Hansard: NCOP: Questions: Cluster 1 – Peace and Security
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 26 Feb 2015
No summary available.
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
26 FEBRUARY 2015
THURSDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2015
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 14:05.
House Chairperson: International Relations and Members Support (Ms M C Dikgale) took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
MOTION ON ORDER PAPER
START OF DAY
SUSPENSION OF RULE 247(1)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE NCOP: Hon House Chairperson of the Council, Ministers present here and members of this august House, I move:
That notwithstanding Rule 247(1), which provides that a sitting of the Council will be dedicated for oral questions, the Council considers the report of the Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
Question put: That the motion be agreed to.
IN FAVOUR: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape.
Motion accordingly agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms. M C Dikgale)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
AMENDING OF ORDER PAPER
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Order! Hon members, before I call on the secretary to read the First Order, I want to bring to the attention of members that the Report of the Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs should read as follows:
Intervention in Makana Local Municipality, Eastern Cape in terms of section 139(1)(b) and (5) of the Constitution, 1996.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SELECT COMMITTEE ON CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS – INTERVENTION IN MAKANA LOCAL MUNICIPALITY, EASTERN CAPE IN TERMS OF SECTION 139(1)(b) AND (5) OF CONSTITUTION, 1996
Mr M T MHLANGA: House Chairperson, hon Ministers and hon members of this august House, national and provincial government has the duty to take an active interest in ensuring the development of strong local government that is capable of fulfilling its constitutional mandate. The two spheres of government must not only monitor and support local government by legislative or other measures but they must also exercise provincial supervision in terms of section 139 of the Constitution and Chapter 13 of the Municipal Finance Management Act, Act 56 of 2003.
The principal instrument for intervening in local government is section 139 of the Constitution. Intervening in this sphere in terms of this section is an integral part of the institutional framework for developmental local government. It is a necessary corrective measure when a municipality fails to govern and thus jeopardises the enterprise of development. It is also an aspect of intergovernmental relations and as such it must be exercised in the spirit of co-operative government, as outlined in Chapter 3 of the Constitution.
What triggered the intervention? The Makana Local Municipality has repeatedly been faced with serious leadership challenges, both politically and administratively. There have been reported cases of maladministration and corruption, which heavily tarnished the image of the municipality.
Subsequently, a firm of auditors was appointed. This firm painted a gloomy picture of the state of financial management in the municipality, implicating senior officials and councillors in corrupt practices and transactions that result in great financial costs to the municipality. For example, at some point the municipality could not pay its debtors and employees and the town was without water for several weeks in succession. In addition, for the past four years, the municipality has annually received disclaimer audit reports, with the latest – the 2012-13 audit report - drawing attention to a wide range of failures in the legal and regulatory requirements. Hence, on 28 August 2014, the council of Makana Local Municipality resolved that an intervention was needed and appealed to the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs in the Eastern Cape province to institute section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution.
The executive council resolved to accept the proposed intervention per resolution made at a special executive council meeting held on 10 September 2014. The provincial executive then delegated its authority to the MEC responsible for Local Government and Traditional Affairs to evoke section 139(1)(b) and (5) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, Act 108 of 1996.
On 27 October 2014, the MEC for the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs tabled a notice of intervention to the Office of the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces. This notice informed the NCOP of the decision of the provincial executive council to intervene in Makana Local Municipality in terms of section 139(1)(b) and (5) of the Constitution.
An administrator has since been appointed for a period of six months, subject to review and with effect from 6 October 2014, to perform the disregarded obligations. These include financial challenges at the municipality, which has seen the collapse of basic services and residents going for weeks without water.
