Hansard: Questions of Members of Parliament for Minister's Oral Reply
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 09 Nov 2010
No summary available.
WEDNESDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 2010
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14h03
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
NOTICES OF MOTION
START OF DAY
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr J B SIBANYONI: Hon Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:
That the House-
debates how to improve the representation of women in the judiciary.
Ms M WENGER
Mr J B SIBANYONI
Ms M WENGER: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that at the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House-
debates how municipal income grants, are used and whether there are measures by which the use of a Municipal Infrastructure Grant, Mig, can be improved.
Ms M C DUBE
MS M WENGER
Ms M C DUBE: Hon Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:
That the House-
debates the establishment of the state-owned pharmaceutical company.
Mr D C SMILES
Ms M C DUBE
Mr D C SMILES: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House-
debates the effect that leaks of matric exam papers have on the credibility of matric exams in some provinces and come up with solutions to eradicate leaks.
Ms P MADUNA
Mr D C SMILES
Ms P MADUNA: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:
That the House-
debates the creation of a low-cost retirement fund.
MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
Ms P MADUNA
CAPTURE OF TWO SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZENS BY SOMALI PIRATES
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House-
(1) notes that two South African citizens, Bruno and Debbie Pelizzari, were taken hostage by pirates whilst sailing off the Somali coast on Sunday,
(2) further notes that a third South African, Peter Eldridge, who accompanied the couple, managed to evade capture;
(3) notes even further that no news is currently available as to where and why the couple is being held;
(4) extends the sympathy and support towards the family and friends of the Pelizzaris;
(5) acknowledges the responsibility of the South African government to assist all South African citizens abroad who may be in distress; and
(6) urges the Department of International Relations to take the necessary steps to investigate, not only the whereabouts of the couple, but to ensure their safe release and swift return to South Africa.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION
CELEBRATION OF WORLD SCIENCE DAY FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Speaker, hon Deputy President, I move without notice:
That the House-
(1) notes that World Science Day for Peace and Development, WSDPD, is celebrated on 10 November each year, the days and occasion to remind the world of Unesco's mandate and commitment to science. Since its inception in 2001, the day has proved to be a great opportunity to reflect on the latest advances in science and the challenges science has yet to overcome;
(2) further notes that the World Science Day for Peace and Development objectives are to strengthen public awareness on the role of science for peaceful and sustainable societies;
(3) promotes national and international solidarity for a shared science between countries;
(4) renews national and international commitment for the use of science to the benefit of societies;
(5) draws attention to the challenges faced by science and raise support for scientific endeavour; and
(6) supports this initiative to draw attention to the ways in which science and technology can help to reduce poverty, protect the environment and improve the quality of life for all.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
HASHIM AMLA'S ACHIEVEMENT IN ICC PLAYER RANKING FOR ODI BATSMAN
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -
(1) notes that Hashim Amla has been ranked the number 1 batsman on the latest ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsman;
(2) acknowledges his outstanding performance in South Africa's series victory against Pakistan where he was the leading run scorer, amassing 291 runs;
(3) further notes that this success follows him winning Cricket South Africa's player of the year for 2010; and
(4) congratulates Hashim Amla on this wonderful achievement and wishes him the best of luck for the upcoming series against India.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION
PRESTIGIOUS JAPANES AWARD RECEIVED BY.FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN AMBASSADOR, DR BALDWIN SIPHO NGUBANE,
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Speaker, hon Deputy President, I move without notice:
That the House–
(1) notes that the former South African ambassador to Japan, Dr Baldwin Sipho Ngubane, was honoured with a prestigious Japanese award, the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, by the Emperor of Japan on Friday, 5 November 2010, at the imperial palace in Tokyo;
(2) recognises that this award is conferred on him in honour and recognition of his contribution to promote relations between South Africa and Japan during his term as South African ambassador to Japan between 2004 and 2008;
(3) congratulates Dr Ngubane on receiving this prestigious Japanese award; and
(4) wishes him well in his future endeavours.
MOTION OF CONDOLENCE
MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
MOTION OF CONDOLENCE
(The late ANC Chairperson Alina Machejane Rantsolase)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Speaker, hon Deputy President, I move without notice:
That the House-
(1) notes with great sadness the passing away of the Chairperson of the ANC Parliamentary Caucus, Alina Machejane Rantsolase, MP, on Wednesday, 3 November 2010, after a short illness;
(2) further notes that hon Rantsolase became a Member of Parliament for the ANC in 2009 and has served on the Portfolio Committees of Home Affairs and Labour, where she played a significant role with regard to labour brokering;
(3) remembers that, like many fellow young compatriots born during the period of political repression, she was compelled by material conditions of that time to join the youth anti-apartheid movement in the 1970s to fight against the minority regime's Bantu Education and its exploitative labour system;
(4) believes that Ms Rantsolase was one of the hardest working MPs, who managed to juggle her time prudently in discharging her responsibilities in the co-ordination of Caucus political and administrative business, and political management of her committee as a Whip, as well as finding time for her organisational responsibilities in the ANC provincial structures in Gauteng;
(5) acknowledges that the death of Ms Rantsolase has robbed Parliament, her organisation, the ANC and its alliance partners of a hard worker and outstanding leader who has spent her life serving the people, particularly the vulnerable and less fortunate and who never shied away from any task, no matter how challenging it was; and
(6) conveys its heartfelt condolences to the African National Congress, its Alliance partners and her family.
Ms S V KALYAN
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
Ms S V KALYAN: Hon Speaker, bidding farewell to a member of this House is not a pleasant task, more so when the member who, although relatively new to Parliament, has made such a huge impact in the short time she was here. The late hon Rantsolase became a Member of Parliament in 2009 and served on the Home Affairs and Labour Portfolio Committees. I had the privilege of working with her on the parliamentary grouping in international relations and members' facilities committees, and her input was always positive and in the best interest of Members of Parliament.
The confidence her colleagues had in her when they nominated her Chair of the ANC Caucus, speaks volumes of her leadership qualities. She was instrumental in calming the waters of her caucus and charting a clear vision for them as a whole. Her track record as a proponent for better working conditions and a living wage in her early days as shop steward is perhaps the legacy she will be best remembered for. By all accounts, her willingness to be first in the picket line and advocacy of gender equality endeared her to many. She was desperately ill in the past month of her life, resulting in the untimely death at the relatively young age of 56. I am certain that her loss will be deeply felt by her colleagues in the ANC, her mom, six siblings, her daughter Puleng and her three grandchildren.
The tragedy of life is not in death but what we let die inside of us while we live. It is clear she lived a life filled with passion and energy. Her life was not in vain. Therefore, you can be proud of all her achievements even though she has passed on. We, in the DA, sympathise with you in this moment of grief and pray that, as the hon Rantsolase is laid to rest, her soul is in peace.
Mr W M MADISHA
Ms S V KALYAN
Mr W M MADISHA: Hon Speaker and members present, we are rising on behalf of Cope and the people we represent to give our sincere condolences to the family of the late Comrade Alina Rantsolase. Our condolences also go to the party and South Africans she represented in this Parliament. Her early departure is, to many of us in this House and the country as a whole, not only sad, but also the end of her excellent contribution to the survival of millions of South Africans.
If she was lying here before us today, I would say to her that I am one of the few people who feel extremely saddened by her early departure. I would also remind her that her contribution was not only in South Africa but beyond our seas where she did not only attend international meetings to enjoy herself, but became part of a leadership that built true workers organisations. I would also remind her that, although she had not gone through basic financial training at an education institution, but through her practise as a shop steward, she developed an extreme level of capacity to lead hundreds of unions' treasurers in years of her being a national treasurer for a workers federation.
I would further remind her that her contribution and commitment assisted in the creation of jobs in the country because members will remember that in 1998 when President Mandela convened a conference of the workers government and the civics in South Africa, more than R89 million was collected because of her contribution. Today workers can rise and say that 39 000 jobs have been established because of her contribution. We are also deeply saddened by the fact that we will miss the contributions made by this leader. Indeed, I must say that is extremely painful. Therefore, as Cope, we say "sepela gabotse [farewell] my comrade". [Applause.]
Mr V B NDLOVU
Mr W M MADISHA
Mnu V B NDLOVU: Ngiyathokoza, Somlomo, mhlonishwa Sekela Mongameli neNdlu ehloniphekile ...
The IFP offers its deepest and most sincere condolences on behalf of the entire party to the family and friends of Alina Rantsolase on her untimely and very sad passing. Alina was a true leader of the people, a leader who walked her talk no matter the political consequences and a leader who, by so doing, gained the admiration and respect of all who knew her. Her untimely passing will leave a vacuum which we can only hope will be filled by another rising star of the same ilk as Alina.
Alina rose to the stellar heights of the parliamentary service of her nation and people from humble beginnings as a shop steward at Checkers. Her exemplary work ethic and relentless pursuit of not only self-betterment but also betterment of the people led Alina onto a sure path into politics, a path which, in her case, rewarded her hard work and ethical behaviour with greater responsibilities and duties which, I might add, she never shirked.
Alina was one of this Parliament's unsung heroes, a daughter to the family of the Parliament of South Africa, and we will miss her a lot.
Umphefumulo wakhe ulale ngokuthula, izihlobo zakhe ziduduzeke. INkosi ibe nani. Ngiyabonga.
Mr S Z NTAPANE
Mr V B NDLOVU
Mr S Z NTAPANE: Speaker, hon members, the UDM would like to extend its condolences to the family and friends of the late hon member of the ANC, as well as to her party, and colleagues. By all accounts, as Caucus Chairperson of the ANC, the late hon member played an important role in supporting her colleagues.
The UDM also confirms what has been alluded to by previous speakers. Aside from her service as a Member of this House, she committed her adult life to the cause of workers. Starting as a shop steward, she progressed through the ranks of the labour movement, culminating eventually in her election to the position of National Treasurer of Cosatu in 1999. She occupied this position for a decade. Hers was a life lived in service to others. May she rest in peace. Thank you.
Dr C P MULDER
Mr S Z NTAPANE
Dr C P MULDER: Agb Speaker, agb lede van die Parlement, dit is vir my 'n voorreg en 'n eer om namens die VF Plus ons opregte meelewing en simpatie te betuig met die familie en naasbestaandes van ons kollega, die agb Alina Rantsolase, wat verlede week oorlede is.
Soos wat ons gehoor het, is sy op 'n baie jeugdige ouderdom oorlede. Sy was ook nie lank in die Parlement nie. Sy het 'n kort kans gehad om hier te dien, maar sy was 'n lewende voorbeeld van iemand wat nie noodwendig die geleentheid gehad het vir formele opvoeding en onderrig nie, maar wat tog die hoogste sport bereik het en haarself uitgeleef het ook hier in die Parlement. Dit is bekend dat sy 'n besondere belangstelling gehad het as Tesourier en ook omgesien het na die finansies van almal betrokke waar sy was. Sy het 'n groot verskil gemaak nie net by Cosatu wat die finansies betref nie, maar ook by die ANC.
