Hansard: Second Reading debate: Government Immovable Asset Management Bill [B1 – 2006]
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 29 Mar 2007
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 29 MARCH 2007
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:05.
The Deputy Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS – see col 000.
MOTION OF CONDOLENCE
(The late Dr I M Phillips)
The ACTING CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move:
That the House –
(1) notes with deep shock and sadness the passing on of Dr Ian Phillips on Monday, 26 March 2007;
(2) further notes that Dr Ian Phillips served the people of South Africa and humanity generally in various capacities as an academic, a researcher, and an activist for peace, freedom and democracy;
(3) recalls that Dr Phillips was amongst the first of our public representatives to serve in the first democratic Parliament from April 1994. He will be remembered, among others, for his incisive analyses, modesty, humility and the great contribution he made during the constitution-making process;
(4) believes that Dr Ian Phillips was a South African patriot who helped lay the foundation for the democratic society we enjoy today; and
(5) extends its condolences to his family, friends, the African National Congress and South African Communist Party.
Mr B A D MARTINS: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members, comrade Dr Ian Phillips was born in Nairobi, Kenya on 14 January 1959. He matriculated in 1976 at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth. He obtained a PhD in history in 1984 at Rhodes University. He lectured in history and politics at Rhodes University between 1981 and 1986. From 1986 to 1994 he lectured in history and politics at the Universities of Cape Town and Natal.
Dr Phillips was amongst the first of our public representatives to be elected and he served in the first democratic Parliament in April 1994. He played a key role in drafting the section on security in South Africa's Constitution. He served as special adviser to Minister Jeff Radebe at the Department of Public Works from September 1996 until June 1999, and the Department of Public Enterprises from June 1999 to 2004. Finally, he served in the Department of Transport from 2004 until he passed away on 26 March 2007.
He held political office from 1990 to 1996 in the ANC and the SA Communist Party's regional executive structures. In 1990 he was a founder member of the Idasa Military Research Group and later he served on its Security Research Forum. He frequently held seminars, conferences and workshops on defence, the defence industry and security-related topics organised by the Centre for Conflict Resolution of the University of Cape Town, as well as the Institute for Security Studies, the Mayibuye Centre and other formations.
In 1998, he was a non-executive director of Denel, serving on the board of audit committees and also the corporate and aerospace and ordinance committee.
Dr Ian Phillips authored a number of articles and presented a number of formal papers at major conferences, seminars and workshops.
Comrade Ian also served the people of South Africa and humanity at large in various capacities as an academic researcher and an activist for freedom, peace and democracy. He was a revolutionary intellectual and a member of the ANC and SACP until the end of his life.
He was held in high esteem for his open-mindedness, consistency, critical mind, and enormous depth of knowledge. His humility and dedication to the struggle of our people and his principled approach to the many challenges facing our society and the African continent leaves a lasting legacy.
He made an immense contribution to the common understanding of defence and peace, both in South Africa and on the African continent.
He lived an incredibly full life, loved his country and its people, and the many diverse cultures and collective experiences that make up South Africa and the African continent. He enjoyed African music, good food, and had a very good sense of humour.
May his memory live long. Long live the memory of Comrade Ian Phillips. [Applause.]
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, I was personally deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing away of Dr Ian Phillips. Although I only met him for the first time in 1994 when he came here as a newly elected Member of Parliament, I actually knew about him several years earlier when he lectured my son in political science at the Durban campus at Natal University.
My son used to tell me about this somewhat radical lecturer, a proud Communist with a great sense of humour, who was extremely popular and highly competent in what and how he taught.
It was therefore very good to meet him personally in 1994. I soon realised that what my son had said about him and how he felt about him was indeed very accurate.
Although he only stayed at Parliament for a few years, during that time he certainly showed a deep interest in matters relating to defence, safety and security and intelligence. During the period of the Constitutional Assembly we can well remember that Dr Phillips contributed hugely to the chapter in our Constitution dealing with security services. He was very good indeed and we acknowledge the role that he played.
My colleague Stuart Farrow, Member of Parliament, who has worked with Dr Phillips more recently than I have, paid this particular tribute to him in the Transport budget debate earlier this week. He said:
Ian was a professional in every sense of the word. His political background, coupled with his intimate knowledge of his subject matter, be it in public works, public enterprises or transport, will be sorely missed by all that dealt with him.
He went on to say:
I know I can speak on behalf of many of those members of minority parties who, over the years, had dealings with him, of his passion and dedication to make things happen.
He was an intellect of note, and no request for his advice and assistance, be it big or small, went unanswered.
Many of us in this House, and many of us outside of this House, probably had the pleasure of enjoying a drink with Ian at which time his dry sense of humour would become even more sardonic and drier than usual. He could be remarkably witty indeed, but he was always good company. I for one regret that the opportunity to talk and joke with him on such occasions has very sadly ended.
We will remember him in particular for his devotion to his work, his party, his colleagues and his friends. We may not all have agreed with him politically, but we certainly respected him, and he will live long in our memories.
The DA wishes that those he leaves behind receive this House's sincerest condolences. We all have lost a very good man. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr P F SMITH: Madam Deputy Speaker, the IFP joins with the other political parties in expressing its condolences to the family and friends of Dr Ian Phillips as well as to the political parties of which he was a member.
Colleagues, those of us who have been here since 1994 will recall that he was a member for a couple of years. I think it was until 1996, whereafter he went to join Minister Radebe in, I think, three Ministries.
We may as individuals and as political parties not have seen eye to eye on everything political, but I must say that I can recall – to use an appropriate term – him being a fairly feisty character at times.
We do recognise that he served Parliament and his Minister with loyalty and dedication. We understand that his untimely and very sudden death is a great loss.
He had intellect and he used it for the betterment of the country. He was a patriot.
So, as ex-colleagues in this House, we therefore express our regrets at his passing. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr H B CUPIDO: Madam Deputy Speaker, on behalf of some of the smaller parties, together with the rest of Parliament, we mourn the passing of Dr Ian Phillips.
Dr Phillips was a special adviser to the hon Minister of Transport over his three successive Ministries – Public Works, Public Enterprises and Transport.
Minister Radebe will surely miss his wise counsel tremendously, particularly with the challenges presented in the run-up to the 2010 Soccer World Cup. However, Dr Phillips' contribution to the Transport department and Parliament will remain as a legacy with us forever.
We also wish to extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the family and friends of Dr Phillips. We pray that our heavenly Father will comfort you at this time, and give you His peace. May Dr Phillips rest in peace. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms S RAJBALLY: Madam Speaker, it is with great regret that I come to the podium to extend our condolences on the death of the late Dr Ian Phillips.
The MF extends its deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones of the deceased. May God bring light into your home and be your strength in this difficult time.
To the ANC and the SA Communist Party, we extend our condolences on the death of an outstanding member.
To the late Dr Ian Phillips, may you rest in peace in the gardens of Heaven. Thank you. [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Of course, I am sure there are no objections to the motion. Oh, sorry, the hon Green.
Mr L M GREEN: Madam Speaker, the FD wishes to join others in expressing its condolences to the family, the ANC, the SA Communist Party and the colleagues of the late Dr Ian Phillips.
When we assembled in Parliament for the first time in April 1994, Dr Phillips was among us, and we all remember the sterling contributions made by him during the constitution-making process. His exceptional skills as an academic and researcher will be well remembered.
He always gave of his time, and he used his broad insight and wit to assist anyone who sought his advice or recommendations related to his work. His keen mind will be a loss to the Ministry, to Parliament and to the nation, but his legacy as a gifted and humble servant of the people of South Africa will be remembered by all of us.
May his soul rest in peace. I thank you. [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Hon members, the condolences of the House and those of the presiding officers will be conveyed to the Phillips family, the ANC and the SA Communist Party.
Motion agreed to.
REPRIMAND BY THE SPEAKER ABOUT ABUSE OF TRAVEL BENEFITS
The SPEAKER: I now wish to turn to the issue of the reprimand to certain members of the National Assembly. Am I assured by the Whips that the hon members are in the House?
Hon members, on 3 November last year I requested the Deputy Speaker to convene the disciplinary committee to consider appropriate steps to be taken against eight members of the National Assembly in respect of whom judicial processes in regard to the fraudulent use of travel vouchers had been concluded.
During December 2006 judicial processes were concluded against four other members of the Assembly. Those cases were also referred to the disciplinary committee. The committee has now reported its recommendations to me in regard to the 12 members who entered into plea bargains with the state.
Hon members, travel benefits are made available to members at public expense to assist them in carrying out their duties and responsibility as public representatives.
In this report to me, the disciplinary committee raised the important point that our systems should be clear and unambiguous in their application so that Parliament is protected from future fraudulent actions. This has already been done, as you are aware.
I remind the House that in 2005 a task team was formed to advise the presiding officers in this regard. Following their recommendations, a new travel system was put in place, including a travel office to assist members with their travel arrangements and enquiries.
In considering the matter of the misuse of travel facilities, I have taken cognisance that the institution's administrative controls may in the past have been ineffective in detecting fraudulent transactions. I also took into consideration that hon members may not always have fully understood the policies relating to the use of travel vouchers.
Having pondered over these and other factors, including the deliberations and recommendations of the disciplinary committee, I have decided to issue a reprimand to the following members for their imprudent conduct. As I call their names, could the hon members please rise:
Mr T J Louw, Mrs M S Maine, Mr P D N Maloyi, Mr L J Modisenyane, Mr C M Morkel, Ms E Ngaleka, Mr R Z Nogumla – I believe he is not in the precinct - Mr D A A Olifant, Mr R D Pieterse, Mr B M Solo, Ms J E Sosibo and Ms B Thomson.
Members, under your own signatures and while being assisted by legal counsel, you have each admitted to wilfully either defrauding or stealing from Parliament amounts ranging from R33 000 to R241 000. I view the actions to which you have confessed in an extremely serious light and as unbecoming of members of this honourable House.
When you first entered this Chamber, each one of you solemnly promised to perform your functions as a member of this House to the best of your ability and to uphold the laws of the land. That promise places on you, as on all elected representatives, an extra responsibility also to espouse the highest social values. However through this case, you have abused the public's trust.
Not only have your actions reflected negatively on the integrity of all members of Parliament, but on the integrity of this esteemed institution generally. That is totally unacceptable, to say the least. You may now take your seats.
Hon members of the House, in applying any sanctions I act only within my legal authority. I shall therefore communicate, as advised by the disciplinary committee chaired by the Deputy Speaker, with the relevant political parties on any other steps that only they can consider in response to the transgressions of their members. The work of the disciplinary committee is not yet complete. It is now proceeding to consider the cases of 12 other members. On this, I shall return to the House in due course.
That concludes the matter of the disciplinary committee.
GOVERNMENT IMMOVABLE ASSET MANAGEMENT BILL
(Consideration of Report of Portfolio Committee thereon)
Order disposed of without debate.
The ACTING CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I hereby move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
GOVERNMENT IMMOVABLE ASSET MANAGEMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS: Madam Speaker, hon members, senior officials of the Department of Public Works, ladies and gentlemen, as public servants we occupy privileged positions in society. The country and its people have entrusted us with the ultimate responsibility to change the lives of South Africans for the better. We have at our disposal resources, not least our passion and patriotism to transform the social make-up of our country by eradicating both poverty and hopelessness inherited from apartheid.
One of these resources is land and property that the state holds on behalf of all the citizens of the country. These assets of state not only enable us to transform the property industry, but they also create an opportunity for changing the spatial development planning of the past. We have indeed, through the disposal of some of these assets, contributed to the land reform challenge. To date, about 43 621 hectares of land has been given to the Department of Land Affairs for restitution purposes and land redistribution.
Currently, discussions are underway with the Department of Housing to look at how some of the state assets can be used to support our housing backlog in a manner that contributes towards integrated human settlement.
As a result of the discussions during the development of the property charter, which is awaiting gazetting by the Minister of Trade and Industry, we are discussing possible elaboration of our disposal policies which can guide us on utilising this instrument in creating opportunities for empowerment in the property sector. As the largest lessee in the property market on behalf of government departments' accommodation needs, we are also looking at how we can utilise our procurement muscle to influence broad-based black economic empowerment.
The immovable assets of the state, namely the land and buildings, are literally the concrete foundations upon which service delivery rests. Government, its departments and agents require these resources to function effectively and efficiently, and as custodians we are therefore tasked with management of these assets for the realisation of government's socioeconomic goals, not least the delivery of essential services.
The fact that the South African government is the owner of such a large portfolio attests to the investment both in terms of time, planning and money that has gone into acquisition, operation and maintenance of these assets for the creation of a better life for all.
Their optimum management is consequently an obligation that as general government we cannot escape. It is well known that historically, immovable assets management practices in government resulted in assets slipping into disrepair, largely due to poor planning for the acquisition and use thereof as well as inadequate funding for maintenance of such assets. Hon Blanché and other members yesterday attested to this fact and somewhat asked us to go to Cabinet and come to Parliament with appropriate measures. I'm sure Mr Blanché will be very happy that we went before him to Cabinet, and that's why we are here today.
Government land and other structures would stand vacant because proper planning failed to inform the essence of their acquisition and the extent of their usage. In general, the prevailing culture of replacement rather than ongoing and diligent maintenance eventually costs government significantly more than what ongoing preventative maintenance would have - at the same time creating an eyesore due to the way such abandoned and unused buildings or unkempt properties look.