Based on the terms of reference, the administrator is charged with the responsibility of implementing the following terms of reference: facilitating the appointment of the municipal manager as the accounting officer; facilitating the appointment of the chief financial officer and section 56 managers; assisting in addressing challenges currently confronting the Makana Local Municipality, namely management or administrative challenges, financial management challenges and service delivery challenges; ensuring that the oversight structures of the municipality are strengthened in order to be able to perform their functions effectively and efficiently; ensuring that the supply chain management systems are in place for the smooth running of the procurement management processes; developing, facilitating and monitoring the financial recovery plan in consultation with national and provincial Treasury; facilitating the review of all financial related policies, especially the credit control and revenue collection policies; attending to all legal matters that are confronting the municipality, including litigation that seeks to rip off the municipal finances; and ensuring that there is effective general administration within Makana Local Municipality.
Regarding the procedural and substantial requirements when a provincial executive intervenes in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution, it should be remembered that within 14 days after the intervention has began, it should notify the Minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the NCOP of the intervention and request approval. The intervention would end automatically if the Minister did not approve the intervention within 28 days and the NCOP within 180 days.
Equally, in terms of section 139(5) of the Constitution, which relates to a crisis in the financial affairs of the municipality, the provincial executive must submit a written notice of the intervention to the relevant legislature and the NCOP within seven days after the intervention has began.
With regard to the intervention in Makana Local Municipality, procedural and substantive requirements have not been met. In particular, the requirements of section 139(2) and section 139(6)(b) of the Constitution were not met. By implication, the intervention is invalid because it is inconsistent with the Constitution.
Regarding the deliberations and views of the committee, our objective as the Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs with regard to the intervention in municipalities is based on the need to find a balance between the institutional integrity of local government on the one hand and the efficiency of interventions aimed at restoring service delivery on the other hand. As the committee we are of the opinion that for service delivery to be effective and efficient in a municipality, there has to be a committed political and administrative leadership with sound administrative and management processes in place.
On 24 February 2015, a multiparty delegation of the committee conducted an oversight visit to Makana Local Municipality. The delegation interacted with stakeholders, including the mayor, senior officials of the province and of the provincial department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, the ministerial representative, representatives of the organised labour forum, Rhodes University, Makana Civil Society Coalition, the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce, Nafcoc, and the Unemployed Peoples’ Movement.
Based on the interaction, the select committee observed the following: All stakeholders at Makana supported the placement under administration of the municipality. The select committee noted that prior to the intervention, the municipality faced challenges related to management, service delivery and executive leadership. The municipality was ultimately unable to suitably provide basic services and was faced with many challenges, including the inability to meet financial obligations and pay creditors for short-term and long-term financial sustainability. The select committee further noted that the leadership challenges faced by the municipality included the failure to fulfil oversight responsibilities with regard to the implementation and monitoring of internal controls in respect of financial management, compliance with laws, regulations and performance reporting requirements.
Furthermore, the select committee observed that the presentations of the administrator, the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs, as well as the SA Local Government Association lacked synergy in respect of the progress made with regard to the intervention in the municipality. For example, there was no agreement regarding the functionality of the audit committee, there was a lack of detailed figures and there were no specifics in respect of debtors.
The committee has also observed that upon appointment the administrator was assigned with 10 terms of reference, but her progress report was not contextually specific in addressing all the terms of reference. The report was silent on the municipal infrastructure grant expenditure patterns, yet portions of municipal infrastructure grant funds had been irregularly used for salaries and wages.
On governance-related matters, the report was silent on the relationship between the council and the troika, as well as the community. It appears to lack clarity on the service delivery agreement between the council and Rhodes University. The supply chain management component is a key risk area in the municipality, yet the turnaround plan was silent on governance intervention regarding this important function.
The select committee observed that the placement of the municipality under section 139(1)(b) and (5) of the Constitution and the appointment of the ministerial representative had been good corrective measures in assisting with the service delivery and administrative challenges facing the Makana Local Municipality.
The role of the Sarah Baartman District Municipality in the intervention is an issue worth considering. In general, it appears that there was no visible role played by the district. A more intergovernmental approach to an intervention may be appropriate.
