Hansard: Second Reading: Constitution 16th Amendment Bill (Cross-Boundry Municipalities Repeal & Related Matters Amendment Bill / Debate on Developmental State as Catalyst for Economic Growth & Sustainable Livelihood amidst the Global Financial Crisis
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 17 Feb 2009
No summary available.
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 Take: 120
WEDNESDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:01.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I move … [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: We are not there yet. We are still dealing with motions without notice. I take it that we don't have any. We then come to the motion on the Order Paper. The Motion on the Order Paper is in the name of the Chief Whip. I now recognise the Deputy Chief Whip.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, I move:
That the House -
[TAKE IN FROM MINUTES]
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON STATUS OF WOMEN
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: Madam Speaker of the National Assembly, hon Deputy Speaker, the President and the Deputy President are not here, but I recognise the hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, the Chief Whips, hon Members of Parliament and distinguished guests.
I would like to thank you very much for acceding to my request to address this distinguished House on the upcoming United Nation's Commission on the Status of Women scheduled for 2 to 13 March 2009 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Allow me to begin by congratulating His Excellency, President Kgalema Motlanthe, on his address to the nation on 6 February. In fact, this address was a highly gender-mainstreamed address. The hon Members of Parliament would have noted that women's concerns and issues were raised throughout.
However, of note is a special mention of the SADC protocol on gender and development, as well as the issue of 50/50 representation of women in decision-making positions. His Excellency, the President, also mentioned the review of institutional mechanisms and institutions for promoting women's empowerment and gender equality.
But this was not the case with the national Budget 2009 which was silent on the financing of women's empowerment and gender equality, given that the Ministry for women's empowerment and gender equality is currently under discussion.
Allow me also to remind the House that the portfolio over which I preside in the Presidency includes advancing and promoting women's empowerment and achieving gender equality in the country. This mandate has been quite challenging given that it has been for only a short period that I have had to focus on a few critical issues facing women in this country. This included meeting the backlog of the reporting process on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW, which has now been deposited with the UN. This report will also form the basis for our contribution at the Commission on the Status of Women meeting.
The Commission on the Status of Women meeting, as it is known, is a functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council which is dedicated exclusively to promoting the advancement of women.
The commission was established by the UN Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC, resolution 11(2) of 21 June 1946 with the aim to prepare recommendations and reports to the council on promoting women's rights in the political, economic, civil, social and educational fields.
The commission also makes recommendations to the council on urgent challenges requiring immediate attention in the field of women's rights. As a principal global policy making body, the commission annually holds a two weeks' meeting in early March. This meeting provides member states with an opportunity to evaluate progress made, identify challenges, set goal standards and formulate concrete policies on advancing women's empowerment and gender equality worldwide.
This year the meeting will be focusing on three themes. The priority theme is on equal sharing of responsibilities between men and women, including care-giving in the context of HIV and Aids. I've been working with the national gender machinery in preparing for the country's participation.
However, I do believe that it would be significant to raise some of issues today as they have serious implications for the women of our country. We will be emphasising the issue of shared responsibilities in the context of HIV and Aids. We will be raising and emphasising prevention, support and care, including nutrition, treatment where indicated and the importance of ethical research,
In terms of global policy and legal frameworks, UN member states have committed on various platforms to the equal sharing of responsibilities between men and women, including care-giving in the context of HIV and Aids. Some of these commitments include those that were made at the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, the World Summit for Social Development in 1995 and the Twenty-third Special Session of the UN General Assembly in 2000.
It is, therefore, important that we reflect on how we have translated these agreements into our national policies and legal framework and to determine whether we have adequately incorporated these into pieces of legislation to guarantee the attainment of this principle.
In this regard, the hon Members of Parliament must also be reminded that as a country we have not as yet acceded to the International Labour Organisation Convention No 156 of 1981 on Workers and Family Responsibilities.
It is becoming quite apparent that we need to incorporate the articles of this convention with other global agreements we have acceded to in order to turn these policy issues into action for society to actually begin to transform gender and power relations to reflect the principle of shared responsibilities and shared work between men and women.
We must look at our national policy strategies and practices to ensure full participation and partnership of both men and women in productive and reproductive life, including shared responsibilities for care, nurturing of children and the maintenance of the household.
During this period of preparation for our participation at the commission we will also be reviewing the issue of maternity, paternity and family responsibility leave to identify whether these are advancing our goals towards increasing the shared responsibilities between men and women.
While we have a very forward-looking Labour Relations Act which puts workers' rights at the top of the agenda, perhaps the issue of maternity and paternity leave requires to be reviewed in line with the commitments we have made globally.
Furthermore, not all women in our country are able to enjoy fully paid maternity leave. Many women have to utilise their UIF in this regard.
Men are entitled to paternity leave in terms of our legislation, and we think that this is insufficient time for a father to bond with his new-born baby or to be trained to care for and nurture the baby.
Our society needs to grapple with the issue of increasing the role men play in the delivery of their babies, childbearing and in sharing responsibilities for households chores.
There needs to be appropriate measures to balance the daily burden of domestic responsibilities, the greatest share of which falls on women, and to truly recognise the unpaid work of women. We also need to look at the issues of flexi-time and flexi-hours of work, day-care facilities at work places, maternal leave, breastfeeding policies and health insurance in order to accelerate our progress towards empowerment of women and achievement of gender equality. These are the issues that we will be discussing next week.
Furthermore, we must begin the discourse on how to translate similar rights to those working in informal and nonformal sectors to which predominantly women and poor people are confined.
How do we address the issue of the gender division of labour and household responsibility within our society? This is imperative if we are to be seen to be moving towards our goals of transformation, which must go beyond just a focus on numbers and representation.
How do we raise awareness of and challenge those gender stereotypes that perpetuate perceptions of women as natural caregivers and men as the main breadwinners, including through interventions in the education system and the media and through awareness-raising campaigns? In the light of many of these thought-provoking questions which I am raising today, Thematic Area 2 of the commission will be looking at the issue of equal participation of men and women in all levels of decision-making. The national delegation to the commission meeting will share the country's experience and any best practices in this regard with the international world.
On the national level, allow me, Madam Speaker, to inform the House that in line with the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, which we recently signed on August 2008, and which we will be forwarding to the national Parliament for ratification in the future, all SADC member states will be embarking on national campaigns on the 50/50 representation of women. So too will our country.
The National Gender Machinery is launching its 50/50 National Campaign tomorrow, 19 February, here at Parliament. It is hosted by the Joint Monitoring Committee on Improvement of Quality of Life and Status of Women. I have kindly requested the committee to host a multiparty media briefing on the issue, and in this regard while extending the invitation to all members present here, I must extend the Presidency's sincere gratitude to the committee for undertaking this task.
It is envisaged that this national campaign will meet the target of 2014. We are again reminded that such processes require adequate funding and the full support and commitment of political leadership, which will then cascade into the administrative and governance spheres of society at all levels and in all sectors, including the private and corporate world. We urge, therefore, all political parties to carefully scrutinise their election lists for the 50/50 representation.
The Commission on the Status of Women will focus on Theme 3, which is the impact of the global financial crisis on women. This theme is related to the preparatory theme of the 52nd section of the commission in 2008, which looked at the issue of financing for women's empowerment and gender equality.
Once again, several commitments have been made to this. The Monterey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development outlined that a holistic approach should be adopted for financing for empowerment of women, and encouraged investment in girls and women, especially in encouraging the financial empowerment of women towards their economic independence. In addition, entrepreneurship among women is strongly encouraged at the global level.
It is widely acknowledged among us that the face of poverty is female. In that regard, the impact of this economic downturn is felt mostly and strongly by women. Even when men are laid off, it is the women who must carry the additional burden of finding food to feed the family. The most critical element of the current financial crisis has to be the deepening of inequality, which most affects women.
The spiralling effect of women's unpaid work together with the declining value of care in a monetary economy exacerbates the current dilemmas. Caring for children, relatives, the elderly, people with disabilities and the ill, as well as still trying to grow food for the family, is felt most strongly by women at the lowest end of the economic ladder - mainly poor rural women.
What the hon members must consider during this debate is the issue of an inclusive economic framework that begins to look at issues of women and their unpaid work beyond marketplace exchange and defining economic activity beyond monetary transactions. [Time expired.]
Ms J A SEMPLE
THE MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY
Ms J A SEMPLE: Madam Speaker, may I say that the DA welcomes the fact that the Minister in the Office of the Presidency has actually come to present this report and to talk about it before it goes to the Commission on the Status of Women in New York. To my recollection, and I have been on the Joint Monitoring Committee for the last 10 years, I don't recall this ever having happened before. So thank you, Madam Minister, we appreciate that. [Applause.]
I do recall last year in the Women's Parliament, our Speaker actually castigated the Office on the Status of Women for coming to the Women's Parliament and presenting a report which hadn't even seen the light of day with regard to the women in this Parliament. To my mind, the women who are in this Parliament, representing all political parties, are the women who represent the women in South African. And if we do not get an opportunity to scrutinise that report on the status of women in our country before it goes to the UN, then there's something very wrong.
There have been issues around civil society involvement in the report. I've heard a few complaints that perhaps civil society has not been encouraged enough to participate in the process, and I hope you will take that on board in future reports.
South Africa is very proud of its gender machinery, and it is something that when we have visitors from other parts of Africa we are proud to tell them how successful our gender machinery is, but I think we should seriously ask the question, does it actually work?
We have a JMC, and you have already heard that I have been in Parliament for 10 years, but in the last eight months of Parliament, where committees were told to focus on legislation, there was actually very little chance for the JMC to meet on legislative issues because it doesn't deal with legislation as such. So we had very few meetings. The other problem with the JMC is that it meets on a Friday when most members are very happy to be going home. Our chairperson battled to find a quorum because we had too few people in those meetings and the attendance was very bad.
We also supposedly have a multiparty women's caucus in this Parliament. It has hardly got off the ground and it is now being accorded the status by the Rules Committee of a proper functioning committee, but we all know that the current chairperson is no longer with us.
We also have been into issues around gender budgeting. Year after year the JMC asks departments to come to Parliament to learn about gender budgeting, but I doubt if it's ever effective and certainly hardly any notice is taken of it.
We referred to the issue of the 50/50 campaign, and here again I want to say that while we welcome the increased representation of women in Parliament, we must make sure that once the said women get here they still deal effectively with the issues of women and not just the numbers issues, but that we have women who are seriously concerned about taking women issues forward.
Yesterday Prof Ben Turok talked about unemployment and he mentioned that one of the reasons for unemployment could be that the opening up of the labour market has allowed more women to come into the labour market. He didn't refer, as the hon Minister has just done, to the unpaid labour that many women perform and the gender stereotypes that affect us all.
I remember as a young girl with a family of three brothers asking my mother why I had to do XYZ, lay the table, fold up the laundry, etc, and she would say to me, "Because you are a girl".
I've made sure that my two sons - I have two sons and a daughter - can cook and iron. They would rather not, but if they have to they do. They both can do chores around the house. I think often we women are very much responsible for how we bring up our boys and actually impose those gender stereotypes. I would like to thank my friends and colleagues across the House for the last 10 years. I say "Go well" to those who are retiring, and hope this is not farewell but just goodbye. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Ms C N Z ZIKALALA
Ms J A SEMPLE
Ms C N Z ZIKALALA: Madam Speaker, one glance at the various UN websites focusing on women and gender equality around the world is revealing. They tell their own stories and they are, for the most part, not nice stories. For this reason, it is good that we, in this honourable House
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, hon member. Please take your seat. May we request the Whips to assist us? There are just too many meetings and the level of noise is actually drowning the voices of the speakers.
