its own monitoring tools through the establishment of the National Educational Evaluation Development Unit. Through this unit, the department will not only evaluate schools and teachers, but also evaluate the entire system. This will enable the department, on an ongoing basis, to identify challenges, and, working together with the affected stakeholders, to address them.
I am encouraged by the undeniable dedication of our educators to improving learner performance. I wish to reaffirm that teachers are key to the realisation of quality education. I want to wish all stakeholders well in our joint efforts to overcome the challenges, which we have all collectively identified.
For learning outcomes and educational experiences of the majority to improve, we need focused attention to dedicated, inspired teaching based on a curriculum that is teachable. To make sure that as we debate we have a common focus, we will focus on the curriculum as a starting point because the curriculum is the core or the main business of education. We are aware of all the other challenges we are going to face in the implementation of the curriculum that revolve around or start from your infrastructure, your scholar transport, your motivation, your dedication. We are saying we have to start with the main business of education which is the curriculum.
As we clear up the curriculum, we definitely have plans to ensure that we remove all other obstacles that are going to affect the curriculum. But my main focus is the major business of education, which is the curriculum. Therefore put on other measures to support the curriculum like teacher support, learner discipline, infrastructure and all other related matters. This is our starting point because the curriculum is the main thing in education. I thank you, Speaker. [Applause.]
Dr J C KLOPPERS-LOURENS
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
Dr J C KLOPPERS-LOURENS: Mr Speaker, I would like to start off by giving credit where credit is due. Minister, the DA would like to congratulate you for being bold enough to review the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement and for making critical changes with regard to it. [Applause.]
Thank you for being honest enough to acknowledge the necessity to move back to the more conventional approach to education of earlier times. More specifically, thank you for taking our education back to basics.
Minister, your announcement of necessary changes to streamline and simplify the administrational functions of teachers in the first place, and the provision of structured systemic support in the second place, should have been accompanied by proper planning by your department. Recommendations and corresponding implementation plans should have been announced simultaneously. This is clearly not the case.
You received an overwhelming positive reaction from Dr Mamphela Ramphele this week for addressing shortcomings in education. She called upon South Africans to support you in this regard. I now call upon you, Minister, to support our teachers by communicating the changes by means of user-friendly documents on the one hand, and on the other hand by appointing expert teachers to assist the department in doing so.
Many of the recommended changes will only be implemented in 2011. It would therefore be premature to fully evaluate these changes, as we are keenly aware of the fact that adaptations to certain recommendations might occur during the refinement thereof.
Comments on certain aspects of the structure of the curriculum resulted in some changes to it, for instance the number of subjects for the intermediate phase were reduced. This resulted in the wrong perception that the entire curriculum has been rectified, which is not the case. Problems regarding the Further Education and Training phase were not addressed.
Adaptations and changes to the curriculum should be based on a proper analysis in accordance with scientific curriculum development requirements and procedures and not merely as a result of consultations with all the relevant stakeholders.
Minister, although your endeavours to address the many problems of our dysfunctional education system are widely appreciated, you ought to acknowledge that your intervention is merely crisis management and a repetition of similar attempts by your predecessors.
I therefore strongly suggest the establishment of a fully-fledged curriculum development unit by the national Department of Education. The current curriculum development unit at the department, staffed by learning area specialists for the General Education and Training phase and subject specialists for the Further Education and Training phase, is totally inadequate. A learning area specialist or a subject specialist is not a curriculum developer.
Curriculum development is a science in itself and therefore such a unit should be manned and served by trained, qualified and experienced curriculum researchers. [Applause.]
Ms N Y VUKUZA-LINDA / End of take
Dr J C KLOPPERS-LOURENS
Ms N Y VUKUZA-LINDA: Mr Speaker, Cope would like to commend and congratulate the Minister on her speedy response to the curriculum crisis and discomfort in the country. I must also say that the Minister has pulled the carpet from under people, because she has covered every track. It is also hoped that the recommendations of the review committee will eventually stabilise the education environment.
Just so we do not forget, since the dawn of democracy, education has gone through many facelifts, from slogan to slogan, from one curriculum to the next, and I'm happy that the Minister has alluded to that.
Throughout these many changes, one must bear in mind that we have been producing tomorrow's leaders who cannot, even among themselves, agree on what curriculum they learned. It is also not difficult to imagine what kind of a learner these changes have produced, especially when you read reports that suggest the difficulties learners have had in reading, writing and calculating. There is nothing that is as dangerous as a country whose education is in a state of perpetual repair. That is why today we are happy that you have undertaken to walk this path together with us.
Let me re-emphasise the obvious, because you have already alluded to the fact that the curriculum is not an end in itself, but a means to an end, and for it to work, an environmental alignment also needs to happen, so that the environment itself is relevant to the new ways of doing things.
Minister, you must remember that habits take a long time to die, and of course, words themselves are not deeds. So, because you've covered so many tracks, we would just like you please to bear in mind that, as you go on together with us in executing your duties, that you must demarcate the role of a teacher between a teacher as a trade unionist and a teacher as a professional. We must also inculcate a sense of respect across the supply chain, and teachers, as you say, must teach ... [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members! Order!
Ms N Y VUKUZA-LINDA: ... and principals must crack the whip, and the authorities themselves must do their work.
The role of monitoring, evaluation and governance in every school cannot be emphasised enough, and for this role to be effected, everyone in the chain of command needs to be empowered. It is hoped that the recommendations that have been brought about today will get us back to where we started in 1994, enforcing the culture of learning and teaching. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr A M MPONTSHANE /End of take
Ms N Y VUKUZA-LINDA
Mr A M MPONTSHANE: Hon Speaker, hon Minister, the IFP supports your initiative to review the curriculum, but as the owners of the language I'm using would say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. We'll wait and see whether what you have announced will bridge the gap between theory and implementation, because for a long time now our education system has been characterised by this widening gap between what we do here and the legislation that we formulate, and the implementation of that same policy.
Having sad that, the IFP is not in the habit of saying "we told you so", but let's just go back and see what has characterised the system until now. You say we no longer speak of outcomes-based education, but what is the conceptual framework that we must now use if there's no OBE? Let me say, looking back, that from its inception the OBE system has been ineffective, and the Minister will agree with that. It has been understood by neither the educators nor the district officials, nor even the top officials of your department. You ask them what OBE is, and they will scratch their heads. They will not just come out and tell you what it is. Perhaps it is for this reason that we welcome the Minister's simplistic and well-understood review of this curriculum. We welcome that.
We as the IFP did warn - I remember the Minister of Higher Education was still my chairperson in the committee - when this OBE was implemented, that it was not an appropriate education system for South Africa, due to the country's lack of resources such as libraries, laboratories and all other things that go with the system. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr N M KGANYAGO / End of take
Mr A M MPONTSHANE
Mr N M KGANYAGO: Speaker, the Minister did not use all of his allocated 20 minutes, and I hope I'll be given the rest of his remaining minutes.
The UDM welcomes the overall direction of the Curriculum Review Process announced by the Minister. The intention to simplify the administrative load of teachers is a worthy objective and something that the UDM wholeheartedly supports. These curriculum changes are moving in the direction of what the UDM has been calling for, namely; a back-to-basics approach to education. It should be obvious that what we need is for teachers to teach and the students to study.
We can only hope that these changes will signal the end of the road for the ruling party's disastrous flirtation with the so-called, "Outcomes-Based Education". Employers and universities report that many of the matriculants of this policy lack basic learning and comprehension skills.
The other two important issues which need urgent attention are: Firstly, government should reintroduce school inspectors, which is the only way to address the casual disdain for proper education prevalent at many schools.
Secondly, the current neglect of career advice at school level must be revised; relegating such an important topic to the periphery of the curriculum is only contributing to the hundreds of thousands of matriculants who annually leave school without having an idea of the careers they intend to pursue. Thank you for the extra minutes.
Ms C DUDLEY / End of take
Mr N M KGANYAGO
Ms C DUDLEY: Speaker, education's significance in reducing poverty and accelerating long-term economic growth make it critical for government to be on top of challenges facing the sector. The ACDP commends the Minister on action taken in this regard. We support the decision to implement recommendations of the task team and are impressed with government's commitment to immediate changes, where possible.
During the July Budget Debate, the ACDP pointed out that:
One of the major problems with education today is that teachers are not allowed to be teachers. They are inundated with administration, lesson plans for every lesson, marking, assessments, and endless forms to fill out. Our children are assessed and assessed again, but they are not being taught. This rigid control dilutes the unique teaching ability of individual teachers and our children have become statistics and not learners.
The Minister's reassurance that the intention of the changes are: firstly, to simplify the administrative functions that teachers are responsible for; and secondly, to provide structured systemic support, is encouraging.
The ACDP has always had serious concerns with the concept and the implementation of OBE and we, therefore, welcome these new developments. Thank you.
Mr R B BHOOLA / End of take
Ms C DUDLEY
Mr R B BHOOLA: Speaker, education gives you tremendous power. We want to congratulate the Minister for taking the education system back to the basics; which are the three Rs.
The MF supports the collapsing of subjects. We believe it will become more focused because our concern is, most importantly, the practical implementation and the transformation of this new system.
It is the end of the year, school will be closing in the next 30 days, principals and teachers are preparing for examinations. When will legislation filter down; and how do principals get oriented to run the new school?
The practical implementation of collapsing the subjects means that the different teachers of different subjects will now be asked to teach different subjects. That is one of the problems teachers will be faced with. Secondly, the problem of the different text materials will, obviously, need to be reprinted.
The MF, indeed, supports your notion and welcomes this new notion of putting an end to the old system of education. However, Minister, we would want you to be more proactive with schools and ensure that they are on board to deal with the new system. The MF will support this. [Applause.]
Ms F I CHOHAN / End of take
Mr R B BHOOLA
Ms F I CHOHAN: Mr Speaker, hon members, I suspect that a lot of the inputs we have had today were the result of prepared speeches gone horribly wrong because the Minister sprung a surprise on us. Well, I don't want to respond to everybody, but I would like to make a few comments on the speeches that were delivered here today.
In response to the hon Vukuza-Linda from Cope, I think it bears noting that the review committee drew its expertise not only from universities and practitioners, but from teacher unions themselves. So, to suggest that teachers must either be teachers or union members is a bit of a spurious debate. [Interjections.] On the issue of the curriculum and policy research unit, Dr Kloppers-Lourens is correct and one of the things that the department is doing – you would know – is reorganising its organogram to include a section dedicated to curriculum and policy research.
I think it merits some mention that, as much as Mr Mpontshane from the IFP constantly refrains "we told you so", I do think that when you ask what Outcomes-Based Education, OBE, is and what it isn't, and how confusing it all is; you would know better than me that when we say that, effectively, OBE is taken out of the curriculum by and large, that does not mean that there is substantive change to the curriculum because OBE is not about the curriculum, it's a methodology of teaching as opposed to what is in essence a curriculum. So, in that respect there is consistency and certainty. And, certainly, any radical changes to the curriculum would hamper our success as opposed to amplifying it.
I think the following points concerning what the review is need emphasis: Firstly, and many people have alluded to it, the removal of administrative as well as assessment burdens on teachers. I do think that that must be stressed. It's not to say that there won't be administrative or assessment type of work, but these have been streamlined and, certainly, simplified in order to ensure that there is more teaching time as opposed to time spent doing these other things.
Certainly teachers will benefit from the clear outcome that has been adopted from the report. That outcome is clear, uniform, definitive and direct communication from the department, not interpretations of those communications from the other ranks within our governance structure. Regarding the role of subject advisers, I think it is enormously welcomed to teachers that there is a dedicated focus on their support role as opposed to, perhaps, an evaluation role.
With regard to earlier introduction of the second language, English, I think that this is also a very positive measure. It certainly gives expression to the fact that when languages are introduced at a younger age it's easier for children to absorb those languages. So, by the time they graduate to tertiary level, where they will be primarily taking their lessons in English, they will be far more conversant in the language.