The committee therefore recommends as follows: Having conducted the oversight visit to the Makana Local Municipality, the select committee recommends to the Council that, since the procedural requirements of section 139(2)(a) and 139(6)(b) of the Constitution were not met, the intervention has been rendered null and void. Thus the select committee is unable to come to a determination based on the procedures followed and to inform the NCOP in terms of section 139 of the Constitution.
The select committee has observed with grave concern the dysfunctional state of the municipality. The select committee therefore recommends that the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs should urgently regularise the appropriate intervention in accordance with all legislative... [Time expired.]
Mr M KHAWULA: Chairperson, on a point of order, I want to know what provinces are voting for since recommendations were not read out. We should have finished reading the recommendations so that we know what we are voting for.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon member, this is the time for the provinces to make their declarations. [Interjections.] Okay, thank you very much. I have been advised that we should continue with the declarations. Thank you, hon Khawula.
Declarations of vote:
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Thank you, Chair. While we, the Western Cape, share the sentiments and concerns expressed by the Select Committee on Co-operative Governance of Traditional Affairs, we want to record the following.
The DA brought the critical situation of the people of Makana to the attention of the Eastern Cape MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Mr F Xasa, Minister Pravin Gordhan and the NCOP, and we called for the intervention at Makana Municipality seven months ago.
Questions have been raised about the appointment of the municipal administrator and the process to ensure the intervention. By her own admission, the administrator is only a part-time administrator, working 16 days a month for the first three months, and 12 days a month for the past three months of her contract. She is remunerated on a consultancy fee basis. Her remuneration is in excess of R300 000 per month. If the intervention is found to have been irregularly invoked, the Minister must ensure that this fruitless and wasteful expenditure is recovered from the provincial MEC of Local Government and Traditional Affairs.
Interventions are a serious issue and demand the full-time supervision and oversight of the daily running of a municipality. We want on record our disappointment that, yet again, this action is typical of the ANC’s inability to grasp the need for timeous interventions in troubled municipalities. Madibeng and Mogalakwena are two more such municipalities.
The national Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs must ensure that, as promised by the administrator, the very controversial and highly secretive Kabuso Report is presented to the Council today and immediately thereafter to the provincial government and the NCOP.
The invocation of section 139 must be based on governmental intervention and not on political intervention. The Eastern Cape MEC lacks the political will to place the interests of the community and service delivery failures ahead of dealing with errant comrades who were deployed in Makana.
We request that the MEC ensures that an investigation is done into the misappropriation of council coffers and that all those responsible have criminal charges laid against them for the recovery.
We further propose that the recommendations in the tabled report be implemented immediately and that the NCOP improves procedural and administrative control systems of section 100 and section 139 interventions to comply with the constitutional mandate of the NCOP, so that the people benefit from effective and efficient service delivery. Thank you.
Mr L P M NZIMANDE:
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE:
Mr L P M NZIMANDE: Chairperson, I want to make a declaration on behalf of the KwaZulu-Natal province, as follows: As part of the delegation that went to Makana, and indeed in support of the recommendations of the select committee, we want to note that the community of Makana needs the intervention and that the report talks to that. So, the recommendation is that despite the flaws found in the request for the application of the intervention, the committee recommends that the MEC should regularise the intervention as soon as possible. We agreed with the community that this was an urgent matter.
In our observation, as covered in the report, we did find that the municipality was in a dysfunctional state and that it needed support. In that regard, we as a committee could not find a determination relating to any political party whatsoever. We only found a question of supply and demand that relates to the growth of the population in the municipality and the need for extra funding for the maintenance and repair of ageing infrastructure that could not cope with the population.
The town of Makana, which is Grahamstown, is more than 200 years old. Therefore, the challenges in Makana are not political but they are more of a situational need; of supply and demand as informed by the growth of the population. The committee therefore says that the flaws found in terms of the request and the application for the intervention do not supersede the need for the intervention. Hence the request is that the MEC must regularise the approval of the intervention and urgently come to all relevant bodies for the approval of the intervention. The MEC is requested to do that with immediate effect. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Thank you, KwaZulu-Natal. Does any other province wish to make a declaration? In the absence of any, we shall proceed to voting.