Ms C N Z ZIKALALA: Madam Speaker, for this reason it is good that we, in this honourable House yet again highlight this issue and take serious note of what the UN has to say. South Africa has not won its own war against woman and child abuse. South Africa has yet to proudly proclaim that there is genuine gender equality in our land.
We are not alone, but at least we talk about it and are all committed to making right much of what is so cruelly wrong. We know the road we are travelling is long and hard, but the women of South Africa will stay the course and will not rest until we have achieved our goal of equality, not mere equity. Equality!
As we stand here today, women around the world, and in too many troubled countries throughout Africa, continue to suffer in various ways as they have done for centuries. We all know the story: rape, slavery - which still exists - human trafficking of women and children, social and economic discrimination and so on.
The UN does much of what we cannot do. It continually shines a light into the dark corners of human activity to which we here have no access. It is for this reason that we must praise its work and study it.
As proud citizens of South Africa and in human global partnership and solidarity we, in this House, and the women of South Africa must continue to play our own constructive role, however best we can, in the family of nations to which the UN is committed.
IsiZulu : Bobaba ngiyanicela ukuthi sibambisane ekukhuliseni izingane zethu. Kungabibikho oThoko kube yibona okuthiwa yizingane okufuneka ziphathe ikhaya kodwa oJabulani bona babewuvanzi. Ngiyabonga
Ms S RAJBALLY
Ms C N Z ZIKALALA
Ms S RAJBALLY: Madam Speaker, it is important that the fight against violence and abuse of women and children be made a global one. The MF is pleased at our attempts to comply with international conventions on this matter.
What perturbs me is that the rate of abuse of women and children continues to be alarming and that a global deterrence mechanism needs to be introduced to stop this vicious offence. The MF hopes that we may turn around the situation in South Africa and on the African continent. The book, Invisible Woman, by Jacky Trevane, who also wrote Fatwa, has been a terrible revelation of the various abuses of women in both the West and East. We need to dissocialise societies from the cultural entitlements of patriachy. The MF supports all efforts to tackle the abuse of women and children.
I want to agree with my colleague, hon Semple; it is us who should control our children. Yes, I also have a one-and-only grandson and he cooks, puts his washing in the machine and cleans the house. So all of us need to teach our children. Thank you. [Applause.]
Dr S E M PHEKO
Ms S RAJBALLY
Dr S E M PHEKO: Madam Speaker, the PAC would like the report of South Africa to the UN Commission on the Status of Women to highlight some key factors.
The Finance Minister has sounded the alarm in recent days about the impact the financial crisis is likely to have on our country. One angle that was missed is the impact this is likely to have on women, who form the vast majority of the poor, who are the key investment to ending poverty and who have been making some small economic gains in the past decades.
This economic crisis means fewer jobs for women in the manufacturing sector. The clothing textile industry illustrates this. These jobs are vulnerable and South Africa must act to mitigate against this.
The PAC believes that the microcredit in the last decade has made huge inroads in allowing the poorest women in our country, through the Women Development Bank, to have access to small loans and several major banks have begun to provide these services also.
It is too early to tell what the impact of the global credit freeze will have on the industry, but it's safe to assume that small, unsecured loans will be under as much threat as other credit, if not more. Unlike other borrowers, women have few other sources of financing. New sources of credit must be found for women.
South Africa, like other countries, is still battling high inflation and high prices for basic foods. A story in the news, earlier this year, showed food riots in some countries. Women, as the major producers of food and as providers for the household, are at the epicentre of this crisis. The economic slowdown will exacerbate the food crisis. The PAC is worried that this crisis could delay large-scale agriculture and infrastructure projects, which are needed as part of the long-term solution to the problem.
We need to put concrete measures in place to alleviate the current suffering. Thank you.
Ms M R MORUTOA
Dr S E M PHEKO
Ms M R MORUTOA: Speaker, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members and distinguished guests, the Minister has already highlighted the three main things and she has given a very good definition of what will be happening.
I will be focusing on the equal participation, shared roles and responsibilities of men and women and financing for gender equality, as this is the theme of a conference to be held in New York by the Commission on the Status of Women. It will be held at the UN next month, in March.
Parliament, as an institution, is one of the key structures tasked with facilitating gender equality and transformation in South Africa. The role of Parliament includes, among other things, the promotion of the values of human dignity, equality, nonracialism and nonsexism. The Joint Monitoring Committee on the Improvement on the Quality of Life and Status of Women, as the committee with an exclusive and purposive focus on women, is committed to the promotion of women's rights, their empowerment, development and inclusion at all spheres of government.
The JMC recognises and acknowledges the contribution that women make, not only to the parliamentary arena, but to society as a whole. It also acknowledges that women face tremendous challenges in asserting themselves as equal partners in decision-making, particularly as a result of the disproportionate amount of productive and reproductive labour that they are responsible for.
The JMC is required to monitor and evaluate progress with regard to the improvement of quality of life and status of women in South Africa and is, therefore, concerned with the impact that the equal division of labour and responsibility in the household has on the potential of women to participate in decision-making beyond the boundaries of the household.
With regard to the achievement of gender transformation in South Africa, the Government's commitment and efforts to promote gender equity have been held up as an international benchmark of good practice. Achievements include the following: meeting the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development target of 30% women in political and decision-making positions by 2005; the appointment of women to various top leadership positions – that is the Deputy President, the Speaker, various key delivery ministries; at local government level women constitute 40% of councillors and three of the six metro municipalities are headed by women mayors; a parliamentary ranking of 17th out of the 137 parliaments in the world in terms of women's advancement in governance; the establishment of various bodies and institutions – the JMC, the Office of the Status of Women and the Commission on Gender Equality – to implement, monitor and evaluate policies and strategies aimed at empowering women and advancing gender mainstreaming; the development and implementation of gender policies and frameworks by various government departments such as the Department of Provincial and Local Government Gender Policy Framework.
However, the question remains as to whether these achievements have been transformed into changes at the grassroots level where women are still responsible for the majority of unpaid care work and, as a result of the unequal division of labour, are denied the opportunity to influence the development of policies and strategies as well as the allocation of resources, in areas that directly affect their lives.
It should also be noted that, despite these gains and commitments to gender transformation and equality, according to the ILO website on decent work, South Africa has not ratified Convention 156 of 1981 on workers with family responsibilities, nor has it ratified any of the maternity protection conventions of the ILO.
Regarding gender roles and responsibilities in the care economy, the report of the Secretary-General of the Commission on the Status of Women states that promoting equal sharing of responsibility, including care responsibilities between women and men, is a fundamental, but challenging, aspect of addressing gender inequality.
Unequal sharing of responsibilities in the private and public sphere have adverse impacts on women as well as on men, their families, the economy and society as a whole. It has implications for equality of opportunity in education, in the labour market and in public life, including political participation, as well as for the quality of family relationships and care giving.
In South Africa it is clear that the context of gender relations is changing in that both men and women have taken on the roles of economic and financial providers and so too there should be shared responsibilities between men and women in terms of providing care and domestic workers. There is a need to change the stereotypical, traditional roles that limit women's potential, as well as acknowledge women's full contribution to social and economic development.
The Beijing Platform for Action notes that a more equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men not only provides a better quality of life for women and their daughters, but also enhances their opportunities to shape and design public policy, practice and expenditure so that their interests may be recognised and addressed.
Regarding the role of men as partners for change and transformation, it engages men and boys as equal responsibility bearers for care and that is a key to addressing the disproportionate burden of care and support. One way of doing this is the adoption of the parenting policies that increase men's involvement in the care of their children. Research indicates that men who are involved in the early care of their children remain more involved in the lives of their children in the long term, as well as ensuring that men and women can equally share in the joys and burdens of parenting. In the South African context, women are currently entitled to four months of paid maternity leave – the Minister has spoken about that – while fathers are entitled to three to five days, suggesting that child care is the realm of women only. Changing these policies and legislative provisions to be more equitable, as well as the education of the boy-child and men to effect behavioural and attitudinal change, are the first steps towards ensuring the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men.
There should however also be acknowledgement of organisations such as the Sonke Gender Justice Network and Men in Partnership Against Aids, who are committed to education and changing stereotypes towards a more equitable and democratic society. These organisations challenge the notion that men are resistant to change and do not support the rejection of attitudes and practices that violate women's rights.
Financing for gender equality is another measure for ensuring gender transformation and the equitable sharing of resources between women and men and the allocation of budgets to effect policy legislative changes as well as bringing about real change in the lives of particularly women affected by the dual burden of care. History shows that men and boys have been the greater recipients of opportunities over women and girls. To correct this imbalance, it is necessary to put measures in place to ratify the current status quo. Moreover, there therefore exists a need to dedicate more resources for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The notion of dedicating more resources is firmly entrenched in various international declarations that speak directly to the empowerment of women in various environments that are integral to their development. These declarations include the Beijing Platform for Action of 1995. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
COMPETITION AMENDMENT BILL – Dr P J RABIE
Ms M R MORUTOA
COMPETITION AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report of Portfolio Committee thereon, and President's reservations on constitutionality of Bill as submitted to him)
There was no debate.
Declarations of vote:
Dr P J RABIE: Madam Speaker, the Competition Amendment Bill is a very complex piece of legislation and the DA supports this Bill. The DA, however, would like to have its reservations noted regarding the constitutionality of the Bill and the criminal liability provisions, where the findings against a firm at the Competition Tribunal can be used as prima facie evidence in a criminal prosecution.
Both the President and the Department of Trade and Industry's senior counsels' opinion - what the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry viewed - agreed that this provision may violate the right to a fair trial by introducing reverse onus, that is, placing the responsibility to establish guilt or innocence on the accused and not on the state. While appreciating that this clause makes prosecution easier, it should be borne in mind that the convenience of the state should not outweigh the rights of the individual.
The DA also supports the hon President with regard to the fact that the definitions regarding complex monopolies should have been further defined. The DA nevertheless supports the Bill in the broad public interest. I thank you, Madam Speaker.
Mr H J BEKKER
Dr P J RABIE
Mr H J BEKKER: Madam Deputy Speaker, the IFP will support this Bill. We also, for the record, want to say that in terms of the Competition Act, one must also consider that things must be opened up more. Furthermore, if there are really people who want to try and stifle this, consideration should also be given to levying a higher rate of customs or excise as action against those people if they don't want to comply with this. Thank you.
Mr S N SWART
Mr H H J BEKKER
Mr S N SWART: Madam Deputy Speaker, the ACDP shares the concerns expressed by the President regarding the constitutionality particularly of the reverse onus provision. This clause refers to the criminal liability of directors and individuals with management authority.
Whilst we support giving the Competition Board more teeth to fight uncompetitive behaviour, such penalties might, in our view, be unconstitutional. Reverse onus clauses have in the main been held to be unconstitutional as they violate the right to a fair trial guaranteed in the Constitution, and they place the burden of proof on the accused person instead of the state.
Thus we believe that this could be unconstitutional and we would encourage the President to refer the Bill to the Constitutional Court for final determination. The ACDP will, however, support the Bill. Thank you.
Mr B A D MARTINS
Mr S N SWART
Mr B A D MARTINS: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members, on 4 February 2009, the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, after having heard and deliberated on the legal opinions of the parliamentary law advisers, state law advisers and the Department of Trade and Industry's legal adviser, respectfully concluded that the reservations raised in respect of the Competition Amendment Bill do not justify the call on the President not to assent to the Bill.
Paragraph 19 of the opinion of Adv Semenya, addressed to the Presidency, deals with the possible justification for a reverse onus. In arriving at the conclusion that a reverse onus would not be justified, Adv Semenya relies on the complex nature of complex monopoly conduct. However, clause 12(5) of the Bill does not relate to complex monopoly conduct at all. It relates to the prohibited practices in terms of section 4(1)(b) of the Principal Act, that is price-fixing, division of markets and collusive tendering.