Lastly, let me just say that the Minister has said that the task team started a while ago. The one thing that people forget is that when the Minister assumed office it would have been so easy for her to sweep away what was old and to restart new processes, and so on. I think we need to give enormous credit to you, Minister, for looking at this properly, for sticking with it and then embracing the good things that have come out of this report. I think that that is something worthy of note and appreciation from this House. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
RIOTS AFTER SRC ELECTION AT UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL
Mr G S RADEBE (ANC): Speaker, the ANC condemns in the strongest terms, the pointless acts of intimidation, violence and destruction of public property, especially libraries, which has erupted after the dissatisfaction due to the SRC election results at the University of Zululand.
It is our view that an amicable political solution needs to be found by the student organisations concerned, in order to restore confidence and to protect the credibility of elections at universities. Furthermore, it is our view that the two student organisations should prepare a joint statement that will indicate that the destruction of public property is zero tolerated; and that continued offences on the learning environment cannot be, by any means, used as an expression to justify one's dissatisfaction due to the outcomes of democratic processes.
The ANC supports the process of finding political solutions to political problems. Furthermore, it supports the Department of Higher Education and Training, and most importantly, the intervention by the provincial secretary of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal. As the ANC, we are calling for tolerance and the process of engagement for both the SA Student Congress, Sasco, and the SA Democratic Students Organisation, Sadesmo. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr J SCHMIDT (DA) / End of take
Mr G S RADEBE (ANC)
POLITICAL INTERFERENCE IN RESIGNATION OF MR JACOB MAROGA AS CEO OF ESKOM
Mr J SCHMIDT (DA): Speaker, Eskom was scheduled to hold a press conference at 13:00 today. An internal confidential memo was circulated by Eskom this morning to explain they reason why. The memo reads as follows:
Dear Colleagues, Mr Jacob Maroga has resigned as CEO of Eskom with immediate effect. [Applause.] The Eskom board is presently considering who will be acting on his behalf and will inform business in due course.
Minutes before the meeting was due to start, Eskom Chairperson Bobby Godsell announced that the media briefing had been postponed. It now appears that Godsell and other officials had been rushed to an urgent high level meeting. After it became clear that the Minister of Public Enterprises attempted to interfere in the process of getting Maroga fired, the timing of that urgent high level meeting was startling. Are these further attempts at political interference? Who exactly is attending the meeting? Isn't this just another shameless attempt from the ANC to interfere in the failed public enterprise? I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms A VAN WYK (ANC) / End of take
Mr J SCHMIDT (DA)
MORAL REGENERATION AS TOOL TO REDUCE CRIME
Ms A VAN WYK (ANC): Speaker, the ANC believes that moral regeneration is an important principle needed to reduce crime. In this regard, the religious fraternity can play a vital and leading role. [Interjections.] I am glad to see that crime is now a laughing matter.
As the ANC government steps up its war against criminals, the National Commissioner, Bheki Cele, has roped in church leaders as an important partner. The National Commissioner urged church leaders to join the crusade in the prevention of crime by invoking the spiritual support needed by police in the execution of their duties. The church and religious leaders can provide spiritual leadership and direction through their sermons, by emphasising the consequences of crime and police killings; and by empowering communities with knowledge and information, on amongst others, how to deal with and prevent domestic violence.
The criminal onslaught against society and our democracy can only be stopped if we fill all spaces in civil society and allow no room for criminals. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms J D KILIAN (Cope) / End of take
Ms A VAN WYK (ANC)
CALL TO WITHDRAW PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING BILL
Ms J D KILIAN (Cope): Speaker, Cope calls on the Minister of Communication to withdraw the controversial Public Service Broadcasting Bill, which was secretly published on Saturday without any consultation, not even with the SABC Interim Board.
Cope requests him to do so because the Bill spells the end of any pretence that the SABC has editorial independence, but particularly because it is also a technically flawed Bill. It is imposing a new tax on South Africans, which makes this a section 77 money Bill, clearly the responsibility of the Minister of Finance. Not only does this overhasty publication demonstrate his flagrant disregard for the Constitution, the public, this Parliament and the role of the National Treasury, but it also illustrates the ANC's real intention to nationalise the public broadcaster.
Cope calls on the Minister to do the honourable thing; to admit that he did not apply his mind before publication, to amend the Bill and to reintroduce it through the proper channels. Currently, only about 3% of the SABC's revenue comes from the state coffers. The interim board this week confirmed that the turnaround strategy, which relies heavily on good governance and financial accountability, will get the SABC back into generating a profit by 2012.
Cope calls on the Minister to restore effective management rather than to use the current financial crisis at the SABC as an excuse for a power grab of the public broadcaster. I thank you.
Prof C T MSIMANG (IFP) / End of take
Ms J D KILIAN (Cope)
Traditional Leadership IN A Modern Democracy
Prof C T MSIMANG (IFP): Hon Speaker, an assembly at Freedom Park today of many monarchs, not only from Africa, but also from other parts of the world, is indeed an historic event. The fact that they have come to honour our icon, uTata Madiba, symbolises a significant link between traditionalism and modernism. It further demonstrates that the system of traditional leadership is not incompatible with modern democracy, as embodied in former President Mandela.
Furthermore, it is essential for us to recognise that in Africa amakhosi are not a mere relic of the past, but a vibrant institution that plays a meaningful leadership and administrative role, especially in rural communities in the local sphere of government. It is precisely at this sphere where conflictual relations between amakhosi and isinduna on the one hand, and municipal councillors on the other, need to be harmonised. I thank you.
Mr N M KGANYAGO (UDM) / End of take
Prof C T MSIMANG (IFP)
INCREASE IN POLICE BRUTALITY
Mr N M KGANYAGO (UDM): Mr Speaker, the UDM is deeply concerned about the increasing numbers of reports of police brutality. Incidents of violence and death at the hands of the police are now reported almost daily.
One example is the recent incident in which police shot and killed a fleeing man who had not threatened them or anyone else. On the face of it, that would constitute a cold-blooded assassination. Now the ill-considered shoot-to-kill rhetoric of the hon President, Minister and Police Commissioner is not in step with our democratic values.
Now that we are witnessing police brutality, we ought to be reminded of how the old regime's police acted with impunity. Indeed, we must consider yet again why we put measures in place to prevent arbitrary violence by the police.
We do not dispute that the police face dangerous and armed criminals, but we cannot and should not fall for the deception that indiscriminate police violence would solve our crime problems. We are rapidly descending into a wild-west situation, where the criminals and the police resort to open-fire warfare. It is the citizens who are caught in the cross-fire.
Having another set of trigger-happy people running around will not make the criminals less violent. Quite to the contrary, they are more likely now to shoot first. Crime requires a holistic and considered policy response, something which the ruling party has failed to do. The one successful instrument, the Scorpions, was dismantled by the ruling party. We are now paying the price for the lack of a constructive crime-fighting policy. [Time expired.]
Dr S M PILLAY (ANC) / End of take
Mr N M KGANYAGO (UDM)
STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISE SA EXPRESS AIRWAYS
Dr S M PILLAY (ANC): Speaker, this ANC-led government, in its commitment to transforming South Africa into a developmental state, has initiated the formation of SA Express Airways as a state-owned enterprise, SOE.
This state-owned enterprise is fulfilling its mandate in making South Africa more accessible within South Africa and the neighbouring states.
We are proud to announce today that SA Express Airways has shown good performance for the last financial year under review. As stated by the Minister, they have fulfilled other mandates, like transformation and other things. This airline is reporting a profit for the second time since it's become a standalone state-owned enterprise.
I stand here today to say that, in fulfilling its mandate to act beyond providing transport, this state-owned enterprise has initiated its Mach 1 and Mach 2 Pilot Training Programmes. They even train pilots for their big brother, the SA Airways, SAA.
The portfolio committee has requested SA Express Airways to extend its programme and to actively advertise it, especially to Grade 9 students, so that learners can choose maths and science, and, again, so that we can recruit our future pilots from previously disadvantaged rural and underdeveloped areas, thus spreading hope of an opportunity throughout South Africa. Together, we can do more. Viva, SOEs, Viva!
HON MEMBERS: Viva!
Ms C DUDLEY (ACDP)
Dr S M PILLAY (ANC)
COMMENTS BY MARK MORANO, LEADING SCEPTIC OF MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING
Ms C DUDLEY (ACDP): Speaker, as we prepare to debate global warming and climate change today, the ACDP notes the following comments by a leading sceptic of man-made global warming, who said the Group of Eight leaders have embraced a new movement he calls "climate astrology".
President Obama and other Group of Eight, G8, leaders promised in October that they would keep temperatures from rising more than 6,3ºF or 2ºC above average levels of more than a century ago. They also agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.
Mark Morano, Executive Editor of Climatedepot.com, says, "it is ridiculous for G8 leaders to believe they have the power to turn up or down the earth's thermostat. This is the height of arrogance", he exclaimed, "this is the madness of our age, that world leaders, including our own President, can go up there with a strait face and act as though they can control the earth's thermostat, act as though they control nature."
Merino compares the G8 leaders' mindset to what he calls a "third world mentality". In Uganda, he says that they are blaming drought and disease on angry gods, and that people are saying they need to be educated. "Who actually needs to be educated here", Morino asks, "is it the Ugandans who blame bad weather on angry gods or is it western leaders who actually think they can control the climate?"
From the point of view of the ACDP, what began as an important call to responsible stewardship of the earth has become more like a religion as followers get more fanatical in their claims and demands. Thank you.
Mr A M MPONTSHANE (IFP) / End of take
Ms C DUDLEY (ACDP)
QUESTIONABLE AND MEDDLESOME ACTIONS BY UNIONS
Mr A M MPONTSHANE (IFP): Speaker, the IFP believes that the primary and basic function of all unions is to care for their members. In education, this means that unions must look after the interests of educators and occasionally contribute to debates on policy. Any other actions undertaken by these unions are questionable and should be seen as meddling.
The IFP views the roles which have been played by some teacher unions, like abandoning classes in order to campaign for political parties, as detrimental to the provision of quality education at schools.
A fundamental question should be asked: Why should a departmental programme need a union buy in? What happens if unions don't buy in or are unwilling to accept the departmental programme?
These questions must be asked and studied together with the proposal by the department to give unions funding for teacher development. It must be remembered that some unions in South Africa are more eager to promote party political radicalism and less interested in the promotion of teacher professionalism.
The department must not be seen to be promoting the meddlesome inclination of some teacher unions by sidelining and ignoring the empowerment of district officials who must be the department's first port of call when it comes to the implementation of educational initiatives. [Interjections.] [Time expired.]
Ms M P MENTOR (ANC)
Mr A M MPONTSHANE (IFP)
BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE COMPANY
Ms M P MENTOR (ANC): The ANC-led government initiated a broadband infrastructure company as a state-owned enterprise to expand the availability and affordability to access to electronic communication network and services to all parts of South Africa, including the underserviced, the underdeveloped and the rural areas, thus reducing the cost of doing business in South Africa. The broadband infrastructure company was also set up to provide bandwidth for special projects of national interest, including those of the Department of Science and Technology, like the Karoo telescope, etc.
While we acknowledge that the Electronic Commerce Association of South Africa, Ecasa, is still considering the electronic communication services licence, we are proud to announce to this House that on 9 October Ecasa issued the broadband infrastructure company with an electronic communication network services network licence, which enables this state-owned enterprise to go out and fulfil its mandate. All parts of South Africa can now look forward to a broadband fibre optic network with expanded bandwidth that will take electronic communication to the 21st century, at the same time bringing down the cost of connectivity. It is also hoped that this network would be used to expand services through it, like e-health, e-education and that government departments will utilise this opportunity to expand services to underserviced and rural areas. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M MNQASELA (DA)
Mrs M P MENTOR (ANC)
UNLAWFUL ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ERASMUS COMMISSION OF INQUIRY BY FORMER PREMIER EBRAHIM RASOOL
Mr M MNQASELA (DA): The DA has been the subject of criticism from the ANC, and I must say that some members are, in fact, sitting here in this Parliament. Hon Marius Fransman and the former Premier of the Western Cape, hon Ebrahim Rasool, have been accusing the DA of firing members of the Western Cape government unjustly. The DA would like to strongly refute these claims. It is untrue, and it is complete nonsense. [Interjections.]
The terminations of employment were based on the provincial government of the Western Cape, receiving the final outcome of an investigation by Herold Gie attorneys who found that the role played by the provincial government officials in the unlawful establishment of the Erasmus Commission of Inquiry by former Premier Ebrahim Rasool against the City of Cape Town. This is what we are trying to do here. We have provided well-documented proof to that effect.