Ek wil graag namens die VF Plus ons meelewing betuig met haar party wat 'n kollega verloor het. Ons eer haar gedagtenis. Ons het 'n kollega verloor, maar haar familie het 'n geliefde verloor, en ons dink aan hulle. Baie dankie.
Rev K R J MESHOE
Dr C P MULDER
Rev K R J MESHOE: Hon Speaker, I rise on behalf of the ACDP to convey our sincere condolences to the family of the hon Alina Machejane Rantsolase, her friends, relatives, Cosatu and the ANC.
We note with interest that she was brought to Parliament as an ANC Member of Parliament last year as a reward for her contribution to the trade union movement. Her work ethic and impressive self-taught accounting skills made such an impact on her fellow MPs that she was quickly appointed Chairman of the ANC Parliamentary Caucus, and given the job of sorting out the finances in the party.
In addition to sorting out her party's finances, Rantsolase served on the Home Affairs and Labour portfolio committees where her hard work and refusal to play cheap party politics won her the respect of opposition parties. While her reported "no fear, no favours" approach and unflinching insistence that the rules be followed to the letter did not endear her to some in the party hierarchy, it earned her respect among many other people.
Her status as an MP did not change her. She remained down-to-earth, friendly and approachable, and never forgot that she was there to represent the interests of the people struggling to earn their daily living.
The ACDP honours her for these much-needed attributes and qualities that all Members of Parliament should aspire to. May the God of peace bring comfort to her family, friends and members of the tripartite alliance. Thank you.
Ms M N MATLADI
Rev K R J MESHOE
Ms M N MATLADI: Hon Speaker, the UCDP would like to pass on its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Alina Rantsolase. She will be sadly missed for her contribution in the trade unions and her service in our Parliament. Her contribution to this democracy will also be missed.
Fa ke bua le ba lelapa la ga Mme Alina ba ba leng mo gare ga rona gompieno, ke rata gore moriti wa setlhare se le ntseng le tshabela letsatsi mo go sona o wele. Fa go ntse jaana ka Setswana rare:
When everything fails, there is only one answer ...
... mme karabo e mo go Rara yo o kwa magodimong.
The only answer is in God.
O tla le fodisa. Puleng, bana le ba losika, Alina o ne a le rata, o ne a le direla. Le lona le ne le mo rata le mo direla, mme ka metlha le nne le mo gopola. Se le neng le se dira mmogo le dumela mo go sona, le sale go se sala morago.
Fa e le rona re le Palamente re latlhegetswe, mme se segolo se ke tla se gopolang ka Mme Alina ke matlhagatlhaga a gagwe mo tirong, a re ithutileng go le gontsi mo go ona. Ka re go rona Maloko a Palamente ya Bosetšhaba, re ka mo gakologelwa sentle ka go tswelela go direla setšhaba. Robala ka kagiso Alina. Ke a leboga. [Legofi.]
Mr L M MPHAHLELE
Mna L M MPHAHLELE: Mohlomphegi Sepikara, letsogo la Mopresidente, re le ba mokgatlo wa PAC ya Azania, re tšea sebaka se go fetišetša mantšu a hlobošo go mokgatlo wa ANC le go lapa la Mme Alina Rantsolase.
Re le MaAfika Borwa re paletšwe ke go diša. Phiri e dikologile Mokhomoreiti Alina ya ba ya mo tšea re le gona, ra šala re gitla sa masetlapelo sello. Lehu re hwile la pitšana, la segwana nkabe re roka.
Mohlomphegi Sepikara, ke tšama ke tswaka maleme.
To the bereaved Rantsolase family, the PAC understands the pain you are going through, the pain of questioning what should not be questioned and the pain of denying pain. This pain too shall be healed by mother time, by every beat of the heart.
To Comrade Alina, I'll forever treasure the memory of travelling with you on a few occasions from Johannesburg to Cape Town; how we used to burst into laughter whenever we would realise that the airline did not update us from the economy to the business class. You shuttled between the economy and business classes with aplomb. You taught me a great lesson: that true leaders are never status-conscious. A leader will lead even from a donkey cart.
Today we hear your voice in our voices, see your wishes in our wishes, and they say you are still with us. Standing here breathing, part of us is dead. Lying there about to be buried, part of you is breathing. Long live Comrade Alina!
Mr R B BHOOLA
Mr L M MPHAHLELE
Mr R B BHOOLA: Hon Speaker, it is undoubtedly a sad moment for anyone to experience the sorrow of death.
On behalf of the MF, I convey heartfelt condolences and messages of strength, courage and fortitude to Alina's family, comrades and friends for their irreplaceable loss.
Our condolences also go out to the ANC for the loss of an impeccable leader who devoted most of her time working with the broad suffering masses. That is precisely why she has earned the title of "the people's champion".
She pulled no punches of fear or favour when it came to executing her duties as a public representative. She was greatly respected for her organisational skills and lean and clean administration expertise.
With her amazing characteristic love and humility, she leaves a legacy of beautiful thoughts and admiration. She had the passion, courage and persistence to create change.
As we all live through the grace of God Almighty, let us continue to pray that God bestows strength to her family and friends during their time of bereavement.
May peace be granted unto her and may her soul, through the grace of God Almighty, rest in peace. I thank you.
Mr K J DIKOBO
Mr R B BHOOLA
Mr K J DIKOBO: Mr Speaker, Deputy President, the family of the late Alina Rantsolase, we have learnt with sadness about the passing away of Alina Rantsolase.
As somebody who worked in the trade union movement, I have had some interaction with Comrade Alina, albeit minimal. She had a certain presence and dignity, and it was difficult not to notice her.
I read somewhere that she had no formal qualifications in finance. I must say that there was no way of telling that from her performance. If this is indeed true, then she was a self-taught treasurer, and a good steward of the hard-earned resources of the workers.
Azapo lowers its banner for this gallant fighter and, salutes her for the contribution that she made to the advancement in the struggle of workers of our land. And we express our condolences to her family, the entire trade union movement and her political organisation, the ANC.
Long live the fighting spirit of Comrade Alina, long live! May her soul rest in peace! Thank you.
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Mr K J DIKOBO
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: Thank you, hon Speaker, hon colleagues in the House ...
... boo Rantsolase, ditsala le ba losika, kwa tshimologolong fela ke rata gore...
... we are gathered here today to celebrate a life and mourn the passing away of the late Comrade Alina Rantsolase who was called to glory on 2 November 2010. Our presence here today is testament to a life lived righteously; a life that lifted others; a life lived selflessly in order to improve the living conditions of the majority of our people in this country.
It is with a heavy heart indeed that I stand here to address this august House and pay tribute to someone who has been a friend, a comrade, a mentor and a colleague for almost 37 years. We celebrate Comrade Alina Rantsolase's life mindful that words cannot even begin to express our sorrow, nor illustrate the large and eventful life that she led.
This Parliament's discussion here today pays tributes to her and it also provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the significant contributions that Comrade Alina Rantsolase has made in this country. All of us who are present here today will enjoy our individual and collective memories of Comrade Alina Rantsolase. As we depart from here we will also and always remember her as she was indeed a truly great South African.
Today we feel weak and helpless because death has robbed us of a true revolutionary and an exemplary leader. On this day, we feel a deep sense of loss because a caring heart has ceased to beat. The late Comrade Alina Rantsolase made immense contributions to the establishment of a new democratic South Africa.
Because of her fruitful life and many years of service devoted to the liberation cause, she became the embodiment of the progressive woman that we often speak of. Her body has left this material world, but her soul will shine forever in our midst.
Like most of us, our liberation heroes and heroines, Comrade Alina Rantsolase, as we have heard, was born in a rural village in the Free State on March 1954, during the height of the oppressive apartheid regime. Her mother was an ordinary domestic worker.
Born into a poor family and confronted by socioeconomic realities of the then apartheid regime, Comrade Alina Rantsolase became involved in the antiapartheid movement struggles while she was still studying. At that time, she was still very young. From a very young and tender age, the late Comrade Alina Rantsolase's sharp intellectual power stood out and she showed great promise as a leader with an extremely keen mind and a profound sense of perseverance.
Due to her involvement in politics, her schooling was naturally disrupted, like that of many others. She was subsequently employed at the Checkers store where we worked together. Following that, she was, not surprisingly, elected as a shop steward. Also, she played a very pivotal role in negotiations at the time. She ensured that our trade union and the rights of workers are also recognised and fiercely fought for a living wage as well as the working conditions for all workers.
Like all other activists, she fought the apartheid government through serving in the civic structures and also served at the lower ranks of our women structures. She didn't just rise overnight. She worked hard. She rose from the lower ranks of our movement and also became a leader. She became a national leader as early as the late 80s and she devoted her life to the service of the workers and the national liberation movement.
It was during her tenure as a shop steward and later as a National Treasurer of SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union, Saccawu, her own trade union, because she didn't start by becoming a treasurer of the Congress of SA Trade Unions, Cosatu. Through becoming a national treasurer of Saccawu and later a national treasurer of Cosatu Comrade Alina Rantsolase made her mark in the national politics.
She served as a National Treasurer of Saccawu from 1993 to 1999, where we served together. She then became elected into Cosatu National Treasury, a position she held until 2009. She was then elected into this Parliament as a Member of Parliament, as we know.
Given the fact that she was a disciplined cadre, she was in her lifetime also appointed to serve as a chairperson of the disciplinary committee of the ANC in the Vaal region from 1998 to 2000. She was also a chairperson of Human Rights Committee from 2008 to 2009. She served as a member of the National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac, Executive Committee and the Presidential Working Group from 1999 to 2000.
She also represented workers at the global level in the International Trade Union Confederation on the International Labour Organisation committee of labour standards and the Southern African Development Community Labour Social Commission and African Union Labour and Social Commission from 2003 to 2009. She was also a representative of Africa in the executive committee, which later became feared, as the largest trade union secretariat there.
Comrade Alina Rantsolase remained down to earth, friendly and never forgot that she was a servant of our people. Her selfless and staunch commitment to the working class is codified in her illustrious career as a trade unionist. Hon Rantsolase was a woman of principle, soft spoken but very profound. She could disagree without being disagreeable. She shunned superfluous and ever-versed posturing and always focused on the broader national picture and national agenda. Above all, she was a woman of her word who called a spade a spade and not an agricultural tool. She was a woman who always carried herself with dignity and right to the end of her life sustained her integrity, which was beyond reproach.
Hee batho, o ne a rata diaparo. Lesela o ne a le ja, a le montle ka dinako tse tsotlhe.
Comrade Alina Rantsolase also served on a number of committees here in Parliament, Home Affairs and Labour Portfolio Committee, as it has been said. But she was also a Member of the Provincial Executive Committee of Gauteng Province.