Therefore, the motivation by Adv Semenya for concluding that reverse onus, if it exists, would be unjustifiable is, with the greatest of respect, based on an incorrect assumption or fact. I thank you.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
Mr B A D MARTINS
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move:
That the Bill be passed.
The MINISTER FOR PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
CONSTITUTION 16th AMENDMENT BILL
CROSS-BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES REPEAL AND RELATED MATTERS AMENDMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The MINISTER FOR PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Madam Deputy Speaker, Cabinet colleagues, hon members, officials from the department, it is a privilege and an honour today to stand before you to present, in this august House, these important pieces of legislation.
The ANC government believes that any government that considers itself a democratic government should always listen and respond to the people. It is in this context, and we are driven by this principle, that today we are introducing these two pieces of legislation.
The main purpose of these two pieces of legislation is to ensure that we reincorporate the area of Merafong into the Gauteng Province. It must, therefore, be understood in that context that these two Bills are aimed at ensuring that they do exactly that.
Since 2006 when the Bills were passed, the people of Merafong never rested since they were incorporated into the North West. The people in that area involved themselves in activities where they took government to court. At the same time, they started protests, revolted, destroyed the property of councillors and community members in those areas, and some people were arrested.
In some areas some of them lost their jobs and that caused a burden on the community. Most councillors were forced to flee their homes and live in exile. As we speak, government, at the level of the council, is paying R53 500 every month to ensure that those councillors are maintained and that they pay their rents where they live.
That area was turned into a no-go area for government, particularly the people of the North West. Schooling was disrupted; basic services were undermined and it was ensured that they became nonexistent. The damage that was caused in that area is so huge. Even today we are still trying to cost it.
I must say that we condemn violence as a form of protest in the strongest possible terms. [Applause.] We are saying that form of protest violates the rights of people in the area. Therefore, we believe that this matter is a matter that must be attended to and must be addressed.
As we move to ensure that we deal with the local government elections of 2006, in which over 80% of the people didn't participate due to the boycotting of the elections, we must note that councillors who were elected in that area were not elected by the majority of the people.
We will recall that in 2007 Grade 12 learners had to be taken away from the area of Merafong, Khutsong in particular, to the North West. They had to be taken to Taung where they had to catch up with their schooling. In that situation the people were not able to operate and ensure that the schooling functioned appropriately.
As Cabinet we took a decision last year, on 3 December, to initiate consultative processes with the people of Merafong, as a result schooling this year started without any problems and without any hindrance. We see that there is progress. As we are here we must make sure that the Bills are passed as they are presented, so that normality can return. This will enable the people of the area to have a normal life and be in a province where they want to be.
As we deal with this issue there are also other areas where there are still some challenges. Amongst those are areas of Moutse and Matatiele, where we are involved in a process of listening to their views and needs. We will be able to take a decision after Cabinet has pronounced on the matter, hopefully before the middle of March. We must be able to find lasting solutions to these matters so that we can focus on service delivery.
The people of Merafong will be voting in Gauteng in the 2009 elections. [Applause.] The budget also caters for them so that they are able to be part of the Gauteng people. We believe that this process is a process that has been undertaken in a way that ensures that this government is responsive in handling the matters of the people.
We want to thank the Cabinet under the leadership of President Kgalema Motlanthe for leading us and giving guidance on this matter. We want to thank the Deputy President who is a Leader of Government Business for assisting us to ensure that these Bills come here. We want to thank the Whippery led by hon Mnyamezeli Booi and his deputy, Bulelani Magwanishe, for the drive and commitment in ensuring that these Bills are passed.
We want to thank also the joint committees led by comrade Lechesa Tsenoli and Yunus Carrim for their determination and commitment in ensuring that these Bills are scrutinised, are engaged upon and that we are able to come to a point where we are passing them today. I also want to thank the staff in the department for their contribution in ensuring that they assist the committee and the communities in that area.
By passing these Bills today we are actually ensuring that in this gloomy time the people of Merafong are able to smile because their need has been met by the ANC-led government. Thank you very much, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Mrs M M GUMEDE
THE MINISTER FOR PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Mrs M M GUMEDE: Hon President and Deputy President, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members of this House, colleagues and friends, and all South Africans, I greet you in the name of the year of the elections. It is yet another day for me to be at this podium and to be a witness to what the Minister and the portfolio committee have just presented to this House, namely the two respective Bills.
Some people think that some things are just done because they are supposed to be done. Yet the ANC-led government does things that are in the Constitution and that they have promised the people - not that somebody should turn a deaf ear to whatever. The ANC supports the two Bills as presented here despite the abstaining of the DA. Both Bills were passed on 12 February 2009.
Madam Speaker, if you still remember well, in 2002 the President's Co-ordinating Committee resolved to do away with the cross-border municipalities. As a consequence all cross-border municipalities had to fall within one province or the other. In that sequence the Merafong Local Municipality was then demarcated into the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality in the North West. It was clearly shown afterwards that the residents of Khutsong were not satisfied with that. These people showed this in many incidents, as the Minister has just alluded to.
The action that they took was very relevant, but the only thing is they did it the wrong way. That is why some things happen. For example, we all know is that there is a newly formed party nowadays called Confused People. So, the residents of Khutsong made themselves confused people. Let us abstain from being confused people and be the people who cry out for our things in the right way. Let's be people who demand our constitutional rights in the right way.
The ANC-led government, as a government of the people by the people, is bound to give an ear to its people and follow their constitutional rights, thus passing the two Bills after thorough consultations, just as the Minister has alluded to.
IsiZulu : Ngicela ungangidini wena angithunywanga nguwe, ngithunywe yile Ndlu! Musa ukufuna ukuthi ngidinwe. Ngizokutshela izindaba zakho khona manje.[uhleko.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, hon member! Please address the Chair.
Mrs M M GUMEDE: Madam Deputy Speaker, as you can hear, my main focus lies with the Khutsong people, something which clearly indicates that the ANC-led government created the 2009 national election manifesto that says, "Working together we can do more". The ANC-led government, the affected provinces, North West and Gauteng, and the Khutsong residents have really worked together and have achieved more, but a dunderhead will never ever understand what the manifesto says.
Thorough consultation was made, as the hon Minister has just said, with different stakeholders and affected communities. Still outstanding is Kokosi and surrounding areas, and they will be consulted following a petition from a small number of those communities, which is being supported by Mr Nel's written submission …
… ubhuti lo okhuluma kakhulu. [The brother who is speaking too much.]
Sometimes we level accusations against the DA whereas it is an individual. It is like teaching somebody and he or she doesn't pass. The DA should have long thrown you away …
… yazi wena bhuti ngoba ngesinye isikhathi … [You know, brother, because really sometimes you are discriminating against the DA.
It's not the DA; it is a particular person who is saying what he is saying right now. The ANC re-supports the Bills despite you. [Laughter.] [Time expired.]
Mr W P DOMAN
Mrs M M GUMEDE
Mr W P DOMAN: Deputy Speaker, Parliament must now rush through these two Bills to rectify a big mistake committed by the ANC. When we did away with cross-boundary municipalities in 2006, the ANC went against the will of the people of Khutsong and Carletonville.
The then Minister for Provincial and Local Government and the ANC claimed that the people were properly consulted and that they were satisfied to be incorporated into the North West Province. The ANC was proved wrong by all the unrest that prevailed thereafter. That incorporation is a typical example of the ANC's flawed consultations and izimbizo.
The ANC does not really listen to the people; it's all a charade. The ANC thinks that a small group of its leaders can decide what the best is for the people. The ANC has become so arrogant that it does not matter what the people say, and this arrogance is going to cost it in the coming elections.
Why the sudden change of heart now to move the whole municipality to Gauteng? The answer is simple: It is all about votes. The ANC knows that it is going to lose many votes all over South Africa. Secondly, the people of Khutsong threatened to boycott the elections if they were not returned to Gauteng. Thirdly, the surge of support for the DA and the launch of COPE means that the ANC is no longer sure that they can win Gauteng province. They are now bargaining on Khutsong to come and help them in Gauteng.
The DA wants to congratulate the people of Khutsong for using the power of their votes to compel the ANC government to bow to the will of the people. But I'm sure that when they are going to vote, they will remember who made all these mistakes; who made them suffer for the past two years; who caused there to be no schooling; who disrupted their lives. And now the ANC is trying to bribe them for their votes with these two hasty Bills.
It is not surprising that the ANC does not apply the same urgency when it comes to allowing South Africans living overseas to vote, and that the communities of Matatiele and Mutsi, who are also unhappy with their demarcation, are not dealt with, because their votes are apparently not needed in a certain province.
Adjunkspeaker, nou maak die ANC al weer 'n konsultasiefout. Dit is duidelik uit voorleggings en petisies wat ons hier in Kaapstad ontvang het – ons komitee het nie eers na die mense toe gegaan en behoorlik na hulle geluister nie – dat Fochville, Kokosi, Greenspark en Wedela, wat ses uit die 26 wyke is, wat 40% van die grondgebied is, wat 35% van die besighede is, hulle, wat in een gebied geleë is en die naaste aan Noordwes is, wat nog altyd net konneksies na daardie kant toe gehad het, wil eerder graag by Noordwes Provinsie bly. Hierdie mense, met hierdie grensverskuiwing, net omdat hulle deel is van die munisipaliteit, word nou teen hulle wil verskuif om vir die eerste keer sedert 1994 by Gauteng-provinsie in te skakel.
Die DA het die komitee uitgevra oor die moontlikheid dat dié gebied óf 'n eie munisipaliteit word óf by 'n ander munisipaliteit, Tlokwe, ingelyf word in Noordwes. Die antwoord wat ons gekry het, is dat die probleme nou onoorkombaar sal wees om 'n nuwe munisipaliteit te stig, en daar is ook 'n eis uit die gebied uit dat die hele gebied moet skuif, so nie skuif niemand nie. Ons in die DA kan dit nie sommer so aanvaar nie.
Carletonville en Khutsong wil graag hê daar moet na hulle geluister word, maar as die ander gebiede dieselfde vra, word daar nee gesê aan hulle net omdat hulle kleiner is en hulle moet maar inval. Verder het ons van die komitee gehoor daar gaan in elk geval amper chaos wees om nou persone, verantwoordelikhede en begrotings tussen die provinsies, tussen die distriksmunisipaliteite, tussen departemente, ens, te skuif. As hierdie ses wyke in ag geneem is, sou dit nie eintlik 'n groter probleem veroorsaak het nie.
English: The DA is convinced that Khutsong and Carletonville overwhelmingly want to be in Gauteng Province. We have called for this all along, so that the people of Khutsong can move on with their lives in a stable and peaceful environment - and that part of the legislation we support. But, as far as the people of Fochville, Kokosi, Greenspark en Wedela are concerned, we believe that proper consultation processes through the NCOP, not through the ANC, unfortunately, will give a clear indication that they want to remain in North West. Then the minister and his department must have the guts to repeat what he is saying here today: that he will listen to the people, that he will come back to the NCOP and that he will affect the necessary changes.
In this municipal Bill that we have here before us, we even have a provision that although the election has been proclaimed and the voters' roll closed, that all these wards will be shifted to Gauteng. These people were registered in the North West Province, but they will be shifted to Gauteng Voters Roll with all the implications for the IEC. If we can go to all this trouble, why can't we do it for those six wards, if they so desire?
We call on the NCOP to fully consult, not only in an obscure hall in Khutsong, but in the whole area, and we will take our final stance after we've heard what the people on the ground really say. Therefore, we are going to abstain today, because we have no confidence in the consultation process so far, and there are many loose ends in this Bill. We will abstain.
Dr H J BEKKER
Mr W P DOMAN
Dr H J BEKKER: Deputy Speaker, the two Bills intend to give effect to the decision taken by the government to reincorporate the Merafong City Local Municipality back into the province of Gauteng.
