Hansard: Ministers's Responses / Members 's Statements
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 02 Nov 2009
No summary available.
Tuesday, 3 November 2009 Take: 534
TUESDAY, 3 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
Dr D T GEORGE: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House debates the rising scourge of corruption in our economy and the countermeasures required so that Parliament develops a position on corruption and makes a statement in this regard.
Mr N J J Van R KOORNHOF
Dr D T GEORGE
Mr N J J Van R KOORNHOF: I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House–
(1) discusses the proposal of a dedicated tax for the SABC;
(2) disagrees to raise taxes to pay for the poor management of the SABC; and
(3) agrees that the government should put an increased emphasis on the greater efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditure.
Rev K R J MESHOE
Mr N J J Van R KOORNHOF
Rev K R J MESHOE: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House debates the urgent need to inform and educate the poor and vulnerable about how to identify counterfeit bank notes from legal notes so that they would not be arrested for unknowingly keeping and trading with counterfeit money.
MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
NOTICES OF MOTION
CONGRATULATING THE PROTEAS ON THEIR RECENT VICTORY AND WISHING THEM WELL FOR THE UPCOMING TOURNAMENT
Mr C T FROLICK (on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party):
Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party I move:
That the House
(1) notes the victory of the Proteas cricket team in the Hong Kong Sixes tournament over the weekend;
(2) congratulates the Proteas on winning the Hong Kong Sixes for the second time;
(3) further notes that the Proteas will contest a full series of test cricket, one-day cricket and 20-over internationals against England in the upcoming series, which will start on 10 November 2009 and culminate in the final test match on 14 February 2010;
(4) believes that the upcoming series against England will again prove the readiness of our country to successfully host major sport events; and
(5) wishes Graham Smith and the rest of the team the best for the upcoming season and urges them to make the nation proud.
Mr M J ELLIS / End of take
Mr C T FROLICK
CONGRATULATING THE BLUE BULLS RUGBY TEAM ON WINNING THE CURRY CUP AND ON THEIR MANY OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes that on Saturday, 31 October 2009, the Blue Bulls won the coveted 2009 Absa Currie Cup for the 23rd time since the beginning of the tournament in 1889, when they beat the Cheetahs 36-24 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, and made the Blue Bulls the only South African team that has won the Currie Cup and the Super 14 tournament in the same year and positioned them as the best South African team that has beaten seven other teams and therefore received the coveted gold trophy which remains the most prestigious prize in South African domestic rugby;
(2) further notes that scrumhalf Fourie du Preez was crowned the South African Rugby Player of the Year and fly-half Morné Steyn was awarded the Players' Player of the Year award, the Test Player of the Castle South Africa 2009 Lions Series award and the Vodacom Super 14 Player of the Year award for their sublime performances in the past season;
(3) recognises that the Blue Bulls Currie Cup victory was secured by the tries scored by Bryan Habana and Francois Hougaard, combined with the accurate and phenomenal goal kicking of Morné Steyn;
(4) further recognises that 15 of the 34 players chosen for the upcoming Springbok tour to Europe are Blue Bulls players, confirming that the Blue Bulls are, without a doubt, the best South African rugby team for 2009;
(5) acknowledges that the Blue Bulls have once again made their fans and the rest of the country proud;
(6) congratulates coach Frans Ludeke, captain Victor Matfield, and the team on their outstanding performance shown throughout the series, and their triumphant victory, and also congratulates Morné Steyn and Fourie du Preez on their well-deserved awards; and
(7) wishes them all a well-deserved rest and all the best for their future rugby matches and tournaments.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: In view of hon Ellis's long absence due to illness, I think we should all welcome him back and wish him well.
The SPEAKER: Hon member, your colleague has missed you, so welcome back.
Mr C T FROLICK / End of take
Mr M J ELLIS
THE SPRINGBOK RUGBY SQUAD'S UPCOMING EUROPEAN TOUR
Mr C T FROLICK (on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party): Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party I move:
That the House –
(1) notes the announcement last Saturday of the Springbok rugby squad to tour Europe during November and December 2009;
(2) further notes that the world champions will play in test matches against France, Italy and Ireland and warm-up games against the Leicester Tigers and the Saracens;
(3) congratulates the 10 new caps in the squad who will represent our country for the first time;
(4) believes that the team will prove once again why they are the number one team in the world; and
(5) wishes John Smit, the team and the management good luck in their attempts to maintain our country's dominance of world rugby.
Mr M I MALALE / End of take
Mr C T FROLICK
Mr M I MALALE: Speaker, I move with the motion without notice that fighting crime is the priority of the ANC in the next five years and we will therefore continue to ensure that its level is drastically reduced.
The EThekwini Municipality has engaged with communities on how better to deal with the fight against crime during the national consultative conference...
The SPEAKER: Hon member, I said, motions without notice. You are making a statement.
MOTION OF CONDOLENCE
MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICEIMAM G SOLOMON
(Motion of Condolence)
Mr E RASOOL (on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party): Speaker, on behalf of the majority party, I move:
That the House –
(1) notes with profound sadness the passing away of ANC veteran Imam Gassan Solomon after a long period of illness;
(2) further notes that –
(a) Imam Solomon joined the ANC in 1960 at the tender age of 19, and that he became president of the Call of Islam in 1983 and was elected into the EXCO of the Western Cape UDF in 1984;
(b) at the height of apartheid repression in 1985, he went into exile and only returned to South Africa in 1990; and
(c) he became an ANC Member of Parliament in 1994 and served on various portfolio committees while being an MP, including Finance, Justice, and Safety and Security;
(3) recognises that he had an influence in Parliament and, beyond that, transcended party-political boundaries, and that his presence made Parliament a better place, and that the pride in his achievement was a collective pride that was shared across the parties;
(4) believes that Imam Solomon will always be remembered as a person who stood in service of humanity and who embraced a duty of care to all those with whom he interacted;
(5) further believes that, as a man of faith and dignity, his contribution to our democratic process over many years leaves a hugely positive legacy for all South Africans; and
(6) offers its sympathy and condolences to the Solomon family and friends, many of whom are in the gallery today.