To overcome these challenges and ensure continued improvement in exceeding the expectations of our people, government required a uniform immovable asset management framework. Yesterday, in my budget speech, I alluded to the National Infrastructure Maintenance Strategy that was developed by my department and approved by Cabinet in July 2006. Flowing from this strategy is the government-wide implementation plan that my department, together with other infrastructure departments, will soon be rolling out to rehabilitate public assets, most of which are currently in a dilapidated state requiring major investment to restore them to their former glory. That's why, working with the Umsobomvu Youth Fund, we have also agreed that 10 000 young people should join the national youth service on building maintenance so that they can be the core of our people who can rehabilitate our buildings to their former glory. This is one of the solutions to the historical problem characterised by the minimalist approach to the management of the state's immovable assets, which spans decades. As the hon Radebe said, yes, when we as the ANC government see a problem, we offer a solution.
Since 1994, government has prioritised fixed asset management and government-wide immovable asset management legislation. Against this background, my predecessor uNkosazana Stella Sicgau approached Cabinet and obtained approval in 2003 to develop a comprehensive policy framework to govern immovable asset management throughout government and to implement this policy by means of legislation.
As Members of Parliament would know, the objectives of the Bill that we are presenting here today are to provide a uniform immovable asset management framework to promote accountability and transparency, ensure effective immovable asset management within departments, ensure alignment of the use of immovable assets with service delivery of departments and to optimise the value to be derived from immovable assets allocated to departments.
Madam Speaker, the legislation and the regulations to be promulgated will require all national and provincial departments to adopt a uniform approach to the management of immovable assets, irrespective of whether such assets are government-owned or leased, and will set minimum norms and standards for the planning, acquisition, operation and maintenance and reuse or commercialisation of immovable assets.
All departments, whether they are custodians or users of immovable assets, will be required to annually comply with asset management plans that will form part of government's strategic planning and budgeting process.
And I dare say, Madam Speaker, even Parliament will be expected to do so. Whether assets no longer meet service delivery requirements, custodians must consider the re-use or commercialisation of such assets to the best advantage of the state - taking into account socioeconomic expectations of the state.
However, it is important to emphasise that immovable assets which are of strategic importance to government should not be disposed of. I must say, hon members, that in considering the commercialisation of assets, custodians should also take into account the preservation of heritage, cultural and environmental values. It is important for me to indicate that when we allocate space to you as government departments, you are actually a user and not a custodian. Custodial responsibility remains with the landlady - and that is me in this instance. [Laughter.] So, don't attempt to enter negotiations to sell the space that we have given to you. You are a tenant; we will take care of you. When you don't need it, bring it back to us. That applies to all government departments and all public entities that actually utilise state buildings. I'm saying this because I don't want you to misinterpret the paragraph that says that if you don't need the building, then think about its commercialisation and reuse - that is not your responsibility.
The Bill also provides for immovable asset performance criteria that will highlight the impact of underfunding on maintenance and overuse of immovable assets. By making such impacts visible, custodians should be in a position to respond in a more structured manner to the service delivery needs of users.
This Bill further addresses the dual accountability that has been created between users of immovable assets and the custodians thereof. By providing a consultative strategic plan framework for custodians and users, and in the spirit of co-operative governance, the continuous interaction between users and custodians should contribute to the optimal use of the state's immovable assets.
Madam Speaker and hon members, the Department of Public Works consulted with all national and provincial departments on this policy. In particular, we consulted with National Treasury to ensure consistency and alignment with the Public Finance Management Act and its regulations, as well as National Treasury's strategic planning and asset management initiative.
We also consulted with local government to ensure that local government itself aligns its asset management plan as well as its responsibility for managing local government assets with the objectives of our legislation. We have agreed with the Portfolio Committee that we will continuously work with local government and Salga to ensure that, within their current legislation, we can work on regulation that will clearly articulate their responsibility in the management of government immovable assets.
Maintenance, hon members, is therefore the key if we want to keep our assets in shape. I want to assure hon members that with our current budget we will do what is possible to bring those buildings into shape. For those that we cannot attend to in the current year, we will make the necessary allocations in the coming year.
Hon Fezile Bhengu, chairperson of the portfolio committee and members, I would like to thank you for the manner in which you have worked with the department to bring this legislation to this Assembly today. To all the members in the committee who through their active involvement have engaged us as a department, we would like to say thank you for your oversight role. We thank the department, led by the acting Director-General, Zingisile Ntsaluba, with his team, particularly Siphiwe and Lydia who were the pioneers in this process, as well as Bax Annandale, our lawyer. Our brand-new Director-General, who starts his work on Monday, has also been invited to this House so that he can clearly be part of this process and so that, as he leads and marshalls his forces, he knows exactly what mandate this Parliament has given him. Thank you very much, hon members. [Applause.]
Mr F BHENGU: Speaker, Minister, hon members present, this has been a tedious process. I just want to thank the Minister for spearheading this Bill through trying circumstances. At times, in considering the Bill, it was as if we were the archenemies of your departmental officials, Minister. Instead it was a mere battle of ideologies, born of cross-purposes and nothing acrimonious or personal.
In supporting the Bill, and not taking away what the Minister has said, I wish to highlight the fundamentals of the policy which will clear the so-called battle lines that were drawn. The policy, as adopted by Cabinet on 17 August 2005, took cognisance to include the provisions of the Bill to apply in the local sphere of government.
In paragraph 5.6.1 of the policy, which is about its objectives, it reads:
The Constitution mandates the national government to pass legislation for all spheres of government, if the purpose is to establish uniformity and to set minimum norms and standards with regard to service delivery. The Minister of Public Works was mandated by Cabinet to formulate and implement a government-wide policy framework for immovable asset management and to implement the policy by means of legislation.
The aim of this policy is to introduce a government-wide immovable asset management framework. It will be implemented through the promulgation of the Government-wide Immovable Asset Management Act (GIAMA).
The GIAMA will make it incumbent on organs of state to demonstrate that they are managing immovable assets efficiently and effectively and will provide a government-wide enabling framework for immovable asset management. The purpose of this framework is -
· to provide the organs of state with guidance in respect of the management of immovable assets throughout their life cycle;
· to establish uniformity and ensure the application of minimum requirements in managing immovable assets and their related delivery of services;
· to enable the whole of government to ensure the demonstrable linkages between service delivery and immovable asset resource planning and co-ordination;
· to establish accountability for the effective, efficient and transparent management of immovable assets; and
· to ensure that decision-making by individual organs of state takes place within a government-wide common framework.
The last point that I want to talk to is 5.6.2, which is about the applicability of the policy.
The principles of this policy will apply government-wide, without taking away existing mandates, roles and responsibilities, to all organs of state, including national and provincial government departments, municipalities, constitutional institutions, national and provincial trading entities, municipal entities and relevant public entities on which both the Public Finance Management Act and the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act have placed an asset management responsibility.
The Minister talked much about that.
The Minister of Public Works intends to introduce legislation applicable to national and provincial government in Parliament in 2005. Due to the complexity of legislation governing local government and varying levels of autonomy regarding public entities, the department will embark on a more extensive consultation process before submitting equivalent legislation tailored to local government and public entities.
Ngqongqoshe, kuyajabulisa ukuzwa ukuthi cha usayibambile nokuthi usuze wakhuluma nozakwenu ngale ndaba. Iyona ebikade idala inkinga kakhulu ngesikhathi sishukashukana nawo uMthethosivivinywa lo. Kodwa kuthe uma sithola ubambiswano kubasebenzi boMnyango wakho, sakwazi ukubona ngendlela efanayo. Sifuna ukubonga kakhulu maqondana nalokho. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[Minister, it is exciting to hear that you are still working and you have finally managed to talk to your colleagues about this issue. It is the one that was creating a big problem when we were discussing this Bill. But when we got help from the workers from your department, we were then able to see this issue the same way. We wish to say thank you very much in that regard.]
It therefore explains that at no stage was the local sphere excluded when the policy was formulated. The policy mandates the Minister to initiate an extensive consultation process before submitting equivalent legislation tailored to local government and public entities. I think I have explained this and the Minister has also alluded to it.
Members, you will appreciate if I may then turn to some of the issues that were a bit of a concern to the committee, that there was no legislation informed by a policy that talks to asset management, which includes asset management plans for the custodian and users.
Ubukhuluma ngomasitandi nomqashi, emqashweni. Ubukhuluma ngalokho impela kanye nokuthengiswa kwempahla kahulumeni. Ngikuzwile-ke Ngqongqoshe ukuthi uthe seniphinde nahlangana nozakwenu ukuze nihlanganise lokho. Sijabula kakhulu, ngani ngoba sekuyabonakala ukuthi senijombile naya phambili. Sithi sikhuluma nibe niyenza into. Siyafuna futhi ukuphinde sibonge nalapho. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[You were talking about the lessor and the tenant. You were really talking about that and the selling of government assets. I heard, Minister, that you said that you have again met with your colleagues to address that issue. We are very happy because it's clear that you have made progress. And when we tell you to do something, you do not waste time, but you act there and then. We again wish to thank you with regard to that.]
The Bill, as the Minister said, introduces measures that will address the legacy of the past where several of the state assets up until 1994 were not defined and could not be accounted for. That resulted in some would-be immovable state assets deliberately being donated and surreptitiously claimed and transferred to private ownership. Some properties were left dilapidated, in a state of disrepair and loss of value, which resulted in enormous repair and maintenance costs to government. This also contributed to a backlog in maintenance.
You now find, Minister, property speculators who are privy to information esingayazi thina [which we are not aware of] regarding unaccounted-for state properties, disclosing this because they want to make trade-offs with the state. There are also those who speculate and buy state properties at a low price and resell at exorbitant prices. The call made by the Minister in her Budget Vote yesterday, members, regarding a moratorium and six months amnesty from 1 April 2007, on voluntary disclosure of information to those who know and occupy state property is relevant, appropriate and very much welcome, Minister.
By the way, let me congratulate you, Minister, for the resounding support the Vote received from all political parties yesterday.
This brings to mind what you also said yesterday, about the implementation of a property academy, and your commitment in establishing concrete interventions that support empowerment and increased participation by the previously disadvantaged groups and by black- and women-owned businesses in the property market. This is worth noting.
Bengithi mangithi jwaphu, noma singasakhulumanga ngayo kakhulu. [I was just mentioning that in passing, even though we did not discuss it in depht.]
Coming back to my speech, there are grey areas that concern the committee regarding assets that are utilised by state-owned entities. I think the policy talks to that and you are also looking into that matter. Unverified research by the committee suggests that no processes were followed in the acquisition of these assets by these entities. In their financial books the properties are listed as their assets. They benefit millions in profit when they dispose of these assets. As earlier said, the legacy of the past is still with us. You will agree with me, Minister, that this concern needs your attention. Sizomane sihlangane, sibuye siyixoxe le ndaba kabanzi. [We are going to meet regularly, to discuss this issue extensively.]
Having said that, I want to conclude by highlighting a few issues that are also contained in our recommendations, that a uniform immovable asset disposal policy be developed. Ubusuyishilo ngane yakwethu. Uyayibona-ke le nto ebengiyisho izolo? [You also referred to this one, my colleague. Do you now see what I was saying yesterday?] You normally take away the wind from under my wings.
Ubusuyishilo futhi nale, wathi usuyibambile ... [You also alluded to this, that you have addressed it ...] ... that the department expedite the finalisation of the Asset Register.
Besikukhulumile-ke ngalokho, njengoba sibonisana ... [We spoke about that, as we were deliberating ...] ... that the department embarks on extensive consultation. Yile indlela yokwenza izinto. Empeleni, ubukade usuyishilo nalapha. [This is the way of doing things. In fact, you have already alluded to it here.]
Now, let me take this opportunity to thank once more ... [Interjections.] I just want ....
Mr W P DOMAN: You must prepare two speeches!
Mr F BHENGU: We must prepare two speeches – great minds think alike! [Laughter.] ... to once more thank the department and all public entities, institutions and individuals who came to present their views. It is worth noting that they all supported the introduction of this Bill – not one dissented. Most of their invaluable comments are also captured in the committee report in today's ATCs, tabled for consideration.
Ngizocela-ke bandla ukuthi sivumelane ngayo. Ngalawo amafushane nje, sengizoyekela abakithi be-ANC ukuthi baphinde bazoshayana nabo. Ngiyabonga, Somlomo. [Ihlombe.]. [I would humbly like us to agree about it. With those few words, I will leave the podium for my fellow ANC colleagues to come and make their inputs. Thank you, Madam Speaker. [Applause.]]
Mr S E OPPERMAN: Hon Speaker, hon landlady, for many years the lack of the proper management of our immovable assets reflected badly on our role and responsibility as custodians of immovable state property.
Huidiglik is die bestuur van hierdie vaste eiendom van die staat gefragmenteer en is die gebruik daarvan ver van optimaal. [The management of the state's immovable assets is currently fragmented and the utilisation thereof is far from optimal.]
Because of this lack, the extensive and diversified immovable asset portfolio of government is not having the impact it is supposed to have on the macroeconomic, social, political and physical landscape of South Africa.
Without a uniform governance framework and through a lack of monitoring and evaluation systems many immovable assets slipped into disrepair. Just over 30% of our buildings are in a good or very good condition and 35% of them are in a serious state of disrepair, while the rest are in a condition that is described as fair.