In 2005 when the government decided, after a review of municipal demarcations, to incorporate Khutsong and its municipality, Merafong, into the North West, the IFP was vehemently opposed to this move. This was a wasteful and fruitless exercise and the ANC government met with absolute resistance that became violent.
The IFP has at all relevant times stood together with the people of Merafong City, and we voted against the Bill at that time, which removed them from Gauteng. It is therefore, with all this taken into account, that we are reluctantly forced to support this Bill, but we support it practically, because we cannot stand in the way of these people. The actions of government cannot be tolerated and what government has done in this whole aspect, to the people of Merafong, is unforgivable.
Madame Deputy Speaker, the IFP at that time also condemned the determination of the ruling party to go ahead with the implementation of the demarcation legislation on Matatiele, despite the opposition and the wishes of the majority of the people of Matatiele. But the voices of the people of Matatiele are not being heard when they express their choice to be reincorporated into KwaZulu-Natal. In contrast, is it because for about four years since its incorporation, Khutsong has become synonymous with violent protest, such as burning tyres, scorched homes and broken traffic lights?
What is the message that this government is sending to people out there in desperate communities? The message is that if people want their issues to be on the national map or immediately addressed, they must resort to violence.
In any event, the people of Matatiele did actively show their disapproval of the incorporation into the Eastern Cape by holding peaceful protest marches in Pietermaritzburg and Pretoria. But the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal became very arrogant and wanted to push Matatiele out of KwaZulu-Natal, despite the heavy opposition from the Matatiele-Maluti Mass Action Campaign Organising Committee.
Back to the fiasco of Khutsong/Merafong: It is interesting to note that now, the hon Minister of Housing has announced that her department will build more than 20 000 housing units from a
R2-billion housing relief project to benefit Khutsong people. Why suddenly now? Why not before or later this year? The real reason is they do know that for the forthcoming elections they must woo back the Merafong residents to vote for this ruling party. The message going out from here is not good, but for the sake of the people of Merafong, we will support.
Mr S N SWART
Dr H J BEKKER
Mr S N SWART: Madam Deputy Speaker, the ACDP strongly opposed the previous constitutional amendment that affected various municipalities including Matatiele and the Khutsong communities. We said there had been insufficient consultation with the communities involved and we were proven right as the communities involved embarked on court cases and violent demonstrations against the move.
We are now only addressing the one issue, that of Khutsong. What about the unhappiness in Matatiele and Mahutse?
We also need to realise that those who were always living in North West are now being moved to Gauteng against their will; just as the residence of Khutsong were moved against their will. Objections were received from Fochville, Kokosi, Greenspark and Wedela which represent a substantial number of the residents affected. There appears to be a total disregard of these residents' rights and a lack of public participation and we also call upon the NCOP to properly consult with the residents of those areas.
One of the main dangers of rushing through this amendment to accede to the demands of one community, which demands may well be justifiable, is that the Cabinet decision of 2002 affected a number of municipalities. In view of the fact that the government has now ceded to Khutsong's request following widespread and often violent community protest, the impression is undoubtedly created that in those other municipalities similarly unhappy violent demonstrations are a way to achieve the desired outcome.
Now Salga pointed out in its representations that the successful promulgation of these Bills might give rise to similar requests from other affected areas. And there's a risk – and it is highly likely –that it will give rise to violent community protests which again would largely be directed at municipal property and councillors alike. And this is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed.
However, the decision has now been taken and clearly will be passed through this Parliament. We need to then bear in mind what lessons were learnt from the redemarcation process in 2005-06. And it is crucial that an implementation protocol must be entered into between the receiving and the releasing provinces. There must be a seamless transition and uninterrupted service delivery.
There would also be a need for serious planning and financial implications for all the municipalities involved, as well as the two affected provinces. This redemarcation will definitely impact on the equitable share allocations of finances, and the budgets.
We as the ACDP support the proposal that a transitional grant should be provided by National Treasury, in view of the fact that it would almost be impossible to amend the necessary allocations of the 2009-10 Budget. And we recall when the previous demarcations were made I raised the issue with the Minister of Finance and was quite shocked to hear that at that point those additional finances were not made available to the receiving provinces; and we believe that this is an issue which requires a transitional grant.
In view of the fact that the Khutsong residents have had had their grievances adressed, which we supported at that stage and continue to support albeit we don't support the methods used, we will not oppose these Bills. But because they set a dangerous precedent and are not supported by all the residents of the Merafong City Local Municipality, we will abstain pending a further and full public participation process by the NCOP. I thank you.
Mr P J GRONEWALD
Mr S N SWART
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Geagte Adjunkspeaker, daar is geen twyfel nie dat hierdie twee wysigingswette, wat ter sprake is hier vandag, maar net eenvoudig 'n politieke propaganda-foefie is van die ANC met die verkiesing op hande.
Agb Adjunkspeaker, wanneer dit by die wysiging van die Grondwet kom, is dit juis die VF Plus wat sê ons moet versigtig wees. Ons hanteer vandag die sestiende wysiging van ons Grondwet.
U weet, in 'n land soos Amerika het dit 'n honderd-en-vyf-en-twintig jaar geneem om 15 wysigings aan sý grondwet te bring. Maar wanneer die Vryheidsfront Plus vra dat die doodstraf teruggebring moet word, dan sê die ANC dat die Grondwet sê dat ons nie die doodstraf mag hê nie. Dan wil die ANC dit nie verander nie. Maar wanneer dit hier gaan oor u stemme wat die ANC kan kry, dan is dit bereid om sommer twee Grondwetwysigings aan te bring.
Agb Adjunkspeaker, 'n ander aspek is baie duidelik. Die boodskap wat die agb Minister hier gee, is dat as jy nie tevrede is nie, brand af; ontwrig al die munisipale dienste. Breek af, laat die belastingbetaler maar betaal. Ontwrig die totale samelewing, want as jy dít doen, as jy geweld gebruik … Die agb Minister het hier kom vertel wat dit die belastingbetaler gekos het om raadslede van Merafong teen die aanvalle van die mense van Khutsong te beskerm. Maar die boodskap wat u vandag gee, is indien jy nie tevrede is met jou grense nie, brand af, want dan sal die ANC luister. Dis wat die agb Minister gesê het. Hy het gesê: "The people have spoken and the ANC has listened".
So it seems that the only time that the ANC listens is when the people go over to violence and force them to listen. Because that's the message of the hon Minister.
Die Vryheidsfront Plus sal teen hierdie wetgewing stem en ons daag u uit, as u regtig korrek wil optree het, om 'n referendum vir die mense van Merafong, nie net van Khutsong, te hou nie. Dan kan u dit kry. Dankie.
Mr S L TSENOLI
Mr P J GROENWALD
Mr S L TSENOLI: Madam Deputy Speaker, thank you very much. The ANC welcomes and supports the Constitution Sixteenth Amendment Bill and the Cross-boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Amendment Bill.
We do so following a robust engagement with the Department of Provincial and Local Government. We thoroughly engaged this department to establish the motivation for the Bill, the quality, extent and nature of consultation with affected stakeholders and communities involved, the wider implications of the Bill and its proposals and their reaction to submissions we received in which parties either agreed or disagreed with the proposed legislation.
To further satisfy ourselves, we invited submissions both in writing and orally, took representation from the IEC, the Department of National Treasury, Salga, Black Sash, the Merafong Forum and the Demarcation Board. We did this because we understood the necessity for thorough consultation and learning lessons from the past in matters such as these.
We urge the House to agree with us that this legislation is necessary now. Because as a result of consultations we conducted in our committee, the mayor of Merafong also attended. He explicitly told members of the committee that they have conducted information sessions and discussions in all the wards in Merafong.
He said this in the presence of DA members who did not contradict him, and so it would be useful if honesty would be a little more available to all of us in the House. Honesty is always available and if the DA and the others choose to ignore it, it is their business. The voters will deal with them in the elections.
It is very clear why this is happening. The reason why we called all the key stakeholders, including the Merafong people, was precisely to deal with the issues they are talking about. In very explicit terms, the mayor agreed with the leadership of the Merafong Forum that task teams had been created, representative of the people from the whole community in Merafong – not just in Khutsong - as part of the process not only to determine what happened in the past but also to deal with what is likely to happen and what the implications of this decision would be.
We identified in our discussions, as I indicated earlier, four key priorities and one of the key priorities in this regard is precisely to further consult with the people in this area, as is required anyway and as the NCOP did in the past. This is necessary because the requests and the information that we received, the interaction with the department and the people from the Merafong area and in these particular areas - and as the MEC of Gauteng explicitly said to us – indicate that one cannot separate these areas from another. They now exist as a municipality. To do so would be to exclude people from Wedela, Kokosi and Fochville.
Now as far as those representatives and stakeholders from these areas are concerned, surely if there was a different view they would have stated it at that time. You were in the meetings yet you did not question that. You did not contradict that, despite the fact that the people who submitted objections to the seminar were from your organisation.
We specifically gave you time, three days in succession, to communicate with them; to respond to us with material facts to deal with so that we would be sure that what you were telling us had any grounds based on the reality of the situation. You did not produce any. [Applause.]
With the second priority, learning from the past, it is necessary that the implementation task teams, some of which had already been created, including protocols, must be fast-tracked and receive support so that we have a smooth delivery transition. It is in fact very pleasing that finally after consultation with the people of Khutsong, they have themselves agreed to move, and you're not telling listeners and people who are listening to you today here in the House and outside, that it is because of government's disaster management responsibility that people are living in an area with dolomite in the ground and therefore it is necessary that they should be removed.
When do you think that should have been done - when damaged would have been done to their lives? They would have lost their lives. Why should government wait for that? The time is actually appropriate for them to move. That it coincides with the agreement to move to Gauteng is in fact a happy coincidence for them. Why is that inappropriate? In our view, these are views that have been expressed to us as a committee and we support the further actions that are going to be taken to deepen consultation in this regard.
One of the other priorities relates to the consultations with people. Comrade Minister, Madam Deputy Speaker, government departments often, in reporting to Parliament, talk about consultation and often does not include the work that they have done in consulting communities. This is not included in the documentation that we receive. We find only when we probe that it was done, but has not been recorded.
As a matter of fact, we do insist that in future this must be done. It saves a lot of time. It saves a lot of frayed nerves, because people do want to hear whether consultation took place and in what form and how much of that was taken on board. We are quite confident that the consultation and information sessions will continue and that what people from these other areas have requested would satisfy them.
We have made provision for the amendment so that the consultations with the NCOP are meaningful, and that the outcome will be - if people agree with the proposals, as they have been suggested – that they would be able to vote, as requested in the legislation, in Gauteng.
We have no doubt, through the consultation that we had in the presence of every opposition party who attended those meetings, that the IEC will be able to deal with this matter without any problems.
It is striking, Madam Deputy Speaker and hon members, that the message about burning down things as a form of protest has in fact come from all the opposition parties. Hansard will show the Minister explicitly saying that he, on behalf of government, and I guess all of us, condemns any act of violence as a form of protest.
This is the message that comes from government; that government will act on decisions that have been completed at that time because the business of consulting with people is not cheap. It is not easy when people are divided. You can't impose decisions on them. And so where we, the government, feel comfortable to move, it will move and will do so in those other areas, as we have agreed upon. People of motive have taken government to court. Court cases are underway there. You can't take decisions when court cases are in the process of being handled. And similar consultations are going on in Moutse so that we receive, as Parliament and as government, enough work in order to take similar decisions if this should be the outcome in those areas as well.