Question put: That the Report be adopted.
IN FAVOUR: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape.
Report accordingly adopted in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Before we proceed to oral questions, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the Ministers who are in the House.
QUESTIONS FOR ORAL REPLY
QUESTIONS FOR ORAL REPLY
PEACE AND SECURITY
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Hon House Chair, with regard to reports in the media, detailing incidents of alleged abuse against recruits in the SA National Defence Force, my answer is this: Upon arrival, recruits are briefed and they receive continuous presentations on matters of abuse during training. The presentations are conducted by the commanding officer, the chaplain and the social workers. Reporting channels and processes are made available to recruits and they are allowed to submit weekly incident reports to their immediate commanders, which are then forwarded to the commanding officer.
Furthermore, the commanding officer is obliged to encourage the recruits to report abuse. Once the abuse has been reported, it is dealt with at unit level and headquarters is informed of incidents that occurred in training. The commanding officer therefore ensures that recruits are not victimised. Lastly, disciplinary action is taken against perpetrators.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Hon House Chairperson, I heard the Deputy Minister’s reply, but I am not sure if he replied in terms of the Oudtshoorn case: We want to know the details of his investigation into the most recent reports, where a string of deaths have occurred and there are accusations of physical abuse ... [Inaudible.] … at the infantry school. What action will the Minister take to remedy the situation, given that the implementation of the military ombudsman’s recommendations following its investigation at the Oudtshoorn Infantry School last year did not remedy the situation. Thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Hon House Chair, regarding the incident at Oudtshoorn Infantry School, a board of inquiry has been established to investigate the allegations of abuse. Furthermore, a Military Police investigation has been requested to investigate any criminal activity in this regard. The allegations can only be confirmed once the matter has been tried and a verdict has been rendered.
Mr G MICHALAKIS: Hon House Chairperson, the Equal Opportunities and Affirmative Action Advisory Board’s 2003-04 annual report states that the department undertook to establish a sexual harassment hotline and to launch a sexual harassment training programme as part of the Equal Opportunities Chief Directorate’s programme and policies. This should go a long way in helping with the issue of abuse. What is the status of the progress made to date?
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Hon House Chair, there is the support of legal satellite offices in the bases. What we do in relation to assisting the victims, as alluded to initially, is that we encourage the victims to report their cases to their immediate commanders. The relevant commanders will report such incidents to the commanding officers. However, there are also work sessions that happen during training. There are classes on how to behave as a recruit and instructors are also taught how to teach the trainees. When such incidents have happened, some of the instructors who behaved in that manner have been transferred to other units, while others are facing disciplinary action.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Thank you, hon Deputy Minister. Hon Julius, you are the next.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Chairperson, I am covered, thank you.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Thank you. I do not want to close, hon members. [Interjections.] Unfortunately you had your chance, Mama. You are not supposed to ask a follow-up question.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: House Chairperson, I really can ... [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): All right, if you insist. [Interjections.]
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: ... since there are no other questions ... [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): If you insist ... [Interjections.]
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: With your indulgence, as a privilege - thank you - I would like to ask the hon Deputy Minister whether he really answered the last part of my question because he is inferring that the people haven not been found guilty yet. Given the implementation of the military ombudsman’s recommendations following the investigation at the Oudthoorn Infantry School last year, why has that not had any real effect so that this thing would not recur? What guarantee do we have that those instructors who have been transferred will not repeat their performance in other places? That is the problem we have with this situation. Thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: House Chair, with regards to the ombudsman’s recommendations, I would like to request that we come back with the report in the next sitting.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): All right , thank you very much, hon Deputy Minister. [Interjections.] Hon Van Lingen, the opportunity for three members to ask follow-up questions is now closed.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: House Chairperson, the Minister did not answer the second part. I said that the Minister had explained to us that the instructors who did those horrible things had been transferred to other bases. What guarantee do we have that they are going to behave in their new positions? Surely what we would like to hear is that action has been taken against them and that they have been scrapped from the roll as instructors. Thank you.