Dit was veral die ou weermagbasisse soos Jozini en andere waar die infrastruktuur in so 'n mate toegelaat is om te verval dat daar in baie gevalle van rommelhope gepraat kan word.
Pragtige infrastruktuur wat plaaslike owerhede en plaaslike inwoners met groot vrug kon benut, is skandelik verwaarloos. Hierdie situasie kan nie langer toegelaat word om voort te duur nie. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[In particular, the infrastructure of the old defence force bases such as Jozini has been allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that in many cases we can speak of it them as rubbish dumps.
Splendid infrastructure, which local authorities and local residents could have utilised fruitfully, has been shamefully neglected. This situation cannot be allowed to continue any longer.]
An intervention was needed regarding strategic planning, acquisition, maintenance, management and disposal. This intervention will increase the economic growth, which in turn will optimise the contribution to the gross domestic product.
Indien hierdie wetgewing streng toegepas gaan word, tesame met die dringende uitbreiding na die plaaslike owerheid, sal dit 'n einde bring aan die onverantwoordelike wyse waarop bestuur en instandhouding van hierdie portefeulje tot dusver hanteer is. Die DA ondersteun die wetgewing. Dankie. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[If this legislation is going to be applied stringently in conjunction with its immediate extension to local authorities, it will terminate the irresponsible manner in which the management and maintenance of this portfolio has been handled thus far. The DA supports the legislation. Thank you.]
Mnu S N NXUMALO: Somlomo, Ngqongqoshe woMnyango nePhini lakho, naMalungu ale Ndlu ehloniphekile. Egameni likaKhongolose, siweseka ngokugcwele lo Mthethosivivinywa obizwa nge-Government Immovable Asset Management Bill. Kodwa, ngaphambi kokuthi ngenabe ngalo Mthethosivivinywa, ake ngithi ukuyichaza kahle le eke yachazwa usihlalo ngenkathi eyiveteza ngesiLungu yokuthi kungathi kukhona obekungathi akuhambi kahle phakathi koMnyango nekomidi.
Uma uhlezi eceleni nje laphayana, ubungafunga uthi kuxabene ubendle phakathi koMnyango nekomidi kanti akunjalo. Empeleni kuyangcwekiswana nje, izimpunga nezimpandla zivivinyana ukhakhayi. Bekungekho lutho olubi.
Udaba olukhulu nolusindayo lolu, olukhuluma ngamafa kahulumeni. Lolu daba lungenza kube sengathi kukhona ukuphambana kwemibono. Obe nengozi-ke endleleni noma iphuphusi nje, noma-ke kwavuvukala umlomo, sithi kuye: Yobe, besithabela nje, akonakele lutho!
Lo Mthethosivivinywa ufike kahle impela. Lo hulumeni akaxhamazelanga kodwa kuthathe iminyaka engaphezu kweli-10 kubhekwa umonakalo nokuthi kungaqalwaphi uma izinto sezinje. I-Government Immovable Asset Management Bill phela, uma siyihumusha, isho ukubalwa nokugcinwa kwamafa noma kwempahla kahulumeni. Phela bakwethu siyazi ukuthi lapha sikhuluma ngezakhiwo, amabhilidi kanye nomhlaba. Konke lokho kugcwele iNingizimu Afrika yonke nakuzo zonke izifundazwe, ngisho nakwamanye amazwe angaphandle.
Siyazi futhi ukuthi kwathi ngesikhathi kuphela ohulumeni bezabelo, kwakhona abagweva nezindlu zikahulumeni, mhlawumbe babenziwa ukungazi noma-ke bayazi. Kodwa-ke kubo bonke labo abahlala bengenawo amaphepha aqondene nalezo zindlu: Kwasha! Iyangena manje i-Government Immovable Asset Management Bill.
Inhloso yalo Mthethosivivinywa ukuthi uMthethosisekelo wezwe ugunyaze uhulumeni omkhulu ukuba ashaye umthetho ozolawula zonke izigaba zohulumeni ukuba zibe nendlela eyodwa yokubala, kugcinwe amafa noma impahla kahulumeni ukuze kulethwe izidingo zentuthuko emphakathini. IKhabhinethi yagunyaza uNgqongqoshe walo Mnyango Wezemisebenzi Yomphakathi ukuba akhe inqubomgomo yalo msebenzi. Inhloso yayo-ke ukunika zonke izinhla zikahulumeni umkhombandlela ekuphathweni kwempahla; ukwakha inqubo eyodwa yokusebenzisa impahla ukuze kufezeke ukulethwa kwezidingo emphakathini; ukuqikelelisa nokukhombisa ukuthi uhulumeni ekuletheni izidingo, uhlele kahle maqondana nempahla namafa akhe uhulumeni; ukuqinisekisa ukuthi ukuphathwa kwempahla kube ngendlela ecace bha, hhayi umhoshosho; ukubonakalisa kwizinhla zikahulumeni ukuthi izinqumo bazithatha becabangile ngale mpahla kahulumeni.
Lo Mthethosivivinywa uyabaphoqa abasebenzisi bawo ukuba benze konke okusemandleni ukuphatha nokugcina impahla kahulumeni ngendlela eyiyo, ukuze kunciphe izindleko zokuletha intuthuko emphakathini, kuhlume nomnotho. Uma lokhu singakuhumusha nje ngolukaJoji, singathi ... (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)
[Mr S N NXUMALO: Madam Speaker, Minister of the department and your deputy, members of this House. On behalf of the ANC we fully support this Bill, the Government Immovable Asset Management Bill. Before elaborating on this Bill, let me first explain what was said by the chairperson when he was speaking in English indicating that there seems to be something that is not right between the department and the committee.
If you were sitting on the sidelines, you would swear that there is a fierce fight between the department and the committee, but that was not the case. In fact it was just a mock fight whereby the grey-headed and the bald-headed were just testing each others' crania. There was nothing serious.
This matter, which is about the state's assets, is both serious and weighty. It sometimes can even look as if there are differences of opinion. If there is anyone who inadvertently got a gash, a punch, or even swollen lips, we are saying to him or her: we are very sorry, it's just because we were in a joyous mood, and there is absolutely no offence meant!
This Bill came at a right time. This government did not do things hastily but it took it over 10 years to assess the damage and see where to start off if things were the way they were. The Government Immovable Asset Management Bill, when defined, means the counting and keeping of state assets. I am sure we are all good people who know that here we are talking about properties, buildings, and land. These are scattered all over South Africa, in all the provinces and even in other countries.
We also know that after the abolishment of the self-governing territories, there are people who refused to hand over the state houses, maybe it was because of either ignorance or intelligence. But to all those who stay in those houses without their title deeds: Woe unto them! The Government Immovable Asset Management Bill has come.
The objective of this Bill is to make sure that the Constitution gives power to the national government to introduce measures that will control all spheres of government to have a uniform framework for the counting and keeping of government immovable assets in order to bring development to the communities. The Cabinet authorised the Minister of Public Works to develop a policy for this process.
Its objectives are to give all spheres of government a uniform framework for the management of immovable assets; to develop one policy of using the assets in order to fulfil the delivery of services to the communities; to ensure and highlight that the government has a good plan concerning it's immovable assets in service delivery; to ensure that the management of assets is done accountably and transparently to show other government structures that the decisions that are taken about these assets are taken after careful consideration.
This Bill forces government officials to do everything in their power to manage the immovable state assets effectively so that it will be cheaper to bring development to the communities and grow the economy. Translated into English this simply means ...]
... promoting effective, efficient and economic use of immovable assets; reducing the overall cost of service delivery through better allocation of limited government resources and immovable assets, reduced demand for immovable assets through better integration of service delivery, supporting government in socioeconomic objectives, including land reform, economic empowerment, poverty alleviation, job creation and the distribution of wealth, realising the best value for money from the disposal of immovable assets.
The challenge of removable assets in government is the ultimate challenge to ensure best value to government and the citizens of South Africa are to be effectively managing government's immovable assets by merging government service delivery objectives with efficient and effective use of immovable assets. In the context of immovable asset management the object of the PFMA and MFMA is to enforce transparent and effective management in respect of revenue expenditure, asset and liability of government.
In giving effect to this objective, custodians and users of immovable assets should apply the following principles to management of such immovable assets under their control: Ensure effective, efficient and transparent systems and financial risk management and internal control; maintain an appropriate procurement and provisioning system which is fair, equitable, transparent and competitive and cost effective; ensure that a system is implemented and maintained through which all major capital projects should be properly evaluated prior to the final decision in the project; ensure the effective, efficient economical and transparent use of resources of government; and be responsible for management, including the safeguarding and maintenance of assets.
Lo Mthethosivivinywa uzosebenza kuzo zonke izigaba zikahulumeni, ngaphandle kokuziphuca amalungelo ebezinawo phambilini. Usihlalo okhulume ngaphambilini uke wayichaza-ke ngesiLungu le ndaba.
Ngqongqoshe, phuthuma nalo Mthethosivivinywa ozobandakanya izifundazwe nomasipala nezinye izinhlangano eziphethe umnotho nempahla kahulumeni. Ikakhulukazi komasipala, kukhona kwezinye izindawo – njengasendaweni engiyimele – lapho umasipala edayise umhlaba ongamahekthare ngamahekthare wawudayisa nje ngo-2,2 w ezigidi zamarandi. Kuthi-ke labo abathenga umhlaba ukuze bakhe izindlu ezizodayiswa, bawuqephule bawuqephule bese bewubiza ngama-golf estates, umphakathi bese uwuthola ngemali engaphezu kwesigidi samarandi isiqephu ngasinye.
Noma uthi ubuka i-Waterfront, uzothola ukuthi isihambile. Malingahambi izwe Ngqongqoshe; phuthuma nalo mthetho!
Sengiphetha, siye saba nemihlangano yokulalelwa kwemibono eyehlukene. Bonke abakade belapho bakhulume kahle futhi basho nokusho ukuthi bazimisele ukusizana nohulumeni ekugcinweni kwalawa mafa. Baye bathi sebemkantsha ubomvu ekwenzeni lo msebenzi, futhi im ibono yabo mihle. Kodwa-ke, Ngqongqoshe, asazi noma bazingela bephethe usawoti yini. Ngiyabonga, Somlomo. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)
[This Bill will be effective in all spheres of government without taking away the rights they had before. The chairperson who spoke earlier on explained this issue in English.
Minister, please speed up this Bill that will include provinces, municipalities and other structures that hold the economy and state assets; more especially municipalities. In my constituency a municipality has sold many hectares of land for a mere R2.2 million. And those who buy that land to build houses will then in turn divide it into pieces and call it a golf estate, and it will then be sold to communities at exorbitant prices where you find that a single plot costs over R1 million.
If one looks at the question of the Waterfront, as an example, one will note that it is gone. Let us not lose the country Minister; speed up this Bill!
In conclusion, we held public hearings and we got different opinions. Everyone that was there spoke positively about this Bill and even confirmed that they were willing to help the state about the keeping of the assets. Some of the people claimed to be very experienced in this field, and their opinions were of course invaluable. But hon Minister, these people may be poachers carrying salt in their pockets - we may not know their true intentions. Thank you, Madam Speaker. [Applause.]]
Mr B W DHLAMINI: Madam Speaker, hon Minister and hon members, one of the challenges that our government departments are faced with is service delivery. By striving to achieve its objectives and fulfil its mission, the Department of Public Works plays an important role in facilitating the delivery of other departments, and in so doing assist them to reach their respective goals and provide a better service for all. The Bill before us today will play an important role in this regard and assist the Department of Public Works in reaching its objectives more efficiently in the fight against poverty.
The state of immovable assets has a direct bearing on the ability of government departments to fulfil their mandates and perform their functions optimally. If they are in a state of disrepair and are dilapidated then that would impair the ability of the departments to deliver an adequate service. It is for this reason that the management of government's immovable assets is so important.
The Bill provides for the efficient use of immovable assets. It also states that they be kept to function optimally in a manner that supports efficient service delivery. In order to use the immovable assets efficiently so as to achieve a high level of service delivery, there must be some sort of uniformity in procedure when dealing with issues regarding these assets as well as knowledge about the current state of affairs. Regular maintenance of immovable assets and their ability to support efficient service delivery must also be constantly monitored and evaluated. We are therefore pleased that this Bill provides for this.
A central aspect of this Bill is the immovable asset management plan which includes, among other things, a performance assessment of the immovable asset as well as the maintenance activities required. These plans are central to the asset's efficient functioning and, ultimately, to a higher level of service delivery. They will also lead to a more efficient allocation of the department's funds.
Madam Speaker and hon Minister, during the public hearings, concern was raised regarding the department's capacity to deliver the objectives of the Bill. We in the IFP believe that this is a valid point that should be closely monitored, especially during the implementation of certain aspects of the Bill as this will ultimately determine whether the objectives are reached or not. The IFP supports the Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr H B CUPIDO: Hon Speaker, the ACDP supports the Bill on government immovable assets management. For too long, the government did not know where some of its immovable assets were located. For too long, we did not know who was occupying them and, for too long, people occupying them did not pay rent, and in many cases, illegal occupants were making clear profits by letting government-owned properties to their own benefit.