We support this Bill and we are optimistic that the outcome will be positive all round and we thank the Minister and his predecessor for navigating a very complex Ministry with the task of managing three spheres of government and 283 municipalities; it is not an easy job. The success that we will talk about in the coming days is important, but similarly, so are the challenges. But the ANC is up for the task. That is why we are confident. The renewal of our mandate is a certainty. Thank you very much, Madam Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
Ms S RAJBALLY
Mr S L TSENOLI
Ms S RAJBALLY: Madam Deputy Speaker, regarding the cross-boundary issue Khutsong, it has been a long, tiresome and damaging affair. It is, however, a relief that the matter has been resolved and the people of this area are pleased.
While we may understand that South Africa is one land, it is apparent that communities hold on to their identities as it is part of them. As government, while our ultimate goal is to manage and govern South African affairs to the best of our abilities, we should not lose sight of the fact that we are a government by the people and for the people. This ultimately means that powers entrusted in us are governed by the decisions of the people.
It is clear that dissatisfaction is also expressed in other areas regarding the cross-boundary decision. The MF strongly feels that the changes to boundaries are extremely expensive, as may be noted in terms of the Khutsong expediency, and we, certainly cannot afford another Khutsong incident. It is for this reason that we strongly recommend that the people within these areas be allowed to decide on which side of the border they would like to belong and that the cost of all changes as determined in budget adjustments have to follow.
We are ultimately not an autocracy but a democracy. We are empowered to filter through our constituencies' wants, needs and desires. Democracy cannot be successful if it operates with deaf ears.
The Minority Front supports the Constitution Sixteenth Amendment Bill and the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Amendment Bill because of this. Thank you.
Dr S E M PHEKO
Ms S RAJBALLY
Dr S E M PHEKO: Madam Deputy Speaker, the PAC supports the Constitution Sixteenth Amendment Bill and the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Repeal and Related Matters Amendment Bill and congratulates the people of Khutsong and Matatiele. After much suffering and losing their case in the Constitutional Court, they resorted to a political struggle with tenacity of purpose and pertinacity of will. Their glittering victory opened the eyes of many voters as to who the boss is - voters or the ruling party.
We know that if the people of Khutsong did not fight against their removal from the Gauteng Province to the North West Province with iron determination, this Bill would never have seen the light of day. This Bill is Khutsong's victory. The people of Khutsong have made it clear to the ruling party that they have teeth to punish those who ignore their interests with impunity.
The people of Khutsong have sent a strong message which all intelligent voters in our country must emulate. This Bill is before Parliament today because the people of Khutsong said: "We are not going to vote before our removal to the North West Province - which is against our will - is reversed."
Arbitrary removals of people from places such as Khutsong, Matatiele, Moutse and Dipaleseng are a disgrace to an institution that styles itself as a "Peoples Parliament". What the people need is for their standard of living to be uplifted, not removals. If these removals were good, why was Khutsong not transferred to the North West Province with those gold mines at Merafong? Long live the fighters of Khutsong who resisted to be transferred from riches to poverty! Long live the power of intelligent voters! Izwe lethu!
Mr J H JEFFREY
Dr S E M PHEKO
Mr J H JEFFERY: Madam Deputy Speaker, the ANC government has listened to the people of Merafong, hence we have these two Bills before us. It should be a simple matter to pass them in this NA, but unfortunately we see a lot of political posturing by some of the opposition parties who seem to be motivated by short-term political expediency rather than the job of governance.
Some of the complaints raised were that these Bills were rushed. I don't know, with due respect, Mr Doman, what you are talking about as you would know a constitutional amendment has to be tabled and gazetted for 30 days before it can be introduced and it can't be passed by the NA until 30 days have elapsed. That has been complied with; the 30 days expired last week. So I don't know what you mean by saying that they have been rushed. The steps have been complied with.
Secondly, Mr Doman raised the point that this does not represent the wishes of all the people of Merafong. But, Mr Doman, when you spoke in the debate on the Cross-Boundary Repeal Bill on 13 December 2005, you said, and I quote:
Die mense van Merafong wil eerder na Gauteng toe gaan as na Noordwes toe.
So, have you changed your mind considering what you are saying now? Are you saying that you didn't say the people of Khutsong but the people of Merafong? That is the whole municipality. You are now coming up with something different.
Much has been made about the concerns of the residents of Fochville, Greens Park, etc, but we only had two written submissions, which actually resemble each other quite closely. There will be a further consultation process, Mr Swart, as you know, with the NCOP.
From the NA's side, we've had public hearings and that's all we have from those two areas. So I think you are being disingenuous by giving that as the reason for not supporting the Bill.
When the original Bills were passed in 2005, the DA, IFP, UDM, ICDP, ID and the FF Plus voted against the Bills. Now we've heard the FF Plus saying that they are still going to vote against the Bill, even though it reverses what they voted had against before. I don't understand that logic; that is a pure political expediency ...
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Agbare Adjunkspeaker, is die agb lid bereid om 'n vraag hieroor te beantwoord?
Mr J H JEFFERY: I'll take it if have time.
Mr P J GROENEWALD: No, no, have the guts and take the question.
Mr J H JEFFERY: I'll take it if I have time at the end. Anyway, I think this is the evidence of pure short-term political expediency; they want to make a noise rather than to have governance issues addressed.
The IFP is to be thanked for the position it has adopted in supporting the Constitutional Sixteenth Amendment Bill, but the DA and the ACDP know that abstaining has similar effects as voting against because one needs a two-thirds majority to pass it and, really, with due respect, you opposed these Bills because you didn't want Merafong to move to Gauteng. You are now opposing them because they are going to move. Again, it defies logic.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I would appeal to the members of this House to look at the broader question of governance first, rather than making a noise and, hopefully, getting a little piece in the newspaper which they hope will support them in their election campaign. I thank you.
Mr P J GROENEWALD: Adjunk Speaker, die agb lid het nog tyd oor en hy het onderneem om 'n vraag te vat as hy nog tyd het.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, please sit down.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr J H JEFFERY
The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Deputy Speaker, hon Ministers, hon Deputy Ministers, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, let me firstly thank the two parties that have carefully looked at this matter and have come to their senses to support this amendment now. I imagine that the hon van Der Merwe had a lot to do with this. We really appreciate the support, because as we have said, if you look at the debate today, not a single person has raised any problem with the constitutionality or the legality of the two pieces of legislation.
The issue, therefore, is not whether the laws are right or correct, the issue is a political one. Obviously, the enthusiasm from my left has been heightened by the fact that there is an imminent election. Of course, you can expect huge hypocrisy, huge inflation of the arguments and just complete and utter distortions.
The one speaker, for example, told us that in the previous process that took place with the first constitutional amendment, the consultations were completely flawed, everything was wrong and there was a terrible disaster. Of course, he knows when he says that that this matter was taken to the Constitutional Court, exactly putting that argument forward - that the consultations were flawed and that the decision was irrational.
However, what did the Constitutional Court find with regard to this irrationality and this lack of consultation? On 13 June 2008 - it is a long time ago, so people obviously forget about these things:
The applicants have not shown that the Gauteng provincial Legislature failed to facilitate public involvement or acted irrationally in supporting the Twelfth Amendment in the NCOP.
Consequently, the application was dismissed. Yet we are told today that we didn't consult properly, we didn't do the process correctly, when the Constitutional Court itself put its stamp of approval on this matter.
Therefore, obviously, as far as us promoting this constitutional amendment, which is the very important one, and the Bill from Department of Provincial and Local Government that goes with it, and as far as the legal and constitutional issues are concerned, we are in agreement with Parliament that no one has put forward any arguments to dispute the legality thereof.
Of course, a further fallacy that was raised here is that the ANC is creating a dangerous precedent and could not care less and that what we are doing is directly encouraging communities to think that the only way to achieve things is through violence. Now, of course, the Minister himself has given the input from this podium; he spoke here and said that, clearly, one of the things we have to consider in this matter and the correctness of how we deal with it, is exactly the issue of how the protest was done before and the fact that violence was used and that a whole lot of things were done in Khutsong that shouldn't have been done.
He completely disowned that and completely condemned it, and particularly said that we must be very careful that this does not set a precedent. I also want to point out that nowhere from the side of government has any of the illegal actions that took place with the first protest not been either condemned or an amnesty given or anything where they did not face the consequences. The persons that committed the violence and did things wrongly must face the consequences of that. They must do that.
People have spoken in the consultations. [Interjections.] No, of course, you like distorting things as you usually do. Particularly, if you listened to his whole speech, he said that on this issue we have gone to listen to the communities, as we are doing at the moment in Matatile and in Moutse as well. The reasons we haven't finished those processes is for particular reasons which you know about.
Firstly, there are Constitutional Court cases that are pending and clearly one doesn't jump in and try to push Constitutional Court cases out of the way – theyare first attended to. Secondly, there are consultations taking place with those communities. It may very well be that after those consultations that the new administration may very well feel that they have to either take a decision differently or keep the decision that was made in that instance. That is the process of it.
But we must be careful, particularly the opposition, not to start saying that the ANC and particularly the Minister, through what he has suggested here, is somehow condoning violence or suggesting that people should try and achieve what they have to achieve through violence. That genie, once you let it out of the bottle, you will not be able to put it back, and our government is very, very aware of that.
Of course, there's the other joke that one of the members made and that is the joke that we are doing this because we are going to lose Gauteng in the elections. Everyone, of course, knows that in the last elections we won 64% of the votes in Gauteng. Now, we are trying to wonder how is it suddenly that we need to come and get another community and put it over to actually boost our 64% that we've already got. [Interjections.]
No, five years is a long time but in your history as you know you can't even raise 2% or 3% at a time - it's really a slow process! Change doesn't come easily. People vote for parties when they imbibe their values and what they stand for. It takes time as you know; your party knows it very well. Are you 10% already? You are 10%. Well, you'll probably be less in the next elections.
Can I thank everyone very much for all their inputs. I even want to say that those that are critical of what has been said, we will go and look at your views that you have expressed; we'll try and accommodate that as far as we can because we are dealing, after all, with our Constitution and amendments should not be too easily made. Thank you to all those who have supported the legislation.
For those who have not supported, you still have a little bit of time before we vote to change your minds and come on the right side of history! Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Question put: That the Constitution Sixteenth Amendment Bill be read a second time.
The House divided.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, can you please leave the Chamber. Enkosi. [Thank you.] Thank you, hon member.
TAKE IN FROM MINUTES
Question accordingly agreed to in accordance with section 74(3) of the Constitution.
Constitution Sixteenth Amendment Bill read a second time.
Question put: That Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Amendment Bill be read a second time.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Groenewald?
An HON MEMBER: No, it's not "Groenewald, Madam Deputy Speaker, you can just note the objections of the FF Plus, thank you.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Objections of the FF Plus noted.
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, please note the abstention of the DA.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, do you abstain if there is no vote?
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, I wasn't going to say anything, but you did recognise the FF Plus when they stood up, so therefore you also have to recognise the DA.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: We note the DA's abstention.
An HON MEMBER: Madam Deputy Speaker, is it parliamentary for the DA to sit and drink tea instead of coming to work n an important matter like this?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, that's not a point of order.
Mr M J Ellis: Madam Deputy Speaker, is it parliamentary for ANC members to raise frivolous point s of order?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.
An HON MEMBER: Madam Deputy Speaker, is it parliamentary for the DA members to be traitors for the DA on this vote?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, I'm not going to take frivolous points of order.
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, I believe it's unparliamentary to refer to any member of this House as a traitor.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is that a point of order? Hon member, please with draw.
An HON MEMBER: Knowing that they've been deceived, I humbly withdraw.
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, I didn't understand that at all, but I suspect that the hon member should withdraw unconditionally without some silly remark added to it.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please withdraw unconditionally and without a preamble.
An HON MEMBER: Unconditionally I withdraw.
Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matter Amendment Bill read a second time (Freedom Front Plus dissenting; Democratic Alliance abstaining).