Mr J SELFE / End of take
Mr E RASOOL
Mr J SELFE: Speaker, on behalf of the DA, I would like to associate myself with the motion of condolence for the late Imam Gassan Solomon. Imam Solomon was born in Constantia and attended that excellent school, South Peninsula High. In the 1960s, his family was forcibly removed from Constantia under the Group Areas Act. That and the death in detention of Imam Abdullah Haron in 1969, had the effect of politicising Imam Solomon.
He was a founding member of the Muslim Student Association, MSA, and became Imam of the Claremont Main Road Mosque in 1979. In this capacity, he influenced a new generation of Muslim activists. He also played an important role in building the interfaith movement in opposition to apartheid. He became involved in The Call of Islam and in the activities of the United Democratic Front, UDF.
Imam Solomon spent some time in exile in Saudi Arabia before returning to help organise the ANC. He became an MP in 1994, and served on the Finance, Safety and Security, and Justice committees where we remember his gentle but thoughtful and penetrating questions and contributions. He was passionate about making justice accessible to the person in the street.
I will remember him in the streets of Grassy Park and Lotus River trying to make a difference to the lives of people who, like him, had given so much and not always received what they deserved.
He was a man of unshakable convictions and deep morals. This led him to a life of political activism, which he performed conscientiously, resolutely and enthusiastically. But at heart, he remained a modest and gentle man who touched the lives of those who knew him. We will miss his compassion and wisdom, and we are all the poorer for his passing.
We would like to convey our sympathy to his friends, family and to the ANC. [Applause.]
Ms S P RWEXANA / End of take
Mr J SELFE
Ms S P RWEXANA: Speaker, I worked with Imam Gassan Solomon. I knew him well. He was a man devoted to democracy and human welfare. In the years of our bitter struggle for freedom, he stood up to the apartheid regime. More than that, he was in the forefront where the danger was the greatest. He survived all that.
However, cancer is an enemy of another kind. I am certain he would have put up an enormous struggle, but it was not to be.
Imam Solomon took up where the late Imam Abdullah Haron had left off. He injected new political activism within the Muslim community. It was not easy for him to publicly denounce apartheid and the repugnant system of politics based on racism. However, he was fervent in this regard. We must also remember just how much emphasis he placed on transparency and democracy.
In our new democratic order, we should not forget the importance of transparency and democracy. Power corrupts. The only way to prevent this is for each of us to remain vigilant and to be uncompromising in respect of transparency and democracy.
This is how we can be true to the memory of our departed comrade. This is how we can be true to our own values. Hope does not wish to dwell on the sorrow of the occasion. The triumph of the life of the late Imam Gassan Solomon is what we should be celebrating today.
Let his family and all of South Africa know that what he has left behind will live forever in the years to come.
We cherish him in our midst, now and in the future. We will continue to cherish him in our minds and our thoughts.
Hamba kahle, Imam.
You were a pillar amongst us, and through your work and courage, you will remain a pillar of our cherished democracy. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE / End of take
Ms S P RWEXANA
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Speaker, as we gather here today to pay tribute to our dearly departed former colleague, Imam Solomon, I'm reminded of the following quote:
Death comes to all, but great achievements raise a monument which shall endure until the sun grows old.
So is the life of Imam Solomon. His great achievements raise a monument that shall endure forever. His passing on, sadly, reminds us of one great certainty, that death is awaiting us all.
Solomon lived his life with dedication, passion and vigour, each day as if it were his last. The lesson I, therefore, take from Gassan's passing on is that everyday may be my and your last day, colleagues. I discovered the following wisdom of the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, who said this about 2000 years ago:
Live not one's life as though one had a thousand years, but live each day as your last.
Imam Solomon will be remembered as one who lived each day as if it were his last. That is the heritage he leaves us. Let us, therefore, live each day as if it is our last.
We, in the IFP, applaud and thank Imam Solomon for his lifelong commitment to building a better South Africa for all. The IFP would like to extend our heartfelt condolence to the ANC, family, friends and colleagues of the late Imam Solomon. I thank you, and we support the motion.
Mr M H HOOSEN / End of take
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE
Mr M H HOOSEN: Speaker, the ID regrets the sudden loss of one of our revered leaders of society, and recognises the sterling efforts of a man who spent a lifetime in the service of his people. Imam Solomon set many examples for us to follow, and leaves behind a legacy that will not easily be forgotten.
His courage to stand up for what is right, whether or not people agreed with him, his unwavering support for the poor and vulnerable, and his passion for the less fortunate in society, are qualities that we should all strive to achieve. He served his community with pride, humility and dignity. These are the kinds of values that we must instil amongst ourselves.
On behalf of the ID, I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Solomon family, and pray that God grants them the strength and courage in the days ahead. I thank you.
Mr N M KGANYAGO / End of take
Mr M H HOOSEN
Mr N M KGANYAGO: Speaker, our Deputy President and hon members, on behalf of the UDM, I would like to extend our condolences to the family and colleagues of the late Imam G Solomon.