At the time of her death, Comrade Alina Rantsolase was the chairperson of the parliamentary caucus, as we know. Her untimely death comes as a great shock to all of us. We will forever remember her as a beacon of inspiration to all of us. She was a guiding light and a pillar of strength to all of us. In Shakespeare's words:
You will never see so much, nor live so long.
Despite the regard she held among her comrades, including members of the opposition party, she never had problems in the organisation, as it was said earlier on, even with the opposition party. Comrade Alina Rantsolase never became conceited or arrogant. She never lost touch with her origins and her commitment to the poor and to the vulnerable until her last breath. She stood out as an irreproachable character.
The Good Book tells us that God works in mysterious ways in order to perform his wonders. I'm talking about God because Comrade Alina was a Christian. She was a believer. Comrade Alina Rantsolase was a wonder that God called to glory. If we believe Matthews' Gospel that the degree of our final reward is dependent on the extent to which we, as individuals, responded to the needs of our brothers and sisters, then we can take solace that Comrade Alina Rantsolase has earned a place at the right-hand side of God and our loss, our grief, is heaven's gain.
Fellow comrades, let us recommit ourselves to continuing her struggle for a just and caring South Africa. Let us rededicate ourselves to her dream of a better world and a better South Africa, free of poverty, free of illiteracy, free of abuse of women and children and free of crime. Let us rededicate ourselves for the building of that South Africa that Comrade Alina Rantsolase dreamt of and worked so hard for.
To the family, brothers and sisters and ...
... Puleng, ngwanake, yo o seyong fa ka maswabi...
... stay strong during this difficult time. You stood by her, side by side, up to the end. We are deeply saddened by your loss. We will cherish the memories of the times we spend together with her. We are with you during this time of grief. May the peace, which comes from the memories of shared love comfort you now and also in the days ahead. Be strong in the knowledge that in your veins runs the blood of a true cadre, a woman among women, a real woman of substance who will always live in our hearts and minds.
Long live the memory of our comrade, friend and sister. On behalf of the ANC, I would like to say may her soul rest in peace.
Ka Setswana gatwe, lalang ka ntho, madi a tshologe. Ke a leboga. A mowa wa gagwe o robale ka kagiso. [Legofi.]
The SPEAKER: I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the family of Alina Rantsolase in the Speakers' Bay. The condolences of the House will be conveyed to Rantsolase family, the ANC and its alliance partners. A book of condolence has been opened just outside the Chamber; members are encouraged to sign it. Sorry, hon members, we are not rising because we did arise when we announced the passing away of hon Rantsolase. Thank you.
Agreed to, with the Presiding Officers associating themselves to the motion.
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS: Hon Speaker, I was going to say that this is my maiden reply to questions.
The SPEAKER: You do look like a maiden today, sir. [Laughter]
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS: Hon Speaker, to respond to hon Zondi's question, the reply to the question is as follows. Yes, the financial guarantee was used to raise a loan to the value of R1 billion to pay outstanding debts to local and foreign creditors. The money from the loan was used to prevent a major crisis at the SABC, and to assist in getting its outstanding debts paid. The loan unfortunately did not resolve the SABC's financial challenges as a turnaround plan is still to be implemented, which is currently being developed by the corporation. Should the SABC continue to incur high expenses on certain costs items, it will certainly find itself in a limited cash flow position again.
The number of issues will need to be addressed as per the corporate plan that was submitted with the guarantee application. I'm informed that in dealing with this turnaround plan that the corporation is currently ceased with, the corporation is investigating measures to bring down the operating costs of the corporation. It is certainly looking at restructuring the organisation so that it could become a fitterorganisation. It is looking at ways in which it could improve its efficiency.
Unfortunately, the details are not available to us yet, I'm informed by the corporation that these are being looked at quite thoroughly, and are being discussed by the corporation and the formulation of its turnaround strategy. They are to present their thinking on the turnaround strategy to the department this coming week, whereupon this strategy will be presented to Parliament. Thank you.
Ms N W A MICHAEL: Mr Speaker, hon Minister, firstly, allow me to congratulate you on your appointment and assure you that I'm looking forward to working with you. As you know, the SABC should have appeared before Parliament's communication portfolio today. However, the committee was sent a letter by the SABC informing us that they would first confer with you and then only appear before us.
At the last meeting with the SABC, the committee sent them away in less than friendly fashion as they had not produced the required turnaround strategy. Could you please tell us if the SABC has in fact presented to you, for your information, a turnaround strategy or did they in fact just miss the 10 November deadline?
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS: Hon member, the SABC is having a meeting with me on Thursday. One of the items on that agenda is the presentation of their turnaround strategy. I have been informed that they have done a considerable amount of work on the turnaround strategy. But, we advised them that we would like to see it before it comes to Parliament. Thank you.
THE SPEAKER: The system is not working, if there are any members who might wish to ask supplementary questions, please raise your hands and I will recognise you.
Ms S R TSEBE: Hon Speaker, hon Minister, in your response you indicated that a number of issues need to be addressed regarding the corporate plan which was submitted with the guaranteed application. My follow-up question is: what are these issues? Are there any measures or systems in place to address them? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS Hon member, I've mentioned that some of the issues relate to the reduction of costs, the restructuring of the organisation and the improvement of efficiency in a number of areas in the corporation.
Ms J D KILIAN: Minister, also from our side congratulations to you. But, we have very serious concerns about the governance issues at the SABC, specifically within the board, which recently led to a spate of resignations and this is very unfortunate for high quality board members.
Largely, due to the publicly expressed frustration with the role of the chairperson, are you aware of the tensions within the board? How do you intend to assist the board to come to grips because board members contend that the chairperson actually transgressed the statutes which govern the SABC? They are very unhappy that they were called in to endorse an illegal appointment. How do you intend to take the process forward? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS: Hon member, I think it is common knowledge now that four board members of the corporation have resigned. You have heard that those resignations have been accepted by the President and Parliament is ceased with the responsibility to consider the replacement of those members.
It is clear from what has happened that there are issues pertaining to the leadership within the corporation, both at the level of the members who constitute the board that Parliament has appointed, as well as at the level of the kind of contradictions within pertaining to the executive management. So, the problem that we are ceased with is giving support to the remaining members of the board and to find a mechanism to work in a way in which they can address the issues that are causing this instability.
We are currently in discussions with members of the board. I'm about to see them on Thursday to discuss this and to ascertain what kind of support they would require to resolve the issues that currently plague them.
So, I would appeal that you give us the time to engage on this matter. We've been on the job only for a few days. We've come to terms to understand precisely what the nature of the problem is. It will not help this House or the corporation, if we go into those details just yet. Thank you.
Ms N W A MICHAEL: Mr Minister, Phil Molofe's appointment prior to the board rectifying such appointment created a situation of irregular expenditure according to sections of the Public Finance Management Act, PFMA. In your financial deliberations with the SABC, will this be discussed and what action will be taken?
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS: Hon member, my information tells me that the board has now formally ratified the appointment of the executive member that you are concerned about, but the details that you raised will be provided in the meeting on Thursday and you will get a response regarding that from the board.
The SPEAKER: Question 3, which has been asked by the hon P J Groenewald to the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, falls away in terms of Rule 1172, as a reply was submitted yesterday.
Question 239 has been asked by the hon B Tinto to the Minister of Energy.
Mr P J GROENEWALD: Speaker, seeing that the Minister responded yesterday to my question, is it not possible that I can respond today to his question? [Laughter.]
The SPEAKER: Well, there seems to be a fact change. The Minister is not available. We'll come back to that question. Let's move on. Question 237 has been asked by the hon S N Swart to the Minister of Trade and Industry.
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Speaker, of the issues that were mentioned in the question, the issue of company registration falls under the Department of Trade and Industry. Company registration will be considerably simplified and the regulatory burden accordingly greatly reduced when the new Companies Act comes into force. The target date that we have set for this is April next year.
The process of drafting regulations which will give effect to the new Companies Act of 2008 has been finalised and they will be published during the course of this month. A rectified Bill to deal with a few errors and omissions in the original Act is also being presented to Parliament.
The new Act, as I said, will considerably simplify company registration processes, reduce the cost of registering companies, and this will benefit small businesses, among others. Furthermore, there is a process to create an integrated business register to reduce the regulatory burden and facilitate efficient registration of businesses. The question of zoning business activity is a matter that falls under the responsibility of municipalities. Thank you.
Mr S N SWART: Thank you, Speaker. Minister, the issue of the cost of regulatory compliance has been raised in the past. It was again raised in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement where it was stated that, "a successful job creation strategy needs to address constraints that make it more difficult to open and expand small businesses."
I thank you, Minister, for your indication that the new Companies Act and regulation will address this issue. Clearly, small businesses face onerous regulatory burdens with the cost of regulatory compliance at about 8% of total turnover compared with less than 1% for large businesses.
Minister, the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement also recommends that all new laws should be subject to regulatory impact assessment to review their effect on small businesses. The ACDP agrees with this view and wishes to know whether the economic cluster will consider this proposal, given the very important role that small business plays in job creation in the country. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Speaker, I thank hon Swart for recognising that the Companies Act is trying to do exactly what the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement says, which is to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses. We hope that we will end the situation where small businesses have to fill out forms, memoranda and articles of association, get a name, and things like that - which won't be a requirement any longer to get limited liability - while too often companies are prepared to buy shelf companies from people who register thousands and thousands of companies because they think that's a cheaper and easier way to go. So, we think that that's going to be a major reduction.
Obviously, if the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement says what it says, and you are correct in saying what it says, this is a matter that will seize the cluster. We are constantly looking to reduce the regulatory burden and red tape on small business. Thank you very much.
Mr S J NJIKELANA: Thank you, Speaker. Minister Davies, the efforts by the Department of Trade and Industry to reduce the burden and red tape for small businesses is quite admirable. Of course, in the context of such efforts, the government has also been earnestly and meaningfully trying to reduce the cost of doing business. Now, the question is: To what extent and in what way will the Companies Act impact on the efforts of reducing costs of doing business? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Speaker, in addition to the company registration process that I already mentioned - which will be much easier, much cheaper, much simpler with less forms and online facilities, and all of that - when the new Companies Act comes in, there will be a reduction in requirement of small businesses to produce audited financial statements. At the moment that is something which close corporations don't have to do, but other small businesses do. They will be able to produce financial statements, but not through auditors and expensive processes of that sort.
There will be an important provision of business rescue in the Companies Act. This means that when otherwise viable companies find themselves in trouble, instead of going into judicial management, which is just a step away from liquidation at the moment, they will be able to go through a meaningful process in which the possibility of that company surviving can be entertained and exercised in a way which we think is very significant. So I think that the Companies Act is a major, major piece of reform. It will bring our company law well into the 21st century and the realm of best practice. I think that it will undoubtedly have major benefits for small businesses. Thank you very much.
Mr T D HARRIS: Deputy Speaker, we welcome the Minister's commitment to lessen the regulatory burden, but I have here a leaked copy of the regulatory impact assessment commissioned by the DTI into Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill last year. I want to ask the Minister why this document hasn't been released to the committee or released publicly, considering that it has very important things to say about this very important Bill that our committee is considering? And I want to ask the Minister when will this report be released to the committee?