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER
(CONSIDERATION OF NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL AND OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE THEREON.)
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move:
That the report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Bill accordingly passed.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT ON YOUTH PARLIAMENT 2008
There was no debate.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move:
That the report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT ON REVISED DRAFT RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW OF ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IN TERMS OF SECTION 7(3) OF THE PROMOTION OF ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE ACT, ACT NO 3 OF 2000
There was no debate.
Report adopted and approved.
Mr B A MNGUNI
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
DEBATE ON THE DEVELOPMENTAL STATE AS THE CATALYST FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOOD AMIDST THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS.
Mr B A MNGUNI: Chairperson, Deputy President, Ministers, hon Members and colleagues, allow me, without campaigning from this podium, to say that the ANC is my vision and my future, because we are able to pat ourselves on the shoulder today amidst this global crisis storm, which has barely scared us due to the visionary ANC cadreship deployed in government.
Surely, together we can do more as we steer this country into the route of a developmental state that will strive for better economic growth and sustainable livelihood as the world braces itself for the catastrophic economic meltdown.
We are not a developmental state as yet but there already are, characteristically, practices that prevail in such a state. Some of these characteristics are a high emphasis on growth and what needs to be done to achieve more; high levels of redistribution interventions where market failures are perceived; interventions where public sector failure is perceived; and direct measures to combat poverty such as Public Works Programmes and social grants.
In support of an argument for a developmental state, Prof Steyn Sangweni says:
What is at stake in this discussion about the developmental state is not intellectual cleverness or ideological dogma for its own sake. It is about the lives of the people who made the miracle of our democracy possible. It is about how best and quickly we can practically create a better life for all in order to secure our democracy.
A developmental state was generally seen as a military junta that took decisive action and swept aside the opposition. It is not a welfare state that creates a dependency syndrome. Therefore, South Africa will have to construct a developmental state that will pursue socioeconomic developments for a better life for all.
The global financial crisis has had minimum impact on our economy because we were cautious in removing some of the financial regulations and left some, which most of the opposition parties in this House saw as deterring investors. We, however, could not escape the impact of this crisis in the real economy. Thousands of workers are facing the threat of retrenchment due to market failures and greedy investors who want to be rich at all costs.
The mining industry is faced with mothballing major investment projects due to a dramatic drop in the price of commodities. The ripple effect of this for developing countries dependent on exporting raw materials is increasing levels of poverty and diseases. Countries dependent on donor funding for their livelihood will be left destitute due to reduced earnings by donor countries.
Closer to home, our neighbours, such as Lesotho, will be hard hit as there will be fewer tariffs collected by Sacu due to a slowing economy within SADC. South Africa and other developing countries are locked into this global accumulation logic thus policies that are advanced need to diversify economic reliance away towards alternative economic relations. In the face of this impending dilemma, how does South Africa play a catalyst role for economic growth and sustainable livelihood?
The first objective of the caring ANC government in the current crisis is to harness the resilience and courage ordinary workers by ensuring that they are shielded from joblessness and poverty as well as any other impact that might be a result of the current crisis.
Our social security system, especially old age and certain child support grants are a great relief under the current economic conditions. The continued state expenditure on infrastructure is another way of keeping the economy afloat and putting food on the table for many South Africans.
Fine, in 1996, argued that –
International experience indicates that provision and distribution of infrastructure is not neutral. And the essential task of the developmental state in South Africa is to rectify inequality in the provision of social economic infrastructure.
There is no doubt that there is a need for a broad intervention in the form of sector stimulus packages in order to help ailing sectors of the economy. Some of these interventions should centre on building local industrial capacity, thus expanding the industrial base and creating decent jobs.
However, Chairperson, I am sceptical of bailouts as those engaged in by the US, UK, Germany and other OECD countries. Again, I would like to say together we can do more in advancing a developmental state in South Africa. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs S M CAMERER
Mr B A MNGUNI
Mrs S M CAMERER: Chairperson, it's important that we have this debate, but it's surprising that so little time has been allocated to a discussion on this huge upheaval in the world's economy that will, no doubt, have a major impact on the course of history.
South Africa might slightly be out of the mainstream of these cataclysmic events and our Minister of Finance has been getting it right to the extent that even the opposition parties tend to treat him as hallowed ground. This Parliament, however, owes it to the nation to have in-depth debates on the crisis.
Major social changes may well follow this global financial meltdown. Experts are arguing about how to deal with it and conventional wisdom on economic policy has gone out the window. However, I believe ordinary men and women know what is needed and in the end it boils down to good leadership and pragmatism to deal with the difficult times ahead. I have confidence that our country has those leaders and that as a resilient country, will reject irrelevant ideologies and will "maak 'n plan" [make a plan] - a plan that is practical and workable to ensure sustainable economic growth.
I am looking forward to playing a small role in helping this plan along as one of our EU team of ambassadors as from the end of next month. Selling South Africa through economic diplomacy is the name of the game and Europe is a hugely important market for our country, accounting in 2007 for over R234 billion in two-way trade. If you compare this with the US accounting for R96 billion and China for R88 billion, then the importance of our trading relationship with EU countries becomes clear.
I would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to say a rather nostalgic goodbye to this great Chamber. As South Africans we tend to be self-critical, but we should realise what a positive impact our Parliament makes on visitors with its rainbow of members, both as far as race and gender is concerned, its lovely buildings and settings, its improving rules, facilities and services. Yes, there are obvious areas of negative performance, which we cannot ignore and which require urgent improvement. But the recommendations in the recent report of the independent panel chaired by Preggs Govender, if implemented, should assist in this.
I say "nostalgic" because though I look forward to my new role, Parliament has been part of my life for so long – I have spent the last 22 years of my working life here in various capacities and I have found it always interesting and challenging, and often exiting. In fact, my father was an MP for 20 years before that so I have spent a lot of time in these buildings.
I count myself as particularly privileged to have been able to play a role in the constitutional negotiations leading to our transition to democracy, in President Mandela's government of national unity, and in helping to found the Democratic Alliance.
This Parliament has improved out of all recognition since I arrived here in 1987. One of the most important improvements I would like to mention is the role of women. In 1987 I was one of the only eight women out of 308 members in this Chamber. It was truly like a men's club. Now, not only do we have 135 women or 35% of members in the NA, but our Speaker and Deputy Speaker are women, as are many committee chairs and nearly 40% of the Cabinet.
The result has been vastly improved, family-friendly legislation in many fields, and much more sensible sitting arrangements, amongst other things. Yes, we have been able to strike a substantial blow for women's equality that is guaranteed in our Constitution. We can take credit for this and I'm proud to have been part of it.
I just want to say in the last two seconds that I'm so glad that two of my grandchildren are present in the House to hear me say goodbye. Thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon members, there has been an omission today. I was not informed that it was the hon member's farewell speech; I would have announced that before she came.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: On a point order: I'm referring to Mrs Camerer. I just want to say that we will miss her, but we will not miss the many questions she asks in the justice committee.
Mr N SINGH
Mrs S M CAMERER
Mr N SINGH: Chairperson, at the outset, on behalf of my party, I want to wish the hon Camerer well in her future career and say, "Dovhizhdane!". I understand that means goodbye in Bulgarian. But I was told that by my hon Chief Whip and I suggest you check that in the dictionary, because sometimes he can mislead us with that. Dovhizhdane, and enjoy your future career!
Chairperson, the impact of the financial crisis has been devastating and not just for the sectors and countries where it originated but for the global wellbeing as a whole. The extent of globalisation and the integration of the global economy are so great. There isn't a country in the world that is totally unaffected by this crisis.
Anybody who believes that we are excluded and unaffected is deluded, as South Africa is already feeling the negative effects of this crisis, and the situation will get worse before it improves.
We believe we have not felt the full impact of this crisis yet, and that is a frightening prospect. Normally, it is said that when the US sneezes, other countries catch a cold. But this time around, they have caught the cold and we are beginning to sneeze. But, sneeze we will; it is the catching of the cold that we must prevent. Therefore, amongst other things, this crisis has highlighted the need for a strong, efficient regulatory and monitoring environment. It also has long-term implications for the global economy and the way in which business is conducted.
The IFP does not advocate the unbridled, laissez-faire capitalism associated with a minimalist state. We recognise the imperatives of driving our need to be a developmental state. But this does not imply an over-interventional state whose actions unnecessarily limit the growth potential of our economy.
Thus, though we need to recognise an important role for the state, we believe more emphasis must be placed on the role of the private sector in generating growth and jobs; and we need to ensure that the negative consequences of high growth can be dealt with through other types of state intervention so that in whatever we do to promote growth and jobs, we also protect our more vulnerable citizens and provide a safety net for the poor.
This crisis is huge, and a concerted, co-ordinated effort is needed from all role-players if we are to limit its damage and be in a position of relative strength once we emerge from this downward cycle. The developmental state does have a very important role to play in this regard, especially with regard to the provision of safeguards and protection for the poorer members of our society.
It must also ensure that our growth path is more balanced and that the benefits and opportunities from globalisation are equitably shared. If we are to achieve any sort of sustainability and be in a position to prosper once we are out of this trough, the great disparities that still exist must be corrected.
We cannot apply a one-size-fits-all approach. Therefore, the IFP believes that it is imperative that we develop a uniquely South African approach that will address our particular needs and ensure that growth and development are shared equitably amongst all South Africans and not just a selected few. For this to happen, government, labour and business need to find and develop the right balance. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S N SWART
Mr N SINGH
Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, in responding to the global financial crisis, immense commitments of funds have been made by governments of major economies in support of their financial institutions.
However, what helped the Asian economies, the so-called Asian Tigers, recover following the Asian financial crisis was a developmental state premised on an agreement between government, business and labour to work together in the interest of the country.
The ACDP supports government's commitment to work with business and organised labour to promote economic growth, protect work opportunities and accelerate skills development.
In South Africa, we have committed R787 billion to infrastructure investment plans and as the Minister of Finance said, this is the cornerstone of the development contract with business, organised labour and other social partners, which the ACDP supports.
We are also encouraged that the task team under the auspices of Nedlac, representing again government, business and labour will be presenting proposals to government as to how to minimise the negative impact of the slow-down in our domestic economic growth and particularly its impact on employment.
We also welcome the steps that the Industrial Development Corporation will be taking to support investment and employment in sectors or industries affected by the cyclical slow down.
However, in meeting the unprecedented challenges of the global meltdown we need to be careful that government's interventions do not result in a financial burden of debt to future generations. That is why infrastructure investment plans such as we are implementing are to be preferred to the granting of bailouts.
Let us also not underestimate the role that the private sector plays and that government should be mindful of the need to avoid passing on risks to the taxpayer - that will be better managed in the business sector. The only way that we will promote economic growth and protect employment in our nation in this global financial crisis is the way that we have approached it and not by bailouts.
In conclusion, I also wish the hon Sheila Camerer well, she has left the House, with her ambassadorship. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve with her here in Parliament in the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, and I wish her everything of the best. I thank you.
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA
Mr S N SWART
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA: Chairperson, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, comrades and compatriots, ladies and gentlemen, I realise that hon Camerer has gone out. But we would really want to wish her well in the new path that she might choose to take.
It is indeed an honour for me to make this speech, adding my voice and contributing towards finding a solution to what could be a mission impossible in this current time.
This imposed global financial crisis that has greatest potential to roll back the gains of our hard won democracy requires that we rise above petty, party political point-scoring and instead seek a national consensus on the best intervention strategies capable of weathering the storm. We must do this as responsible compatriots committed to do all in our power to instil hope in those who are least fortunate.
The ANC, as the legitimate leader of the democratic and progressive forces for change in this country, remains committed to eradicating poverty and promoting economic growth and prosperity.