The institution of this investigation was the result of a consultation with legal services between the Premier of the Western Cape and the office that provided that information. Now, I want to say that, based on the findings of the recommendations on the investigation, the provincial administration has reached a settlement with some officials, and one of them is Shanaaz Majiet, who has wilfully taken a voluntary exit to leave government without being pushed by the government. Thank you very much. [Time expired.] [Interjections.]
Mr C T FROLICK: Speaker, on a point of order: In terms of the statement that the hon member has just made now, it reflects on two members of this House, and the rule states that it requires a substantive motion. I ask you to rule on the matter, please.
The SPEAKER: The point of order is correct.
Mr M J ELLIS: Speaker, I don't believe that it reflects on the members of this House as they are. It reflects on what they were before they came to this House. [Interjections.] The other important point is that the statement itself refers to matters as they stand at the present time and not to things that are about to happen in the future. I really do believe, sir, that Mr Frolick is not correct in his assumption.
Mr C T FROLICK: Speaker, there is no such report in front of the House that the hon member is referring to, and in the statement of the hon member no distinction was made or reference was made to the previous lives of those members before they came to Parliament.
The SPEAKER: The point of order is sustained.
Mr M MNQASELA: Speaker, let me just rephrase this. [Interjections.] What I said is that the former Premier of the Western Cape ...
The SPEAKER: Hon member, withdraw the remarks.
Mr M MNQASELA: I withdraw. Thank you.
Mr L RAMATLAKANE (Cope)
Mr M MNQASELA
KILLING OF POLICE AND SHOOT TO KILL INSTRUCTION
Mr L RAMATLAKANE (Cope): Cope has always maintained that policemen and women must receive support from all of us in the fight against crime. Cope has always unequivocally and in the strongest terms possibly condemned the attempt to kill or killing of police officers. Cope consistently warned the ruling party not to continue with the shoot to kill instruction because of its inherent danger. With the President's shoot to kill instruction, this government has to take full responsibility for injury and the loss of life of innocent people, leaving children without mothers and fathers, as demonstrated by some killings that already had been revealed as the police were obeying the instruction.
We said do not frogmarch the people on the road, to the past or Vlakplaas, flouting the Constitutional Court ruling and government stands accused. The newspaper of yesterday and Independent Complaints Directorate, ICD, are revealing the horror of Mpumalanga, KwaMhlanga, Atteridgeville where Khothatso was busy polishing shoes when he was shot and killed.
We all know and remember the story about Olga in Pretoria. We want all the people to know that Cope stands for peace, not for violence. We must build the people's movement towards peace in our country and community with all the people as co-creators of a peaceful society. Government must enforce the buddy system where all the police and law enforcement personnel work in fours and pairs. [Time expired.] Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms N GINA (ANC)/ End of take
Mr L RAMATLAKANE (Cope)
LITERACY AND NUMERACY IN EARLY GRADES
Ms N GINA (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC supports the introduction of a sustainable early childhood education system, which spans both the public and private sector, and gives children a head start on numeracy and literacy. As such, the ANC-led government aims to spend R524 million to fund the roll out of workbooks for pupils in the general education and training band, in the poorest 60% of schools, for the 2010 school year and beyond to boost literacy and numeracy in the early grades.
These workbooks will guide teachers on the sequence and pace required to complete the curriculum more effectively and will benefit the learners who do not have access to textbooks. There are over 3,5 million of these learners. The books will include daily exercises and will be available in all 11 official languages. This initiative is in line with the ANC government's aims to ensure progressive realisation of universal schooling, improving quality of education and eliminating disparities. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms D VAN DER WALT (DA) / End of take
Ms N GINA (ANC)
ALLEGATIONS OF ACQUISITION OF STATE PROPERTY AT DISCOUNTED PRICES BY MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT AND FORMER MECs OF LIMPOPO LEGISLATURE
Ms D VAN DER WALT (DA): Chairperson, it is disturbing that prominent ANC members of this House and the Limpopo legislature have managed to secure state property at discounted prices intended for historically disadvantaged individuals. It has come to the DA's attention that the following MPs and MECs acquired these properties from the Limpopo legislature's Disposal of Redundant Properties project launched in 2000-01. In this document, which includes the former MEC for Transport and the current MP and chair of a portfolio committee in this House, former MEC for Public Works – Semenya - former MEC for the SAPS – Magadzi – and former ... [Interjections.]
Mr C T FROLICK: Chairperson, on a point of order: This point of order touches on similar matters as the previous statement of the DA. This statement once again refers to Members of Parliament and requires a substantive motion. I think this is very clear in terms of what we are dealing with.
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Chair, may I address you on this?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Yes, hon member.
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Frolick needs to tell us which Members of Parliament are being referred to at the present time. We are referring to former MECs of provinces. There is no reference here to the names of any Member of Parliament. Mr Frolick is now trying to take advantage of his previous point of order. He is wrong on this occasion, Madam Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order! But if I heard the member very well, she said "the former member who is the chairperson of Transport". Didn't you say that?
Ms D VAN DER WALT: No name, Chair. I didn't mention any name. I said "former MEC in the legislature" quite correctly.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order! Can I get clarity on whether the report is before any committee of this House?
Ms D VAN DER WALT: No, Chair. The report is in front of the legislature's Portfolio Committee on Public Works and not this House.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order! But my understanding is that if you refer to a former member who was an MEC and who is now a member of this House, you must therefore have a substantive motion. That is my understanding. We know the member who is now the chairperson of Transport in this House.
Ms D VAN DER WALT: Chair, I withdraw the statement on the current MP and would like to continue by saying "former MECs in the Limpopo legislature", which I'm allowed to say.
May I please continue, Chair? I'm almost done. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order! Hon members, I think whenever we make statements and also when we want to mention people – whether these are former members or not – a report must be made public if those people can't respond for themselves so that everybody will know about the contents of the statement before one makes it. Therefore, hon member, I am not going to allow you to continue with your statement if you insist on referring to former members or members of this House.
Ms D VAN DER WALT: Chair, it's fine. I will withdraw the names I have mentioned. This is all over the media today anyway; so it doesn't matter. I will just continue to say "former MECs of the Limpopo legislature".
It is a shocking indictment on the ANC members' concern. This should not have happened at all. The DA requests that these members return the properties or pay market-related prices determined by an approved evaluator. Thank you, Chair. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order! Hon member, before you take a seat, I have ruled that you can't refer to former members, particularly when the report has not been dealt with by the legislature or whoever. Even if the report is in the newspapers, this is not a matter that should be debated or presented as a statement in this House. Therefore, I want you to withdraw that statement.
Ms D VAN DER WALT: Chair, I have no problem withdrawing the statement. It's in the media anyway. So, I withdraw.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order! Hon member, I said you must withdraw the statement. Just withdraw the statement, hon member.
Ms D VAN DER WALT: I withdraw, Chair. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Thank you. [Interjections.]
Ms F I CHOHAN: Chairperson, may I address you on a point of order?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order! No, hon member. The member has already withdrawn the statement. [Interjections.]
Ms F I CHOHAN: It's another point of order, Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): What is the point of order, hon member?
Ms F I CHOHAN: Chairperson, you make a ruling and the member continues in the same vain. I want you to please rule whether that is parliamentary.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Hon member, the member has already withdrawn the statement. Based on that, this will not be a point of order anymore because she has already withdrawn the statement.
Mr E M MTHETHWA (ANC) / End of take
Ms D VAN DER WALT
LANDBANK TURNAROUND STRATEGY
Mr E M MTHETHWA (ANC): Madam Chair, the ANC remains committed to stepping up the measures in fighting corruption within society, the state and the private sector.
On Wednesday, 19 August 2009, the Land Bank presented its turnaround strategy which it hoped will reverse its financial woes. The situation was taken under management of the Treasury last year after it has been engulfed by allegations of mismanagement and fraud.
As we speak today, four forensic audits have since been commissioned and this report has been submitted to the Serious Economic Offences Unit of the SA Police Services and the Hawks.
The ANC requests the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhon, to speedily roundup the investigation on the matter so that the turnaround strategy can be implemented as a matter of urgency so as to enable the bank to chart safely through the challenge that lies ahead. I thank you. [Applause.]
RIOTS AFTER SRC ELECTIONS AT UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL
QUESTIONABLE AND MEDDLESOME ACTIONS BY UNIONS
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Madam Chairperson, I have a response from my colleague on the matter that was raised regarding the University of Zululand. Minister Nzimande said that I should indicate that the department, through the officials, is engaging with the stakeholders on the matter at the University of Zululand. I would like to tell this House that, indeed, he condemned in the strongest terms the destruction to property by learners. He made a call that the university should be calm and return to normality. That is what he wanted me to communicate.
There was also a matter which came from the IFP member about the role of unions in education. I do want to agree with him. It is very disappointing that some elements in teacher unions have the tendency to hold the department hostage. I have raised these concerns with MECs and instructed them to take appropriate action, especially, in events of ill discipline.
I agree with Mr Mpontshane that the posturing by different individuals from different unions is completely unacceptable and should not be allowed. I have been involved in consultations with different stakeholders, especially the affected teacher unions. We hope that we will be able to get a remedy, because I fully agree with his sentiments.
But on the point where he spoke about consultations with stakeholders being unnecessary, I fully disagree with him. A consultation with stakeholders, especially teachers, is crucial. Teachers are at the coalface of delivery and it is important for us to ensure that they understand the policy and that they should be able to guide us. Again, I agree with him that it does not give them a licence to want to hold the department hostage or threatened us when there are no disagreements. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISE SA EXPRESS AIRWAYS
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Chairperson, I would like to thank my colleague and comrade from the ANC benches who reminded us of the excellent performance of SA Express Airways, the state-owned enterprise entity. It has performed extremely well and it has turned a significant profit this year. As he reminded us, its success should not just be measured in terms of profit terms. It also has the very significant, strategic and public role of linking our country to its region and the region to our country, encouraging tourism and job creation in South Africa, and indeed, in our region.
This performance is particularly remarkable in the current global climate in which no fewer than 30 privately-owned airlines have gone into liquidation over the last two years. It is important to underline this, because coming from the opposition benches, again today, but throughout the time, what they are trying to do is to sow demoralisation around the public sector and public ownership of entities. [Interjections.]
We heard about other failed entities, Eskom and the SABC. Of course there are challenges in some of our state-owned enterprises. As the ANC government, we were the first to admit that, and we are trying to deal with that. The reasons underlying many of the problems in these publicly-owned enterprises today in South Africa has everything to do with bringing in private sector consultants like Coleman Andrews in the case of the SAA.
The problems we are dealing with within the SAA now date back to the ill-advised advice and practices of Coleman Andrews from the United States, bringing in private sector criteria and so forth. [Interjections.] Therefore, I would like to commend the member from the ANC who raised the importance of SAA Expresses. Let us learn important lessons from this success. I thank you.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - SHORTLIST OF CANDIDATES FOR APPOINTMENT TO BOARD OF SA NATIONAL SPACE AGENCY BOARD
Mr E N N NGCOBO: Madam Chairperson, hon Ministers, hon Deputy Ministers, hon members and guests of Parliament, I stand before this House to give a Report of the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology on the Consideration of the Shortlist of Candidates for Appointment to the SA National Space Agency Board, dated 28 October 2009.
Matters of space are very important in the new era of technological development. Indeed, as it was covered by the Minister yesterday, we have already launched a satellite that is revolving around us, giving images of what is on the African soil, in particular how our communities are enriched with this technology in terms of agriculture, economic growth and climate change related problems.
Our satellite gives data four times a day about what is happening around the continent. We have people in the African member nations who are benefiting from this satellite and have already engaged in satellite time affiliation, paying back air to our space technology activity.
Matters of space are not necessarily limited to climate and economic growth, but they are also about security. The Israelis have a company called Romeo Yankee Limited where they develop vertically taking off and landing, VTOL, cars. These are air cars that are able to fly up to an altitude of 8 000 feet. They are divided into two categories called Turbo Hawks and City Hawks.