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Deputy Speaker, I am not aware of the report that the hon Harris is referring to. If he got hold of a leaked document it may well be a document that has no currency with any of us. I will have to see what document you are referring to. [Interjections.]
Ms J L FUBBS: Deputy Speaker, thank you for the responses that you have already given to this House, Minister. However, there are aspects around the regulatory impact assessments, etc, which don't necessarily relate to the new company registration but to a number of pieces of legislation. When do you expect to complete such a review? I heard you saying it is being considered.
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: The regulatory impact work was actually not done by the DTI, it was done by the Presidency and I'm not quite sure what the time frame is for that. But, as I said earlier, the issue of regulatory impact and the reduction of pure red tape – I think we must distinguish between red tape and other kinds of requirements and regulations which do make some sense – is a policy objective which we have repeated on a number of occasions.
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: Were all the supplementary questions asked last time? You didn't give parties the opportunity for a second follow-up. Were they all asked?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes.
Mr M J ELLIS: Alright, thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF ENERGY (Ms D E Peters): Madam Deputy Speaker, in relation to the Question 239, as asked by hon member B Tinto, the reply is that government has diversified the energy mix in respect of both supply and demand sides.
In regard to the demand side option various energy efficiency interventions have been introduced including the introduction of solar water heating in the residential and industrial sector, cogeneration from industrial processes in order to substitute the demand that would otherwise have been supplied by Eskom and introduction of energy efficiency lighting which is the compact fluorescent lamps, CFLs.
The demand side is complemented by clean energy options on the supply side programmes including the introduction of renewable energy feed-in tariff programmes pursuant to the 10 000 gigawatt of wind, solar, biomass, small hydro and land field gas generation options; the development of the liquefied petroleum gas pilot programme for space heating and cooking in the residential sector; and the introduction of the integrated resource plan with a long-term objective of introducing nuclear energy, imported hydro and imported gas for power generation.
It is anticipated that the South African energy mix will be diversified from 97% coal domination to what the Integrated Resource Plan, IRP 2010 will specify. Thank you.
Mr S J NJIKELANA: Deputy Speaker, hon Minister, it is quite admirable that government is making these attempts of diversification particularly in view of the attempts by the government to reverse the devastating effects of climate change. That is one of the areas that energy mix helps to move away from fossil-base energy supply.
However, another interesting area is the extent to which such diversification will benefit the poor and the disadvantaged. I assume, amongst other things, any effort that is done by government to ensure that there is adequate energy supply should take into account the plight of the poor and the disadvantaged. I thank you.
The MINISTER OF ENERGY (Ms D E Peters): Deputy Speaker, thank you hon Sisa Njikelana, hon member you would remember that late last year we introduced the Regulations of Liquefied Petroleum Gas which make it possible for us to reduce the price of gas which is, actually, one of those energy carriers that is used predominantly by the rural people and the poorest of the poor as a clean energy source.
I want to indicate that already the calculations indicate that, that reduction has brought back almost R500 million into the pockets of consumers. It is important to note that the reduction of gas was intended to create an uptake.
What we have done also is to make sure that with the metros we could engage on a programme on waste to energy. We are looking forward to make sure that within the year we would be able to introduce that particular programme where we are going to use waste to be able to generate energy. That is one of the interventions that we are going to use for poverty relief and, working together with environmental affairs and social development, we believe that it is also one of the programmes that can ensure that we get money into the hands of the poorest of the poor.
There is quite a number of interesting programmes within the Working for Energy Programme that we will be bringing to the portfolio committee in particular. Thank you very much.
Mr P D DEXTER: Deputy Speaker, over the past few years, government has floundered in terms of the energy policy mix. It's never been right. We've had the failed pebble bed reactors, the missing coal stockpiles, now the declining coal deposits and the results for consumers has been blackouts, brownouts and white elephants. Can the Minister state whether, in allowing for this proposed energy policy mix, a level playing field has been created for all investors to have an equal opportunity to invest? Secondly, whether she can give us any assurance that individuals and businesses connected to the ruling party will not be the only ones that benefit from this policy.
The MINISTER OF ENERGY (Ms D E Peters): Deputy Speaker, thank you hon Dexter for your question. The one important thing that we have realised in the process of developing the Integrated Resource Plan, IRP 1 and IRP 2, is that power generation as well as power supply doesn't seem to see colour. The brownouts, blackouts and white elephants you are talking about I don't know about.
What we are doing with the IRP 2010 is to make sure that we will be able to allow for maximum input from all various stakeholders. As we speak, we have been requested by business as well as labour and the other stakeholders within National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac to extend the period for public comments so as to allow for maximum participation on this particular plan. For once we want to make sure that South Africans can have a comprehensive consolidated energy plan that can be able to help those who want to invest, irrespective of the party they belong to, would invest in the 30% power generation going forward and would be able to project their inputs. But, the most important thing is for us to be able to afford South Africans an opportunity to benefit from the new growth path in terms of making sure that the number of jobs that we said we are going to create, in terms of the stipulations of the new growth path, can be realised.
One of the key pillars of the IRP would be to ensure that all the energy carriers or technologies that would be utilised in the next 20 years emphasises localisation. That is why, with the support of the Deputy President, we could agree to the extension of the period for public comments so that even business as well as labour could help us to do the proper calculations in terms of which energy carrier would afford us decent and sustainable jobs. Which energy carrier would make it possible for us to emphasise and realise localisation. I just want to assure you that this is one plan that, including our stakeholder advisory council on electricity, role-players indicated that we want to make sure that we have a plan that we can all agree as South Africa that this is a plan that would help us to generate jobs.
This is a first attempt and we want to make sure, like I said, that there is diversification and we have also insisted that in the plan we need to create space for all the energy carriers. South Africans are also very much alive to the fact that we are being called on to reduce the percentage of coal in our IRP. We are saying that we are conscious of the fact that we need to protect the environment for the next generations. We are not going to be careless and avoid utilising the only reliable source of energy, coal or alternatively, another big base load being uranium. We are going to make it possible that we invest in the different scientific interventions to make sure that the particular energy carrier becomes clean.
That is why we say that we are not going to stop using coal, we are not going to say no to nuclear energy and we say, as government, that we need a plan that is going to be technology neutral. We are looking at making sure that early in January when we table the IRP 20 we would have been sure that the different role-players have made their maximum inputs.
I'm happy that even today the Minister of Science and Technology can indicate that there is a big conference of the scientific academic role-players where some of them are speaking about the importance of changing the picture of the world at night where it is still only the continent of Africa that is dark.
We are looking at the different atlases. In terms of wind we've got the solar radiation indicators. We also have what is called the Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS atlas so that whatever project that we are looking at can be able to make sure and be designed in a way that it can capture, transport and store carbon going forward. As government we say that we want to make sure that once we have a consolidated and comprehensive energy plan for South Africa. Thank you.
Ms P C DUNCAN: Deputy Speaker, hon Minister, we set ourselves a country target of 10 000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy generation by 2013, but it is clear that at this stage we have not even reached 10% of that target. We are also aware that the department has commissioned a review of the White Paper on Renewable Energy and that certain findings have been generated as a result of this review. We would like to know why these findings have not yet been released to the public. This is particularly important given that we are currently finalising the Integrated Resource Plan. These findings should surely be used to inform consultation around this 20-year energy plan. Therefore, we would like to know from the Minister when these findings would be released. Would it be before the integrated resource plan is finalised? If they won't be, then how does the Minister intend integrating the review of the renewable energy White Paper into the country's 20-year energy plan?
The MINISTER OF ENERGY (Ms D E Peters): Deputy Speaker, I want to ensure the hon member that she is correct that by 2010 we have reached about 4%. I just want to indicate that the 29 September call for Request for Information, RFI by the Department of Energy and National Energy Regulator of South Africa, Nersa, was actually a way of making sure that we accelerate the participation of Independent Power Producers, IPPs, in this particular programme so as to be able to make sure that we reach the target.
In 2013 we would have reached the 10 000 gigawatt hours. You would have realised that it is central to the IRP 1, which is the document that we promulgated in December so as to be able to say how far we should be by 2013. It is still located within 2013.
The ruling party emphasises energy mix. I want to say that the integrated resource plan brings everything together that makes it possible for us to generate power. We say from waste to nuclear. That is why we are talking about everything that is usable. To generate power we will be able to utilise that. That is why, in particular, I raised earlier on the indicators that include using waste to generate power.
Together with environmental affairs we are looking at making sure that we can separate waste from source. In that way whatever is not reusable or recyclable would be able to go into power generation because it would be useless material that can be burnt and combusted to be able to generate power.
I want to reassure you that the anchor of our IRP is going to be importation of clean energy sources especially hydro from our neighbours through the Southern African power pull but also gas. We believe that we are going to be able to do that. There are already projects in the region of the Southern African Development Community, SADC, that would make it possible for us to achieve the targets that we set for ourselves in the IRP 2010.
I want also to say that Cabinet took a decision to pursue the Wesco initiatives, which is the potential to generate more than 100 000 megawatt from the hydro schemes in the Great Lakes. Working together with Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, we were looking at hydro schemes within or on the Orange River so as to be able to utilise the power of the water to generate power.
We are doing everything in our power to assure South Africans that the lights will be on and that industries and machineries will continue running. That is why we say that the IRP is a response to IPP2 and a response to the new growth path. Thank you very much.
Mr L W GREYLING: Deputy Speaker, thank you Minister, Minister I listened very carefully to you recent announcement that the launch of the solar park where you in fact stated that we were going to get 5 000 megawatt of energy from solar power over the next 10 years. Certainly, I welcomed that initiative and also welcomed that announcement. Unfortunately, there have been many announcements by the government over the last five years with regard to renewable energy and we haven't reached those targets: 1 million solar water heated; and the 10 000 gigawatt hours by 2013. As you said, we've only reached 4%.
What we've also seen is that, in fact, we are not issuing Power Purchase Agreements, PPAs, to independent power producers with regard to the Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff, Refit. Refit isn't even bringing out stream renewable energy. What are you going to do to address those particular problems including that 5 000 megawatt that you announced from solar energy? I don't see it in the present IRP2. It's not in there. In fact, what we allocated to solar heat is only 600 megawatt. Where does the 5 000 megawatt fit in, in terms of this current integrated resource pan? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF ENERGY (Ms D E Peters): Hon member, I think the point that you have just made is also a very important point that you could make in the public comment processes for the IRP.
I indicated that business, labour and other stakeholders have requested for an extension. The extension allows until 15 December for inputs. I would call on you to do that.
I also want to indicate to you that what we did in Upington the other day with the Concentrated Solar Power, CSP, and Photovoltaics, PV investor conference is market sounding to hear from the investors who have been saying to us we can produce this amount of megawatt from solar. If they have the interest to honour the requirements, policies and directives of South Africa in terms of localisation and job creation, we want to grow local manufacturing with those initiatives.