He is credited for playing an important role in community, religious and political circles during the final decades of apartheid. He will also be remembered for being amongst those who refused to let the old regime continue the tactic of "divide and rule" along religious and faith lines.
After this illustrious period as a community leader, the late member joined the first democratic Parliament. There will be many people who share in his family's grief during this time of bereavement. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
May his soul rest in peace. I thank you.
Mr S N SWART / End of take
Mr N M KGANYAGO
Mr S N SWART: Speaker, it was with great sadness than we, in the ACDP, learnt of the passing of Imam Gassan Solomon last week. I had the honour of serving with Gassan Solomon on the Justice Portfolio Committee for ten years, from 1999 to 2009.
During this time, we both had a close relationship based on mutual respect and a shared desire to improve the lives of ordinary South Africans, particularly when it came to issues related to justice.
Whilst he came from humble beginnings and was not legally trained, he often showed us lawyers up on the Justice Portfolio Committee with his insight for questioning of officials. He had a deep understanding of the grassroots issues of justice that affected marginalised communities such as deficiencies in the criminal justice system, limited access to justice, maintenance and domestic violence issues.
I was privileged to travel overseas with him on a number of occasions. He and I would be introduced as the spiritual elders of the Justice Portfolio Committee, particularly by the hon Jonnie de Lange, a role we were proud to fulfil.
Imam Solomon has left a lasting legacy not only here in Parliament, but to the country as a whole. We share, in pain, a tribute to him.
On behalf of the ACDP, I would like to express our deepest condolences to his wife Amina, his children, the ANC and the broader Muslim community. Our prayers are with you at this very difficult time. We support the motion. I thank you.
Mr J H DE LANGE / End of take
Mr S N SWART
Mr J H DE LANGE: Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, the esteemed family and friends of Imam Gassan Solomon in the gallery, comrades and friends, ladies and gentlemen, it's a very special honour and a privilege for me to rise here today on behalf of the ANC in unequivocal support of this motion, which pays tribute to a very unique comrade and friend, Imam Gassan Solomon.
On Wednesday 28 October 2009, Imam Solomon, 68 years of age and a highly respected member of this House during the first, second and third democratic Parliaments succumbed to prostate cancer, which had spread to his bones. During his battle with cancer he displayed enormous courage and fortitude that had been a hallmark of his rich, meaningful and self-sacrificing life of service and dedication to the Muslim and broader South African community, particularly in the Western Cape.
Although he lived his life as a veteran and icon of the struggle for liberation in this country, and particularly in the Cape, he always remained a humble, gracious and caring man, dedicating his life to the eradication of poverty, inequality and ignorance in our society. A dedicated gardener and pigeon man who always had time for a warm greeting, a smile and a word of encouragement. He often stopped to smell the roses as he went about his hectic life's mission.
Since his passing, in an outpouring of emotion and love, many have paid gracious tributes and bestowed abandoned accolades upon Imam Gassan Solomon. These tributes include Archbishop Tutu's, where he said that Imam Gassan Solomon was a highly principled and inspirational human being and one of the jewels of the Western Cape; and Gamiet Gabier, who said that Imam Gassan Solomon was a leader, a hero of South Africa who will go down as one of the greats. Others said that he played a pivotal role in the political development of the SA Muslim community; he was a respected Muslim leader and anti-apartheid activist and he inspired and reassured the youth. There were also many other tributes.
I also want to take the opportunity on behalf of the ANC and the family to also thank the opposition party for the kind words they have expressed on this occasion. All these accolades and tributes should not come as a surprise if one were to trace the lineage and the gene pool from which Imam Solomon was born; it would seem that it is a legacy and life's mission bestowed upon him by his illustrious ancestors.
When one has regard to the fascinating and painful history of the establishment and growth of Islam on this most southern tip of Africa, then the life and tribulations of the ancestors of Imam Solomon seem to be inextricably interwoven into this unique South African story. One such ancestor affectionately known as Tuan Guru, meaning, mister teacher, or also Imam Abdullah Kadi Abdus Salaam, by all accounts an extraordinary man, is a direct ancestor of Imam Solomon. His mother, Gasiena is a great granddaughter of Tuan Guru.
Let me briefly explain this extraordinary family lineage. History records that more than 350 years ago the first seeds of Islam took root in South Africa and more particularly in the Cape of Good Hope. This planting of Islam in the Cape took place under conditions of subjugation, injustice and oppression, not unfamiliar to the experiences of the majority of black people in this country.
At the time, the Dutch colonisers, most by way of the Dutch East Indian Company occupied and settled, inter alia, intoday's Indonesia, Malaysia and the Cape of Good Hope. The Dutch brought the first Muslims as early as 1652 to the Cape either as captured freedom fighters struggling against Dutch colonialism in the islands of the Far East or as slaves to European masters or as indentured labourers.
The sociopolitical relations, at the time, of mainly Dutch domination ensured that Islam remained a subjugated and oppressed religion throughout the lands of Dutch occupation, especially in the Cape, enjoying neither freedom of religion nor equality of worship with other religions. These first Muslims, as slaves and political exiles, besides being denied the right to worship freely, were denied the basics of any religion like the erection of places of worship and burial grounds.
During this period of Dutch colonialism no person had as pivotal and profound an influence on the history of and the development and culture and religion of the 19th century Cape Muslims, than Tuan Guru.
Tuan Guru and three others were captured by the Dutch in the islands of the Far East allegedly involved in the conspiracy against the Dutch and on 6 April 1780 were banished and brought as state prisoners or political prisoners to the Cape and incarcerated on Robben Island.