The City Hawks can be parked on normal car parking bays, but they can also take off from the suite and fly over at an altitude of 8 000 feet. Turbo Hawks are more adapted for security measures in high buildings.
Since Israel is faced with wars from its neighbours, they have developed Turbo Hawks which can fly high and come down and run on the road. This is how air space can be used for security. We feel that in South Africa, with the development of our space agency, we need to have a board with capable men and women. Therefore, it is for this reason that the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology - having considered the shortlist of candidates for appointment to the South African National Space Agency Board in terms of section 7(1)(c) of the South African National Space Agency Act 36 of 2008, which was referred to the committee on 07 October 2009 - today reports that the committee held meetings on 21 and 28 October 2009 on the above subject. The department had received 94 applications and shortlisted 25 candidates.
During the committee's deliberations on 21 October 2009, members raised concerns about the lack of shortlisted candidates who fall within the vulnerable groups and with special needs such as persons with disabilities. The committee subsequently requested the department to, in future, consult organisations working with persons with special needs. Fortunately, the department was able, in a very short space of time, to address this question by identifying and discussing it with the board that deals with disabled people in South Africa.
After discussions, the department forwarded the name of Mr Vincent Gore to the committee. He replaced Ms Limpitlaw Justine who withdrew her application, due to personal circumstances. The Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology felt that the department had addressed some of the concerns raised by members and therefore approved the list that was submitted, with Mr Vincent Gore replacing Ms Justine. I therefore appeal to the House to ratify the list as it appears on the Order Paper. We thank the Minister for her efforts. Thank you. [Applause.]
There was no debate.
Ms M R SHINN
Mr E N N NGCOBO
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: A request for a declaration of vote has been received. Parties have up to three minutes each. I will now recognise the parties that wish to make declarations.
Ms M R SHINN (DA): While the DA supports the shortlist of candidates for appointment to the SA National Space Agency Board, we have reservations about the number of military specialists on the list. When the Minister of Science and Technology considered appointments to the Board, we urged her to wait with her final selection in favour of earth science researchers and communication specialists. The department's strategy for 2009-10 states that South Africa can be a major contributor and partner in the global space, science and technology through this agency.
It has mentioned South Africa's growing satellite industry and a range of space innovations has been key to this, as well as our research institutions innovations and earth observation, communication, navigation and engineering. We heard the Minister in this House yesterday talk about the government satellite that we use to give scientists information that will enable to better manage our natural resource for the socioeconomic benefit of all South Africans.
We urge her to approach the selection of the Space Agency Board in the same spirit. The first aim of the agency is to promote a peaceful user space. It wants to research space, science, communications, navigation and space physics.
Why then does the shortlist include men whose expertise include biological warfare, weapons of mass destruction and missile engagements? These are legitimate skills in defence industry application development, but they are not a priority in addressing South Africa's developmental needs. They belong in the private industry not on statutory boards.
One of these military men has no place on any statutory body and that is Mr M C Zondi, who is a Deputy Director-General in the Department of Defence and he is a Head of the Defence Supply Chain Integration. Yesterday, the DA wrote to Minister Pandor urging her to drop him from this shortlist as Mr Zondi currently faces an investigation by the SA National Defence Force Inspector General for tender irregularities. He is also facing a civil suit in Gauteng for awarding a contract without going out to tender. We are not associating the other military board applicants with Mr Zondi's action, but we urge the Minster to wait with her final selection on the Board in favour of peaceful users of space technology. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The question before the house is that the following shortlist of candidates be approved for consideration for appointment to the South African National Space Agency Board: Mr F Anderson, Mr L Annamalai, Mr T Buthelezi, Prof G de Wet, Mr Z Fihlani, Dr E Gavin (Adam), Ms J Lawrence, Mr V Gore, Mr R Louw, Mr M T Magugumela, Mr P Maine, Ms N Majaja, Dr J G Malan, Captain M Mamashela, Dr L McKinnell, Ms L Mogudi, Mr N Mbangiseni, Mr T Ratsheko, Dr R Scholes, Ms R Sekese, Ms S Sekgobela, Ms C Sharpe, Dr K B Siziba, Ms V B Titi and Mr M C Zondi.
Are there any objections? There are no objections agreed to. The short list of candidates will be forwarded to the Minister of Science and Technology for consideration.
Question greed to.
The following shortlist of candidates accordingly approved for consideration for appointment to the South African National Space Agency Board: Mr F Anderson, Mr L Annamalai, Mr T Buthelezi, Prof G de Wet, Mr Z Fihlani, Dr E Gavin (Adam), Ms J Lawrence, Mr V Gore, Mr R Louw, Mr M T Magugumela, Mr P Maine, Ms N Majaja, Dr J G Malan, Captain M Mamashela, Dr L McKinnell, Ms L Mogudi, Mr N Mbangiseni, Mr T Ratsheko, Dr R Scholes, Ms R Sekese, Ms S Sekgobela, Ms C Sharpe, Dr K B Siziba, Ms V B Titi and Mr M C Zondi.
DEBATE ON GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE: THE PLANET'S EMERGING
CRISIS AND THE NEED FOR URGENT GLOBAL AGREEMENT
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: Chairperson, hon members, and Ministers, it is indeed appropriate that we are debating the issue of climate change today. In Barcelona delegates from countries all around the world, including our own delegation, are working around the clock, trying to find common ground in order to reach agreement that will allow us to establish a new international climate regime at Copenhagen in December. It is proper that we pay tribute to this South African team that is holding the flag high not only for this country, but also for Africa.
Before we deal with this and, in order to contextualise it, it would be important to go back and understand why this issue is so important for the world, for our continent and for our country. It is now understood that global warming that creates changes in our climate and in our weather patterns is caused by an accumulation of greenhouse gases, such as carbon and methane, released in the atmosphere. These gases are released through activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and the clearing of land for development and many other human activities. They remain in the atmosphere for many years and create a greenhouse effect in that they prevent it from escaping and cause temperatures to rise and, in turn, icebergs to melt and weather patterns to become unpredictable. Under these circumstances, we get increased extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, was established as a global scientific body to research and report on climate change and its impact. The IPCC's fourth assessment report has identified a set of issues of key importance for us. In the first place, they identified the fact that, in order to avoid irreversible and dangerous climate change, global temperatures must not be allowed to rise above 2 degrees of preindustrial levels. This is equivalent to a concentration of about 450 parts per million of carbon concentration in the atmosphere. They also identified that, in order to achieve this, the developed countries of the world would need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by between 25% to 40% by 2020 and by 80% to 95% by 2050, while developing countries would need to reduce their greenhouse gases to below their business as usual path by 2050.
I recently met with nongovernmental organisations on Tuesday, who gave me a petition on the global target of 350 parts per million, which is quite ambitious. Furthermore, the IPCC has identified Africa as the continent that will suffer the most serious impacts of climate change. This vulnerability, both at the level of the physical impact in relation to changing weather patterns and extreme weather events such as floods and droughts, as well as the capacity of Africa's people to build the resilience to withstand major changes in such factors as their access to water and changes in weather that would harm agricultural production and destroy livelihoods.
South Africa is no exception to this, and the work done by our scientists and taking forward the IPCC conclusions is indicating that we will experience unpredictability of weather conditions, a rise in sea level, serious impacts on our water resources and our agriculture, as well as changes in the distribution of pests with serious impacts on the health of our people.
Climate change is a global issue. In order to bring down the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, all the nations of the world must agree to work together and to take climate action. This is the Copenhagen challenge. We, as a country, are committed to playing our part in the global effort to address climate change, both in relation to ensuring that we are prepared to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change, as well as reducing our greenhouse gas emissions in the future.
We are working on a national climate change policy, and we look forward to tabling this in Parliament for national consultation during the course of 2010. This policy will include the programme and actions needed for both adaptation and mitigation and we will set out the roles, responsibilities and actions of all spheres of government and all key departments and sectors.
A central element of this national policy will be to build on the long-term mitigation scenarios work. This work has identified a trajectory that would allow our emissions to rise from about 450 paths per million currently to about 550 path per million in 2020 to 2025. We would then want them to stabilise at that level for about a decade on the basis of a range of low carbon interventions in the way we run our economy, and we would then want to see them decline in absolute terms from about 2035.
In order to do this and given the high levels of fossil fuel dependence at present, we would need substantial assistance from the international community, in relation to financing for low carbon initiatives in particular, as well as technology transfer and access to technology.
In this context, we are pleased to announce that South Africa has secured a concessional loan of $500 million, which will leverage another $1 billion that will allow for major low carbon investments in a concentrated solar power plant, wind power and in enabling the private sector to invest in energy efficiency and build a solar water heating industry. It is worth noting that South Africa is already doing a lot to reduce its dependence on coal. Renewable energy is part of our mixed energy policy. We have invested a lot of money to modernise our transport.
It is our hope that the negotiations currently underway in Copenhagen would further support the rollout of such actions, as well as enable us to take early action to adapt to climate impacts. With finances made available, we have the potential to do more. We can enhance our technology capacity, we can co-operate with other countries to produce clean technology locally, in the process creating jobs and developing skills for our people.
These negotiations are taking place in two parallel tracks: the Bali Action Plan and the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is an instrument of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that provides for developed countries to take on legally binding actions while, on the other hand, it ensures bolder actions from developing countries.
For Africa, we have a serious concern. Weak emission reduction targets from the developed world will mean that the two percent centigrade rise in temperatures happens with potentially devastating consequences. For Africa and South Africa, our continued development and survival required the developed world to play its part. It is in this context that the Africa walkout of the negotiations earlier this week took place. It resulted in a renewed focus on targets and numbers for a mission to clear reductions.
In the Bali Action Plan negotiation, countries are trying to find agreement on how to enhance implementation of the convention in five key respects. Agreement is needed on a shared vision and long-term global goal for missions. Developed countries are not signatories to the Kyoto Protocol. Those that are not, like the United States, must take on a mission reduction that is comparable to other developed countries. Developing countries have agreed to take on voluntary and nationally appropriate mitigation actions, a programme that will ensure that adaptation is given equal priority. At this stage in the negotiations, there is a substantial way to go to find an acceptable agreement. In particular, the developed world is trying to shift the burden of emission reductions to developing countries, and it is also not putting adequate financial commitments on the country.
Chairperson, we need to be clear that a developing country, such as South Africa with its challenges regarding the need to develop in order to achieve growth and poverty eradication, insists on its carbon space. While agreeing on the need for us to take action on climate change and reduce our emissions, we cannot enter into an agreement that will not allow us to move forward as a nation. We also cannot sign up to an agreement that does not recognise the priority of adaptation. I thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms M M SOTYU
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Ms M M SOTYU: Chairperson, before I start with my very short speech, I would like to tell the Minister that she has put South Africa on the map. We have just arrived as a joint portfolio committee from three of the countries: Washington, Copenhagen and Swaziland. In all these countries, we were told that you are one of the best negotiators in Africa. [Applause.]
Climate change is a major threat to sustainable growth and development in Africa and the achievement of Millennium Development Goals. Therefore urgent action is needed. Although Africa is the continent least responsible for climate change, it is particularly vulnerable to the effects, including reduced agricultural production, worsening food security, the increased incidence of both flooding and drought, spreading disease, and an increased risk of conflict over scarce land and water resources.
Sis Pam, i-climate change ke kukujika-jika kwemozulu xa kumana kubakho iimvula, izikhukula iinkanyamba phaya eMpumakoloni nalapha e_Ntshona Koloni, kunjalo nje iNtshona Koloni ilixhoba lezo zikhukula kwixesha elizayo. Yiclimate change ke leyo mhlobo wam.
More efforts will be needed to cost the impact of climate and to inform and sensitise domestic audiences. Support from development partners is needed to assist Africa to cope with these effects. Action on a broader range of issues is also needed by the wider international community, by multilateral, bilateral development agencies and by African governments themselves.
Although South Africa is not an Annex 1 country, that is...
... into ethetha ukuthi ...
... we are not legally required to commit to emissions reduction under the Kyoto Protocol, it acceded to the Kyoto Protocol in June 2001.
South Africa's noble intention to mitigate climate change derives from its unique position in the climate change regime. For example, South Africa is Africa's greatest emitter of greenhouse gas, as it depends on coal for power production, despite the fact that emissions from the African continent are low and expected to remain so for the immediate future. South Africa's high emission profile on the African continent is attributable to the overall large size of its economy as well as the coal dependency of its energy economy. South Africa is the most industrialised country in Africa.