We are also saying that the IRP is a dynamic document. We all know that the different utilities as well as the IPPs make application to Nersa every three years in terms of the Multi-Year Price Determination, MYPD, process for applications. We want to allow South Africa the space. When technologies improve, the price go down. If we lock ourselves into a 5 000 megawatt plant it means we will have to be able to acquire whatever is required for that solar power station at today's prices. This technology is changing almost like you change your cellphones. I want to say to you that it is important for us that we also become responsible and allow you to know that developed countries have started scaling down in terms of the wind power as well as the solar power. They are all flocking to the developing countries. We don't want to be guinea pigs or the dumping grounds for obsolete or redundant technology. We also want to create space for the entry point of new technologies.
If we start, as I've indicated in the speech I delivered yesterday, we are committed to the first 1 100 megawatt of solar in the first year so we believe that we are going to achieve it with those companies that want to invest with South African or in line with the South African terms.
I just want to say to you that the Power Purchase Agreements, PPAs, it's a purely commercial transaction. We can't determine for the utility or the systems and market operator what the price should be. Every investor, every IPP must negotiate and be able to get a commercial transaction that would be in line with what the tariff is. If we determine it at this level, who is going to be the ultimate payer of that tariff? It would mean that the consumers will have to pay even if we say that the solar power or wind power or whatever power must be sold at R10 or whatever thousands of rand per kilowatt hour.
We need to allow operators, which would be Eskom and the systems operator, to determine tariffs because it would be a commercial arrangement and commercial transaction that they engage in.
I want to say that we are also very wary as South Africa to lock ourselves into that long-term contract for Concentrated Solar Power, CSP, whilst we are busy investing in Research and Development on clean initiatives to clean the coal and clean technology. What if tomorrow there is a way of using coal in a better way and we've got so much reserves of coal here.
I think it is also important that we create those loops for South Africa to be able to use whatever new technology is presented. In September we launched the CCS atlas. We will soon be doing a demonstration and we also believe that very soon, with the support of Australia and Norway, we would be able to start the injection of carbon into the disused gas fields. I think it is important that we remember that we are doing it in the best interest of South Africans. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM: Hon Deputy Speaker, once the determination has been made on how many of the outstanding claims are on agricultural land, the department will be in a position to specify how much of the land will contribute to the 30% target. Thank you.
Ms L D MAZIBUKO: Madam Deputy Speaker, with regard to government's target of 30% for productive farmland to be transferred to black owners by 2014, surely the most important central plank of this policy should be an urgent and comprehensive audit of state land or land which is owned by the state, especially given the fact that the department is now engaged in the process of aggressively acquiring more farmland as part of the Land Reform Programme, which at this stage is of course all but stillborn. What is the Minister going to do to ensure that this crucial audit process begins and that it is completed as soon as possible so that at the very least, the people of this country can finally know just how much land is in the hands of the government, especially given some of the unsubstantiated and frankly irresponsible remarks which have emerged from the leadership of the ANC with regard to the issue of foreign landownership. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM: Deputy Speaker, firstly, there is already a joint task team between Public Works and our department working on this question. Secondly, I think it is not correct for the hon member to say that statements which are made by the ANC are irresponsible with regard to foreign landownership. I think all of us as South Africans have a duty and responsibility to ensure that we look after the assets that belong to this nation, whether you are in the opposition or in the governing party. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr Z M D MANDELA: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. We as the ANC undertook to push back the frontiers of poverty in the Polokwane resolutions by enabling our people to have access to productive agricultural land. Policies such as the willing buyer, willing seller have slowed down the achievement of that target. My question is: What are the department's plans to address policy constraints that have negatively affected the achievement of the 30% target, on the one hand? On the other hand, how will we as government give effect to the Polokwane resolution in finding a new approach towards land reform? I thank you.
The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM: Hon Deputy Speaker, the Polokwane resolution is very extensive. However, with regard to the willing buyer, willing seller model, it is clear. It says that it doesn't work. It is not the first one to say this. The land summit of 2005 made the same determination that the willing buyer, willing seller model doesn't work. That is why we have reduced the three-tier system that we are proposing. On 24 March this year we spoke here in the House and proposed this as a substitute. But this will not be done entirely because we can't do away entirely with the willing buyer, willing seller model. We have to find a mechanism of tempering with its effect because its effect is to raise the price of land. This is because there is one government that has a social responsibility and there are sellers of land that have a profit responsibility. So, these two don't mix. We have to find a way of tempering with this relationship. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L RAMATLAKANE: Thank you, Deputy Speaker and the Minister. Minister, arising from your reply, I just want to get absolute clarity on the issue of land, particularly the restitution claims. We were informed the last time that there were about 4 000 outstanding claims. I see that on the Order Paper it is indicated that there are 3 852 outstanding claims. I just want to get clarity on whether there are 4 000 outstanding claims, and if it is so, what is the programme that is in place to complete this and at what cost? What is the estimation or guesstimate, if you like, in terms of the budget that we can begin to look at, and when can we get those figures? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM: Hon member, there is a big challenge with regard to the details of the actual number of outstanding claims. The 4 000 figure is a figure which we found in the department. But we had then set up a task team to look at the actual figure across provinces. We have five teams now that are working through the provinces. They are led by directors-general to make sure that when we make this statement in future, we are sure that this is the correct figure because the figures that come out tend to change – the next time we will have 4 000 and another time we will have something even as high as 7 000. So, we are not very, very sure.
And this relates to the second part of the question that says how much is really outstanding. In due course, we think over the next two months or so, we will be able to have a clear determination on both questions because of the task teams which are working in the various provinces. Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker.
Ms A STEYN: Hon Minister, there is something I have been struggling to understand. You have just mentioned that you don't have the exact amount of land claims outstanding. If I look at the question that was asked by the hon Groenewald on the amount of projects, land and hectares, this is the question we have been asking in the portfolio committee since last year. So, basically you don't know anything. You don't know how much land was transferred; you don't know how much it cost; and you don't know much is outstanding. But you know one thing. The thing that you do know is that the willing buyer, willing seller doesn't work. So, hon Minister, can you please tell me – you yourself, sir – whether the departmental staff is inflating prices. Farmers ask for R3 000 per hectare. But when it comes to your office, the price is R30 000 per hectare. So, the price was inflated somewhere in between. What method did you use to establish that the the willing buyer, willing seller is not working?
The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM: Deputy Speaker, firstly, I just want to know whether the hon member got the information that she is giving from us. It is not as if that R35 000 ... [Interjections.] We actually did the work. Secondly, it is not the department's officials that are involved in this. Yes we said there could be elements that led to this, for example fraud.
But there is also the problem of valuation. This is because here in South Africa we don't have a curb on the price of land in terms of valuations, and this is a problem. If we could get a valuation price that says 35 000 per hectare and then go to a farmer who says the price is R4 750 per hectare, this should tell us that there is a problem between the valuation and the farmer, who would not have gained anything between the R4 750 and the R35 000. This then means that there is something wrong here. That is why we are proposing and introducing ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, hon members! Please!
The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM: They should be worried about this one, hon Deputy Speaker, because they own the land.
That is why we are proposing a Land Valuer-General for the country to make sure that we set norms and standards on the price of land. This is what is going to come before the House. This is because we can't have a situation in our country where the vast majority of our people do not own land. Their own government cannot access land because prices get inflated by valuers who are not controlled whatsoever. Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Deputy Speaker, the framework for South Africa's response to the international economic crisis, was concluded between government, organised business, the labour movement and community representatives in February 2009.
One of the measures in this framework was provision for a training lay-off scheme. During the second half of last year, we sat down with our social partners, concluded a set of rules that should apply to the training lay-off scheme, identified where we could get money for the scheme and announce it publicly.
The scheme provides for up to half of the wage of a worker to be paid, during periods they otherwise would have been retrenched or placed on short time. Instead, through this fund they can be trained. It was piloted in the last three months of last year and we officially launched it in January this year.
No comprehensive analysis has been made of the total jobs impact of the framework agreement as a whole, given that the measures vary from counter cyclical fiscal policies, support for the infrastructure development programme, to specified industrial and trade interventions.
Perhaps, I can illustrate the impact of the framework by reference to specific employment and industrial initiatives. The training lay-off scheme for example, was reported to have saved 6 375 jobs, up to the end of September this year. The smallest company covered by the scheme had ten workers and the largest company had 1 500 workers.
In addition to that, we set up a fund for distressed companies, administered by the Industrial Development Company, IDC, that saved or created the further 18 073 jobs. The IDC and the Unemployment Insurance Fund, UIF, also launched a development bond aimed at job creation and an additional 19 031 jobs, excluding companies that were on any other scheme, were saved or created through this.
In addition to this, the CCMA itself strengthened its efforts to save its jobs through better facilitation and mediation in cases where companies used section 189 of the Labour Relations Act. The CCMA has reported to us that between October last year and the end of September this year, 8 350 additional jobs were saved in large-scale retrenchment processes. This excludes all the other numbers that I have given. It's not people who are on training lay-offs or any of the other schemes.
We have also launched an effort to combat illegal imports and customs fraud and Sars seized 750 tons of goods by December last year in one sector alone which translates to the number of 1 400 jobs saved. The expanded public works programme of government that the Minister of Public Works previously reported on gives an indication of the kind of measures that are in place and the impact that it has. Thank you.
Mr Z C NTULI: Deputy Speaker, thank you Minister for your comprehensive response. Minister, with regard to the training lay-off scheme, I want to know whether there are any disadvantages for those companies who do not have organised labour, those who do not have unions. What type of training is being offered regarding this scheme? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Deputy Speaker, let me answer the first part of your question. Companies with trade unions have the opportunity to access the scheme because unions can publicise it to workers. They can propose it to companies during a retrenchment negotiation. They can ensure that the training programmes are customised to the needs of workers at a particular workplace and importantly, they can help to negotiate the package of social benefits, like medical aid and so on, that should apply during the training period.
With regard to the training that is offered, it varies greatly because it is demand-driven. It is largely determined at workplace level. Some of these do however indicate specialised skills courses on welding; electrical and refrigerator operations; rigging; charcoal manufacturing; health and safety, including HIV and Aids management; supervision courses and courses on entrepreneurship. This just gives a flavour of the range of activities. Some companies have introduced Adult Basic Education and Training courses. We are encouraging companies to use the opportunity now to strengthen Information and Communication Technology, ICT, skills at the workplace. As the economy and employment recovers, workers also have a much greater skill set that they bring to the productive process. Thank you.
Mr L S NGONYAMA: Deputy Speaker, hon Minister, the question of training is quite broad. If people are not given specific qualifications, it can have a negative impact. It is like investing in a situation where you do not have any future gains. Is there any specific qualification that these people are given after this training and what duration of training is needed for people to qualify for that specific qualification?
The MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Deputy Speaker, I think I would agree on the importance of qualification in instances of training, but it is important to distinguish what this does.
Typically, before we had the training lay-off scheme, when there is a slack demand in a company, the option that was often used is simply to lay workers off through retrenchments. They then permanently lose their jobs.
Through the training lay-off scheme, we have created a facility that a company can access. Instead of retrenching a worker, they place them on short-term training. The duration of the training could be up to three months, full-time equivalent. It does not need to be taken in one period, it could be spread out. You could have two days training a week, stretched over a period longer than three months, but equivalent to three months full-time.
The types of training is determined by the discussion between business and labour at plant level, but the Sector Education and Training Authority, Setas, at industry level helped to co-ordinate some of the training. So the facility is certainly available for all skills that workers have obtained to be certified through the Setas. Thank you.
Mr P J RABIE: Deputy Speaker, in his state of the nation address last year, the President mentioned the possibility of a wage subsidy for youth and this particular topic was also mentioned by the Minister of Finance in his Budget Speech, earlier this year.
South Africa experiences job losses and it is estimated that almost a million South Africans lost their jobs. It is also estimated that more than three million South Africans between the ages of 18 and 35 are unemployment. Is government considering the imposition of a youth wage subsidy, in light of our alarming rates of unemployment? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Deputy Speaker, let me start by confirming the importance we assign to dealing with the crisis of youth employment or unemployment. If you look at the data, it is quite revealing. More than half of our young people are without jobs, more than three quarters of the unemployed, are young people. This is a crisis that we have to deal with.
In government's view, it will require a multiplicity of interventions. We'll have to do many things and we'll have to do them smartly to address the issues of unemployment. We are now busy putting together a comprehensive response to youth employment, which will include targeted measures for companies. It will also include measures in the public service through using public works programmes, more aggressively targeted at young people.
In the growth path, we have identified sectors of the economy where, in fact, young people can and ought to be employed in large numbers. Government is looking at all those options, putting them together in a coherent package and will announce them as soon as the work is concluded. Thank you.
Mr N SINGH: Deputy Speaker, there is no doubt that the implementation of these schemes have a positive social impact.
With the implementation of these schemes, is there a cost-benefit analysis being done, so that, at the end of the day, we know that if we have spent R50, it was well spent, but if we had spent R500 you might as well have given the person R200? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Deputy Speaker, I think the view we have taken during the recession we experienced last year, is that we need to bring in new tools to manage job losses. As we gain experience in this, one of the critical issues would be to do the cost-beneficial analysis
The first thing that we are doing now through the work of the IDC is to measure the cost per job for all the interventions that we undertake. That figure is monitored constantly to see whether, in fact, through our interventions, we are increasing the number of jobs per million rand that is utilised. I thought I should also indicate that these are not passive subsidies. In a number of cases, they are a bridging means to get companies back into viability.
On the website of one company that utilised the public resources, Bell Equipment, they say the following and I quote:
After the very tough 2009, due to the global recession, Bell Equipment has announced a profit for the first six months of 2010.
Bell was one of the earliest in the industry to be hit, in view of their make for stock requirement, but now it is one of the first to recover. They then go on to say and I quote Gary Bell:
We appreciate the support received from government and the IDC loans. We look forward to further engagement on ways in which we can further increase local employment and develop the local supply base. So far this year, Bell has been able to re-employ 250 people at the Richards Bay plant and this number will increase as demand improves further.
The point is that these interventions are intended to bring companies back into viability and to the extent that we achieve that and that we keep the cost of support for each job as low as possible, they constitute an effective and good intervention. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS (Mr R L PADAYACHIE): Hon Deputy Speaker, when the mobile cellular telecommunications service companies, which are mobile operators that are commonly known as Vodacom, MTN and Cell C, were licensed by the regulator, part of the license conditions for all of them was to submit a roll-out plan and a timetable to cover the South African population, including rural areas.
Furthermore, it is a requirement that these mobile operators report on the roll-out plans annually to the regulator so that there could be measurements made on the progress established against the committed timelines that this mobile operators have committed themselves to in their business plans.
One of the priorities in terms of these roll-out plans is to cover areas which previously did not have cellular coverage, specifically the rural areas or the under-serviced areas as we call them.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, Icasa, regulates and makes an analysis of the rollout reports that these companies provide and any cellphone coverage gaps that are identified for that particularly period under review by the regulator is brought to the attention by the regulator of these specific companies.
Sometimes, of course, consumers from these companies when they have trouble with this cellular reception, they will complain to the regulator through a special complaints section and the regulator would be able to raise these matters with the cellular companies.
Icasa will then make the respective operators aware of these shortcomings and request them to expand the networks accordingly, so that those areas, which are normally in rural areas, can in fact get the kind of cellphone coverage that they require. Operators are then expected to report on progress separately on such specific cases over and above their respective annual reports.
Mr K M ZONDI: Hon Deputy Speaker, the IFP congratulates the hon Minister on his appointment to this important portfolio. Arising out of the Minster's reply, this morning we had a presentation at the portfolio committee by the Universal Services and Access Agency of South Africa, Usaasa, and we were startled to learn that they are still struggling to grapple with the definition of universal service access. There is also confusion as to who is responsible for the implementation of universal service access to Information and Communication Technology, ICT, services between them and Icasa because of the lacuna that exists in the Electronic Communications Act. Now, will the hon Minister's department be taking steps to sort out this confusion, as it impedes delivery in this nature? [Time expired.]
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS (Mr R L PADAYACHIE): Hon Deputy Speaker, the hon Zodi raises an important issue and it is true that there is a lacuna in the Act which the department is currently looking at. The Usaasa is also quite right in that; up until now, there hasn't been any agreement on the definition of what standards of service provision should exist from area to area. The notion of defining what is called an underserviced area is still a problem to be resolved and that is a task that Usaasa has to address because it is part of its mission, and it has to deal with this matter in conjunction with the regulator. So, we will be keeping a very close eye on this particular matter.
Ms W S NEWHOUDT-DRUCHEN: Deputy Speaker, hon Minister, I just want to know, do we have checks and balances in place in the country to ensure progressive realisations of network coverage so that we can ensure 100% coverage in the rural areas? If yes, how far have we come to achieve this objective; and if no, what measures are in place for the development of such a framework? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS (Mr R L PADAYACHIE): Hon member, that's precisely one of the matters that is on our agenda right now and we are about to implement serious engagements with different sectors within the ICT community; and one of them is the companies that are responsible for the provision of mobile cellular coverage.
We have been convening a series of round tables to discuss with them this particular point and to establish what their plans are to assist the country to obtain the kind of coverage that we want better than what they are able to provide just here. So, that's the first step in developing the kind of plan to get the outcome that the hon member is talking about.
Mr M SWART: Hon Deputy Speaker and hon Minister, as you all know that it is a right to all South Africans to have access to in formation, does the Minister feel that 3G and broadband access is efficient; if not, what plans are being put in place to ensure that rural areas specifically have access to the information network; thus improving economic opportunity and equality of education? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS (Mr R L PADAYACHIE): Deputy Speaker, hon member, I can only support you on that by saying that it is a desired outcome that we are working towards to try and get much better coverage 3G for all consumers in our country. It is central to the department's strategic plan and this is the matter that I, as a new Minister, am busy engaging in with the department to see exactly what is on the table. If there isn't any, we are certainly going to get there. Thank you.
Ms J D KILIAN: Deputy Speaker, Minister, actually you have a wonderful opportunity to create a new vision for this communications portfolio. What is your vision as far as government's role, concerning the improvement of access to communication networks in rural areas? World surveys have found that in most cases where there was a lack of access in the further afield communities, it was as a result of regulations and lack of government actually putting forward funds for infrastructure roll-out because 47% is a lack of funding by the government. Does government or you see that we should invest, as South Africa, in the rural communities, to improve access to cellular and broadband facilities also in those areas? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS (Mr R L PADAYACHIE): Deputy Speaker, hon member, it is a state of commitment of government's programme that we have to ensure that our rural areas, which are underserviced, receive the kind of infrastructure that we think that they should have. So, it is a priority commitment of this government to ensure that in any way possible we develop the underdeveloped areas in our country. And certainly the establishment of the effective communication's infrastructure is very much a part of that particular plan.
The reality is that, we have to do this within the context in which we bring various parties to the table to collaborate with the government. Government on its own is not going to be able to do this. Therefore, we will have to engage the private sector, which has the intellectual capital and has the investment resources to come to the party. These series of round tables that we intend to have over the coming weeks, will also have that particular item on the agenda for discussion with the private sector. We would invite the top 30 companies in the ICT sector to discuss with them whether they are open to such an invitation to come into partnership with the department in the reconstruction of this particular sector.
We would also like to establish from them precisely what the nature of the issues are that they would like us to tackle as government to construct this agenda for engagement. One of the matters is precisely what they can provide to assist us in meeting the infrastructure backlogs in our country. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon Minister, yes, the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector, including hunting, has had severe job losses between the first and third quarters of 2010. We are estimating that over 100 000 jobs have been shed in the third quarter of 2010. This can be seen in the context of the continuation of long-term declining trends in employment within primary economic sectors.
However, the agriculture value chain is one of the priority sectors of the current programme of government, both in terms of economic growth and employment creation. With the implementation of agro-processing initiatives proposed under the Industrial Policy Action Plan, as well as plans to elevate agriculture as one of the priority sectors under the New Growth Path, there is potential for the decline in employment trends to be reversed, over the medium- to long-term.
In conjunction with this, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has made inroads in the marketing of South African products in the Middle East, Far East and the African continent. We have, furthermore, expanded our access to cheaper finance for both smallholder and commercial farmers. Our development of skills research and development has seen an additional development of the sector, and we hope that this will contribute towards job creation in the future. I thank you.
Mrs N M TWALA: Deputy Speaker, has the Minister held any discussions or workshops with agriculture value chain organisations, organised agricultural organisations like National African Farmers Union, Nafu, AgriSA, and the Transvaal Agricultural Union with the view of increasing the number of job opportunities in the sector? If so, what are the outcomes of such discussions or workshops?
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Hon Deputy Speaker, indeed the question is very valid and we'd like to inform the hon member that we have signed delivery agreements with the various unions in our sector, in agriculture, forestry, as well as in fisheries. Our different commodity groups have also been consulted.
We are particularly working with Grain South Africa to address the unintended consequences of the surplus maize we have in our country. We have also consulted and are working with different commodity groups to look at job losses and the future potential of stemming the tight of job losses in the industry.
We would like to say that - with the National Agricultural Farmers Union - we are developing a package for the development of smallholder as well as subsistence farmers. Instead of black farmers being part of the informal industry or informal job creation sector of agriculture, we wish to graduate them from subsistence farming into smallholder farmers, and then, eventually, into commercial farmers. Thank you for that very good question, hon member.