Tuan Guru was of noble birth, growing up as a prince in Tidore in the Trinate Islands, who traced his genealogy to the Sultan of Morocco. He came from a background steeped in the knowledge and tradition of Islam and was well-schooled in Islamic theology, having memorised the Quran in accordance with the best traditions of the teachings of the prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him).
This freedom fighter against Dutch colonial tyranny, whilst incarcerated on Robben Island in 1871, from memory, completed a handwritten book on Islamic Jurisprudence in Arabic script. This book became the main source of reference of the 19th century Cape Muslim community and has had a most seminal influence on this community and its future direction and development. Later this book was augmented with a handwritten copy of the Quran, which Tuan Guru also compiled from memory. Itremains preserved to this day at the Owwal Mosque.
With the release of Tuan Guru from Robben Island in 1793, he realised that for Islam to survive in the Cape, a base was needed from which it could sustain itself and from which it could further grow. For Muslims everywhere a mosque in the Islamic sense is a centre of learning and instruction, not merely in religious norms, but also of the functioning of an individual Muslim in his or her social milieu. In essence, it becomes the glue of communal and social life and, as such, is an important institution in the development of the community's culture.
So, Tuan Guru, upon release from prison, immediately started negotiating with the Dutch colonialists for religious freedom of Muslims in the Cape, for example, asking for a site on which to build a mosque and for a relaxation of the official prohibitive attitude towards Islam. This was, at first, strenuously rejected. But, Tuan Guru persisted until permission was granted. He then immediately converted a warehouse in Dorp Street into the Owwal Mosque. The Owwal Mosque in Dorp Street still stands today, established by Tuan Guru as the first mosque in South Africa.
In typical Islamic tradition he established a Muslim school attached to the mosque, which became extremely popular with the local slave and free black community as a source of inspiration, knowledge and empowerment in this Cape enclave of bigotry, colonialist exploitation and white privilege. From this first mosque and Muslim school many of the Cape Muslim traditions were born and developed.
What makes this achievement even greater is the fact that this first mosque was established in an era of colonial rule when the religious freedom of Muslim was severely repressed and frowned upon and only forms of worship emanating from the colonialists were allowed.
It was only in the beginning of the 19th century that the colonialists granted the Muslim community some aspects of limited religious freedom; the first being the granting of burial grounds, the Tanabaru in the Bokaap and the second was the aforementioned site to build the Owwal Mosque, but complete religious freedom in a legal and practical sense was only fully achieved with the adoption of our present Constitution in 1996.
Tuan Guru was by all means an extraordinary person, highly intelligent, a Muslim scholar, a dedicated leader, a freedom fighter and even regarded by some as saintly. He is regarded as a pioneer of the Cape ulema, the Muslim religious scholars and was the first chief Imam of the Cape.
The legacy of Tuan Guru, the great great grandfather of Imam Solomon, and the many others who struggled against colonialism and to establish acceptance of and dignity for their religion and self-worth, forms an inseparable and integral part of the struggle for liberation in this country and should receive full recognition as part of the many various and multifaceted struggles all our people have waged throughout the centuries to liberate our country.
I've deliberately spent considerable time on going into this history because I felt that on occasions like this, when many of us do know this history, I for one did not know it at all until Imam passed away and I did some research, but I thought it was very important for us to put the record straight and fully and in detail set down the amazing history of the family of most of the people sitting up there in the gallery.
Imam Solomon, however, not only descended from freedom fighters that fought the tyranny and oppression of colonialists and fought for the recognition of their religion, but, as we know, he emulated his ancestors and became a freedom fighter in the liberation struggle of this country.
Imam Solomon's political activism was violently kick-started into action in his student days when his family and relatives were forcibly removed from their homes and sizeable property holdings off Spaanschemat Road in Constantia in terms of the Group Areas Act. The Solomon and Sadien ancestral land consisting of three farms were bought by these families in 1902 and they retain the original title deeds to this day. The land stretched for almost five kilometres from the Constantia Valley development through to and including the cemetery. The family still awaits the final restitution of their original land.
Imam Solomon in the decades to come played a pivotal role as a community leader in the liberation struggle in the Western Cape, first as an Imam of the Claremont Mosque since 1979 and later under the banner of the Muslim Judicial Council, MJC, the Call of Islam, the UDF and the ANC. For his endeavours he received and experienced the undivided attention of the repressive apartheid security establishment, which, for a period of his life, forced him into exile. The contribution, role and legacy of Imam Solomon, during this period, is enormous and obviously too numerous to mention. But one giant contribution stands out and requires special mention.
After the murder of Imam Haroon in detention in 1969, Imam Solomon became one of a handful of Western Cape community leaders, with deep roots in the Muslim community, like our own Ebrahim Rasool, Dr Fariek Essack and others, whose political activism contributed to the Muslim community's increasing involvement in the 80s and 90s in the anti-apartheid movement and liberation struggle in the Western Cape.
Imam Solomon and these activists learnt as political activists from the struggles of the Muslim community since the 60s that the political struggles of the Cape Muslim community could not be divorced from those of the rest of the oppressed of this country. This was a slow process with many landmark events.
Through the efforts of these leaders, the Muslim Judicial Council declared in 1983 that:
It believes that it cannot divorce itself from the rest of the oppressed and those with the same ideals in the formation of a United Democratic Front, to oppose a system of apartheid in South Africa.
Later when the MJC stepped down as a UDF affiliate, Imam Solomon and these activists became founder members of the Call of Islam, which became a UDF affiliate.