Mr S G MTHIMUNYE: House Chair, I am rising on a point of order: From where I stand, in the first place, the question was actually a new question and not a follow-up question. Secondly, when hon Van Lingen stood up for the second time on this matter, she was standing as a privilege. I am therefore submitting that the hon Deputy Minister need not answer the question if he so wishes.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Thank you very much, that is why I did indicate earlier that the hon Van Lingen could ask a follow-up quesion. Hon Deputy Minister, it is all up to you. [Interjections.] Okay, because it is a new question, hon Van Lingen, the hon Deputy Minister is not ready to respond to it.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Hon House Chair, with regard to the media reports regarding the alleged possibility of insurgent militant groups operating and recruiting in South Africa, it would really be inappropriate to comment on the operational activities of our Defence intelligence, particularly in relation to investigatory work that relies on discretion and confidentiality for its success.
However, we can assure you that in cases where insurgent military groups operate and recruit in South Africa, the Department of Defence and Military Veterans will act in accordance with the provisions of all the applicable legislation, particularly the Foreign Military Assistance Act. Thank you.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Hon House Chairperson, given the alleged training for and planning by insurgent militant operations by groups like al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Boko Haram and the easy access to fraudulent passports issued to terrorists like Samantha “White Widow” Lewthwaite in South Africa, will the Minister consider policy changes that will deal more distinctively with the conditions that are conducive and encourage terrorist groups to come to South Africa to prevent them from becoming entrenched in our society?
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Hon House Chair, I think the question is misdirected. I think it should be directed to Home Affairs.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Actually, hon member, I think that you are trying to raise a new question. Maybe you can submit it in writing to the relevant department. Thank you.
Mr G MICHALAKIS: Hon Chairperson, how is the department collaborating and co-operating with the Departments of Police, International Relations and Co-operation, Home Affairs and State Security to curb the presence of terrorist groups in South Africa?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Order! I think the hon members are confusing the questions. We are still with the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans. [Interjections.] Okay, but it sounds to me like it belongs to the Department of Home Affairs. [Interjections.] Okay, Hon Deputy Minister, over to you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Hon House Chair, there is a cluster for security. I think the Ministers are here - if they feel like responding to those questions, they will do so. But there is collaboration. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon House Chair and hon members, the total number of illegal immigrants or undocumented migrants who were deported is as follows. In 2010-11, the number was 55 825; in 2011-12, 75 336; in 2012-13, 105 392; in 2013-14, 131 907. The cost of the deportations was as follows: The costs in 2010-11 was R122 286 153 million; in 2011-12, R167 961 284; in 2012-13, R199 850 936 06 million, and in 2013-14, R196 493 409 million. Thank you.
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: According to estimates, hon Minister, South Africa was said to be hovering at least 5 million illegal immigrants in 2011, with a large number of these people hailing from Zimbabwe. The Lindela Repatriation Centre is currently holding 1 800 Zimbabwean nationals who are awaiting deportation, with some being detained for more than six months.
But according to reports, your department’s financial position only allows for the deportation of the seriously ill at this stage. What is the Minister doing to address this serious issue, which has been a problem for a long time, and where will the funding come from to manage the deportation of illegal immigrants? I thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon House Chairperson, though the question is away from the original question, regarding Zimbabwean nationals who are in the country, in 2009-10, the department announced the programme that we called the Dispensation for Zimbabweans Project. It regularised about 245 000 Zimbabweans in South Africa who were in possession of either a valid Zimbabwean passport, a work permit or a study permit, or even a business permit. We extended that programme this year because it became clear to us that to simply deport Zimbabweans on the basis that they were undocumented in the country, particularly giving the problems that were experienced in their country around that period, would have been a strenuous and fruitless exercise.