This will be achieved by building stronger, more effective state instruments that will intervene on the lives of South Africans, black and white, rich and poor, rural and urban, young and old, male and female, and also the abled and the disabled.
This is the time for all South Africans to join the ANC in order to step up the fight against poverty and underdevelopment. That is why we say, "Working together we can do more".
Since the ANC's national policy conference and the consequent ANC 52nd National Conference in Polokwane, the ruling party has accepted and has explicitly embraced the view that calls for the construction of a state that is both democratic and developmental.
Clearly, our approach of a developmental state is not the fragmentation of the state apparatus as advocated by the federalist planners found in the US. But ours must be premised on the notion of unitary states united in our diversity.
This enduring policy direction is chosen in response to the current negative criticism that the South African state has been less responsive to the microeconomic challenges of employment and high prices of basic foodstuffs that has exposed and threatened the sustainability of livelihood of the majority of South Africans.
The adoption of the endorsement of a strong democratic and developmental state as the catalyst for growth and sustainable livelihood as an episode in the manifesto of the ANC was born out of robust and rigorous consultative processes across all sectors of society, as we were consulting during the process of developing the manifesto. An ANC government that will not be ambiguous, a state that will directly intervene in the economy, to achieve sustainable growth and development is the only option available for South Africans.
This ANC government has put aside R887 billion for public infrastructure and capital investment programmes for roads, rail, energy, housing and bulk water systems as an intervention that will assist us in sustaining current jobs while creating new jobs amidst the current global financial economic meltdown.
We need to remind Parliament of the critical role it should play with specific emphasis on the current oversight function it should exercise over the Nedlac process currently unfolding. For all these creative ideas to succeed there should be involvement of all key social players in this whole thing.
For instance, we need business not to just look away and wait for profit but actively participate within the whole scenario. With regard to the working class and the workers, Parliament has already indicated their oversight role as being an interventionist one along with the civil society. This is what the ANC means by the slogan, "Working together we can to more" and this is absolutely critical.
We reject the elitist and exclusive approach to this economic crisis, which is aloof to the workers and the poor of this country. Instead, we are in favour of a more inclusive approach whereby every key social player is brought to the table to contribute for a better and sustainable solution.
We do so as a democratic government that cares with a developmental duty to create economic growth that could absorb the unemployed and thus sustain the livelihood of the poor within South African society. All sectors in the economy should speak with a consensual voice, calling for lengthy and strong state action in the socioeconomic lives of all South Africans.
This preference of a state that intervenes should overcome the developmental, socioeconomic challenges and this should be done with the focus on poverty reduction; employment creation - in this case we refer to decent jobs; reducing the gap between the rich and the poor; achievement of socioeconomic justice; introduction of the relevant industrial and the trade policy interventions within the context of global economic imbalances; and the enforcement of gender equality policies and practices.
The current global financial crisis is proof enough of and exposes the failing ideology of capitalists and the free market system. It is a wake-up call to us. We must reject the notion that the role of the state be replaced by the so-called smooth functioning of the markets, relegating the role and the place of the state to the periphery of society it is supposed to serve.
These global political and economic systems have been plagued for a very long time by economic imbalances, inequality between the developed and the developing countries, unilateralism replacing multilateralism in global affairs and the pursuit of aggressive and invading foreign policies by powerful forces resulting in the polarisation of humanity. We should not forget that global warming is also ticking. So that is part of polarisation of humanity.
We must not underestimate the actual impact that this crisis has on the poorest of the poor in the medium- to long-term. That is why we need a social pact as a solution. The envisaged job losses in the severely affected sectors of the economy such as the mining, automotive, manufacturing and retail sector have the potential to destabilise the livelihood of many of these workers who are facing unemployment through no fault of their own.
This will require a critical intervention. The delivery of the ruling party over the past years must be applauded. We have to creatively integrate the self-employed in to the small ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, your time has expired.
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA: In conclusion, it is important despite the financial global crisis that we must realise the true opportunity of transforming the current colonial nature of the South African economy in a real sense. So this might come as an opportunity for us to really transform it. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms S RAJBALLY
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA
Ms S RAJBALLY: Chairperson, if anything, the Budget speech served as a big confidence booster in the realities of our economy and our ability to overcome the constraints of the global economic crisis.
The MF applauds the hon Minister of Finance and his auspicious department for their impeccable management of the South African finances.
I really felt that the Budget speech was a big shot of truth serum that aptly exposed and whipped us into shape in terms of how we are managing our economy via our various departments. I firmly hold on to the hon Minister's words, "It's what the money buys".
Hearing that we have the safest and most sound banking system sets us at ease, but many South Africans remain in heavy debt. That certainly does not assist the developmental state. While loans are needed to initiate development and business and homes, we need to "Suzie Ormond" our people into becoming debt free.
It is, however, the sustainable creation of secure jobs that we need to achieve if we are to overcome poverty in the long run and advance ourselves into the First World.
The MF believes that good global relations and the advancement of our local produce need to be heightened. We need to invest in tourism; it serves as one of the greatest contributors to revenue and promotes South Africa and its local produce.
We also need to advance ourselves in technology so that we may introduce more industries that will allow a growing variety of local production.
The MF believes that South Africa's greatest potential lies in who it is that turns the wheel of the ship as they have the greatest power to make a difference. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Before I call the next speaker, I am informed that the member is also making his farewell speech.
Mr J P I BLANCHÉ
Ms S RAJBALLY
Mr J P I BLANCHÉ: Chairperson, when we propagate the development state as a catalyst for economic growth, we have to research countries whose history shows that their present wealth has grown out of such policies and then benchmark government policies with those countries.
In 2003 the ANC embarked on EPWP and hailed it as their plan to skill and employ millions of South Africans. They claim that last year they reached the target of a million jobs; it was not sustainable jobs. At best, it employed people for a week or two, and only skilled a few.
At the end of the year, they admitted that they now have less qualified personnel to maintain and develop infrastructure in the three tiers of government compared to what they had fifteen years ago. Therefore, a delegation was sent to Cuba to recruit labour to fill the vacancies which skilled, dedicated and loyal South Africans had been forced out by the ANC.
In reply to my question, the Minister of Public Works said at the time that 107 Cubans will work in government and provincial departments. Their contract period will last three years and thereafter they will be redeployed elsewhere in South Africa and may even become citizens. Tabling this motion, I believe, is the ANC's way to camouflage failed job creation policies. All they have done is to replace skilled South Africans with less-skilled foreigners, and in the process, they stared up xenophobic emotions in black South Africans who remain unskilled and unemployed. Skilling foreigners is no catalyst for economic growth.
We are one nation with one future. Replacing the ANC with a DA government is the right catalyst for economic growth in this country.
Ek wil groet, Voorsitter. Sewe-en-dertig jaar lank het ek die kiesers van Boksburg op alle regeringsvlakke verteenwoordig. Dit was vir my 'n eer en 'n voorreg om hulle te dien.
I want to thank them, and I hope I have succeeded in being the role model they were looking for in a politician. Allow me to thank the staff of the DA and Parliament for their assistance over the years, colleagues of all parties for friendships despite differences of opinion, the media for reporting my contributions, my family and friends for loyal support, our children for the fat sacrifice they made, my wife - and she is sitting up there - whom I have been married to for 47 years for everything she has done.
Sy is my inspirasie, my persoonlike assistent, my grootste kritikus, my grootste bewonderaar - moontlik my enigste! [Gelag.] Ons lewe saam is 'n fees. Sy verskaf die pret en plesier.
There has never been a dull moment, as in politics. Members of Parliament, may God bless you with wisdom to make laws that will improve the lives of all the people who live and work in and for South Africa.
Chairperson, I greet you. But I am now the one to say, "The hon member Blanché's time has expired". [Applause]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Thank you, hon member. I was about to say that. Hon members, we have a beautiful contrast. I'm informed that the next speaker is also making his maiden speech.
Mr E GODWANGANA
Mr J P I BLANCHé
Mr E GODONGWANA: Chairperson, hon members, it is indeed an honour to be addressing this House today, as the Chairperson said, this is my maiden speech. First and foremost, I must say that I thought a debate of this stature would becouched in polemical terms, because the notion of developmental state by its very nature evokes certain ideological controversies. It is not something that is without ideological controversies.
I understand most of the DA speakers did not go to the heart of the argument today, precisely because they had farewell speeches.
However, this morning the chief whip of the Eastern Cape went to the heart of the argument in an article written in the East London Daily Dispatch, "The DA vision of an open society", and I quote:
An economy that is characterised primarily by the free choices of individuals, that is socially and environmentally responsible, that cares about the poor and vulnerable, is necessary.
But he goes on to say:
But it is no good having formal freedoms if your life circumstances continue to keep you trapped in poverty and unemployment. For example, how can a child really achieve her dream when she is born into poverty, without the prospect of a decent education, without access to basic healthcare, with little prospects of gainful employment?
I agree with that question. But here is the trick:
In an opportunity society, which they say they advocate, your path in life is not determined by the circumstances of your youth or birth, including both your material and democratic circumstances, but rather by your talents and your efforts.
That is where the trick lies. In other words, your disadvantaged circumstances which have shaped your destiny will not be taken into account in the DA society. That is the basic point. [Interjections.]
Hence I am saying this debate is not couched in its ideological context. The society that we envisage in the DA article is the one that overlooks affirmative action and the broad-based economic development. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order, order!
Mr E GODONGWANA: What I am trying to say is that in this line of argument when we discuss the developmental state we must discuss it not in the abstract. We must discuss it taking into account the challenges of our nation.
I want to highlight three of them. One of the challenges that face us, which are on the priority list of the ANC, is poverty, income inequality and achieving social cohesion; fighting unemployment to ensure that our people achieve a better life for all, hence we emphasise the decent jobs for everyone.
The third one is the building of a national democratic society -something to which little attention has been paid - where the society is composed of different diversity, class, ethnic groups. A pre-aspect of a national democratic society is to what extent can we build a South African identity and a South African nation. That is one of the challenges that we are facing as a nation.
Having said all of that, what we need, as we have indicated, is a democratic state whose prerequisite is to transform a South African society. Its institutional attributes must be able to structure finance in such a manner that we can grow our industrial base. That is why in our manifesto and in the Polokwane resolution we called for the reorganisation and redesignation of the role of our development finance institutions – a highly trained, quality cadreship - hence the need and urgency for public sector transformation.
We are well aware that the global effects will have an effect on our economomy, particularly the effectsof weak demands, low confidence and reduced liquidity.
Another threat in this growth in the emerging economy is the protectionism which is appearing within the American society, particularly within the stimulus package, the "Buy American". That in itself is a problem. But our policy measures as reflected in the Minister of Finance's Budget Speech reflects a confidence which shows that the ANC over the years has taken policy choices which enable us to have an expansionary fiscal and monetary policy in the given context.
The key issue that arises is whether this global crisis means a rollback of the role of the state? I want to answer that question and conclude by quoting, not from myself and not from a communist manifesto, but from an article in this week's Newsweek, "We are all socialists now", which reads thus:
If we fail to acknowledge the reality of the growing role of government in the economy insisting instead on fighting 21st century wars with 20th century terms and tactics, then we are doomed to a fractious and unedifying debate. The sooner we understand where we truly stand the sooner we can think more clearly about how to use government in today's world.
That is the challenge that we are grappling with as the ANC. It is how to use government in today's world to advance the betterment of the lives of our people. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr E GODWANGANA
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON PRIVATE MEMBERS' LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS AND SPECIAL PETITIONS ON LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL ON ESTABLISHMENT OF A FEED-IN TARIFF TO FINANCE RENEWABLE ENERGY
The SPEAKER: Chairperson, hon members, one thing the environment does to you is that you start working in it and then stay in it forever; so people should not say they haven't seen me in the portfolio committee.