This feat is all the more laudable and impressive if viewed against the resistance within parts of the Muslim community to these inclusive and progressive ideas of the time. This rising political consciousness amongst Muslims unfolded against a backdrop of a deeply divided Muslim community, in which some elements were totally opposed to the idea that Muslims had a duty as Muslims to be part of the liberation struggle, alongside communists and people of other faiths.
Professor Aslam Fataar best describes the enormity and significance of the feat of these activists as follows:
Here was a man who provided an example of a seamless marriage between his Islamic commitments and his commitment to nonracialism. His example showed us that we can establish connections between our social transformation commitments and the search for a contextually relevant Islamic idiom. His abiding legacy for me lies in opening the door for a socially relevant Islam, responsive to the plight of the poor in this country.
This great son of the African soil, as his life's story so abundantly shows, achieved the rare distinction of being firstly, a Muslim leader who transcended religious boundaries; secondly, a community leader who crossed racial, gender, religious and geographic divisions and borders; and thirdly, a loyal and dedicated political leader from the congress movement tradition, more particularly the UDF and the ANC, who transcended narrow, parochial and self-serving endeavours and the cult of mediocrity and conformity and served the movement with distinction.
In conclusion, Imam Gassan Solomon lived a life of sacrifice, and balanced and dedicated service to his family, to his community of faith, to all the communities of Cape Town, to his Claremont Mosque, to the Zakhaat Fund, to the Voice of the Cape Radio, to the MJC, to the Call of Islam, to the UDF, to the ANC, to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, to Parliament itself, the electorate and to the youth who were his special passion.
We hail you, Imam Gassan Solomon, as a true revolutionary, a champion of reconciliation, a unifier, a principled leader and a man of practical and unflinching faith, with the spirit of service to the people forming the core of your existence and the driving force in your life. A great soldier of the liberation struggle has fallen, but the rest of us must now pick up your spear and take forward your life's work and considerable legacy.
May the loving outpouring of support from comrades, friends and family and the spirit of Gassan Solomon himself, envelope and sustain his wife, Amina, his two sons and two daughters and his family and friends during this time of grief.
In paying tribute to Imam Gassan Solomon I have liberally used the comments and views of others. Due to time and space constraints, I could not specifically mention them all, but wish to acknowledge and thank you all.
Hamba kahle Imam Gassan Solomon. Long live the spirit and legacy of Imam Gassan Solomon. Mayibuye i Afrika! Thank you. [Applause.]
Agreed to, with all members standing.
MOTION OF CONDOLENCE
Ms F C BIKANI (ANC): Speaker, the view of the ANC is that our country does not need change in the way government relates to our people and in the delivery of services. Building upon our achievements and learning from our experiences in government since 1994, the ANC is committed to improving the quality of education, health and sanitation and accelerate the delivery of houses to millions of our people and achieve a better life for all.
On 20 October, President Jacob Zuma addressed executive mayors and mayors from all 283 municipalities in South Africa to discuss the strengthening of the local government sphere. The meeting took place at O R Tambo Hall in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The meeting highlighted the ANC government's determination to improve local government capacity as well as the commitment to search for solutions to challenges facing municipalities and build on progress made over the past few years, as well as acknowledge that a lot more still needs to be done.
The ANC remains in touch with our people and listens to their needs. It is therefore committed to a service delivery culture that puts every elected official and public servant to work for our people and ensures accountability to our people. We will continue to develop social partnerships and work with every citizen. Thank you, Speaker. [Applause.]
Mrs D ROBINSON (DA)
Ms F C BIKANI (ANC)
CONDITION OF HOSPITALS IN RURAL AREAS
Mev D ROBINSON (DA): Agb Speaker, die toestand van hospitale in die platteland is 'n belediging vir die mense wat daar woon. Tydens 'n onlangse besoek aan drie hospitale in die Noord-Kaap, Calvinia, Williston en Carnarvon, was twee sake baie opvallend.
Eerstens kan net met hoë lof gepraat word van die toewyding en professionaliteit van die personeel van die hospitale - dit is dokters, verpleegpersoneel en assistente - ten spyte van die feit dat hulle onder baie moeilike omstandighede werk. Tweedens kan ongelukkig nie dieselfde van die Departement van Gesondheid gesê word nie.
Die hospitaalgeboue, tien jaar gelede nog stewige en goed versorgde geboue, is vinnig besig om tot ruïnes te verval. Geen instandhouding van die geboue vind plaas nie en plaaslike inwoners wat probeer help om die geboue te red word nie vir die gekoopte materiaal vergoed nie, om van arbeidsvergoeding nie eens te praat nie.
In Williston is pasiënte vroeër vanjaar versoek om hulle eie kos te verskaf. Verskaffers het geweier om langer voorraad aan die hospitaal te voorsien aangesien die betaling van rekeninge maande agterstallig was. Die TV-program Fokus het hierdie skandelike praktyk gebeeldsend en eers daarná is die rekeninge betaal. Die tragedie is egter dat die proses tans besig is om hom te herhaal aangesien die betaling weer agterstallig is.
In plaas daarvan om miljoene rande in die nasionale gesondheidsversekeringprojek te pomp moet die regering daardie geld eerder bestee aan die instandhouding van bestaande hospitale in die platteland en aan die opleiding van lui, onbekwame amptenare by die departemente van gesondheid in al die provinsies. [Tyd verstreke.]