Mr L S NGONYAMA: Hon Deputy Speaker, let me come back to the Minister as the originator of this question, and say to the Minister that if we talk empirically currently, I share the hopes and the wishes that the Minister is referring to. However, if we look of what we have now in terms of Statistics SA and of the graph in front of us, the decline of the contribution by agriculture to the GDP of the country has reached crisis point, from 11,5% to 4,5%.
Yet, in 2006 the then Minister of Agriculture, Thoko Didiza, said if we invest a R100 in the agricultural sector, we are able to generate jobs in more than any other sector. However, currently we are having a situation that is reported to us by Statistics SA. I hear the Minister, and I would like to say that I share the wish and the hope of the Minister, but we need extraordinary measures to turn around the situation in the agricultural sector.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Madam Deputy Speaker, I do not think that what the hon member Ngonyama just said now was a question; it was a statement which I agree with. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr N D DU TOIT: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Minister, has the department established whether a link or correlation exists between job losses in agriculture and provinces where a high level of land claims were completed? What combined strategy does the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development follow to address these job losses? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Madam Deputy Speaker, no such investigation or research exists. So I would be purely thumb sucking if I would respond to the member. And yes, we do have a very good working relationship with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, and together we are working on addressing the job losses in the sector. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Chairperson, there are 453 irrigation schemes in the country, totalling 490 787 hectares. There are 51 irrigation schemes in the Eastern Cape, covering 81 076 hectares. The Free State province has 12 irrigation schemes; Gauteng has 6; KwaZulu-Natal has 44; Limpopo has 180; Mpumalanga has 35; the Northern Cape has 26, covering 131 434 hectares; whilst the North West province has 24 irrigation schemes which cover 45 000 hectares. The Western Cape has 75 irrigation schemes, covering 126 000 hectares.
The irrigation schemes are functional to various levels of operation. Unfortunately, a large number of the smallholder irrigation schemes are suffering reduced efficiency or have collapsed. In some instances some of the commercial irrigation schemes have been underutilised and are in need of upgrading and re-establishment. The collapsed or reduced efficiency of these irrigation schemes is due to various reasons, including conflict, lack of farmer participation, lack of markets, as well as a need for the upgrading of infrastructure and equipment. Those that are being brought to increase operation include those that are being addressed by initiatives undertaken by provinces as well as the department.
In KwaZulu-Natal, an allocation of R30 million has been made to the Makhathini Irrigation Scheme. This will be used for the replacing of pipelines and fittings; maintenance of the roads; as well as repairs. The irrigation-related projects which were identified by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial Department of Agriculture also related to the R13 million of the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme, Casp, budget which was mainly used to address vegetable production, broilers and refurbishment of irrigation.
We also have the Limpopo business plans of R29 million. Mpumalanga has allocated R2,7 million for the development of irrigation infrastructure, as well as R4 million for the installation of irrigation infrastructure ...
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, on a point of order:
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): What is the point of order, Mr Ellis?
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, I am led to believe that questions of an oral nature should not be questions that require enormous numbers of statistics and details to be given. [Interjections.] If you note, Mr Chairman, this is an ANC question. But, Mr Chairman, an oral question is something where you are seeking information, and a written question is one where the statistics and many details are given. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon Member, the Minister is already finished.
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, I do not think she has finished. It looks like she has quite a few pages to go.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): I take note of your point, but the Minister is already finished.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Chairperson, you are correct, I am just about reading my last sentence. All of the former homeland irrigation schemes had a food plot section, and many of the food plots suffered the same collapse as the commercial sections of the former homeland schemes after 1994. They need to be revitalised. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon Ministers, I think hon Ellis is correct. Next time you ought to bear that in mind. Is there a supplementary question, hon Mosoane?
Ms M E PILUSA-MOSOANE: Yes, Chairperson, and thank you hon Minister. Arising from the Minister's response, it is clear that we have approximately 5 700 hectares of listed irrigable land which, if all utilised, can make a major contribution to food security and empowerment of new irrigation farmers, as well as the creation of employment. What measures does the Minister's department plan to put in place to get all schemes functional so that we can lessen our dependency on imports, and possibly even produce enough wheat which can bring down the price of bread for the poor? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Chairperson, thank you very much, hon member. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has an interministerial committee which works on on-farm and off-farm infrastructure. This infrastructure includes infrastructure development programmes, as well as the Expanded Public Works Programme, which is investing in infrastructure for irrigation schemes. We are convinced that, as you have correctly said, these irrigation schemes would lead to better food security, particularly in the rural areas. Thank you.
Mr N D DU TOIT: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, now that we are talking about irrigation schemes, how is it possible that a former HOD of the Department of Agriculture in Limpopo can be appointed in a senior position in the department at a national level, while at that time, on the recommendations of Limpopo's Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, the MEC, Mrs Letsatsi-Duba, launched an investigation into what the Auditor-General described as irregularities in three tenders worth R45 million awarded to the company Floppy Irrigations ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, there is a point of order, please.
Mr C T FROLICK: With all due respect Chairperson, that is a completely new question with new details that are required. The hon member cannot honestly expect the Minister to have the details available.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order, order, please!
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, may I respond to that?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): May I just make a ruling here, hon Ellis.
Mr M J ELLIS: Yes, thank you, Mr Chairman.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Even if it is an entirely new question, I am going to ask the Minister whether or not she wants to reply to it.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: It is a simple answer, the member ...
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, on a point of order: The truth of the matter is that the hon member has not yet finished asking the question. He has not yet put the question. He is simply making a statement leading up to a question being asked. I would urge you, Sir, to allow him to finish.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon Ellis, I think that hon Frolick heard the member, which is why he objected. But, I did say that I was going to ask the Minister whether or not she would be prepared to answer the question. You are saying that the member had not finished.
Mr M J ELLIS: He is not finished, Mr Chairman.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Would you finish your question, hon member?
Mr N D DU TOIT: Thank you, hon Chair. The three tenders worth R45 million awarded to the company Floppy Irrigations, and which allegedly implicate the involvement of the same HOD; my question was: How is that possible? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: The particular official referred to has not been appointed in the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; he is simply completing his contract, which ends at the end of November.
Mr R N CEBEKHULU: With regard to the answer that the Minister has given on the number of irrigation schemes that are in the provinces, may I ask, in relation to the farms that the state bought for emerging farmers - more especially those that are in KwaZulu-Natal - that are currently not productive and whose pipes were vandalised, what are the department's plans to revive those farms? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is working with the Land Bank on a development strategy for smallholder farmers whose farms are currently under distress. Thank you.
Mr L RAMATLAKANE: Hon Chair, hon Minister, arising from your confirmation in your reply to the hon member that indeed the said official continues to work in the department, but only because he is finishing a contract; does it mean that the issue of corruption and the misdemeanours that officials, from time to time, get involved in is not taken seriously by the department, but rather it just continues to keep them under its employment instead of dealing with the particular official?
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Chairperson, thank you very much, hon member. The said official was removed from the province so that the investigation could be completed unhindered. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Dr R H Davies): I thank you Chairperson. The answer is that there were no penalty clauses written into the contractual agreement signed between the South African government and arms deal companies relating to job creation, direct or otherwise.
The penalties are applicable to obligations that were defined in terms of investments and sales, both locally and for exports. The job creation targets were estimates based on the expected outcomes, from the fulfilment of contractual obligations defined in these terms. Moreover, the estimated jobs include direct and indirect jobs and are cumulative in nature.
There is no contractual recourses available to the department should the 65 000 job target not be realised. The reality, however, is that this number has been exceeded to repeat the 65 000 jobs expected from the implementation of the National Industrial Programme, Nip, obligation, are both direct and indirect and cumulative in nature. The latest assessment conducted in 2009 on the Nip reports that 26 442 direct jobs were created compared to a target for direct jobs of 19 000 and, that the total number of jobs direct and indirect and cumulative in nature since the Nip programme started was 85 000 jobs of which 73 000 were attributable to the arms deal compared to the 65 000 target. Thank you.
Mr T HARRIS: Chairperson, thank you, the Minister is correct in pointing out that the Nip performance review claims that 26 000 jobs were created by arms deal offsets, but on 9 March 1999 the Minister of Defence, Joe Modise, stood before this House and promised the creation of 65 000 jobs from the arms deal offsets. He did not stand here and promise that the offsets would create 26 000 jobs, which would then stimulate further economic activity and which would then encourage additional job creation.
Will the Minister admit, therefore, that the arms deal was sold to the South African public on the strength of a promise that has not been kept? If so, what steps will he take against defaulting contractors?
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Dr R H Davies): Chairperson, there were a number of reports that emerged from the investigation that was conducted some years ago. One on the trade and industry looked at this matter in some detail and, the fact of the matter, as I said before, is that the job target totals were both direct and indirect and were cumulative. So, they included the jobs in the construction of the plant and the jobs were created in the plants there after. That is how they were constructed. The total then of all that together was 65 000 jobs, as I said. When we used the same methodology again, and see what was achieved. We have achieved it and I think that is to say simply that part of the value for money of the arms deal was that we should achieve the obligations of the obligors and I think we have done that. Whether the Nip programme needs to be refined and made much more explicit in terms of job targets, I think is something to work towards in the future. It certainly would be a focus for the refinement and the improvement of the National Industrial Participation Programme. Thank you.
Mrs HAJAIG FATIMA: Chairperson, thank you Minister for your comprehensive reply. So our new industrial policy programme seeks different ways to grow our economic base. Hon Minister, what could be done through the Nip to indeed build the required capacity? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Dr R H Davies): Chairperson, member, thank you very much for that question. That is exactly the point I was trying to make at the end of my response to Mr Harris.
What we are doing is part of our comprehensive review of procurement in making sure that procurement becomes a tool for industrial development and to review the Nip. At the moment, what is happening is that you import $10 million and you are supposed to negotiate an offset to the value of about one third of it.
The problem has been that it is not clear whether it is applicable to municipal government provinces or just the national government. I think that, in so far as an arms deal is concerned, we have achieved, broadly speaking, what was required at that particular point. But we need to be able to achieve much more from procurement by way of encouraging local industrial development and the reform of the Nip as part of procurement to get much more local industrial development. This is one of the major objectives of the industrial policy action plan and the work on that has proceeded to a quite advanced stage. Thank you.
MR T HARRIS: Chairperson, my question is: does the government have a standard approach to measure a number of jobs they intend to create, or can we simply inflate any real job target they have announced by around 3,5% to come up with this indirect job target, which somehow approximates a number of jobs created? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Dr R H Davies): I think that the indirect jobs do reflect the reality that if you create a job through a project it also spends our purchasing power, which creates other jobs so that that multiplier has a real effect. However, I do think from now onwards we are going to be much more explicit instead of, as in the past, defining obligations simply in terms of investments, exports and things of that sort so that we get a foreground of what we expect to achieve in terms of job creation. And I think that direct job creation, is where we should really be focusing our attention. So far, if people would pay attention to the way it was constructed in the past and did not look at the detail; well, I am afraid that's their fault.