This will soon stop, as regulations will come into operation to identify and manage all government immovable assets. Custodians and users will have to prepare an immovable asset management plan with reference to all the immovable in its custody. Reports on the status and condition of assets will be done on a regular basis in order to prevent such assets from slipping into disrepair and causing an increase in maintenance costs.
One of the objects of this Bill is to put in place a uniform management framework to promote accountability and transparency within government. The ACDP supports the Bill. Thank you.
Mr S HUANG: Madam Speaker, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, hon members and colleagues, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, we welcome the introduction of this Bill, which seeks to provide a uniform guideline to the department, and will assist it in managing the large and diverse number of state-owned assets of which it is a custodian, whereby the regional, provincial and national offices of the Department of Public Works can co-operate and work together. It is pleasing to note that such endeavours are currently being made, as is evidenced by the report after Parliament's implementation plan as a result of its lekgotla held in November last year.
New financial reporting is required of departmental officials in respect of immovable assets. Section 5(1) (e) and (f) (i), (ii) and (iii) of the Bill stipulate that:
(e) when an immovable asset is acquired or disposed of best value for money must be realised;
(f) in relation to a disposal, the custodian must consider whether the immovable asset concerned can be used -
(i) by another user or jointly by different users;
(ii) in relation to social development initiatives of government; and
(iii) in relation to government's socioeconomic objectives, including land reform, black economic empowerment, alleviation of poverty, job creation and the redistribution of wealth.
We know that, as a policy of this government, black economic empowerment is not a panacea for all the social ills confronting our society. Centuries of exploitation cannot be reversed by just 13 years of empowerment initiatives. We must accept the consequence of the policy choices we have made to reconstruct and develop our postapartheid economy and devise innovative means to deal with the unintended consequences generated by our policy choices.
Thus this clause in the Bill ensures that job creation occurs and thus leads to the alleviation of poverty, and that all the principles as espoused in the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act are complied with, without fear or favour.
The Bill seeks to assist our government in implementing methodologies for effective and efficient asset management systems as it will, firstly, enable the property portfolios to comprise optimally deployed buildings that are deployed in ways that they were designed for, and nonuseful properties will be identified and redeployed or disposed of, while, secondly, wasteful expenditure will be curbed, because a maintenance budget will be planned for each individual building.
The adoption of this Bill is going to mark a turning point in the efforts of our government to ensure that state assets are in line with best practice prevailing, and comply and conform to international standards. Thus now I say, with this Bill, we have readopted the Mintiro Ya Vula Vula syndrome.
Be that as it may, local government remains an effective and efficient means of delivering high quality services to the people of our country. And it does so, on a large scale, meeting a diverse range of community needs, day in and day out. The country marches on in the national and provincial spheres of government, in line with provisions of this Bill whose main objectives, amongst others, are: Firstly, the provision of the uniform immovable asset management framework to promote accountability and transparency within the government; secondly, the optimisation of the cost of service delivery by ensuring accountability for capital and recurrent works; the acquisition, reuse and disposal of immovable assets; the maintenance of existing immovable assets; and the protection of the environment and the cultural and historic heritage; and thirdly, improving health and safety in the environment.
The scope of application of the Bill was not extended to the local sphere of government, a matter, which we have extensively dealt with as the committee in our report on the Bill.
The Bill provides good housekeeping as far as asset control on land and buildings is concerned, and it also recognises the need to co-ordinate financial control in both spheres of government that it is currently applicable to, and so there is strict compliance with the Public Finance Management Act.
In conclusion, I would like to state that the introduction of this Bill is a wise step by our government as, among other things, it seeks to ensure that asset registers in both spheres of government, national and provincial, are complete. The ANC supports this Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mngd M T LIKOTSI: Sephadi le Letona le kgabane la Mesebetsi ya Setjhaba, mokgahlo wa PAC o amohela Bili ena e behilweng ka pele ho rona ya ho tsamaisa dithoto tsa mmuso. (Translation of Sesotho paragraph follows.)
[Mr M T Likotsi: Chief Whip and the hon Minister of Public Works, the PAC accepts this Bill that which has been tabled before us to control government assets.]
I-PAC iyayiqonda into yokuba kunyanzelekile ukuba urhulumente abe nelizwi kwaye ahlahle indlela malunga nendlela izinto zakhe ekufuneka zihanjiswe ngayo. Singumbutho siyayazi into yokuba kukwanyanzelekile ukuba kubekho aba bantu baziwa ngokuba bazi-accounting officers ukwenzela ukuba xa kukho indlela emazihanjiswe ngayo ezi zinto, babe nelizwi, bakwazi nokuziphendulela.
Enye into esonwabisa kakhulu singumbutho kaPoqo kukupasiswa kwalo Mthetho uYilwayo ekuthiwa ngesidlagusha yi-transparency kunye ne- accountability. Siyavuya kakhulu kwaye utsho kuthi bakaPoqo xa uthetha ngala magama esilungu ndiwabizileyo. Kuyafuneka ke ukuba sibambelele kwelo lizwi ukuze amaphondo kunye noomasipala bazi ukuba ekusebenziseni kwabo ezi zinto zikarhulumente baza kuziphendulela. Sivumelana kakhulu noMphathiswa kuba asizozabo, bona bazisebenzisa egameni likarhulumente. Xa sele bebona ukuba bagqibile ngazo, mabazibuyisele kumnikazi wazo.
Mandigqibele ngelithi, singuPoqo, sicebisa ukuba uMphathiswa ayibeke esweni into yokuthengiswa komhlaba xa kuhlengahlengiswa izinto zesizwe. Mphathiswa nawe Sihlalo, i-PAC iyawuxhasa lo Mthetho uYilwayo. [Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)
[The PAC acknowledges the fact that it is imperative for the government to have a say and provide guidance on how government property should be controlled. We are also aware that there is a need for accounting officers in order that when things go wrong, they could redirect the processes and be accountable.
The other things that this Bill touches on and which make us happy as the PAC are transparency and accountability. We are very happy especially when you make mention of these two words. We shall have to stick to these processes to ensure that provinces and municipalities are accountable. We support the Minister when he says that they should be aware that those are not their assets. When they finish with them, they should return them to their rightful owner.
In conclusion, the PAC would like to suggest that the Minister takes note the issue of the selling of the land when restructuring national assets. Minister and Chairperson, the PAC fully supports the Bill. [Applause.]]
Ms S RAJBALLY: Chairperson, the MF acknowledges that this Bill plays a vital role in the effective and efficient maintenance of state-owned immovable properties. In view of the financial implications, the Government Immovable Asset Management Bill attempts to improve the state's investments in property and is set to have a positive impact on the Department of Public Works' expenditure patterns.
The MF feels that in order for the Bill to be able to realise its full potential, the Minister's inquiries should be prioritised to avoid delays to service delivery programmes.
We further seek clarity on the content of the immovable assets management plan, the balance and expenditure patterns. The MF recommends transparency and co-ordination of intergovernmental relations, which shall award the Government Immovable Asset Management Bill its full potential.
The MF supports the Government Immovable Assets Management Bill. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Ms C M P RAMOTSAMAI: Mme Spikara, le rona re le mokgathlo wa ANC, pele ke bua, re amohela Bili ena ka botlalo. Ebile ke ya thaba ha ke utlwa Ntate Likotsi wa PAC, a re le bona ba amohela Bili ena hobane, ha ba buwe ka hore ho nkwe lefatshe feela. Ba tsamaisana le molao wa Afrika Borwa ho latela Molaotheo. (Translation of Sesotho paragraph follows.)
[Madam Speaker, before I make my speech, we as the ANC party fully accept this Bill. I am also pleased to hear Mr Likotsi, from the PAC, saying that they accept this Bill as well. They are not only talking about claiming the land but they abide by the law of South Africa to recognise the Constitution.]
Today Parliament is debating a Bill that is one of the important landmarks in our country, a Bill that shapes the management and maintenance of the state's assets and properties.
The Government Immovable Asset Management Bill is a critical component that will anchor and determine the definition of all solutions associated with our property portfolio. This includes all applicable legislation and policies that pertain directly or indirectly to the administration and management of government-owned property.
The Government Immovable Asset Management Bill makes it incumbent on custodians and users, as is appropriate to their functions, to demonstrate that they are managing immovable assets efficiently and in such a way as to promote government objectives as set out in the government-wide immovable asset management policy document.
Previous speakers have stated clearly and in detail the objectives of the Bill, which I'm not going to repeat. The Bill, when in force, will work hand in hand with the completed asset register, which at this stage we cannot really say exists.
Government is the custodian of public assets in South Africa. Yet at the moment there is much to be desired in how we manage and maintain these properties. The committee, while on oversight visits to different provinces, has seen how a number of precious properties are being misused and abused. A number of people, and in some cases government officials, Madam landlady, are letting out and using precious properties for their own financial benefit.
Many government properties are vandalised, without anyone intervening. During interaction between the portfolio committee and the department we have learnt how some properties have up to 30 years maintenance backlog. [Interjections.]
Don't say: Hayi! Hayi! The backlog dates back to your time in government. The Bill aims to provide a uniform immovable asset management framework to promote accountability and transparency within government.
During public hearings on the very same Bill, all the stakeholders congratulated government on this much-awaited Bill. One presenter from Landmark told us how it would cost government a reasonable amount if there was regular maintenance of properties, done promptly.
It is a fact that when budgets are voted for capital investment, no maintenance budgets are allocated. Hence the state is experiencing problems in satisfying its own clients that occupy its properties. Many of our government departments would prefer to rent space from the private sector because our own is in an unacceptable state.
How many of us in this House have been in public buildings with windows broken, lifts not working or ceilings hanging over our heads?
What about service delivery? This Bill, Madam landlady, will address all that. In years to come public buildings will be in demand because they will be of a standard that is appealing to everyone.
The Tygerberg Hospital was built in 1975. It was one of the best hospitals of the time, with good doctors, good nurses and other staff members. I happen to know this, because my first-born child was born there in 1976.
And because of the poor maintenance programme, if any, the hospital today, after an assessment done by one of the assigned companies, poses a danger to users. That beautiful hospital, that looked like a five-star hotel 30 years ago, is a shame today and is adding to the low morale of staff members there. Let us not allow our precious assets to be in the state they are in.
Recently I visited the hospital and I was shocked at the condition of dilapidation there. What a shame! The majority of the people of this country are served by those public institutions, not by choice, but because they cannot afford to go to private hospitals as some of us can. What about the people working in those conditions? This Bill, Madam Speaker, is indeed a milestone.
I'd also like to bring to the attention of the House that the assets and properties of the state need to be looked at. I'm happy that the Minister has announced a moratorium. That is greatly welcome.
I think that after 1994 people started looting government properties, because there was no register. You look at the situation, closer to home, in Stellenbosch. You hear stories that some officials used the old Black Local Authorities Act to sell properties in 1994, pretending that the properties were sold 10 or 15 years ago. Those properties belong to government, and I'm sure that if we can carry out some investigations, we can reclaim those properties and turn them back to the ownership of the people, because they rightfully belong to them.
In the former homelands you have another example of the looting of government properties and assets when, as a country, you don't have a register, to the detriment of the public. We all know that these precious assets belong to generations of the people of this country.
I agree fully with the previous speaker, that we must retain these properties for future generations of the people of this country. This Bill only caters for provincial and national government. The committee, as the previous speaker indicated, rejected the Bill as it excluded the clause on local government. After many interactions with the Department of Public Works, the committee reconsidered its initial position.
The Department of Local Government has since addressed the matter of bringing local government in line with this Bill, and the Bill will be tabled along these lines. The committee felt very strongly that it is at this level of government where there is a dire need for this Bill.
During public hearings it came to our attention that some local governments had appointed a company to carry out an assessment for them. For some reason, they thought that they had 1 000 properties. After a proper analysis, it was discovered that they own 7 000 properties. How important it is for us to know what we own as a country so that we are able to control and use it effectively!
In the future I would like us also to look at state-owned enterprises. Even though state-owned enterprises were once publicly owned, they still belong to us. Even though they are commercialised and perhaps making good profit for the country, we need to know where they are so that we don't only take care of those that are publicly owned. That would make us realise that we are in control of the assets.
We have also learnt that even in other countries, such as Australia for instance, it has taken them 20 years to get to grips with this process. The good thing about this Bill is that we have started out on this road, which is going to sort out all problems related to our properties and assets in this country.
Madam Chair, I would also want to thank our hon chair, Fezile Bhengu, for his diligent leadership in this regard, as well as the officials of the department, who were available at all times when we as a committee needed them. We can see how much this Bill is needed. All of us, including the opposition, agree with every word on this Bill. Therefore, we as the ANC support the Bill. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS: Madam Speaker and hon members, before I start to respond to the issues raised by hon members, I would like to invite all members to have a look at the strategic plan of the department. Some of the information that we are concerned about can be found in this document.
Firstly, I would like to respond to the issues that have been raised with regard to the register. I agree with the hon members with regard to the importance that we all have to put in keeping the register of state. As for now, what we know is that we have almost 102 552 buildings that are owned by government.
If we talk about the number of land parcels, we have about 30 000 or more which translates into 6 million hectares under Public Works, but out of those the ones that can be utilised for either land reform or other purposes, are only about 1,6 million.
I think it is important for me to clarify to members that while state land may be available, it is encumbered. You will know that a majority of tribal land still falls under the state as a trustee. So, those parts of land have communities on them and you cannot necessarily talk about them being available for any land reform purposes. I think it is very important for us to acknowledge that reality when we do the counting of what we own.