Mr L S NGONYAMA (Cope)
Mrs D ROBINSON (DA)
NATIONALISATION OF MINES
Mr L S NGONYAMA (Cope): Speaker, on 29 October in London, Matthews Phosa acknowledged concerns about "the noise that has been heard around the issue of the nationalisation of mines in South Africa". He assured investors that "the nationalisation of mines is neither the policy of the ANC nor that of the ANC-led government". Even so, Castro Ngobese, spokesperson for the National Union of Metal of South Africa, Numsa, promptly undermined Phosa by calling on government to nationalise the wealth of Patrice Motsepe and hon Tokyo Sexwale, amongst others. This call should not be taken lightly or treated as a joke. Nationalisation is creeping in. If it is not at the level of practice, then it is certainly at the level of thought.
Already, government is proposing a 1% tax to rescue the SABC. When this happens, the nationalisation of the SABC would have begun. Thereafter, we shall witness the nationalisation of health through the National Health Insurance, NHI, with further implications for taxpayers.
Speaker, this clamour for nationalisation from Cosatu and the SACP and others is unrelenting and intensifying by the day. Given how things are going in the ANC, Cosatu and the SACP, this will soon prevail. The writing is on the wall. Unfortunately the ANC allies are not dealing with the real issue. The correct debate should focus on how to correct the fact that our country is unequal and therefore deal with the challenges. [Interjections.] [Time expired.] I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms M T KUBAYI (ANC)
Mr L S NGONYAMA (Cope)
STRUGGLE AGAINST POVERTY
Ms M T KUBAYI (ANC): The ANC strongly believes that South Africa's foreign policy, which is characterised by dominant features such as the struggle against poverty and underdevelopment, especially in Africa - guided by Nepad programmes - peace and peaceful resolutions of conflicts and the building of partnerships have grown stronger in the past 15 years, and the country's relations with other nations have improved.
In the last 15 years, South Africa has evolved as an influential developing country with significant growth in diplomatic representation in all regions of the world. The third administration that left the office in April this year devoted a significant part of our foreign policy attention to the consolidation of our African Agenda. We take pride in the work we have done in the integration of the SADC region. South Africa has around 124 diplomatic missions abroad, and of these, 62 are headed by women. Diplomatic representation in South Africa has also become an important source of income, with R5 billion having been injected into the economy by a diplomatic community between 2007 and 2008.
The ANC commends government for paying attention to the growth of our foreign policy. Thank you.
Mr A M MPONTSHANE (IFP)/ End of take
Ms M T KUBAYI (ANC)
FINAL EXAMINATIONS AND SADTU STRIKE
Mr A M MPONTSHANE (IFP): Chairperson, thousands of learners around the country have already begun writing their matriculation examinations. The IFP did wish them well during the sitting of this House last week. We, at the IFP, are therefore dismayed to learn that the SA Democratic Teachers' Union, Sadtu, in KwaZulu-Natal is threatening to disrupt these important examinations by going on strike.
Whilst we empathise with all the educators over the delay of payment of what is rightly due to them as contained in the Occupation Specific Dispensation, OSD, agreements, we however think that Sadtu is out of order. The IFP urges them not to disrupt schooling at such an important time in the lives of our children. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms L S MAKHUBELA-MASHELE(ANC) / End of take
Mr A M MPONTSHANE (IFP)
REDUCTION OF NEW HIV INFECTIONS
Ms L S MAKHUBELA-MASHELE (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC has committed itself to reduce the rate of new HIV/Aids infections by 50%. This will be done through an aggressive prevention campaign and expanded access to appropriate treatment, care and support to at least 80% of all HIV positive people and their families.
In continuing with our commitment, the ANC government will provide a total of R900 million to accommodate a higher intake of antiretroviral treatment; with spending on HIV and Aids programmes increasing from R1,1 billion in 2005 to R4,4 billion this year. The intake is expected to exceed more than 300 000 new entrants a year. By the end of March next year, nearly 900 000 people will be receiving antiretroviral treatment. About 80% of new HIV/Aids cases will be entering treatment by the 2011-12 financial year.
The ANC will always provide more resources that will be devoted to strengthening and implementing the national plan on HIV and Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infections, STIs. Thank you. [Applause.]
Rev K R J MESHOE (ACDP) / End of take
Ms L S MAKHUBELA-MASHELE (ANC)
REPORTS OF CARS STOLEN FROM MOTOR DEALERSHIPS
Rev K R J MESHOE (ACDP): Chairperson, the ACDP is concerned about the increasing reports about cars that are stolen from the service departments of motor dealerships. Such cars, it has been reported, are often stolen after they are serviced, washed, and some still having keys in the ignition. There are suspicions that there are syndicates that are working with some employees on the inside. What is of greater concern is to read about the attitude of some of the car dealers where the thefts are taking place. Some, we are told, refuse to accept responsibility for the loss of the vehicles that have been entrusted to them.
The ACDP believes that the motor dealerships where such cars are stolen must take full responsibility for their negligence. They must be required to replace the stolen car with one as similar as possible to the one which was stolen. We further call on the retail motor industry to ensure that their members improve security on their premises. The retail motor industry must also ensure that its members do not refuse to compensate victims who suffered loss because of lack of proper security and their failure to safeguard cars that have been entrusted to them. Thank you.
Mr R N CEBEKHULU (IFP) / End of take
Rev K R J MESHOE (ACDP)
SAPS SHOULD CONCENTRATE ON CHOP SHOPS
Mr R N CEBEKHULU (IFP): Chairperson, today violent crime is the cancer that erodes the fabric of our nation. We live in a country where criminals rob us of our precious lives and property. On a daily basis law-abiding citizens of this country are being exposed to criminals who have committed a string of offences previously and continue to commit crimes with impunity. Car hijackings have become a regular occurrence and some drivers are even murdered during these attacks.