Bazakusinceda nabo batshaya kakhulu babengathi bayatshaya kancinci ukuze sincedisane nokuthi amalahle la siwasebenzisa kakhulu necuba nalo ibengathi silithatha kancinci kuba kaloku umsi nawo uyasenzakalisa.
To this end, the ANC's position on environmental issues is reflected in the Reconstruction and Development Programme. It is this vision that has informed the various policies, programmes and actions of the ANC-led government since 1994.
During the apartheid years, the vast majority of our people bore the brunt of poor sanitation, were located in the areas where the most pollution industries existed, and denied the basic rights to defend themselves against harmful activities. The ANC's vision has therefore sought to embrace a transformative environmentalism based on the ideas of sustainable development, which is built on the interconnection of environmental, social and economic justice.
In this regard, and acting in concert with governments, international bodies, Pan-African structures and international environmental bodies, the ANC has played a leading role in shaping global debates. This has been through our – albeit limited – participation in the Rio Earth Summit, followed by our country's hosting of the momentous World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.
At these historic forums, the ANC has consistently championed a progressive response to the environmental dimensions of development, particularly climate change, which is facing Africa and the countries of the South.
There will be massive socioeconomic consequences that will impact greatly on Africa. These include increased poverty, diseases, water scarcity, food security and agriculture. Hon Phumzile Bhengu will mention the impact on the poorest of the poor, especially women in rural areas.
Significantly, there is now general scientific agreement that the African continent has, in recent years, been showing all the signs of climate change. These are increasing frequency of floods, the rise in sea levels, increasing frequency of droughts, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and irregular frequency and severity of climatic conditions.
Many African regions and countries will therefore lack the capacity to generate effective adaptive responses to changes that climate change will bring. In South Africa itself, the impacts of climate change are predicted to include a reduction in rainfall and an increase in droughts on the western side of the country.
It is therefore critical that the South African government and Parliament – as Parliament also has role to play in this regard – factor these aspects into their planning. The key elements of future international frameworks should include initiatives on emissions trading, technology co-operation, actions to reduce deforestation and adapt to climate change.
Co-operation between and amongst SADC countries include, among others: renewable energy resources, information and communication technology, transport, and fisheries and the fight against HIV/Aids and malaria. There are a number of protocols in the region that can guide the development of African positions on Africa's problems. African countries' heads of state can begin to use existing mechanisms to deepen and enhance its adaptation and mitigation strategies in the region.
While South Africa contributes to climate change, its historical contributions are minimal compared to those of developed countries. South Africa needs to provide hospitals, schools, roads and other infrastructure and social development to its previously disadvantaged communities.
The role of legislatures is critical, as was stipulated in the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, in that international agreements are the base documents that define national policies and pieces of domestic legislation. South Africa is fortunate in that, unlike other countries on the continent, the committee has a good communication relationship with its Ministries. This then allows the legislatures to make inputs and undertake oversight over the relevant treaties and conventions that will guide committees' work on climate change.
The reason for us coming up with this statement is because, when we visited some of these countries, we discovered that most of their members of parliament don't have a clue about the agreements that exist between theirs and other countries because of the lack of communication between their ministries and parliament. In some instances they would claim that their country is not part of something. However, when one does some research and retrieves the minutes of those agreements, one discovers that that specific country is part of the agreements. It would seem that their parliament is not aware of those agreements because of lack of communication between the ministries and the parliamentarians.
Therefore, parliaments have an important role to play in enacting sound legislation that can protect the environment, lead to the attainment of sustainable food security and reduction of poverty.
As I have said to hon Frolick, these are some of the proposals which we, as Members of this Parliament, drafted: Firstly, parliamentarians must ensure the strengthening of government institutions through better integration of legislation and policies to build long-term adaptive capacity and resilience against food shortages. This should include the mainstreaming of climate change into all government departments that attribute to or are impacted on by climate change.
Secondly, we must ensure that climate change considerations inform all policy decision-making across government.
Thirdly, we must ensure that disaster management mechanisms are fully operational.
Lastly, parliamentarians should play an information and advocacy role on climate change issues within their own legislatures.
The South African Parliament has, to date, made inputs into national pieces of environmental and energy legislation, but international agreements need further engagement by our Parliament.
Whilst Copenhagen negotiations by South Africa are quite advanced in terms of growth without limits scenarios and are required by science scenario, there is still a need for legislatures to play a role in this process. For legislatures, the importance of assessing the outcome of the deal in Copenhagen and to make recommendations in undertaking oversight over the new deal is critical. Like the parliament of the United Kingdom with the promulgation of the Climate Change Act, one needs to begin to look at legislators' role in providing information to government on mitigation and sustainable development.
On 7 September the Portfolio Committee held a video conference with the Parliament of the UK regarding issues of climate change, in order to learn from other countries on how to deal with issues of climate change in a country.
As representatives of the citizenry and through their oversight functions and constituency offices, parliaments are in a better position to identify and respond to societal needs. Parliamentarians are also responsible for holding the executive and government to account by overseeing their work and ensuring that they do not infringe on the rights of citizens and waste state resources. The oversight work also affords parliamentarians an opportunity to make informed decisions on issues of national importance.
As Parliament, we are responsible for approving national budget and therefore have a major say in how state resources are allocated. This gives Parliament the authority to ensure that substantial resources are allocated to the sectors that are of importance and of relevance.
Through their involvement in the budgetary process, parliamentarians must advocate for an increase in government funding for research on and implementation of adaptation and mitigation studies. They must ensure that parliaments allocate more resources to the public education and awareness at all levels, and integrate environmental education across government departments. They must explore the use of innovative mechanisms to increase funding for adaptation and mitigation at the national level. They must encourage development partners to ensure that their development assistance does not create negative environmental impacts. In addition, development assistance programmes should be reformed to support mitigation, disaster risk reduction, and adaptation measures.
From theory to practice, the following initiatives are guiding the work of the lead portfolio committee, the Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs, to devise a 5-year plan which will incorporate the following aspects relating to climate change: The Portfolio Committee will set up a multi-party, intersectoral committee on climate change and sustainable development in the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa; it will undertake public hearings, debates, seminars, set up video conferences like the one I have just mentioned; it will hold joint public hearings with other select and portfolio committees. These public hearings are going to be held in South Africa on 17 to 18 November 2009, and we have invited university students who are specialists on issues of climate change to come and participate in these hearings; and it will hold a mini conference on 16 to 17 February 2010 to address the outcome of the December 2009 Copenhagen negotiations.
The portfolio committee is to have a dialogue with the relevant select and portfolio committees on the formation of the committee on climate change and sustainable development, in order to forge a programme from these discussions. We learnt that, in most countries, there is a unit or a commission or a select committee – call it what you will – that exists in their parliaments which deals specifically with issues of climate change and energy. I think we just need to sit down and plan the composition of the committee or unit that we would like to have in our Parliament.
In conclusion, I believe that this Parliament will have a delegation of all committees that are affected, starting from environment, agriculture, science and technology, through to energy. Actually, every committee has a role to play in issues of climate change, right up to the committees of health and social development. Every one has a responsibility when it comes to issues of climate change.
Then, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our Speaker who delivered a keynote address at Copenhagen in which he committed South Africa in leading Africa. [Time expired.] Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr G R MORGAN
Ms M M SOTYU
Mr G R MORGAN: Chairperson, our democracy has emerged from a long period of injustice, inequality and discrimination. We know more than most countries what it is like to fight for justice, but there is another battle that now needs to be fought, and that is for climate justice. The climate change challenge that confronts us today, and which at its current trajectory will lead to, most probably, a climatic disaster, is also characterised by the need to simultaneously overcome inequality and discrimination.
Legislators in this Parliament at the end of the 21st century will judge us here today on how successful we were in simultaneously addressing climate change and reducing poverty. While the majority of the focus of the Copenhagen climate negotiations will be on getting the developed countries to commit to ambitious, binding emissions reduction targets, let us not forget that we too have to adapt to climate change and have to play our role in mitigating it.
It must be noted that 75% to 80% of the costs of the damage from climate change will be carried by the developing world. Climate change will most acutely be felt in Africa, where 95% of agriculture is rainfall dependent. The other likely effects, including the higher incidents and frequency of extreme weather events, will be equally devastating. I trust therefore that everyone in this House will take climate change seriously. Whether we like it or not, it is going to force its way high onto the agenda of both government and Parliament.
As Graeme Wheeler, the Managing Director of Operations at the World Bank noted that the financial crisis originated in the developed world and contaminated developing countries, so too did the concentration of greenhouse gases.
The climate negotiations now underway are particularly complex because they involve at the same time serious equity and moral considerations as well as difficult issues of sequencing and competitiveness.
We are confronted with forging a post 2012-climate deal at the same time as the world is in recession. Public sector debt to Gross Domestic Product ratios is on a dangerous path in many countries and politicians in the developed world worry whether mitigation measures will weaken the economic recoveries of their countries. They are also worried about the domestic fiscal impact of large financial transfers to developing countries for the purposes of adaptation.
Investment in transforming the world's energy systems will be substantial if we are to prevent global warming beyond two degrees Celsius. What do we need out of the Copenhagen process this year? We need ambitious quantified emission reduction commitments from developed countries and nationally appropriate actions by developing countries such as South Africa that meet the scale and urgency of the challenge.
We need delivery, at the scale required, of financial and technological support from developed to developing countries, through public finance and market mechanisms, to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and to mitigate emissions in a way that is consistent with development goals.
We need an improved review and enforcement mechanism that will strengthen delivery and allow commitments and actions to be enhanced in response to the latest scientific and socioeconomic information, in accordance with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.
It is important to look at how South Africa is doing in response to the climate change challenge. It is a general belief that our government is performing admirably at the international negotiations. The domestic front is less impressive. While we, through the long-term mitigation scenarios, have an understanding of what South Africa needs to do to ultimately reduce its own emissions in the period after 2030, how we are going to get there remains unclear. No doubt after the climate negotiations are complete government will begin to table its plans in more detail, but let me sound a warning, and that is, the longer we take to respond to reducing our emissions the more difficult it will become.
The investments we make today- and I think here particularly about the love affair that Eskom has with building new coal power stations – lock us into a particular emissions trajectory for years and years to come. Therefore, even if we only plan to reduce actual emissions in many years to come, we need to make our investments now in a way that allows those reductions to happen later.
There are, however, many initiatives that legislators in this House must drive as soon as possible. We need to insist on higher industrial efficiency standards; we need to strengthen the building of appliance energy standards; we need stricter vehicle fuel standards and we need to unblock the blockages that are preventing a massive private sector uptake of renewable energy. In this regard, Eskom must be tackled head-on.
We must not accept that just because Eskom has had a monopoly on producing and distributing electricity in the past that this situation should continue into the future. If we want to guarantee our energy security in the future and diversify and decarbonise our energy supply in accordance with what scientists tell us to do, then Eskom is not the solution. How can we trust an entity that has planned so poorly in the past to secure our energy security today, with our energy security in the future?
Cabinet is due to release its integrated resource plan for electricity any day now. There will be significant comments around this document, but we need to critically look at it through the climate change lens. Responding to climate change in the electricity sector will best be achieved by a combination of both public and private sector players.
This House is not yet ready to provide the type of oversight on climate change that is required. Climate change is crosscutting. The response must not only come from individuals and the private sector, but from various government departments including energy, water and environmental affairs, trade and industry, transport, science and technology, and agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
There is, in my opinion, therefore a need to create a special climate change committee in the National Assembly. Its members should come from all the critical portfolio committees, and they must be capacitated to understand the science and the economics of the challenge.
As Sir Nicolas Stern has said "inaction is more costly that action". We must confront the climate change challenge. When legislators at the end of the century look back at this Parliament, we should be known as a Parliament that built a foundation for a country that is sustainable, climate proof and prosperous. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms H N NDUDE
Mr G R MORGAN
Ms H N NDUDE: Mr Speaker, I think that the only thing that the chairperson of our portfolio committee omitted in her report was to say that in the absence of the hon Komphela we were able to play host to the 2010 and we sang Shosholoza.