South Africa has been reliant on coal for decades, and our coal-based electricity is one of the cheapest on the planet. However, such a supply of cheap coal comes with external costs in terms of health, safety and air pollution. For example, since 1984, 1 099 people lost their lives in the coal mines of South Africa, and there were almost 8 000 injuries as per the report of 2007 of the Department of Minerals and Energy.
Under the apartheid regime, South Africa was isolated from the rest of the world; self-reliance was key. South Africa had abundant coal fields and large, centralised power plants were built. South Africa, post democracy, needs to grow the economy to provide economic opportunities for all its citizens to improve their quality of life. To do this, energy is necessary. Modern energy services depend on electricity.
Why are we talking about electricity in South Africa at the moment? This is for a number of reasons which have been well documented elsewhere. Eskom's capacity to deliver electricity has not kept up with demand. The acknowledgement that the current climate changes are due to human activity and the realisation that carbon-based electricity generation can have no long-term future has created an opportunity to do something different. Much analysis and debate has occurred as to how South Africa got into its supposed energy crisis, and who is to blame. However, there has not been much public debate about how to get out of the crisis. Right now we have to acknowledge reality. The party is over, and people are seeking light. We have a problem.
While South Africa has made its mark internationally, the global context also influences South Africa. Internationally, there is a technological revolution resulting in technologies that can exploit natural renewable resources and generate electricity. These technologies are being widely accepted in many countries.
Institutions such as the World Bank are investing in renewable energy as in our oil companies such as Shell, which spend R1 billion in renewable energy technologies. I'm not talking about biofuel and hydrogen here over a five-year period. The Google founders, who made their money by seeing the potential of new ideas, are investing in solar renewable energy. This is documented in Business Green of 2008.
Today's global economy cannot be discussed without reference to China. A 2007 report states that 9% of global investment in renewable energy is in China. So, it seems that this is a technology whose time has come. Climate change means we need to move away from our dependence on fossil fuels towards a low-carbon society.
While nuclear has been proposed as one answer, the renewable energy sector is right there, poised to follow international trends and to expand in South Africa. Renewable energy comes without the baggage of the negative risks of long-term storage of highly toxic nuclear waste or the expensive but necessary nuclear safety features and regulatory frameworks.
Under international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, financial incentives such as the clean development mechanisms are not available to the nuclear sector, but could make the renewable energy sector even more attractive to investors.
Over time, our existing coal power plants are being decommissioned, resulting in less and less coal-fired power. However, as the amount of coal-fired power drops, we could implement a number of different renewable energy technologies, gradually replacing the coal-fired power stations with a combination of wind, biomass, solar thermal electric, solar photovoltaic, etc. The cost of nonrenewables increases over time, and that of renewables is predicted to decrease. With nonrenewable resources, the cost of extracting declining resources rises over time. Logically, therefore, the cost of coal and nuclear energy are the most expensive as the future unfolds.
Can we do things the smart way? Yes, I think we can. We sound American now, but yes we can! We have one of the highest solar resources in the world, with solar radiation levels of between 4,5kW and 7kW per square metre. If you look at how much solar energy would be needed to meet the energy demands of each person, it is estimated at 75m² per person. This is a report of Banks and Scheffler of 2005 – page 14 to be precise. So we need to exploit this obvious global advantage.
Goods produced using sunlight power and not coal can command a better export price and will receive preferential treatment if carbon–based production is penalised in the future in order to address climate change. We could have vast power houses of solar and wind generators feeding into the grid, and electricity being used productively to grow the economy at a required 4% to 6%. Employment could be higher. South Africa could market itself as a green producer, if we look at the possible vision of a South Africa post 2030, by attracting international green investment and further enhancing South Africa as a carbon-free tourism destination.
South Africa is able to do this at not extra cost to the public purse and with no lifestyle compromise. The air over Mpumalanga, Ellisras and elsewhere in our country could be clearer. We need investment and we need to start now.
We need to direct internal investment into renewable energy and provide the framework - the feed-in tariff which makes it attractive to foreign investors to build plants and sell electricity into the grid.
This should be fast-tracked. Energy programmes can provide rural livelihoods and allow households to feed into the grid and support solar water heaters. This could provide an improved quality of life.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the hon Rabinowitz for the legislative proposal. Unfortunately, we could not deal with it now. But this debate is meant to make sure that the fourth Parliament will focus on renewable energy and, in particular, the feed-in tariff. Many hands make light work. To quote from a recent western country leader again, "Yes we can". I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr G R MORGAN
Mr G R MORGAN: Chairperson, I would like to thank the Speaker for comments on renewable energy. I certainly concur and the hon Speaker has covered a lot of ground about why renewable energy is important and indeed how we can get there.
The legislative proposal for a feed-in tariff on renewable energy is an excellent initiative that was brought to parliament by my colleague, Ruth Rabinowitz. Although it is in her name, the initiative is supported by a bipartisan group of MPs, as well as hundreds of private citizens and business stakeholders. In fact, I have personally corresponded with over 400 businesses and individuals who support this proposal.
This legislative proposal was opposed by the Department of Minerals and Energy because it believed that the required legislation for a feed-in tariff was already in place. The question must then be asked, why has practically no progress been made in the last five years on renewable energy in South Africa? It is because the government is fixated with large, state-driven energy projects which limit choice and have, in effect, contributed to undermining GDP growth. Further, it is because our state energy planners believe that just because we have 200 years of coal available to us we have to use these resources. Not only is this latter view nonsense, it is irresponsible.
The subject of the appropriate role of the state is often a debate in this Chamber, but there has been insufficient debate directed at the role of the state in the energy planning. Naturally there is an important role for the state in conducting integrated energy planning, something which has been severely lacking over the last decade, and which has been a major cause of insufficient generating capacity during several periods over the last three years. However, the state, more particularly Eskom, needs to understand that it cannot be the sole producer of the electricity to satisfy the needs of a growing economy – it does not have the skills nor does it have access to the required capital.
The DA believes that the state's primary role, besides planning, is to appropriately regulate the energy sector and to provide incentives for an increased number of players in electricity production. Yes, it will be necessary for some time to come that Eskom remains the primary generator of electricity. However, it is the policy of the DA that the natural monopoly of transmission needs to be unbundled from the potentially competitive activity of generation. Eskom's transmission division must be transformed into a separate state-owned company to ensure that all sector participants receive equal access to the national grid.
And this is where the feed-in tariff for renewable energy will truly thrive. It will allow a massive increase in microgeneration, increasingly giving individuals, businesses, and rural communities that are currently off-grid, improved energy independence. Hon members, the feed-in tariff for renewable energy is a sensible and progressive policy.
Renewable energy must not be treated as an afterthought in energy planning. It must become central to energy planning. The DA believes that a target of 15% of electricity generation from new renewable energy sources is achievable by 2020. Not only will renewable energy create jobs but it will also promote the gross growth of GDP.
A 2008 report from World Watch, entitled: Jobs in Renewable Energy Expanding, shows the potential for new job creation. There are, for example, 259 000 jobs in the renewable energy sector in Germany. South Africa can be one of the top ten producers of renewable energy in the world, and thousands of jobs can be created here.
The feed-in tariff for renewable energy is the way to stimulate this market. But not only is the existence of the tariff important, the tariff must also be set correctly. Nersa currently has proposals on a feed-in tariff up for discussion. We must thank them for trying, but, regrettably, the tariff proposals are far too low.
I hope that this legislative proposal can be revived under the new Parliament. I believe that this institution must be centrally involved in providing a specific legislative framework for renewable energy and that the state, whether Department of Minerals Energy, Eskom, or Nersa, should not be left alone to manage these matters. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms S RAJBALLY
Mr G R MORGAN
Ms S RAJBALLY: Chairperson, the Eskom dilemma has become a major setback not only for the country, but for its citizens. The MF is not pleased at the steep hike in the electricity tariffs that our already financially challenged citizenry is made to endure.
We believe that since electricity is a basic necessity the people have been left with no choice but to pay up or sit in the dark. We believe that other means to overcome the energy challenges needed to be explored and that the tariffs being imposed on citizens are the easy fix.
We are pleased that the feed-in tariff has been declined. We believe that the department needs to call in financial experts who will not look at tapping into our citizens' pockets to fix this mess.
The MF, nevertheless, will support this. Thank you. [Applause.]
Dr R RABINOWITZ
Ms S RAJBALLY
Dr R RABINOWITZ: Chairperson, hon members, why did I convene the e-Parliament Renewable Energy Activists, eREACT, group and sponsor theRenewable Energy Private Members' Bill? It is because like fellow parliamentarians here and worldwide, I recognise that we are guardians of our common home, Earth, at a critical time in her history. Global meltdown is a stark reality. Economic meltdown spirals towards global depression.
It is a time to put aside selfish things and adopt solutions that will reduce carbon emissions and create jobs. Germany and Europe have shown the way, with the renewable energy feed-in tariff. It has created 240 000 jobs in Germany and put it two years ahead of its target for 10% renewable energy by 2010. Compare that to our target of 10 000 GWh by 2010 with only 500 produced by last year, although we have everything on our side to promote the use of sun, wind, water and waste, to produce energy.
South Africa is the 12thlargest carbon polluter in the world, in spite of one of the most favourable renewable energy climates. Yet despite verbal commitments from the President down, we lack a coherent policy for renewable energy generation. The direction must come from Parliament to build an integrated legislative framework for renewables. A renewable energy feed-in tariff is not a magic bullet and must be carefully crafted to have the desired effect.
The Department of Minerals and Energy and Eskom want control of the process, to control contracts and to prescribe technologies, while they continue to grant tenders to stimulate new generation capacity.
To its credit Nersa has held hearings on the draft guidelines. The consensus view expressed at these hearings was that the guidelines show shallow understanding of energy economics and will allow Eskom vast discretionary power.
Parliament's stewardship of the process would result in greater transparency, a deeper reach into society for responses, better monitoring of the process and overarching legislation to take care of other aspects of renewable energy.
The guidelines currently do not make provision for solar photovoltaic, they prescribe 50% from hydro - seen as impractical - they don't provide for small independent power producers feeding into mini grids, or for municipalities to purchase the energy. Their tariffs are too low, their contracts too short and in their current form they're unlikely to succeed. Further, they don't provide different licensing procedures for small-scale producers in rural areas who want to compete in this market.
The price of producing energy from coal, concentrated solar power and nuclear power will be similar by 2015. We happen to have the world's best climate for solar thermal energy and 70% of its technology would be available here at our front door. But we must open that door.
The current Parliament's days are almost done. Let us pass this torch on to the next Parliament to light the flame of renewable energy across Africa.
It will make a major contribution to the world's health and harmony by unlocking the potential of the world's fastest growing industry. I encourage all members – current members and future members – to become part of the eREACT process.
My special thanks to Madam Speaker for her vision and to others who have had the vision to keep passing this Bill, so that together we triumph against climate chaos and poverty. Thank you. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move:
That the report be adopted.
Report accordingly adopted.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
Dr R RABINOWITZ
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ON OVERSIGHT VISIT TO PRETORIA TO CONSULT NATIONAL DEPARTMENTS ON THE CHILDREN'S AMENDMENT BILL
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ON PROVINCIAL OVERSIGHT VISITS TO THE WESTERN CAPE, GAUTENG AND NORTHERN CAPE
There was no debate.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move:
That the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on Oversight Visit to Pretoria to Consult National Departments on the Children's Amendment Bill be noted and the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the Provincial Oversight visits to the Western Cape, Gauteng and Northern Cape be adopted.
Report on Oversight visit to Pretoria to consult national Departments on the Children's Amendment Bill accordingly noted.
Report on Provincial oversight visits to the Western Cape, Gauteng and Northern Cape accordingly adopted.
The House adjourned at 17:00.
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