The IFP believes that the SAPS unit responsible for car hijacking should not only trace and arrest the car hijackers, but should also concentrate on chop shops and panel beaters who buy these hijacked cars, strip them and sell their parts or are using them for parts when repairing damaged vehicles. The pre-eminent responsibility of any government is to ensure safety and security of the citizens, without which none of the other policy goals have much significance.
One could, therefore, argue with conviction that the creation of a law-abiding country must be this administration's most important priority. Much is required to turn around the crises of crime. The IFP believes, however, that government could start by focussing the attention on scrap metal dealers ... [Time expired.]
Mrs N B GXOWA (ANC) / End of take
Mr R N CEBEKHULU (IFP)
TRANSFORMATION OF GLOBAL ORDER THROUGH CO-OPERATION WITH RUSSIA
Mrs N B GXOWA (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC will continue to work with other countries and progressive forces to promote the transformation of the global order away from unilateralism and conflict. It will continue to seek a path of hope and human solidarity and believes that economic and political co-operation with other countries can improve the lives of our own people and will continue to work towards a better life for all.
In line with the commitment, South Africa and Russia have agreed to increase their co-operation in various fields including technology, energy, trade and investment. The International Relations and Co-operation Ministry and Russian Ministry of Natural Resources held talks in Cape Town on Tuesday 27 October 2009; where they discussed, among other things, ways of enhancing co-operation and the relationship that already exists between these two countries, their people and the business.
The meeting paved the way for President Zuma's state visit to Russia in 2010 which aims at cementing and ensuring smooth bilateral co-operation. The ANC will continue to achieve and engage efforts to build in South Africa. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD (DA)
Mrs N B GXOWA (ANC)
JULIUS MALEMA ABOVE THE LAW
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD (DA): The head of the ANC Youth League Julius Malema has apparently asked traffic police in Limpopo who had the unmitigated gall to stop him for speeding ... [Interjections.] ... "Do you know who I am?" The DA thought we would utilise this opportunity to assist him in answering this vexed question. He is the man who believes there is one law for South African citizens yet another law for him.
He is the man who will slap a neighbour who has the temerity to ask that the music at his housewarming be turned down at 3h00 am. He is the man who has turned hate speech into an art form, who has insulted the Premier of the Western Cape in the basest most libellous of terms, indeed who has so very many cases pending against him that I have lost count.
Julius Malema is a man who citizens at grass-roots level believe acts as a mouthpiece for the President who said he would fire Thabo Mbeki and indeed any other ANC member sitting in this House, should he get the urge.
The man who says he lives by economic policies that have bankrupted countries and has been discredited for generations while the intricacies of the policies escape him. He is extremely capable of parroting the violent militaristic rhetoric that accompanies them. Referring to the incident where his Idi Amin-like arrogance had him throwing his, not unsubstantial, weight about in Limpopo. This was because he was caught at a speed trap and such is the ANC today that he failed to apologise and pay up, but instead the threats began.
Is it true he phoned various Limpopo bigwigs to pull strings? Did his threats intimidate the police to the extent that they gave him a free pass for speeding? Malema's ego and contempt for the law the rest of us must respect, is unparalleled and one has to ask the other hon members in the House; is this someone you honestly believe is a leader in the making worthy of inheriting the ANC? [Applause.]
Mr T BOTHA (Cope)
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD (DA)
FUNDING FOR EDUCATION IN RURAL AREAS
Mr T BOTHA (Cope): It is an indictment on the government that after 15 years many children in our rural areas are still as disadvantaged as they were at the height of apartheid. Ten years after the advent of democracy there were altogether 939 schools with mud walls in the Eastern Cape alone. In 2006 there were still 572 schools in that province.
Cope is saddened that children in disadvantaged communities remain persistently neglected in this way. Our grand constitutional guarantees are rendered null and void in these forgotten areas. Meanwhile all around the country the majority of our children have access to decent or outstanding school buildings and facilities.
On the other hand, children in rural areas are still forced to receive their education in the bare veld or under trees or inside structures that are not in the least conducive to teaching and learning. Yet the same children are expected to compete as equals in the job market when they leave school.
Chairperson, without equal facilities in schools there can be no equal socioeconomic opportunities in our society. The government can certainly cap its own expenses and Ministers can trim their lavish styles to fund this. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr L SUKA (ANC)
Mr T BOTHA (Cope)
JOB CREATION IN SA FOLLOWING 2010
Mr L SUKA (ANC): Madam Chairperson, the ANC believes South Africa will organise and host a world-class tournament. As such, the Brazilian delegation is currently in South Africa to learn more about the processes and preparations that goes into staging one of the world's biggest sporting events. Brazil will also host the Fifa World Cup Tournament in 2014.
The Brazilian delegation is pleased with the country's tourism infrastructure and the rebuilding of South Africa and Africa's image as well as job creation and stimulation of growth in the small to medium business sector. The ANC will ensure that the country's investment in 2010 will result in a lasting legacy for our communities and our people in South Africa. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr G R KRUMBOCK (DA) / End of take
Mr L SUKA (ANC)
BLUE FLAG STATUS AWARDED TO SOUTH AFRICA'S BEACHES
Mr G R KRUMBOCK (DA): Chairperson, the DA welcomes the fact that Cape Town has been awarded the most Blue Flag accredited beaches in the country.
The Blue Flag awards strengthens the already justified perception that Cape Town is a world-class tourist destination. Blue Flags are only awarded to beaches that have achieved the highest quality in water facilities, safety, environmental education and management.
It is a voluntary eco-label award which covers over 3 450 beaches and mariners in 41 countries worldwide. The beach awards for Cape Town come at the most opportune time, directly ahead of the 2010 World Cup. This news means that tourists can enjoy our beaches knowing that they meet the highest quality standards.