But I agree with hon Mampi that indeed we need to enhance our register. It is for that reason that we have called for the public to come forward to indicate to us what they own. We are giving them a period of six months, after which those who do not come forward will face penalties. We think it is important to do so, because during the period of transition you will recall that other records belonged to self-governing territories and independent states, so therefore the alignment of those registers did have certain weaknesses. But from my predecessor in Land Affairs at the time, Deputy Minister Hanekom, followed by myself and many others, and Jeff and Mama Stella, we tried to compile what could be said: This is what the government owns.
We will continue to enhance that register and it is important for me to explain to hon members that a register is a continuous process because as you dispose of a land parcel you will have to do an adjustment of your register. So, figures would time and again change, but that doesn't mean that we do not have to do our job. I agree with you that we need to.
I am also happy that all members understand the reality of what we are trying to do, because unless we can have a legislative framework that gives guidance to all relevant users and owners of state assets, we would not be able to enforce and to have uniformity regarding what we own. So, this Bill and your support is very welcome.
Members have raised the issue of capacity. Indeed we have, in the department, already started to look at how we could better manage these assets in terms of the human resource capacity that we have. Similarly, we will be working with the provinces to ensure that those assets under their custodianship are managed in a particular way which will require either additional human resource capacity, which is the issue that we might have to discuss with the Minister for the Public Service and Administration, as well as financial resources, which we will have to discuss with the Minister of Finance.
If you look at the enormity of what we have, particularly regarding maintenance, to bring those state assets into optimal use will require resources to actually improve them to an acceptable standard. I know Comrade Mampi has raised the issue of Tygerberg. Comrade Nozizwe, who is sitting next to me as the Deputy Minister of Health, was saying: "Awu, siyabetwa?"[And, what about us?] But I am saying one of the important things this government has done was to create a grant specifically to deal with hospital revitalisation.
At the moment the programme might not have reached Tygerberg, but indeed it is intended to deal with all those hospitals that today may be in a state that is not acceptable for their use. I am sure that at a particular time the Minister of Health as well as her Deputy will take Parliament through on the progress that has been made.
Those of us who stay in Pretoria will know what the Pretoria Academic Hospital used to look like, and its rehabilitation has now made all of us proud of that public hospital. I am sure a number of public hospitals will also change their appearance.
With regard to the disposal of state assets, it is important for us to realise that we do have legislation, namely the State Land Disposal Act of 1961, which actually determines the three forms of disposal that the state can undertake; the first being disposal through donation, the second disposal through long-term lease and the last through outright sale.
What we say as a department is that it is important to enhance that legislation so that we as various state custodians, can know exactly how to use these assets in a manner that brings revenue to the state. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Bill read a second time.
TOBACCO PRODUCTS CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members, the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill seeks to further deepen this government's commitment to protect our people from the effects of tobacco smoke.
I wish to acknowledge the leadership role that our government has played, which goes back to the tenure of the former Minister of Health, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who drove the original legislation through Parliament. Now, we take our place among the forerunners in limiting the public consumption of cigarettes. This bold action by our government has led to a drastic reduction in the number of people smoking, of young people taking up smoking and of innocent passive smokers being adversely affected.
As Dr Dlamini-Zuma has said, cigarette smoking is often the entry point for the abuse of other recreational drugs such as dagga, heroin and tik.
The Bill we are proposing today seeks to improve the operation of the Tobacco Products Control Act and also to deal with new practices designed to circumvent the provisions of the Act. The Act is also being amended to bring it into compliance with the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which South Africa has ratified.
The Bill further proposes a number of amendments to the Act, which are designed to promote health and prevent diseases.
The main provisions of the Bill are the following: To amend the current Act so as to strengthen the sections which prohibit advertising, promotion and sponsorship; to remove misleading package descriptions like "light" and "mild"; to control the ingredients in and emissions from tobacco products; and to increase penalties for breaking the law.
The Bill comes on the back of a widespread consultation process. Over 2 000 submissions on the Bill were received from individual members of the public, the tobacco industry, its associates and health organisations. The majority supported the proposed amendments to the Bill. However, some submissions - mainly from the tobacco and associated industries - made alternative proposals that were not necessarily in line with the objectives of the Bill. The Bill has therefore been amended, taking into consideration the comments we received.
The clause-by-clause analysis of the Bill reflects the following: Clauses 1 and 2 amend the preamble in order to insert a reference to the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and add new definitions to close loopholes in the current legislation.
Clause 3 provides for the Minister to restrict or prohibit smoking in certain outdoor places such as schools and sport stadiums. It protects the rights of employees and prevents intimidation. It protects children by prohibiting the entry of anyone younger than 18 years into a designated smoking area.
Clause 4 prohibits advertising, promoting and sponsoring of any kind by the tobacco industry except under conditions of anonymity. It prohibits the sale of tobacco products in health and education institutions. It restricts the display of cigarettes and adverts and empowers the Minister to regulate the format of information on the packaging. These could include pictorial information, package inserts and quantities a package may contain. Misleading and deceptive labelling that creates a false impression about the safety of tobacco products is prohibited.
Clause 5 seeks to empower the Minister to regulate the contents of tobacco products and their emissions to meet health and safety standards, to prescribe test methods for chemical analysis and to require manufacturers, importers and retailers to provide information.
Clause 6 seeks to increase the age for the legal sale of tobacco products to children from 16 to 18 years of age and brings the legislation in line with our Constitution and the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention of Tobacco Control.
Clause 7 restricts free distribution of tobacco products by manufacturers, importers and their agents. Clause 8 seeks to restrict the sale of tobacco products through vending machines and the placement of such machines.
Madam Deputy Speaker, as key policy makers we have an obligation to prohibit the misleading terms related to labelling on tobacco packaging such as low tar, chocolate flavour, fruity flavour and any other flavourant that may entice our people to start smoking or discourage those who want to quit.
Worldwide studies reveal that there are an estimated 1,3 billion smokers in the world. Many of these people will live long enough to cause harm to themselves and others and to become a burden on their national public health services.
South Africa has been successful in enforcing the legislation on tobacco products control and this has contributed immensely to a reduction in the prevalence of smoking among youths and adults.
The 2002 Global Youth Tobacco Survey showed that the prevalence of smoking among adults decreased from 23% in 1999 to 18,3% in 2002. The 2004 South African Demographic Health Survey recorded that 31% of males and 11% of women were smokers.
Our government will play its part in supporting the international frameworks on tobacco control and in providing leadership with regard to public policy. Government will take the lead in empowering communities with knowledge that will enable them to make informed decisions about their health and to raise general awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco products, and by these we include pipes, snuffs, cigars and many other forms of tobacco smoking. Government will take the lead in protecting our people who by no action of their own are exposed to the negative effects of tobacco products.
Millions of people, including half of the world's children, are exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke, known also as passive smoking. There is conclusive evidence linking passive smoking to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases in adults and respiratory diseases, ear infection and sudden infant death syndrome in children. Passive smoking is a health problem that requires the active involvement of all in our society.
Tobacco consumption has a major negative impact on health, including the depletion of scarce resources available to improve the health of our people. According to the Medical Research Council, the cost of maintaining the tobacco survivors in terms of healthcare cost and disability grants is about R2 billion per year. Therefore, a logical response is to keep our focus on prevention.
As I close, I would like to thank our government for taking this leadership role. I would also like to thank our acting Minister of Health, hon Jeff Radebe, for the leadership he has provided to the department in the absence of our Minister. I would also like to thank the Portfolio Committee on Health, particularly, its chairperson, hon James Ngculu, for his guidance in ensuring that this Bill is finalised and presented to this House.
The ANC fully supports this Bill and we hope that this House will also unanimously, word-for-word, support it. It is the right thing to do! Thank you, Madam Speaker. [Applause.]
Mr L V J NGCULU: Deputy Speaker, today once again we give meaning to the vision and mission of the Department of Health, which states that its main aim is to promote the health of all the people of South Africa through a caring and effective national health system. In this regard all of us have come to realise that one of the potent killers of our people is tobacco. It doesn't just kill, but adversely affects productivity at work and also puts strain on our health services.
The aim of this legislation in front of us is to amend the principal Act of 1993 so as to bring it in line with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. As we are all aware, South Africa is of the 147 countries that are signatories to the framework convention, and therefore has a legal obligation in terms of this framework.
It is always a matter of pride to us members of the ANC to be committed to ensuring that the health of our people and our commitment to international conventions in our striving towards better health and a better society is enshrined in the statutes of the Republic of South Africa.
This Bill in front of us therefore actually seeks to ensure that we live up to the obligations and challenges that are facing us. It also seeks to ensure that a number of shortcomings that have been observed in the current legislation, the principal Act, are addressed, especially those aspects that are exploited by the tobacco industry, thus making prosecution of the contraventions very difficult.
I must also hasten to add here, notwithstanding the problems we face, that the tobacco industry in general has actually embraced the spirit and thrust of this legislation. They've all come to realise, whatever their subjective problems are, that tobacco is harmful and detrimental to the health of people.
The following situation with regard to tobacco use therefore necessitates the promulgation of the legislation that effectively addresses some of the shortcomings of the principal Act. Firstly, tobacco is a leading preventable cause of death globally; secondly, tobacco use results in the death of 4,9 million people annually, and projections indicate that this will increase; thirdly, indications are – and this is fact - that tobacco companies are targeting developing countries in particular as their own emerging markets; fourthly, tobacco affects and slows down economic growth, empowerment and development, because it places a huge strain on the economy and reduces productivity; fifthly, in South Africa, 60% of hospital admissions to Groote Schuur Hospital occur because of tobacco-related illnesses; sixthly, in South Africa, one person dies of a tobacco-related illness every 20 minutes, on average.
However, the tobacco industry has argued that the tightly controlled environment in South Africa has resulted in the growth of the illegal trade. My colleagues from the ANC will speak further on this particular aspect. May I just say that we know that the tobacco industry is guilty of trying to circumvent regulation by, amongst others, engaging itself in illegal or other measures that are actually trying to bypass the legal route and resort to tax evasion mechanisms. There are a number of cases that have come to the fore just recently.
The main provisions of this Bill are the following: To regulate smoking in public places; to establish manufacturing and export standards for tobacco products, and where those standards don't exist in the importing countries South Africa will ensure that its own laws apply; and to increase the fines for contravention of this legislation.
The Bill contains a number of transitional arrangements necessary for its application. It also proposes amendments to the preamble, including inserting the words "World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control".
The Bill furthermore seeks, firstly, to prohibit smoking near air inlets, windows, doorways and entrances to public places; secondly, to protect children through, one, not allowing minors into public places set aside for smoking; two, prohibiting smoking in private homes used for commercial childcare or educational purposes, and, three, discouraging smoking in vehicles in which a child or children under the age of 12 are a passenger; thirdly, to protect employees through the provisions in clause 5 that, one, they may object to being exposed to smoking in the workplace, without fear of retaliation of any kind; two, they are not exposed to tobacco smoke in the workplace, should they wish so; three, prohibit the use of a conditions of employment for employees to work in areas of the workplace where smoking is permitted, and, four, grant employees the right not to sign any indemnity for working in areas of the workplace where smoking is permitted; fourthly, to empower the Minister of Health with the right to prohibit smoking in certain outdoor areas, or a portion thereof, where people may be in close proximity of one another or where it may pose a fire hazard or any other risk.
The Bill has been criticised for not specifically addressing the situation regarding domestic workers who work in private dwellings and their right to a clean and safe environment. It is a matter we as a portfolio committee grappled with and which we have all recognised as being difficult to implement in practice. However, we are certain that in particular those clauses that protect employees in the workplace without fear of retaliation may to an extent go some way in addressing this particular criticism, which, in our view, is fair criticism.
There are also aspects in the Bill which provide standards for the manufacturing and exporting of tobacco products, especially prohibiting the export of tobacco to countries outside the Republic, unless they comply with the product and testing standards of the destination country, providing that if those standards do not exist, our standards will apply.
There is also provision for the fact that over 4 000 chemicals are found in tobacco smoke. Manufacturers add up to 600 chemicals to tobacco. These chemicals are added for a number of reasons, including the need to increase nicotine delivery to smokers and to reduce the harsh taste of tobacco, thereby making cigarettes more appealing to the youth.
This Bill will seek to reduce the harmful chemicals used in tobacco products and requires that manufacturers produce the least harmful products possible. The Bill also requires the disclosure of additives and ingredients used in making tobacco. It also makes provision for setting standards to reduce the risk of fire from discarded cigarettes through the use of self-extinguishing or lower-ignition-propensity cigarettes.
These are some of the provisions that the Bill is actually seeking to implement. There will be other areas my colleagues will be speaking on with regard to the regulations on the composition of tobacco products, the emissions as well as the methods of testing tobacco products.
All these, hon members, as we can see, go a long way towards actually meeting the vision of the Department of Health, whose aim it is to promote the health of all the people of South Africa. This government is obliged to take this responsibility. The fines have also been exponentially increased and the hon Mashile will be speaking on this particular topic as well.
It is therefore with pride that we members of the portfolio committee, and in particular the members of the ANC, take this opportunity to thank in particular the officials of the Department of Health for their diligence and patience when we were dealing with the intricacies of this Bill. The same applies to the parliamentary legal advisers and state law advisers who have been sterling in their work, and we thank them for their invaluable inputs and advice.