To worry about painting a house when a mighty boulder on the peak is just about to take a tumble in its direction, is to confuse one's priorities horribly. That is precisely what is happening with us. We are arguing about clinging to untenable technologies to preserve our ailing economy. Yet we are almost about to lose our very climate, our biodiversity, our natural capital, our low-lying coastal regions, our agriculture and our future. The rock is about to tumble.
Global warming, through the emission of greenhouse gases, is acidifying our oceans. The livelihood of our fishermen is at stake. Fish on our tables might be a thing of the past. Scientists were projecting that within 20 to 50 years the western parts of South Africa will become progressively drier. It is already happening now. Drought in parts of the Western and Eastern Cape has been intensifying for the past few years. However, what we are seeing now is only the tip of the iceberg. We will experience prolonged and more damaging droughts in the western parts of South Africa with greater regularity. Life, as we know it, is about to change in a terrible way.
So too is the landscape. The deserts in South Africa are annually encroaching onto our arable land at an alarming rate. It will come as a shock to our nation to know that the United Nations Environment Programme classifies more than 90% of South Africa as arid, semi-arid or sub humid. That leaves us with only 10% of our territory for major economic activity. And we are even stressing that small portion of our common inheritance. It's a shame.
Equally alarming is a report by South Africa's National Botanical Institute suggesting that land in 25% of all magisterial districts in South Africa is already severely degraded. Tiny climatic changes in such areas will cause a total collapse of agriculture. As the increasing desertification continues, it will reduce the ability of such land to support life, human beings, wild species, flora, domestic animals, and agricultural crops. It is crunch time. If our biodiversity suffers, and our biodiversity is worth billions, our present and future prosperity will be imperilled.
To have a successful economy a country has to have natural resources, its natural capital. The greatest resource in this period of climate change is water, yet water in our country is wasted. Water is polluted. Water is overused. Sadly, many agricultural, industrial and commercial concerns are simply not bothering to implement environmentally sustainable strategies. Yet, as everyone knows, ecology is everything. Ecology, however, is very fragile. To destroy ecology requires neither knowledge, nor time, nor effort. Once destroyed, it is difficult to re-engineer.
In a survey conducted by Terra Nova Research, more than 40% of the 200 companies surveyed in South Africa did not have any plans to incorporate ways to measure their impact on the environment. Our entire economy is in jeopardy because this government is not giving centrality to climate change in our economy. Climate change is not peripheral to economic planning. It is pivotal.
Cope is very clear about what needs to be done. Cope recognises that water is the basis of life and of all activities. We also recognise that climate change is already here. We would, therefore, as part of the activist state that we are, promote support and develop desalination plants all along our shorelines.
As Cope we will make the use of solar geysers mandatory throughout South Africa. Poor households, however, will be assisted with solar geysers. A million solar geysers, at a cost of about R20 billion, would help to do away with a new coal burning power station costing R40 billion or more. This can be done immediately. Besides, each household will be able to slash 50% of its electricity bill. Heads or tails, the consumer wins.
Another priority will be to give considerable support for the Joule, the new all South African electrical car. Cope will also immediately standardise battery packs so that it will be possible for manufacturers to achieve cost effective volume production of standard packs. If the cost of battery packs comes down through volume, so will the cost of the car. This is critical. Maybe one of the things we need to do is to encourage lift clubs so that we can minimise the number of cars emitting gas on the roads. This requires no more than political will.
Also, one of our priorities will be to invigorate the production of photovoltaic systems. This can be done through achieving economies of scale and the use of manufacturing infrastructure that is already in place. Bringing down the price of photovoltaic systems will be a great boost to our economy seeing that we have so much solar radiation in our country. The only inhibiting factor is the cost. Achieving economies of scale will alter that scenario instantly and induce more people to go the photovoltaic route.
Another priority will be to press ahead with wind turbines. Tardy members of our government may be interested to know that 365 wind turbines are in the process of being installed. [Time expired.]
Ms C N Z ZIKALALA
Mrs H N NDUDE
Ms C N Z ZIKALALA: Hon Speaker, just like poverty, Aids and international conflicts, global warming and climate change is threatening human existence on an unprecedented scale. Whatever the outcome, South Africa and its leadership should be seen to be among the nations that are waging the war to minimise the effects and impact of global warming and climate change on human and planet life.
The question is: What are we doing to keep this issue on the public agenda and ensure that a global sustainable agreement is forged? South Africa is responsible for about 60% of the African continent's carbon dioxide emissions and almost 1,5% of the amount produced globally. Though we can claim that this amount is small, this is a significant contribution and requires our national government to take the lead in ensuring that the provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol are implemented.
The responsibility for co-ordination and implementation has been delegated to the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs. In addition, the government established the Department of Minerals as designated authority for the clean development mechanism under Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol.
Communication and public education about climate change must be improved, especially to the rural poor farmers whose lives and livelihood will be harshly affected by its impact.
On the other hand, owing to its ugly past of apartheid and gross inequalities, South Africa needs to provide houses, hospitals, schools, roads and other infrastructural developments in many working class communities. Our country cannot afford to abandon its developmental commitments while countries of the North primarily benefited from decades of the development based on fossil fuels.
President Jacob Zuma, at the recent UN General Assembly, correctly put it that there needs to be an agreement on new, additional sustainable and predictable financing for adaptation. This should be for programmes that reduce the vulnerability of developing countries to the effects of climate change.
Industrialised countries, therefore, face the biggest responsibility and burden for action to address climate change. They, therefore, must support developing nations to adapt through financing and technology transfer, for example.
Without additional measures to mitigate climate change, global greenhouse gas emission will continue to grow over the coming decades and beyond. Most of this increase would come from developing countries where, per capita, emissions are still considerably lower than those in developed countries.
In December 2009, world leaders will meet at Copenhagen with a view to come up with a solution to the problem of climate change. Its success will be measured by whether China and the United States of America come to the table and agree to reduce their emissions. [Time expired.] I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L W GREYLING
Ms C N Z ZIKALALA
Mr L W GREYLING: Hon Speaker, it is clear that the world is currently confronted with a number of complex and urgent challenges. An economic crisis, intractable conflicts, resource depletion and lifting 2 billion people out of poverty are all challenges we have to face head-on. Unfortunately, however, climate change will exacerbate all of these problems and will put to waste all of our efforts at resolving them.
The reality that the international community has to accept is that, unlike our global economy, the climate will not respond to short-term stimulus packages, nor will it take notice of positive market sentiment. Once a certain level of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere is crossed, runaway climate change will kick in and there will be nothing any of us can do to stop it.
All of our noble sentiments, international negotiations and inspiring speeches will be disregarded by our changing climate and it will show no mercy, nor morality, in its devastation. Poor and vulnerable communities are already starting to feel its impacts regardless of the fact that it is wealthy countries that bear primary responsibility for causing climate change.
But now is not the time for blame. The climate simply cannot afford a global stalemate in the Copenhagen negotiations with both sides using each other's inaction as an excuse to do nothing. Industrialised countries must take on reduction targets of nothing less than 25% to 40% by 2012, and the electorates of those countries must demand this of their negotiators.
In addition, financial and technical resources must be provided for developing countries to employ clean technologies. High emitting developing countries - and South Africa unfortunately falls into this group – must also live up to their end of the bargain by agreeing to put in place low carbon action plans in time for the new treaty to be put in place. The ID, therefore, calls upon President Zuma to lead a delegation of African heads of state to Copenhagen to ensure that such an agreement is reached.
A global agreement, however, will not be enough. It must be followed by strong actions on national, local and personal levels. As hon Manuel said on Tuesday, all of us in this House are part of the elite and we need to show solidarity with the poor in the world by making changes to our own consumption habits. We are all part of the problem, but now is the time for us to become part of the solution.
Hon Speaker, I know that my time has expired; I just hope it hasn't for humanity. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms S C N SITHOLE
Mr L W GREYLING
Ms S C N SITHOLE: Hon Speaker and hon members of this august House, today is my first day to stand here and speak. [Applause.] I am very thankful to God my Maker for having spared me throughout the years of apartheid. My siblings did not survive this, and it is my hope that their children will understand that it is their duty to make sure that the national democratic revolution is on course. [Applause.]
The ANC has, prior to coming into power in 1994, spelt out our principles of environmental policy as contained in the broad policy statement. The ANC believes that all citizens of South Africa, present and future, have the right to a safe and healthy environment and to a life of wellbeing. The broad objective of our environmental policy will be to fulfil this right. In this context, growth and development within South Africa will be based on the principles of sustainability. As such, we are guided by the following principles: sustainable development; equitable access to resources; public participation in development planning and management of resources; an integrated approach to environmental issues that relate to all sectors of society; and the public right of access to information and courts on issues of environmental concern. This is and was our readiness to govern as the ANC. [Applause.]
In this House today, my Minister spelt out that we were indeed serious about what we said in 1994 and before. She laid the foundation for the plan of action that we are going to take as the ruling party in this country. We are serious about this issue that is threatening society. You will remember that at Copenhagen as guest speaker, the Speaker of our National Assembly, hon Max Sisulu, had this to say:
The commitments that Africa seeks from the international community are based on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities for global warming and climate change. In the context of environmental justice, the continent seeks to be equitably compensated for environmental, social and economic losses.
In closing his speech, he quoted the President of the Republic of South Africa, Comrade Jacob Zuma, when speaking at the UN General Assembly in September where he explicitly stated as follows:
For Africa, the impact of climate change is devastating and will severely undermine development and poverty eradication efforts. We need to act now to ensure that there is an inclusive, fair and effective global agreement on this critical challenge. The agreement must recognise that solving the climate problem cannot be separated from the struggle to eradicate poverty. Developed countries bear the greatest responsibility for climate change and its impact. We must therefore strike a balance between adaptation and mitigation. Our goal should be to significantly reduce emissions across the globe without constraining development in the countries of the South.
Developed countries must make ambitious, quantified and legally binding emission reduction commitments that are in line with science and address their historic responsibilities. At Copenhagen there needs to be an agreement on new, additional, sustainable and predictable financing for adaptation. This should be for programmes that reduce the vulnerability of developing countries.
Xipikara, mhaka ya ku cinca ka klayimeti i mhaka ya nkoka ngopfu. Tanihi swirho swa Yindlu leyi, hi fanele ku tiyimisela, hi tiyisisa leswaku eka matirhele ya hina eka tihofisi ta swifundza swa vakheti hi endla leswaku vanhu va swi twisisa leswaku mhaka ya ku cinca ka klayimeti i mhaka leyi munhu un'wana na un'wana a faneleka ku va a yi langutisisa swinene.
Hi fanele ku langutisa leswaku ndzawulo yin'wana na yin'wana yi nghenisa mhaka ya mbangu eka madyondzisele ya yona. Hi fanele hi langutisa swinene leswaku loko ku endliwa mimpimanyeto ya tindzawulo, mhaka ya mbangu yi pimanyeteriwa ku ringana. Hi fanele hi langutisa na le swikolweni leswaku silabasi na kharikhulamu swi fanele ku dyondzisa vana leswaku va tiva hi mbangu, hikuva a swi nga eneli leswaku ku va hina ntsena lava hi tivaka kambe vana lava va hi landzelaka va tlhelela endzhaku va nga ha hlayisi mbangu. Khanimamba. [Mavoko.]
Ms S V KALYAN
Ms S C N SITHOLE
Ms S V KALYAN: Speaker, I am glad that this debate had been granted as this was one of the recommendations during a dialogue with the Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs and the Parliament of the UK via video link-up on 7 October. As you heard my colleague say earlier, climate change is one of the biggest challenges ever to confront humanity, both currently and in the coming years.
The effect of global climate change is becoming more evident with frequent occurrences of drought, flooding, melting glaciers and a rise in the incidences of malaria being a few of the phenomena attributed to climate change. Some of the most serious effects of climate change is taking place in countries least prepared to counter them; and many African countries are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Women in the developing world will suffer the most from the effects of climate change. Why do I say that? Women in rural areas have the major responsibility for household water supply and energy for cooking and heating.
Drought means less water. She may not have the skill to dig wells as the men are in the urban areas. She has to go further to look for water and she needs more time to do this, this increases her workload. Because of deforestation, she may have to walk further to look for firewood. Again, human energy is used, more demands on her time and also sometimes her safety is at risk.