Mr P M MATHEBE: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister one of the strategic objectives of this government is to create decent work and one of the pillars of the National Industrial Participation programme, is the transfer of skills and technology from the countries where procurement of more US dollars has been done. So, in the past 10 years of the Nip programme, was there any significant transfer of skills or technology to this country? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Dr R H Davies): Chairperson, yes, there was a transfer, there were investments. I think that one of the issues we want to address in refining the Nip was the obligations that were required in virtually every sector. So, you are an arms manufacturer, your obligations could be in virtually any other industry and that is what happened. And I think what we want to do is, we want to make the obligations much closer to the area of expertise of the company which is incurring the obligations and in that way, by also refining, as I said, to bring the job targets to the fore. We want to make this Nip part of our overall attempts to get the industrial development of procurement programme. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Hon Chairperson, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries distributed tractors and agricultural machinery and equipment to the Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces to increase the capacity of the various projects and programmes implemented in these provinces to address the mechanisation needs of household food security and household food produces for subsistence farming.
The department has not distributed seeds, fertilisers and diesel because this is covered and budgeted for through the various support programmes implemented by provinces. So, items like seeds, fertilisers and diesel have been provided for by the provincial departments of agriculture.
The equipment will be deployed to target areas identified by the President where medium- to high-potential agricultural land is available and where available land allocated to households is not cultivated. The tractors and implements will be available to groups on common land and to individuals with small land areas.
Operation and maintenance costs will be budgeted for through provincial budgets, as well as through the national budget. The equipment targets those that are not able to afford mechanisation equipment and do not have the ability to pay for contractors to cultivate their land. Due to the small size of plots, the mechanisation cost is considerably higher than at commercial farms. The other seven provinces will receive equipment during the following financial year.
The criteria used to allocate equipment are determined by various programmes in each province. The aim of all these programmes is to develop rural communities and to improve household food security locally. I thank you.
Ms R E NYALUNGU: Chairperson, arising from the reply of the hon Minister, is there a liaison with provincial departments regarding the distribution of seeds, diesel and fertilisers? Without the two tiers of the department working together, tilling land will not be meaningful if these ingredients have not been supplied. When exactly, Minister, does the department hope to make equipment available in the other seven provinces?
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Cahirperson, hon member Nyalunga, yes, we are working with provincial departments to supply seeds, fertilisers, as well as diesel. We are also working with the Department of Higher Education, as well as the Sector Education and Training Authorities, Setas, in particular, to look at the licensing of farmers so that they have the necessary licenses required to operate tractors.
The development of programmes in the remaining seven provinces will happen, as we are consistently evaluating what is happening in the first two provinces that we have supplied with these things. Before we do a roll-out or unfold this programme to the rest of the country, we have to correct the mistakes which we have made in the first two provinces. All of the mistakes which we have made were on the co-ordination of the supply of equipment versus that of the seeds and fertilisers, as you have correctly stated. I thank you.
Mr N SINGH: Chairperson, thank you, Minister, we just hope that these were not expensive mistakes that were made - when the seeds and things were distributed. I am aware that about R15 million was spent in KwaZulu-Natal in the acquisition of seeds and fertilisers. In most of the areas, these were given to beneficiaries who are not agriculturally productive areas. So, this was really a waste of money – largely a waste of taxpayers' money.
But what I would like to know, hon Minister, is the following: Can you, at some stage, provide us with information on where in KwaZulu-Natal these tractors were given and whether there is a contractual arrangement between the recipients and government? Are the recipients individuals or co-operatives? What kind of maintenance plan is there to ensure that this equipment can be handed down over generations? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Chairperson, I do appreciate that the hon member does not expect me to give that information immediately and that the question will be for a written response. I thank you.
Mr J R B LORIMER: Chairperson, hon Minister, does the department have an idea how many of the tractors delivered are replacements for previous issues and what the total cost was? Could you elaborate on the measures that are in place to monitor these sufficiently trained operators and to ensure that the process is sustainable? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Thank you very much, hon Chairperson. I do appreciate the questions. But these are statistics which I do not have at hand. I shall provide them in written form. Thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TOURISM: Chairperson, yes, the department has developed a toolkit for tourism planning in the local government. Workshops were held in all provinces wherein district municipalities were invited and participated. It must be pointed out that the document received overwhelming support from various municipalities.
The interactive workshops focused on the following toolkit themes: the importance of prioritising tourism in the local government level; clarifying municipalities' role in tourism at the local government's level; success factors; how to do strategic planning; and, by extension, where to start when planning for tourism.
Based on the lessons learned during our interactions, the department intends to focus on provinces and municipalities that are predominantly rural in nature. These future inductions will include dissecting the toolkit and practically highlighting possible first steps in planning for tourism. Interestingly, the department has been invited by the Eastern Cape municipalities in late November this year to kick-start this process. Thank you.
Ms J M MALULEKE: Thank you, Chairperson, and thank you, Deputy Minister, for your informative response. As you said in your response, you have interacted with provinces and district municipalities. Do you have plans to interact with local travel authorities, as they are the custodians of the land in rural areas? Thanks.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TOURISM: Thank you, Chairperson. As the hon member would recall, traditional leaders form part of municipalities. So, they participated in the process of consultations. They did this, of course, with the understanding of their role in rural development. This consideration will be prioritised in the upcoming interactions.
Mr G R KRUMBOCK: Chairperson, with all due respect, Minister, if that was a comprehensive response, I am not sure I would like to hear an evasive one. You are making reference to toolkits, dissecting the toolkits and workshops, yet there is very low support for rural tourism and local development.
In the capital city of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, there is a pitiful amount of R800 000 to promote the city - difficult as it is. We know that you have cut up to R165 million from SA Tourism over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period, and that constitutes 60% of the budget. In fact, your department is critically underfunded. It cannot compete with our long haul competitors, and we are losing ground.
Is it not true, Deputy Minister, that you actually cannot do enough to support local government and rural tourism because so much money is spent propping up state-owned enterprises and parastatals? We are going to take a very long time before we can actually do what we should do - support tourism in these areas and start alleviating poverty where it is needed most.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TOURISM: Thank you very much, Chairperson. Mr Krumbock has been asking this question in various ways throughout the time I have been in this Parliament. But it is important to say that this is a process in which we seek to assist the local government in their planning. The process so far has reached a situation where we have interacted with all the relevant stakeholders. Moving forward, the plan that assists municipalities is under way. In subsequent questions, perhaps as part of the questions that have been asked, we will be highlighting exactly what our programme and strategy is, as the department, in enhancing domestic tourism. This would then focus on rural areas or rural municipalities in assisting them as the department, aside from what SA Tourism is doing, which is also tackling issues of domestic tourism. Thank you.
Ms M A A NJOBE: Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister, it is a well-known fact that most municipalities lack critical skills and capacity. My question therefore is whether municipalities will manage with the new functions bestowed upon them by the department. And again, what role will the department play to close the gap of the capability levels between national, provincial and local government? I thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TOURISM: Chairperson, may I start by saying that these are not new functions that are being given to municipalities but part of the functions of municipalities. What the national department is doing is to work with municipalities and assist them in the capacities that are not necessarily available to plan and develop programmes around tourism. Our department is also setting up a unit within itself that is going to focus on assisting municipalities around this matter. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS: Hon Chairperson, I want to respond to hon Michael's question. The first part is whether there were any measures: The answer is yes. Measures have been put in place to ensure that Sensor technology, Sentech, is able to meet its financial obligations. Sentech's business plan for 2010-11 was revised by its new board of directors during the first quarter of the current financial year. The business plan was approved by the Department of Communications in June 2010 and was presented to Parliament in October 2010.
This plan recognises that, unless specific cash management measures were introduced, the company would not be in a position to meet its operational financial obligations by November 2010. The business plan was founded on the urgent need to restore the sustainability of the company, in order to avoid any reliance on the shareholder to provide additional funding for the company's operational expenditure.
In order to restore the sustainability of the company and to avoid any reliance on the shareholder to provide funding for the company, a number of stabilisation activities were implemented by both the executive management and the board itself.
These activities particularly focussed on achieving financial cash flow stability through increasing the collections against the billings and minimising actual expenditure and additional commitments for spending. In support of this, the company also undertook additional internal mechanisms, including improvements in internal controls and reviewed its business processes and policies.
As a result of the execution of these measures, we now can report that the company's cash flow has improved significantly over the last two quarters. It is clear from the figures available from the company. The company has been able to turn around its cash flow position significantly and as a result, it is now able to meet its operational financial obligations and it is projected to continue to do so for the remainder of the financial year.
Ms N W A MICHAEL: Chairperson, hon Minister, following the receipt of Sentech's financial statements and its revelation of its continued financial ill-health, can you tell us if financial experts have been called in to assist Sentech in their attempted financial turnaround? If so, who are they? If not, will such experts be called in to assist Sentech in the future?
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS: Chairperson, I do not have that information as to whether the experts have been called in, available at this stage, but I am reliably informed that the measures that were executed were measures undertaken by the board. May I also add the part which I had omitted in the earlier part of the question? There were two parts to the question. That was whether there was any application made to National Treasury for bailout funding. The answer to that is no. The last part of the question was whether Sentech had made any applications to the National Treasure for a government loan and the answer is no.
Ms J D KILIAN: Chairperson, Minister, the former Minister and director-general visited Brazil and announced an about-turn on the European or Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial, DVB-T, standards for digital migration. This about-turn of standards will without doubt, also place a further additional strain on Sentech's financial viability. How should the institution protect their more than R300 million investment in Digital Data Transmitter, DDT, networks for European standards and how will they fund the prolonged dual elimination period that the standards issue has caused? How should the emerging manufacturers overcome this about-turn? Can the Minister please help us and advise us how he would handle this matter? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS: Chairperson, hon Kilian has sneaked in a question on the standards issue which is also on the order paper in question 260. Let me just say that the matter of standards is open at the moment. It is still under discussion. We are certainly awaiting a report from Southern African Development Community, SADC, which is meeting at the end of November, I am told. The SADC community has instituted a special task force to interrogate what might be the best and appropriate standards for the region.
All the Ministers in the SADC countries are awaiting the outcome of that particular report which should be towards the end of November. That would give us an indication of what the region should do. Until then, we are continuing to assess and review what the position is but I think we are all guided by the portfolio committees in Parliament that have instructed us to be very careful and assess the implications of the review. Should the review recommend alternative standards to the current policy, we will have to weigh these very carefully and come back and look at how we deal with them.
Right now, we have a policy, we have a review in place and we are awaiting the view of the region on all of this. Clearly, there are several lobbies in the market place as to what we should do. The emerging manufactures are one such lobby andthey would have a preference for a particular standard. There are others that are saying, developmentally, we are counselled to have different kinds of standards but at the end of the day, it is what is in the best national interest of this country that will determine how we move. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Hon members, the time allocated for questions has expired. Outstanding replies received will be printed in the Hansard.
The House adjourned at 16:48
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