We must also thank all those who took it upon themselves to make submissions and interacted with us positively in our deliberations. This goes to the industry, to a number of the people in the campaign against smoking and the adverse health hazards of smoking, and a number of other professionals and people from a wide range of societies who made claim to make these submissions.
The Deputy Minister of Health has just been indicating that the genesis of this legislation came from our former Minister of Health, Dr Nkosazana Zuma. We the people of South Africa all know that the masses are the makers of history, but as the masses are the makers of history, from time to time they produce individuals who are outstanding in that making of history. They distinguish themselves in particular by their commitment to the people of South Africa.
Some of them may not be able to stand with us at this podium today to actually table once again their invaluable contribution to this work. Among those makers of history is Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, whose zeal and energy is actually something that comforted us in her readiness to ensure that every amendment to this legislation is something all of us will take pride in. We must once again salute her, as well as the former Director-General Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba and the current Director-General Thami Mseleku, for the sterling work they are doing, especially around this legislation.
We have just passed clause 75 of this Bill. We are going to come back again to another clause of this Bill, clause 76, and as we do so, we take pride in the fact that this legislation will contribute significantly to a better life and a better health for the people of South Africa. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr G R MORGAN: Good afternoon, Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members and the hon Deputy Minister of Health. Regulation of smoking is one of those issues that tends to elicit strong opinions from both opponents and proponents. In the nine months that I have been a member of the Portfolio Committee on Health, I have received more correspondence on this issue than any other health-related issue.
Regulation of smoking, or to be more broad, tobacco products, involves a complex balancing of rights. On the one hand, we as legislators are required to balance the rights of individuals to do what they want with their own bodies, and on the other hand we need to protect the rights of others who demand a clean and a healthy environment. None of this is easy.
At all times, though, we as legislators need to attempt to produce legislation that is reasonable, enforceable and that seeks to do the greatest good. There are two opinions that are often shared with me by people who oppose the regulation of smoking. The first is that this legislation is not entirely enforceable. That is technically true.
Such legislation requires a significant amount of self-regulation. The enforcers are in most cases not the police or municipal officials, but ordinary citizens including smokers themselves. Yes, there are transgressions all the time, but compliance is improving daily. So it is not necessarily the case that such legislation burdens law-enforcers, although the threat of prosecution of transgressors does need to exist.
Secondly, people often tell me that legislators have it wrong. We should be going after the abuse of alcohol rather than smoking. We can debate this, but in my view when it comes to matters of public health, it is not a case of "either or". It is a case of "and". By that I mean we should in time regulate alcohol better, but it should not be at the expense of other targeted interventions. We must build the arsenal that deals with health matters.
South Africa has played a significant role in developing the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which was adopted at the 54th World Health Assembly in 2003. The disease control parity's project of the World Bank and the WHO estimates that tobacco control programmes are a highly cost-effective way to prevent death and disability.
In South Africa, it is appropriate that we respond to tobacco use in a sensible manner. We are a country that has over 250 000 cases of TB, and instances of the number of smokers make it difficult to improve the cure rate, although there are indeed a number of other, admittedly more important reasons why we have such a low cure rate. In South Africa tobacco use is the fourth highest cause of disease and trauma in the population, after unsafe sex, violence and alcohol, according to the Medical Research Council's risk assessment study. It is a bigger contributor to disease than obesity, unsafe water and diabetes, and hence we must respond to the problem.
The more fanatical antismoking lobbyists tend to say that tobacco companies should be banned. That is just absurd - tobacco use is legal. There are billions of smokers in the world today and the WHO estimates that there will be an equivalent amount in the world in 2050. Further banning just serves to fuel an elicit trade in cigarettes that cannot be controlled and certainly does not contribute to the revenue base of countries. And so we regulate it instead.
Interestingly, the Bill has massive support. To my knowledge, following the amendments that the portfolio committee made, there are no stakeholders, whether in the industry or in the health sector, who oppose this piece of legislation, at least to any great extent. It is my view that regulation of smoking is widely supported by the South African population, including a large portion of smokers. The existing legislation has, according to research, also proved successful in reducing the percentage of smokers in South Africa from approximately 25% in 1998 to around 22% in 2004.
I'm now turning to issues in this Bill, and I regret that the hon Deputy Minister of Health may indeed have had the wrong version of this Bill. We have dealt with section 75 and section 76 is coming up, and it looks like the Deputy Minister referred to the previous Bill. We are not, at this stage, outlawing the sale of cigarettes to under 18's and we are not further regulating advertising. Indeed those things will happen, but they are not in this Bill.
The Bill, among other things, increases the penalties for non-compliance, thus improving its self-regulatory mechanisms. It further empowers workers to object to smoking in the workplace and prevent employers from forcing employees to work in areas where smoking occurs.
The Bill, most certainly still allows for designated smoking areas in restaurants, buildings and public places. It does not prevent smoking in private homes. A key part of this Bill is to protect children. A 2002 MRC survey showed that 21% of learners in South Africa smoked.
The addictive nature of cigarettes was shown by the fact that 47% of these learners who smoked reported having tried unsuccessfully to stop smoking. Hence this Bill has three mechanisms to reduce the number of children exposed to tobacco smoke. It prevents smoking in private dwellings that are used for commercial child care or schooling. It prevents children under 18 from being in designated smoking areas and it prohibits smoking in cars where there are children under 12 present.
I believe that the first two of these provisions are good, and while the spirit of the third provision, that is smoking in cars where there are children present, is admirable in spirit, I fear that it might be a step too far. I do not believe that it is enforceable. It is a matter that was rushed to the committee at the eleventh hour. We will need to monitor its success closely and should be prepared to amend it in the future if necessary, or risk this provision being ridiculed. But we will wait and see.
I was happy that the committee supported my amendment to allow the Minister to exempt tobacco products from certain regulations where it may be in the public interest. As far as I know, we will be the first country to have such a provision.
It will, I believe, allow for further innovation in tobacco products that could be less harmful than smoking-type tobacco. In particular, I urge the Minister to look at regulating the new smokeless tobacco product called "snus" under this exemption clause. If the research on this product is to be believed, it could be 90% less harmful than traditional cigarettes. However, the burden of proof is now with the manufacturer, and so it should be. It's up to the manufacturer to prove whether what it claims with regard to harm reduction is in fact true.
In conclusion, I would like to thank my colleagues on the health committee for the spirit in which we deliberated on this piece of legislation, including the chair, hon James Ngculu. Secondly, I would like to urge the department to do much more work and provide more money for programmes that help smokers to quit.
You can go into any clinic in South Africa and pick up chronic medicine for a number of ailments. With the exception of pamphlets and posters, there is almost no help given to people who go into our clinics and hospitals who want to quit smoking. Only R400 000 is allocated to smoking cessation at national level. The DA supports this Bill. [Applause.]
Mr M W SIBUYANA: Deputy Speaker, hon members, the IFP is not generally in favour of overregulating the private sector. We support the setting of minimum standards by government and good policing of the standards so that the public does not suffer harm through exploitation, fraud and corruption. However, in the case of the tobacco legislation, the IFP supported the original Bill and we support the amendment, although not in total agreement with all aspects of either.
Those who smoke in public places and spaces unequivocally infringe upon the rights of others to a fresh and healthy environment. Therefore persons should rightly be prevented from doing so.
Since sponsorships and branding creates role models for the youth, advertising control is also justified. However, this puts a question mark over the entire advertising industry, which is manipulative and dishonest by its very nature. We have never supported the ban on tobacco companies sponsoring arts initiatives, because at that level of sophistication people are usually sufficiently well-informed and educated to make up their own minds.
Where industry is concerned, it would be far preferable not to have to be so draconian in respect of advertising and product information. However, the tobacco industry comes with a long history of deception and must unfortunately pay the price for that.
The invisible hand of Adam Smith has already come into play with the introduction of smokeless tobacco products. These do not have anything like the same level of harm as smoke tobacco products, although their use can also lead to narcotic addiction, excessive use and gum complications.
Ironically, some work has emerged to suggest that a chewed nonsmoke tobacco may have beneficial effects on helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes peptic ulcers. Hence the IFP proposed that the Bill be amended to make it possible to differentiate between the regulation of the smoked tobacco and smokeless tobacco products. Transparent research in this area of tobacco use ... [Time expired.]
Mr S N SWART: Madam Deputy Speaker, the ACDP supports this Bill, which will increase the protection of children who are more vulnerable than adults to second-hand smoke. Scientific evidence shows that for children passive smoking causes or worsens asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, cordites and lung development, and inhibits growth.
It is easy to think of the health hazards of tobacco smoke as a lesser evil, especially in today's world where our children are suffering abuse and face great dangers at every turn. Our failure, however, to protect our children in other areas should not be a licence to neglect our responsibility to protect them in these instances.
The ACDP's proposal prohibiting smoking in motor vehicles when any child under 12 years is in the vehicle was accepted by the committee, which acknowledged reports that, and I quote: "Smoking in a car produces high concentrations of smoke in the vehicle and poses a risk to all children."
The ACDP recognises the widespread public support for the special protection of children from passive smoking and therefore welcomes and supports this piece of legislation. Thank you.
Mrs M M MADUMISE: Madam Deputy Speaker, please allow me to dedicate my speech today to the hon Minister of Health, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, and I hope that listening to our debating this Bill will make her feel better.
Worldwide deaths from smoking are currently 5 million per annum and unless action is taken, they will increase to 10 million by the year 2025. The amendments to Act 83 of 1993 seek to provide anew for the control over the smoking of tobacco products. To put this into perspective, I quote from Aristotle, who says in his work Politics:
The wellbeing of all men depends on two things: one is the right choice of target, of the end to which actions should tend, and the other lies in finding the actions that lead to that end.
In supporting the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill, our target, as with the original Act of 1993, is to achieve a healthy nation that enjoys a better quality of life. The amending Bill we pass today contains further measures to strengthen the Act and further actions towards achieving our targets.
During the public hearings we were informed of many risks that smoking poses to our health. Many of these are well-known, but what is interesting is that the tobacco industry acknowledges that there is no such thing as a healthy tobacco product. The major concern to me, and I am sure to others, is the impact that secondary smoking has on the youth and very young children. They are most impressionable and vulnerable and this requires parents and adults in general to act responsibly around children.
We are proud that so many South Africans have embraced the Act so favourably and have indeed given life and meaning to it; proof that many South Africans are heeding the call for a healthy style. We are also grateful for the positive response that the Act received from business whilst there were those who feared a loss of business.
I believe that they have been proven wrong and statistics shows that some businesses have in fact benefited. I believe that this is an indication that we are finding the right actions to achieve our targets with this Act. Paulo Freire, in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, says, "Human activity is theory and practice, it is reflection and action".
We have reflected and found a need to amend this Act in order to strengthen it to achieve our target and undoubtedly we may find the need for more reflection and further actions in the future.
There were many emotive pleas from presenters at the public hearings to protect the young and vulnerable from the dangers of smoking, such as the Seventh Day Adventist Church and Soul City, to name a few.
Whilst the Bill does not deal with public education on the dangers of smoking, it is clear that this is a critical issue that we need to engage with as government, civil society and even the tobacco industry must take some of the responsibilities.
This public education campaign should target the youth in particular. We salute the efforts of Cansa, who are doing excellent work in educating learners through the programmes they conduct at schools, and all other organisations and individuals who are working tirelessly to promote a healthy lifestyle among South Africans.
It is acknowledged that the tobacco industry is a legitimate industry under the law, but one of the issues raised during the public hearings by the tobacco industry is the illegal trade. There is a possibility that this illegal trade will go unregulated or that it may prove to be difficult to regulate. I am aware that Sars is looking at ways of dealing with the problem of what is known as round-tripping.
Of some concern are the allegations and court cases that imply that the legal tobacco industry is involved in this illegal activity. The question that often came up during hours of deliberation is: How do you enforce this Act?
We may be ambitious with these amendments, but South Africans have surprised us with the way they have responded and complied in the past. There is every expectation that these amendments will be met with the same enthusiasm. A study done by the World Bank in 1999 states that action to reduce smoking saves lives and that there are obvious benefits for public health.
I am not sure that taxes collected from the tobacco industry offset the strain on the resources that smoking places on the public health system. We were also shown evidence by a study done by the University of Cape Town that raising the tariffs on tobacco products does not necessarily have a negative effect on the profits of the industry, in spite of claims to the contrary.
The tobacco industry is tackling poor and developing countries for new markets, as their sales decline, and in developed countries due to antismoking campaigns and people adopting healthier lifestyles. This indicates that our actions through these amendments are timely.
Soul City said in its submission during the public hearings that these amendments are a natural extension to the existing legislation, and I agree.
We are extremely proud and grateful for the fantastic work being done by Soul City, who consistently deglamorise smoking through their programmes which target young children. South Africa is at the forefront of tobacco control worldwide in terms of legislation and research and is a signatory to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
South Africa also played a hugely significant role in the development of the framework convention. These amendments are therefore aimed at bringing South Africa in line with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Some of the statistics we were given during the hearings were rather frightening.