Secondly, women are the main producers of the world's staple crops, producing between 60% and 80% of the food. In most developing countries in extreme climate change, production could drop by 20% to 50%. One example is that insect outbreaks means either the crop is spoilt or the woman has to spend more time on pest control and less on production.
Climate change can affect human health in a variety of ways, including the spread of vector- and water-borne diseases and reduced drinking water. Women in rural areas have less access to medical services than men who work outside the home and her workload may also increase if she has to care for the sick at home and still be productive in the field.
In the 2004 tsunami, 70% to 80% of the deaths were women and in the 1991 cyclone disaster of Bangladesh, 90% were women. The disparity in disaster mortality rates link directly to social and economic factors. In many societies, boys and men are more likely to hear warning signals in the public spaces where they work; they may receive preferential treatment in rescue efforts and have priority access to food aid. In Sri Lanka, more boys learn to swim and climb trees, which helped them survive the 2004 tsunami.
A defining moment in the global battle against climate change will be reached in December 2009, when negotiators from around the world will convene in Copenhagen to develop a post-2012 climate framework.
There is intense pressure on all negotiators to reconcile the international protocol on climate change that will replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012. Our delegates should aim to involve women and gender experts when they prepare their contributions and also ensure women's participation at these meetings.
The 15th Conference of the Parties, COP15, must adopt the principles of gender equity and equality at all stages of research, analysis, design and implementation of both mitigation and adaptation strategies.
The COP15 should develop a gender strategy which encompasses women representatives as official focal points and invest in gender specific climate change research. Women represent an immense source of knowledge and they can be effective agents of change in relation to both mitigation and adaptation. Women in rural areas will tell you which herbs and animals are in abundance or scarce and by using this knowledge patterns and trends of climate change can be determined.
Furthermore, national and local governments should develop strategies to improve and guarantee women's access to and control over natural resources and create opportunities for education and training in climate change. Parliamentary leadership on climate change in terms of legislation and oversight is now more critical than ever before.
As a member of the Pan-African Parliament, PAP, I moved a motion to establish a PAP interest group on climate change and I am delighted that the motion was unanimously approved. [Applause.]
The UK is the first parliament to have a dedicated committee on climate change and to come up with climate change specific legislation. The committee is an independent body and advises government on budget and to review 2025 targets. I am certain South Africa can follow suit as we have both the capacity and expertise to do so.
In conclusion, I would like to wish Parliament's delegation to COP15 well in their deliberations. [Applause.]
Ms C DUDLEY
Ms S V KALYAN
Ms C DUDLEY: Speaker, today in my very short time, I am going to dare to touch what may have become a "holy cow." Remember Y2K - just a thought. Our tendency as humans to being over confident is often quite astounding and no matter how many Y2K, second coming of Jesus predictions and sinking the invincible titanic we go through, we still tend to think we absolutely know, when in fact we only know in part.
The melting of glaciers and erratic, severe weather do bear testimony to the warming of the earth's atmosphere, but the cause of this is far from certain with scientists at odds with each other, and with many politicians.
Dr Roy Spencer, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration meteorological scientist who received NASA's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for his global temperature monitoring work warns that skilful storytelling has elevated the danger of global warming from a theoretical one to one of near certainty.
There is no scientific consensus on the primary cause of global warming and, if anything, man appears to be the least likely to have an effect on it. Any geo-engineering on our part could have unintended consequences.
Climate warming is not necessarily apocalyptic, nor is it new. The temperature anomaly graph over the past 2 000 years shows that when the Vikings colonised Greenland, they were in a 500-years warmer period, and for about 200 years from about 1400 AD there was a Little Ice Age, so fluctuations happen!
Before jumping on the bandwagon of global agreement to cut fossil fuel use, we should at least consider all available information. Inflicting on South Africa international demands that may not suit us and which could lead to massive, unnecessary expense is a big commitment. How sure are we?
Developing renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power made sense on so many levels. But we cannot ignore the fact that exorbitant energy costs have the potential to halt development and cripple an economy with devastating consequences for the most vulnerable in society. A considered and balanced approach makes the most sense. Thank you.
Ms P BHENGU
Ms C DUDLEY
Ms P BHENGU: Speaker, given its long history of oppression and a state of poverty that most of its citizens live in, South Africa needs to provide hospitals, schools, roads and other infrastructure and social development to its previously disadvantaged communities.
To achieve this, the country needs a stable growing economy. This might be threatened by greenhouse emissions. It would be grossly unfair to expect South Africa to abandon its current economic drive while other countries have benefited from decades of development based on fossil fuels.
While sustainable development is the answer, South Africa and other developing countries need skills and a transfer of technology that will allow them to deviate from a development path followed by developed countries, and, thus, mitigate climate change.
It is, therefore, true that South Africa and other developing countries have common but differentiated responsibilities.
Agriculture and its role in food security and combating poverty make it the most important sector in the less developed countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Food security has a function of several interacting factors including food production, as well as food purchasing power. Climate change could worsen hunger in Africa in general through direct and negative effect on production and indirect impact on purchasing power. Climate change has a long impact on food production, access and distribution as a consequence of droughts, floods and shorter growing seasons. Increased drought frequency and flooding, as a result of climate change, will damage agricultural systems, threaten the food security of millions of people and worsen the existing food security of millions of others.
The National Climate Change Response Strategy, NCCRS, for South Africa does not only perceive energy-induced climate change as a threat to sustainable development, but also as an opportunity for realising sustainable development, especially when activities for climate change mitigation are linked to poverty eradication and human capital development. In fact, the collaborative approaches proposed for mitigating and/or managing the impacts of climate change in the NCCRS for South Africa reflects such a perception in government.
The investment opportunities created by the Clean Development Mechanism, CDM, projects and the associated skills development initiatives and recruitment offers provided by these projects demonstrate the strategic opportunities that South Africa has for harnessing sustainable development through appropriate climate change interventions.
There are signs that the approach to climate change is shifting from one based on environment to one cast more broadly in terms of sustainable development, particularly at international level. The outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, WSSD, strengthened the concept of sustainable development by addressing its three dimensions, namely economic, social and environmental dimensions. The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, JPOI, addresses climate change and its adverse effects and clearly links it with poverty and other development concerns such as land degradation, access to water, food, and human health.
On international agreements, the Delhi Ministerial Declaration adopted at the eighth Conference of the Parties, COP8, in the wake of the WSSD underlined development concerns in the context of climate change, reaffirming that economic and social development and poverty eradication are overriding priorities of parties to the convention, particularly developing countries.
The Declaration also highlighted the importance of adaptation for all countries. The 2005 World Summit outcome document links climate change with energy issues in the context of sustainable development. It notes the challenges faced in tackling climate change, promoting clean energy, meeting energy needs and achieving sustainable development.
Viewing climate change in the context of sustainable development has a number of implications. Such an approach means that poverty eradication and socioeconomic development are necessary for combating climate change. The critical effort of developing and diffusing clean energy technologies is being stepped up. At the same time, enhanced access for the poor to modern services also needs to be vigorously pursued. Concrete initiatives for technology co-operation between North and South and South-South could help realise the promise of technology transfers.
Incorporating climate change response measures into the development planning, including National Sustainable Development Strategies, NSDS, could contribute to achieving the objective of sustainable development goals. Integrating adaptation measures into development planning could simultaneously contribute to poverty eradication and the reduction of the vulnerability of the poorest communities to climate variability and climate change. Therefore, the NCCRS for South Africa was developed with a full understanding of the need for an integrated approach to tackling the impact of climate change.
South Africa recognises that global climate change is a formidable threat to sustainable development, and could undermine global poverty alleviation efforts and have severe implications for food security, clean water, energy supply, environmental health and human settlement. The South African Country Studies on Climate Change, SACSCC, programme has, in fact, identified the health sector, maize production, plant and animal biodiversity, water resources and rangelands as areas of highest vulnerability to climate change. These are, therefore, the areas that need to be targeted for adaptation measures.
It is indisputable that women in developing countries, including those in Africa, are already on the frontline of adapting to climate change with increasing floods and droughts impacting on their livelihoods. As pivotal managers of natural and environmental resources and key frontline implementers of development, women have the experience and knowledge to build the resilience of their communities to the intensifying natural hazards to come.
It is therefore clear that, without the full participation and contribution of women in decision-making and leadership, real community resilience to climate change and disaster simply cannot be achieved. In too many places and even within countries, women are still marginalised from community discussions about development planning. Thus, real community-based development must involve the knowledge and energy of women.
The ANC-led government specifically states that it will promote integration between the programmes of the various government departments involved to maximise the benefits of managing climate change to the country as a whole, while minimising negative impacts. It sees climate change response action as a significant factor in boosting sustainable economic and social development. It is, thus, fitting that South Africa's approach to climate change is consistent with the concerns expressed in the international arena. Climate change is specifically predicted to reduce crop yields and food production in some regions, particularly the tropics. Traditional food sources may become more unpredictable and scarce as the climate changes.
There are legitimate concerns that climate change is arguably the gravest threat ever faced by humanity. It is a serious and long-term challenge, posing a serious threat to development and poverty reduction in the poorest and most vulnerable parts of the world. Climate change impacts, in many ways, are about changes in resource flows which are critical for local people's sustainable livelihood.
As rising concerns over the climate prompt the search for solutions, it is increasingly being recognised that, in order to be effective, efforts to combat climate change will have to be integrated into the broader context of social and economic development. There has, indeed, been international consensus that there is a linkage between climate change and development, as reflected in the outcome of the COP8 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, as well as the WSSD in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002.
Thus, the sustainable development dimension of climate change is being better understood. The implementation of sustainable development goals can lead to a development trajectory that combines economic growth with climate change mitigation. Existing synergies between climate change and sustainable development could be further exploited through policies and actions promoting cleaner energy technologies, more sustainable transport and better land-use policies.
The ANC's 52nd National Conference held in Polokwane came out very clear on this matter when it unambiguously stated that climate change considerations must be further integrated with sustainable development strategies, the science and technology agenda, integrated energy planning, transport policy and the evolving industry policy.
This realisation is already apparent in the NCCRS for South Africa, as well as in the National Framework for Sustainable Development, NFDS, in South Africa. The fact that South Africa hosts the largest number of CDM projects in Africa, is a clear indication of its comparative progress in integrating sustainable development into climate change initiatives. I thank you. [Applause.]
Dr L L BOSMAN
Ms P BHENGU
Dr L L BOSMAN: Speaker, I would like to start by warning the House or alluding to the House the danger of the viewpoints tabled by the ACDP on climate change. I would, therefore, like to draw your attention to the fact that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, reports make it quite clear that climate change is due to human emissions as far back as 1700, and that more than 90% of the world's scientists agree with this standpoint.
I would like to focus on agriculture in a post-2010 Kyoto Agreement, today, while the agricultural sector is very vulnerable to being significantly impacted on by climate change. At the same time, it plays a major role in contributing solutions to climate change. In order for this potential to be realised the DA recommends that agriculture must be included in any post-2012 Kyoto Protocol Agreement. Farmers interact daily with the environment and they are thus well-placed to implement sustainable agricultural practices that can help to adapt and mitigate climate change.
The specific nature of agriculture has to be recognised and must be differentiated from other sectors. The origin, monitoring and reporting of an emission from agricultural land is inherently different from those associated with fossil fuels and should not be penalised for natural emissions that are beyond human control. As a result of its low profitability, agriculture cannot compete with other sectors in terms of cost-efficiency in reducing greenhouse gas, GHG, emissions, unless its carbon sequestration and displacement potential is recognised.
Let me quickly look at the agriculture and the four pillars of a post-2010 Kyoto Agreement: Firstly, agriculture has the potential to mitigate. Many studies have acknowledged that the GHG sequestration by agriculture is a quick and cost-effective means to mitigate emissions.
Secondly, to optimise the mitigation potential in agriculture, it is crucial to take into account that the biggest mitigation potential of agriculture should be expected in terms of improvements and efficiency of agricultural productivity. Rewarding farmers for carbon sequestration will enhance the carbon storage potential of the sector and there is a need to establish a voluntary carbon credit system to reward farmers for their contributions to climate mitigation.