However, the DA is concerned about the absence of Durban's beaches on the Blue Flag list. It lost several Blue Flag awards on its beaches because the manager, Michael Sutcliffe, does not see the benefits of participation. Sutcliffe appears to be the only one at odds with a national drive to improve our beaches and said that the Blue Flag status for the city has not affected tourism.
The DA believes that there are plenty of reasons to join the Blue Flag scheme: firstly, it encourages good practice regarding water quality, environmental management, education and safety; and secondly, it allows the municipality to openly fly the Blue Flag which hopes to promote the beach to tourists.
The DA urges the manager of tourism to encourage all coastal municipalities to engage in a Blue Flag scheme ahead of the World Cup so that South Africa can maximise its tourism potential. I thank you.
Mr M I MALALE (ANC) / End of take
Mr G R KRUMBOCK (DA)
FIGHTING CRIME IN KWAZULU-NATAL MUNICIPALITIES
Mr M I MALALE: (ANC): Chairperson, fighting crime is the priority of the African National Congress in the next five years, and we will continue to ensure that its levels are drastically reduced.
The eThekwini Municipality has engaged with communities to consider how to better deal with the fight against crime. During the National Consultative Conference on Community Safety held last Wednesday, 28 October 2009, the eThekwini Municipality's Safer City Unit hosted the conference under the theme Fighting Crime Through Community Participation at the iNkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.
The conference follows the successful launch of the Ward Safety Communities and Committees in June 2009 where all spheres of government played a role in the deliberations on the safety of communities at ward level. Amongst others things, the ANC commends and support the initiatives geared towards mobilising communities to participate in combating crime through the establishment of street committees and community courts. I thank you.
Ms N R BHENGU (ANC) / End of take
Mr M I MALALE (ANC)
PRIMARY HEALTH CARE IN RURAL AREAS
Ms N R BHENGU: (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC believes in strengthening primary health care, especially in rural areas, by eradicating the backlogs of the health service. Thus, the North West Department of Health and Social Development will be putting 40 new ambulances on the road in the coming week in a further effort to improve emergency services throughout the province.
At a cost of R17 million, the ambulances will be distributed equitably and preference will be given to rural communities. The move was necessitated by the fact that most people in the rural areas do not have adequate transportation to and from hospitals in cases of emergencies.
The ANC welcomes the initiative and sees it as a means of making health care service available to all South Africans as well as ensuring a better health outcome. It is a way of improving ordinary people's lives and ensuring service delivery. I thank you.
MINISTERS' RESPONSES / End of take
JULIUS MALEMA ABOVE THE LAW
NATIONALISATION OF MINES
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Chairperson, with regard to the matter raised by the hon Kohler-Barnard. We, in the Department of Transport, have too read the reports about the alleged behaviour of the African National Congress Youth League, ANCYL, President and we are looking into the matter. We want to assure South Africans that none of us are above the law.
These are allegations we wish to stress at the moment, but we are seeking to establish what exactly happened. We would like to use this opportunity to assure traffic officers that they enjoy our support, and they must conduct their business without fear of favour. [Applause.]
With regard to the matter raised by the hon Smuts Ngonyama, it's very ironic; he comes from a party which calls itself Congress of the People. Hon Ngonyama will know that at the real congress of the people a Freedom Charter was framed and endorsed. The Freedom Charter says that the wealth of the country shall be shared amongst all the people of this country. [Applause.]
It said the wealth beneath the soil and the monopoly companies should become a common wealth. It doesn't use the word "nationalisation", which is true. At least, that gives us an idea of how to ensure that the wealth of our country indeed becomes the wealth of all our people and not of small élite that benefit from elephant consortiums and other plundering of public resources.
The position of the ANC and of government remains the same as at the time when the hon member was the spokesperson of the ANC and its approach is neither in favour of wholesale nationalisation nor of privatisation. We will address the issue of state-owned enterprises on the balance of evidence – you once used to say that, but now you are raising "rooigevaar" and all kinds of strange issues.
We wish to assure you that we will certainly protect the public property and public ownership and won't allow the plundering of our public resources, as it often occurred, as the member knows well from his own experience with the elephant consortium and the way in which public resources, in the case of Telkom, were taken over by private hands for self-enrichment.
The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT
FUNDING FOR EDUCATION IN RURAL AREAS
The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM: Chairperson, hon Botha raises a particularly important matter, the matter of mud schools in rural areas. We all know that it is going to take a bit of time to overcome underdevelopment. Government has deliberately established the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform for this purpose. We want to assure the hon member that this is a matter which is at the top of government's agenda.
I just want to draw the attention of the hon member to the fact that we are working in all provinces. Where we have already been, we have left a footprint. Should you go to the primary and high schools in Muyexe, you will see the ablution facilities that have been put up for the schools. Theseablution facilities – which use water-saving technology – affect the health and the education of a community and, as both of these relate to how people live, change the mindset of that community.
Lastly, in another typically rural area like the one I've just mentioned, we found a mobile clinic that visited the area once a week. Now, I note this because we have set up a structure, a building, to which people will have access five days a week and eight hours a day. This is a trend that's beginning to emerge.
Donkerhoek in Mpumalanga is a place that could not be reached by road. Since August, we have been constructing a road to reach it. There is a hostel that is being renovated by people in the area who are being trained by government to operate there.
I hope that the hon member will very soon find time to go and see these places. There is development in rural areas. Thank you. [Applause.]
The House adjourned at 15:06.
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