According to the Medical Research Council's submissions, 15 billion cigarettes are sold per annum and 10 million a day. Between 80 000 and 100 000 children worldwide start smoking every day. These are frightening statistics indeed. The MRC submissions also related how studies in the USA have shown the positive effect that smoke-free workplaces can have on the incidence of strokes and heart attacks.
Their submissions also reflected on smokeless tobacco products such as snus and snuff and concluded that due to their high nicotine content they were therefore addictive. Smoking also has tragic consequences for people with HIV and Aids and TB sufferers due to its negative impact on the immune system and the reduced quality of life and chances of survival.
The most frightening statistic is that smoking is the second leading cause of death globally. It is once again the poor who are the hardest hit where the probabilities of dying at age 35 to 69 by smoking is 5% for those in the highest social strata and 17% for those in the lowest. This indicates that tobacco control should be a priority in achieving our target of halving poverty by 2015.
Another area that is a cause for concern is the devastation of our natural vegetation, largely caused by careless and reckless behaviour of smokers tossing away burning cigarettes and causing fires. The Fire Protection Association of Southern Africa is advocating the introduction of a reduced ignition potential cigarette to reduce the number of fires and deaths caused by discarded cigarettes that continue to burn for a long time.
The technology is available and we would therefore urge the tobacco industry to take measures to introduce RIP cigarettes in the near future. An issue that came up in a number of submissions is a lack of smoking secession clinics and the lack of investment by government in this type of clinic, but also the fact that medical aids do not cover conditions caused by smoking, thereby impacting on the public health system's resources.
Mrs Sandra Van Biljon, a professional nurse, raised the issue that nurses are not trained to deal with patients who smoke and what she refers to as the tobacco epidemic. She also raised an issue of the misleading advertising related to light cigarettes which is creating the false impression that they are healthier and safer.
A key element of the Bill is to empower the Minister to develop regulations for control over tobacco products and for the industry to disclose the chemical compositions and the emissions of their products. The Bill restricts or prohibits smoking in certain outdoor and public places and it increases the fines for noncompliance.
During the portfolio committee's deliberations it entered into a long discussion about the private home being used as a workplace and the fact that many private homes are the workplace of domestic workers. The committee felt that since it was not imposing a complete ban on smoking, it could not legislate around a private dwelling, but I wish to make a special appeal to private homeowners to respect the rights of their domestic workers to work in a
An important clause unanimously agreed to and added to the Bill is the one that bans smoking in private vehicles while there are children under the age of 12 present. We are relying on the understanding and caring nature of parents and adults to achieve a high level of compliance.
The importance of this legislation cannot be overstated as it impacts on so many things relevant to our transformation process. Thank you very much. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr R B BHOOLA: Madam Deputy Speaker, according to the Department of Health on 23 January 2007, tobacco is a leading cause of death globally, claiming 4,9 million lives annually with an expected increase to 10 million by 2030. The Groote Schuur Hospital reports that 60% of all its admissions involve tobacco-related illnesses and it is estimated that in South Africa one person dies every 20 minutes of a tobacco-related illness.
If this does not scare you, then we might have to label smokers as suicidal. The MF is in full support on the restrictions on smoking in public areas and the establishment of manufacturing and exports standards for tobacco products. This Bill brings us in line with our agreement with the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
The MF calls on all smokers in this House to set an example of personal wellbeing to the nation and our atmosphere by giving up smoking. The MF will support the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L M GREEN: Deputy Speaker, the Bill before us today will add to the protection of consumer rights, and contribute to ensure a healthy working and living environment for all. Though the use of tobacco products is difficult to control, the restrictions placed on smoking in public and certain private spaces could well serve to educate the smoking population regarding their role in respecting laws to improve the basic health of the broader public.
In this respect, the smoking public largely adheres to the tobacco laws. With respect to private dwellings in section 2, subsection 2(1) and clause 4 of the Bill, especially assets that relate to children, it serves to protect the rights of children to a healthy environment. Children are the most vulnerable when it comes to being adversely affected by adult addiction to substances such as tobacco products.
We have found in our experience that adults go to restaurants and though they sit in the designated smoking area, they will smoke whilst having a toddler either on their lap or seated around the table. It may be necessary to enforce regulations that prohibit children to enter areas designated for smoking.
According to research in 2005, although the average allocation of household expenditure on tobacco products is around 5%, the use of these products can contribute to some of the highest rates of household or personal inflation of up to 10%. Although we cannot legislate restraint from smoking in the privacy of one's home, many nonsmoking occupants of such homes are exposed to costs that not only relate to their health, but also to their earnings.
The FD supports the provision that employees who object to smoking in contravention of the Act now have recourse to protection. It becomes the onus of the employer to ensure that all employees are protected and that the working environment subscribes to health regulations.
We hope that the department will despatch the appropriate resources to ensure that it employs and enforces these laws. The FD supports this Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr B L MASHILE: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy Minister of Health, hon chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health and the hon fellow members of the portfolio committee, for a change to take place, there should be a contradiction. Some part of our society should be uncomfortable with the status quo for them to have a desire to change that status quo. Karl Marx's words on revolutionary change say: "The philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point is to change it."
Taking our cue from these famous words, we have listened to numerous organisations outlining the implications of using tobacco products and respective recommendations to be considered by this Parliament. The hearings were held necessarily to afford all interested parties an opportunity to present their argument on the use of tobacco products. Listening to all parties, there was consensus that the use of tobacco products is extremely injurious or harmful to the health of tobacco product users.
The provisions of Chapter 2, section 24 of the Constitution state:
Everyone has the right –
(a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing; and
(b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that –
(i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
(ii) promote conservation; and
(iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.
As a direct consequence of this constitutional right, the use of tobacco products is in serious contradiction with the Constitution. It is, therefore, necessary that legislation should unapologetically be promulgated to bring positive change to this social ill. The current debate seeks to give effect to this necessary change.
Given the frequency with which restrictive legislative amendments are brought to this House and given the concern about noncompliance with section 24 of the Constitution and the behaviour of the Minister of Finance by forever raising sin taxes, users of tobacco products and the industry should be able to see the writing on the wall, as is distinctly contained in the Preamble.
This Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill under debate provides for the control over smoking of tobacco products. Section 2 of the Bill says –
2. (1) (a) No person may smoke any tobacco product in-
(i) a public place;
(ii) any area within a prescribed distance from a window of, ventilation inlet of, doorway to or entrance into a public place; or
(iii) any place contemplated in subsection (3).
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the Minister may permit smoking in the prescribed portion of a public place, subject to any prescribed condition.
Smoking is also not permitted in any motor vehicle in which a child under the age of 12 years is present, or in any place where the Minister may be convinced that persons are likely to "congregate within close proximity of one another or where smoking may pose a fire or other hazard".
These control measures call for the Minister to promulgate regulations to define the prescribed distance in clear terms. It is not possible to legislate the distance, given the varying density of our amenities. This provision creates an enabling environment for municipalities to promulgate appropriate distance in their respective bylaws.
Section 3A of this amendment Bill says –
No person shall manufacture a tobacco product unless it complies with such standards as may be prescribed.
(2) Every manufacturer of a tobacco product shall provide such
information about the product and its emissions to the Minister and the public as may be prescribed, in the prescribed manner and within the prescribed time.
(3) (a) No person shall export a tobacco product from the Republic unless the tobacco product meets the product and testing standards of the country of final destination.
(b) If no such standards exist in the country of final destination, the provisions of this section apply.
These provisions call upon the Minister to promulgate regulations to set standards that tobacco products should comply with for consumption within the Republic. This is necessary to avoid the dumping of foreign substandard tobacco products in our country.
Furthermore, regulations will be promulgated to stipulate the manner in which information about the product and its emissions will be provided to the Minister and the public. The regulations will spell out the time for the provision of the abovementioned information. This information is required for the public to exercise or protect their rights in terms of section 32 of the Constitution.
Section 6(a) of this amending Bill seeks to empower the Minister to exempt any tobacco product from a provision or provisions of this Bill on the basis of a certain condition or conditions that may be determined in the notice. This exemption will be made solely in the best interest of the public and nothing else.
This amending Bill stipulates penalties for those who choose not to comply with any provision of this Bill. The penalties are designed for individual users of tobacco products, employers and the tobacco industry. The meagre penalties that are currently in force are no deterrent to this lucrative business. Some businesses have contravened the current Act without giving a damn about current fines.
Of course, the fines to be paid under this amending Bill by those unpatriotic, arrogant, naughty and noncompliant persons who choose to contravene the provisions of this Bill are as follows: Any individual who thinks he/she can smoke anywhere, including in his/her private vehicle whilst there is a child younger than 12 years present, must think twice as she/he will face a fine of not more than R500. Any owner of a public place or workplace who chooses to allow people to smoke or ignorantly allow smoking to take place in these places will learn the hard way as he/she will face a fine of not more than R50 000. Any unscrupulous manufacturer who ignores the manufacturing standards laid down by exporting noncompliant tobacco products will be made bankrupt with a fine not exceeding one million rand. Any employer who ignores objections to smoking in their workplace by employees or allows employees to be exposed to smoking, or who makes it a condition of employment to work where smoking is permitted, will be contravening this Act and will be fined to a maximum of R100 000.
The ANC-led government is not in the business of collecting fines from the users of tobacco products, employers or corporations in the tobacco industry. We urge adherence and compliance to the provisions of this Bill without undue law enforcement. The ANC supports the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill, 2007. I thank you. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Madam Chairperson, hon members, I want to thank all the members who have participated in this debate and contributed immensely to the issues that we were discussing today and the passing of this Bill.
I also want to thank the public who, because of greater awareness around the harm caused by tobacco smoking, are self-regulating. This is a point that was made by the hon Morgan, which I support entirely, that in the case of this particular Bill – the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill – it was found that it is the people out there who are helping us with enforcement of this Bill, that they are complying and that they are beginning to reduce tobacco smoking. But of course what this Bill is doing as well is protecting children because, as other members have stated so strongly, it is our responsibility as the state and as the public to protect children who are victims of passive smoking.
I just want to say briefly in conclusion that with regard to the issue raised by hon Sibuyana about the possible medical benefits of chewing tobacco, what we need to do is to look at the science. We must see what science says about this. But what I would emphasise is that if indeed there are medical benefits, this particular product would then need to be registered by our Medicines Control Council. As you know, we regulate the use and distribution of medicines and anything that is not registered with the MCC cannot be said to be a medicine and cannot be said to cure anything. But I would like to say also that while there may be some benefits, as he has indicated, we must be aware that it would be a matter of balancing issues. For example, if somebody is really terminally ill and might receive benefit from such a product, you weigh what is better to do.
I want to thank members, especially those who in their wonderful contributions to this debate have thanked our previous Minister, our present Minister, our Acting Minister and government for their leadership in this legislation and also those who have reminded us of philosophers such as Aristotle, Karl Marx and Paulo Freire. As we end our discussion and our debate today it is proper that we are reminded of the founding parents who have shown us some of the things that today we are aware of and clear about.
I finally take the correction, hon Morgan. Indeed, the issue of the age of 18 years as the cut-off is in clause 76 of the Bill. Anyway, I very much appreciate your contribution and all of you who have contributed. [Applause.]
Bill read a second time.
GOVERNANCE MODEL FOR PARLIAMENT
(Consideration of First Report of Joint Rules Committee, 2007)
Order disposed of without debate.
The ACTING CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I hereby move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR CONFERENCE
(Consideration of Report of Portfolio Committee)
Mr T G ANTHONY: Madam Deputy Chairperson, hon members, distinguished guests, the International Labour Organisation's conference is held in Geneva, Switzerland every year. Member states are represented by delegations consisting of two government delegates, an employer delegate and a worker delegate, and their respective advisors. Employer and worker delegates are nominated in agreement with the most representative national organisations of employers and workers.
The conference's tasks include, among others, the crafting of adoption of international labour standards in the form of conventions and recommendations, as well as supervising the application of conventions and recommendations at national level.
Since the adoption of the Declaration of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in 1998, another important function of the conference is to examine a global report prepared by the office under the follow-up procedures required by the declaration. This conference serves as a forum where social and labour questions of importance to the entire world are discussed, but the central theme is centred in the report presented each year by the ILO's director-general. In recent years these reports have addressed questions of decent work and of reducing decent work deficit, a global challenge and fair globalisation, creating opportunities for all. It also passes resolutions that provide guidelines for the International Labour Organisation's general policy and future activities. Every two years the conference adopts the ILO's biennial work programme and budget, which is financed by the member states.
Last year the portfolio committee sent a multiparty delegation to attend the annual International Labour Conference in Geneva from 12 to 16 June 2006. The delegation participated in the African Group, the Tripartite Alliance proceedings, committees and plenaries.
We would like, as the portfolio committee, to urge Parliament to consider the issue of sending a bigger delegation to this conference and that the committee also be allocated more funding to participate in the conference.
Throughout the world South Africa has been admired for its peaceful transition to a democratic dispensation, but most importantly by our ability to establish institutions that promote democracy and equity, such as Nedlac. Last year our Minister of Labour was elected as chairperson of the governing body of the ILO, which is an expression of the confidence of the world in South Africa.
Although not active participants during the ILO's proceedings, the ANC, through the study groups on labour and through the Minister of Labour, can use this platform to raise contentious issues which require international perspectives. Such a platform can help to shape the global agenda.
I propose the adoption of the report of the International Labour Organisation's conference. I thank you, Madam Chairperson. [Applause.]