Agriculture, however, needs support to adapt to the effects of climate change. It is the DA's view that government should be actively involved in developing and enhancing strategies to support farmers in their daily adaptation to climate variations, including the following: Shifting from crisis management to risk management systems, which must include early warning systems; awareness raising campaigns and crop insurance schemes; ensuring adaptation at farms to maintain food security, as climate change has severe effects on biological and hydrological cycles, in particular on water availability; policy decisions should be scientifically based, available and developed; the generation and the dissemination of farm-specific climate change information must be enhanced; and there needs to be an increase in the profitability of farmers to enhance their adaptation capacity.
An ambitious financing framework is required. The following financial mechanism should be distinguished: Firstly, a financing mechanism to provide positive incentives for the implementation of climate-friendly agricultural practices and technologies which must include the following: Rewarding farmers for using sustainable agricultural practices which reduce the impact of agriculture on the climate; rewarding farmers for providing ecosystem services; and creating a fair international voluntary carbon market, giving farmers access to fair prices for Carbon dioxide, CO2, emissions mitigation through Clean Development Mechanism, CDM, projects.
With regard to the funding mechanism for small-scale farmers they should be given assistance to adapt to climate change by supporting aggregate agencies to cluster individual farmers to get access to financial mechanisms, funding carbon markets and mainstreaming climate changes relating to efforts into development projects.
Lastly, make technology cheaper, more efficient and accessible to farmers. In order to reach this goal, improved technologies along with appropriate education and extension services for farmers are needed. Appropriate incentives are needed to support the implementation of existing climate-friendly technology and specific actions in this can be included.
To conclude, agriculture has the potential to provide significant change in climate solutions. Therefore, the role of agriculture in combating climate change is of utmost importance and must be recognised as such within a post-2010 Kyoto Agreement. I thank you.
Dr Z LUYENGE
Dr L L BOSMAN
Dr Z LUYENGE: Hon Speaker, the ANC's vision on environmental issues after the 1994 democratic breakthrough has informed various policies, programmes and actions of government since 1995. At the 52nd national conference of the ANC, in December 2007, it was resolved that climate change is recognised as a new threat on a global scale which poses an enormous burden on South Africans and Africans as a whole, because we are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and because the risk to the poor is the greatest.
Climate change was once a marginal issue, today it is moving to centre stage as governments, businesses and individuals assess its implications. It is in fact one of humanity's most pressing and difficult challenges. Its effects are already being felt and will only worsen over time, affecting current and future generations. Without urgent and concerted action, climate change will seriously affect the way of life in all countries, damage fragile ecosystems and threaten global security through migration and resource use conflicts.
Global warming and climate change are considered a major threat to sustainable growth and development in Africa and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The African continent contributes the least to global emissions of greenhousegasses, yet it is the most vulnerable to its effects, particularly due to its high dependence on biologically based natural resources and rain-fed agriculture, widespread poverty and weak capacity. The effects of climate change are acutely felt in terms of diminished natural resources, reduced agricultural production, worsening food security, increased flooding and drought and spreading diseases.
Climate change lies behind much of the prevailing poverty, food insecurity and weak economic growth in Africa and affects approximately 2 million of the poorest people in Africa, who predominantly depend on climate sensitive agricultural production. The vulnerability of these people is expected to escalate over the years due to climate change and its associated impacts, like droughts and floods which are so familiar in the Southern African region.
Southern Africa, like developing regions elsewhere, has not been spared from the severe impacts of climate change. In the last two decades or so, the region has experienced a number of adverse climate hazards, the most serious ones have been dry spell, seasonal drought, intense rainfall and floods. Droughts and floods have increased frequency, intensity and magnitude over the past two or three decades. They have adversely impacted on food and water security, water quality, energy and sustainable livelihoods of the most rural communities.
In South Africa and elsewhere, there's a strong link between energy consumption and climate change. The type of energy used, whether it is renewable or nonrenewable defines to a great extent each country's emission profile and its contribution to the greenhouse gasses. South Africa's total greenhouse gas emission equalled 1,6% of global emissions in 1999. In that year, the energy and cement sectors produced 94 million tons of carbon which was 2,3 tons per capita and nearly ten times the African average and twice the world average.
Figures from the International Energy Agency revealed that in 2003 coal dependent South Africa released some 318 million tons of carbon dioxide, which is the major greenhouse gas that contributes to the climate change. The total carbon dioxide emission from the energy sector alone was estimated at a staggering 429 million tons in 2004. This makes South Africa one of the highest emitters after major developing countries like China and India. South Africa's emission intensity is comparatively higher that many other major developing countries.
While coal use in electricity production is the main reason for this emission profile, other reasons include the production of synthetic liquid fuels from coal, a high proportion of energy intensive industry and mining, and inefficient use of energy. South Africa has, however, made some commendable progress in its response to threats of global climate change and variability. It has, for example acknowledged its role in the emission of greenhouse gasses through its excessive dependence on coal and has noted the immediate need for the country to move from being an energy intensive economy to a low carbon growth economy.
Current and proposed interventions on the ground for mitigating climate change are mainly focused on the energy sector, due to the increasing realisation that energy production is the primary and major source of greenhouse gasses in South Africa. This has culminated in the formation and adoption of various interventions, including the White Paper on Renewable Energy Policy for South Africa, which aims to realise energy security through a progressive switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy resources such as bioenergy, hydro, solar and wind energy.
Bioenergy is a term used to describe energy produced from any fuel that is derived from biomass which are recently living organisms or their metabolic by-products. Biomass can include matter such as compost, other organic materials, living plants and plant components. Unlike other natural resources such as petroleum, coal and nuclear fuels, bioenergy is a renewable energy source. The production of bioenergy is gathering more and more attention as a feasible way of reducing dependency on imported oil and gas, and is even being hailed as one of the potential key weapons in the battle against global warming. If managed sustainably, the use of biomass, biogas and biofuels could help us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The great appeal of bioenergy is that it is theoretically a renewable source of energy. Crops can be converted into energy, either by being processed into liquid fuel for the transport sector in the form of biofuels, or by being burnt in power plants as biomass. Effectively producing energy from biofuels or biomass could be seen as recycling carbon dioxide.
Research conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, indicates that large scale bioenergy projects could impact positively on socioeconomic and environmental areas for current and future generations, including making a significant contribution to international energy demands and a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.
The University of Stellenbosch recently held a conference with some of the world's leading experts in the field to discuss issues relating to sustainable production of bioenergy. Although the project is apparently still in its early days, preliminary discussions have outlined Africa as having the greatest potential for bioenergy production. With its large land masses that are fairly unpopulated to its historically highly productive landscape, Africa could very well be the epicentre of the global bioenergy market. Africa can provide enough bioenergy without impacting on the continent's food security.
According to Prof August Temu of the World Agroforestry Centre, this project will turn away from previously western-based bioenergy plants and ensure, instead that ownership of any bioenergy production is by the very people whose land will grow the crops, namely Africans.
Two years ago in Polokwane, the ANC conference resolved that South Africa's economy must benefit from the global growth potential of the renewable energy centre, including through the provision of incentives for investment in renewable energy infrastructure and in human resources, to ensure that institutions and companies are ready to take full advantage of renewable energy opportunities.
In this connection, it was also resolved that the realignment of institutional mechanisms which will fast track the utilisation of renewable energy to mitigate the effects of climate change must be promoted. We, in South Africa, cannot wait any longer; we must start taking decisive actions now.
In conclusion, the ANC appreciates and encourages both the speaker of this House, the Minister of this department and of course our Chairperson in the Portfolio Committee for Water and Environmental Affairs, for their stewardship in ensuring that South Africa is as prompt as it is expected to be in Africa. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Dr Z LUYENGE
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: Mr Speaker, I want to express appreciation, firstly to the chairperson and then to the director-general for their leadership in driving this programme, which is very complex. I must express appreciation to all of the members who participated in this very mature and very vibrant debate, which really highlighted the vulnerability of humankind to the implications of climate change. I really want to applaud you, hon members. [Applause.]
You are real South African patriots. You have enriched us, and this is how it should be. You were unanimous on the need for us to act and to act urgently with regard to mitigation and adaptation.
I particularly want to make mention of the people who said that solving the climate change problem cannot be separated from poverty alleviation, because this is what is driving us as we pursue your interest – the national interest. When we talk about the national interest, our overriding priority is poverty alleviation. So, I do want to make the point that this is really what is driving us.
That is why, when we are talking about the deal, we are not being academic. We are saying that the climate change deal must balance climate change imperatives with development imperatives. Climate change should not take over from development; these two must go together.
I also want to make the point that you all highlighted the impact of climate change on humanity. And, to a certain extent, all of us were saying that we were right when we said that adaptation is important. You also reminded us that as this country, we have a contribution to make in terms of mitigation.
I just wish to make the point again, that for us mitigation is also a long-term strategy for adapting. So, while we have to act urgently in terms of ensuring that our early warning systems and our agricultural technology are okay, we need to ensure that mitigation does not lag behind.
I also want to say that we have good policies, hon Ndude, even on issues of water. What this House needs to do is really to monitor the implementation of these policies. If you are talking about the vulnerability of our water resources, you're quite right, they are quite vulnerable. However, this applies not only to South Africa, but to the whole of the continent.
Within our policies on water in South Africa, we have a water resource management strategy which, within itself, has a climate change strategy to deal with water, but the devil is in the implementation thereof. What we really need to do in earnest is to implement these policies.
Regarding fossil fuels, Ms Dudley, surprise, surprise! We are not going to drop fossil fuel use, because nobody is dropping it. As we speak, the United States of America generates 50% and the United Kingdom 40% of its electricity from coal. They have not been vocal by saying, "we are going to drop our coal". So, why should South Africa, being a developing country, do so? I think we would be doing injustice to the poor people of this country, because energy is central to economic growth. So, for us, an energy mix is the way to go.
Whereas we are reducing our dependence on coal, we are still going to use it; that is a fact. Everybody uses coal. After all, we are even better endowed with coal than most countries. We need the space to develop and to deal with the socioeconomic conditions that confront us.
I would agree with the point that, domestically, we have not done very well. I said this long ago and I still believe so. I think we have left behind the majority of our people who are very vulnerable.
I want to hear someone saying that planting an indigenous tree ...
... eBulembu kuza kwenza ukuba abantu abangama-40 bafumane umongo-moya, ikhabon dayokhsaydi itsalwe ngumthi.
As long as that education does not filter down to our people, we still have a long way to go. That's where you come in as Parliament; you carry out oversight.
I believe that climate change is not something for government only. All of us as society need to participate in this programme.
We will be establishing a website very soon, because we want to make information available to you. I've spoken to NGOs, because we think that civil society has a very important role to play.
I appreciate the chairperson's views on involving universities, not only for awareness or education, but also for skills development. This matter is relatively new. The first report on climate change was received by the United Nations in 1987. It's a fairly new phenomenon. So, we do need those skills.
Most of the people on this side were toyi-toying at the time. My point is that it's a fairly new phenomenon and it's only now that we really need to work hard to develop the capacity and the skills to deal with this.
Ms H N NDUDE: From this side as well, Madam Minister!
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: From that side as well? Okay. [Laughter.]
As much as we have all these challenges, what is important is that there are great opportunities that will come with our mitigating and adapting to climate change in the form of green jobs. We have already begun talking about green jobs, for example, and those are the opportunities that we look forward to.
Hon Kalyan, I cannot agree with you more and I want to congratulate you on that initiative. I think you did it for South Africa as well as for Africa. So, I want to concede that you are quite right.
Recently, I went to address women from around the world at the international trade union centre, and there was an agreement that maybe women need a women's movement on climate change. Our Deputy Minister is involved in a programme under United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP. It's an international programme for women ministers on environment. She will be chairing one of the sessions in Copenhagen. I think we need to find a way of linking up, as South Africans, especially those who will be here.
The issue of common but differentiated responsibilities that was raised is important. In the context of that issue, we will continue to be bold in terms of taking action to mitigate against climate change. However, we will be bolder if finance and technology is made available to us.
I really want to thank all of you and to say to all those who will be going there, that we will meet in Copenhagen. Regarding the deal, the Minister is cautiously optimistic. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The House adjourned at 17:12.
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