Order disposed of without debate.
The ACTING CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I hereby move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
SECOND QUARTER NATIONAL EXPENDITURE 2006-07 FINANCIAL YEAR
(Consideration of Report of Joint Budget Committee)
Ms J L FUBBS: Madam Chairperson, hon members of the House, normally, this sort of thing is really a formality and yet it should not be. I think that the Joint Budget Committee would certainly like to express a couple of salient points in the hope that the executive and their departments would take the section 32 reports, which deal with expenditure, more seriously and link them to their strategic planning process more effectively, so that we achieve what we intend to achieve, and that is stated outcomes to transform the country and deliver to the people of South Africa.
In short, Chairperson, what one would like to avoid ... what the quarterly reports should be used as an early warning sign, an early warning instrument to enable the department to track its expenditure. This is not, the Joint Budget Committee believes, effectively used by all departments. There is far too much underexpenditure or rather expenditure not even related to strategic plans. And the question arises: What purpose are strategic plans serving if they are not informing the expenditure?
Another area to which we would certainly like to raise the attention of the departments, the executive arms, this Parliament and portfolio committees to focus more serious on is the area of capital expenditure, especially as we move in a more focused manner towards increased expenditure on infrastructure. This is a very serious area when we are using this as tool to advance and expand employment and eliminate poverty.
Chairperson, some of the points that were referred to as recommendations in the report are really the concern of Capex. I have already mentioned slow expenditure. Departments need to look at the truncheons in the transfers and interact more closely with the provinces and the local government sphere, as well as with the other agencies to whom these transfers are being made.
On that note, and with an appeal that more corrective action and measures are taken, the Joint Budget Committee adopts the report and certainly endorses what we have said here today. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Order disposed of without debate.
The ACTING CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I hereby move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
INSTRUMENT FOR THE AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION (ILO)
(Consideration of Request for Approval)
Mr B M MKONGI: Madam Chair, the Portfolio Committee on Labour would like to request the Parliament of the Republic to approve the instrument for the amendment of the constitution of the ILO. This instrument provides for a new paragraph to article 19 of the constitution. It gives the governing body and the conference powers to remove obsolete conventions and eliminate all legal effects that arise out of the convention between the organisation and its members. Member states that have ratified the convention would no longer be obliged to submit reports under article 22 of the constitution. These member states would no longer be subject to the representatives and complaints of nonobservance of the convention.
Out of 197 member states, only 81 have accepted the amendment that conventions will be accepted once ratified by the two thirds of the members of the organisation. Changes throughout the world have resulted in some conventions becoming irrelevant.
The ILO has thus had to evolve accordingly. The introduction of the abrogation amendment was tabled. Abrogation refers to the obsolete conventions that would no longer apply in the ILO. The constitutional amendment is part of a series of initiatives taken by the organisation to reinforce the relevance, impact and coherence of its normative system. The abrogation of obsolete conventions involves their removal from ILO's body of standards.
In terms of South Africa's observance of this constitution, the Department of Labour has presented before Parliament and even the Select Committee on Labour instruments for the amendment of the constitution of the ILO, proposing that redundant recommendations and conventions be removed from the ILO body of standards. Throughout labour legislation, South Africa has automatically ratified some of the instruments of the ILO. There are no major political implications other than to say that for any organisation to grow and remain relevant, it is important to evaluate policies to check their relevance in that particular period.
I therefore propose the approval of this amendment by Parliament. Thank you, Madam Chairperson. [Applause.]
Instrument for the Amendment of the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) approved.
CONVENTION ON PHYSICAL PROTECTION OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL
(Consideration of Request for Approval)
Mnu E N MTHETHWA: Phini likaSihlalo naMalungu ahloniphekile ePhalamende, ngizwe nje malungu nginidabukela ukuthi kade nihlezi phansi. Asizukuchitha sikhathi ngoba kuleli komiti lethu nizoyithemba into esiyivumile. Lesi sivumelwano esingaso namhlanje siyisivumelwano sokuzibophezela esivumelwaneni sokuvikela izinto eziphathelene nenuzi.
Lesi sivumelwano siqale esikhathini esedlule, sithinta oHulumeni boMhlaba wonke jikelele. Mhla zingama-31 enyangeni kaMfumfu ngo-1977, emhlanganweni woHulumeni boMhlaba, kwavulelwa ithuba lokusayinda kusukela enyangeni kaNdasa ngonyaka ka-1980 kuya ku-1987. Amazwe amaningi asebenzisa inuzi asayinda, ngisho neNingizimu Afrika imbala. Kepha lapho yasala khona iNingizimu Afrika, kuthe uma livulwa ithuba ngonyaka ka-1988 lokuzibophezela, uhulumeni obukhona mandulo wangakwenza lokho.
Muva nje ngonyaka ka-2005 isivumelwano lesi siye sachitshiyelwa, nalapho oHulumeni boMhlaba basamukela kodwa hhayi owethu. Isizathu salokho ke ukuthi kumele siqale senze lokhu uhulumeni wobandlululo angakwazanga ukukwenza ngonyaka ka-1988 njengoba sesibikile ngenhla. Kusukela kuthathe uhulumeni wentando yeningi oholwa uKhongolose kwaguquka ukusetshenziswa nokuphathwa kwezinto ezithintene nenuzi, kwaphela ukusetshenziswa kwazo njengento yembubhiso nokugedla kwamazinyo kodwa yasetshenziselwa ukuthula, ucwaningo nentuthuko. Yingalesi sizathu-ke senze ukuthi uhulumeni wentando yeningi azibophezele ezivumelwaneni eziyi-13 ezilwisana nobushokobezi nodlambedlu emkhakheni wenuzi, waphinde wahlakaza uhlelo lwezikhali zayo inuzi.
Ngokwesinqumo esingunombolo 1317 soMkhandlu Wezokuvikela eNhlanganweni Yezizwe, iNingizimu Afrika ifanele ukuzibophezela kulesi sivumelwano sokuvikeleka ezintweni eziphathelene nenuzi. Ngisho isigaba 231 kuMthethosisekelo waleli zwe lethu, uMthetho 108 wonyaka ka-1996, siyakubeka ukuthi isiShayamthetho kumele sihambisane nalesi sivumelwano.
IKomiti-ke Lezokumbiwa phansi Namandla lizibukile zonke lezi zinto, lavumelana nazo, yingakho sinxusa le Ndlu ukuthi ihambisane nalesi Sivumelwano. Ngiyabonga. (Translation of isiZulu speech follows.)
[Mr E N MTHETHWA: Deputy Chairperson, hon Members of Parliament, I feel very sorry for you members because you have been sitting down for too long. We are not going to waste your time though, because we know that you are going to endorse what we as a committee have agreed upon. The convention that we are talking about today is the legally binding undertaking on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
This convention came into force long time ago, and it affects member states in the whole world. On 31 October 1977 in the meeting of members states, the opportunity for signature was opened between March 1980 and 1987. Most of the countries using nuclear material signed, including South Africa. But South Africa was left outside in 1988 when the opportunity to sign a binding undertaking was opened; the then government did not sign.
Recently, in 2005, the convention was amended and member states approved it, but not South Africa. The reason for that was that we still wanted to do what the apartheid government had failed to do in 1988, as we have mentioned above. Since the democratic government led by ANC took power, there have been changes with regard to the use of nuclear material, the use of it as a weapon of destruction, and sorrow has ended; now it will be used for peaceful purposes, research and development. It is for this reason that our democratic government now ratifies the convention on the 13 major conventions against nuclear terrorism.
According to resolution 1317 of the United Nations Security Council, South Africa must commit itself to this Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. In terms of section 231 of the Constitution of our country, Act 108 of 1996, the National Assembly is bound by this convention.
The Portfolio Committee on Minerals and Energy looked at all these issues, and agreed on them and that is why we now urge this House to approve this convention. Thank you.]
Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material approved.
CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND ITS OPTIONAL PROTOCOL
The ACTING CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move, with leave, the following motion without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes that Cabinet at its meeting of 20 March 2007 agreed that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol be submitted to Parliament for approval and ratification in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution;
(2) further notes that the Convention and the Optional Protocol have been tabled and referred to the Joint Monitoring Committee on Improvement of Quality of Life and Status of Children, Youth and Disabled Persons for consideration and report;
(3) also notes that the Executive will sign the Convention and the Optional Protocol during an official function at UN Headquarters on 30 March 2007, the day on which the Convention and Optional Protocol is opened for signature by member States;
(4) recognises the importance of the rights of persons with disabilities; and
(5) congratulates the Executive in taking this initiative.
The House adjourned at 16:48.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
The Speaker and the Chairperson
1. Draft Bill submitted in terms of Joint Rule 159
(a) Astronomy Geographic Advantage Bill, 2007, submitted by the Minister of Science and Technology. Referred to the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology and the Select Committee on Education and Recreation.
(b) Co-operative Banks Bill, 2007, submitted by the Minister of Finance. Referred to the Portfolio Committee on Finance and the Select Committee on Finance.
(c) Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Bill, 2007, submitted by the Minister of Finance. Referred to the Portfolio Committee on Finance and the Select Committee on Finance
2. Bills passed by Houses – to be submitted to President for assent
(1) Bills passed by National Council of Provinces on 29 March 2007:
(a) Division of Revenue Bill [B 3 – 2007] (National Assembly - sec76).
(b) Finance Bill [B 5 – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 77).
1. I have received a copy of an Executive Summary of the Recommendations on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers from the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, under the chairpersonship of Justice Dikgang Moseneke, addressed to Mr T M Mbeki, the President of the Republic of South Africa.
Copies will be made available to Members.
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
1. The Minister of Safety and Security
(a) Proclamation No R.24 published in Government Gazette No 28885 dated 29 May 2006: Notification by President in respect of entities identified by the United Nations Security Council in terms of section 25 of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, 2004 (Act No 33 of 2004).
(b) Proclamation No R.38 published in Government Gazette No 29222 dated 19 September 2006: Notification by President in respect of entities identified by the United Nations Security Council in terms of section 25 of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, 2004 (Act No 33 of 2004).
(c) Proclamation No R.44 published in Government Gazette No 29284 dated 11 October 2006: Notification by President in respect of entities identified by the United Nations Security Council in terms of section 25 of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, 2004 (Act No 33 of 2004).
(d) Proclamation No R.51 published in Government Gazette No 29500 dated 22 December 2006: Notification by President in respect of entities identified by the United Nations Security Council in terms of section 25 of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, 2004 (Act No 33 of 2004).
(e) Proclamation No R.2 published in Government Gazette No 29598 dated 7 February 2007: Notification by President in respect of entities identified by the United Nations Security Council in terms of section 25 of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, 2004 (Act No 33 of 2004).
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
CREDA INSERT REPORT - Insert T070329A – insert 1 – PAGES 561-580
t 127.�� 5�����.25pt 212.6pt 240.95pt 269.3pt 297.65pt 326.0pt 354.35pt 382.7pt 411.0pt 439.35pt 467.7pt 496.05pt 524.4pt 552.75pt'>
However, it is important to be part of the trade and investment flows of the global economy. If we decide not to participate in these flows, we will remain as primary commodity exporters. Our efforts to improve in the beneficiation of resources such as diamonds, gold, and others that we are so blessed with, will go a long way to ensure that, while we produce the skills, we also create the opportunities for employment. Our legislative framework makes it possible for us to achieve these objectives. I believe that there is nothing wrong with our labour laws.
Finally, we welcome the announcements that have been made by the Minister of Finance toward economic services. We believe that the allocation of R17 billion for industrial development promotion, BEE, and small business development as well as the R1,2 billion for science and technology will go a long way to place us favourably in the global economy.
I just want to finally respond to the hon member Lowe from the DA, who will never finish any discussion without blaming affirmative action. He also wants us to forget the past. I am sure that we need to give him a bit of education, so that he can understand the reasons why we put affirmative action in place. It was precisely to deal with those imbalances that he wants us to quickly forget now. [Applause.] He talks about an education system that is poor. It is precisely that poor education system that has put us in the situation where we are, where we do not have the requisite skills. [Interjections.]
Mr C M LOWE: Madam Chairperson, I wonder if the hon member would take a question about the education system, seeing that he has so much to say? I would like to put a question to him. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms C-S Botha): I think he is indicating that he is not going to take a question. Thank you. Please continue.
Mr M J G MZONDEKI: He fails to do that in the committee, so he can't do it here.
The progressive laws in our country are in no way a reason for the people that decide to leave our country. There are countries that actually envy the laws that we have in our country. There is no way that, as the ANC, we are going to move away from the Employment Equity Act, which put this country where it is. Thank you. [Applause.]
The House adjourned at 16:49.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
The Speaker and the Chairperson
1. Classification of Bill by Joint Tagging Mechanism
(1) The Joint Tagging Mechanism, on 1 March 2007 in terms of Joint Rule 160(6)(b), classified the following Bill as a section 75 Bill:
(a) South African Judicial Education Institute Bill [B 4 – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 75).
1. The Speaker
(a) Report of the Public Service Commission on the Evaluation of Performance and Compliance with the Batho Pele Principle of Access – October 2006 [RP 233-2006].
(b) Report of the Public Service Commission on the Evaluation of Performance and Compliance with the Batho Pele Principle of Redress – October 2006 [RP 234-2006].
No related documents