As I speak to you now, over 2 000 Zimbabweans have applied for the new permits that we announced at the beginning of the year. So, about 11 000 of them have been issued their permits and we expect that we will be able to complete that process towards the end of April.
The challenge, really, with Zimbabwean nationals - as with Southern African Development Community nationals in South Africa - is that most of them are economic migrants but because there is no policy framework that accommodates economic migrants, they then seek to use the avenue of asylum in order to regularise their stay in South Africa. This clogs up the asylum system, delays their adjudication for genuine asylumseekers and therefore ensures that we cannot protect the rights of genuine refugees in the country. That is the process that we are implementing.
Meanwhile, as far as Lindela is concerned, we are working hand in hand with the SA Human Rights Commission and other agencies to try and address whatever challenges there are at Lindela. The big challenge that we face in South Africa is with regard to economic migrants. South Africa will never - or the Department of Home Affairs will never - have enough budget to keep deporting these undocumented foreign nationals. So, we need to find other avenues like working with their countries of origin in order to address that challenge. Thank you.
MODULASETULO WA NTLO: KGORO YA TIRISANO LE TSHOMISANO YA BODITŠHABATŠHABA (Moh M C Dikgale): Mohl Tona, e re ke bontšhe gore ba go bone gore o phela o itokišeditše, ke ka lebaka leo ba tlatlaletšago potšišo ya gago. Re a leboga.
Any other follow-up question?
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Hon House Chair, thank you, Minister, for the answer. I would like to know this: You referred to a policy framework. What is the stance of the department, in collaboration with other departments and other role-players in this field, to change the policy framework to address this problem? I did not hear you giving any costs, because that was the other question that was raised: What does it cost the department at this stage? Where does the budget come from to be able to do this?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon member, I think that is a new question. Anyhow, it is up to the Minister if he is ready to respond.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon Chair, we can provide the costs later, because I do not have them offhand. As far as the policy framework is concerned, we have started a process of extensively reviewing the Immigration White Paper of 1999, so that we can emerge with a more updated, modern White Paper that will provide a proper legal framework for South Africa to be able to manage international migration. Contained in that is a review of our conceptual framework in terms of how we manage international migration. At the present moment, we are quite reactive and we need a proactive stance that acknowledges several underlying principles.
The first one, as you correctly said, is that the Department of Home Affairs cannot manage international migration alone. Secondly, we will need to work in partnership with other government departments and with all the tiers of government, the nongovernmental sector and the private sector in South Africa.
Fourthly, in order to manage international migration, given the fact that South Africa is a recipient of large mixed migration flows and a host of the largest volumes of refugees in the world, we will need to work in partnership with our SADC neighbours and other African countries in order to manage this process. To expect that South Africa will be able to manage this process on its own, given the challenges of its own levels of development, unemployment, poverty, inequality and high volumes of economic migrants that are coming into the country, is wishful thinking.
We are reviewing the process, as I speak to you. We have held four round table discussions with different experts on different topics. We hope that by the end of the year we will submit a Whiter Paper to Cabinet, which will then be approved for public consultation. Thank you.
UNGQONGQOSHE WEZASEKHAYA: Umbuzo wochuku lo!
If an application for a visa is submitted as prescribed in the Immigration Act, such an application will be considered, as is done with all applications for visas that are submitted. The Department of Home Affairs can confirm that the said person applied for a visa to South Africa on 28 August 2014. However, that visa application was not processed because it was subsequently withdrawn by the client before a decision was reached. No visa was accordingly denied to the person in question and no adjudication took place because the application was withdrawn before a decision could be reached. Thank you.
Mnu M KHAWULA: Sihlalo ngiyabonga, ngibonge nakuwe mhlonishwa ngempendulo.
Hon House Chairperson, I heard the response from the Minister. When this thing happened in September last year, there were quite a lot of to’s and fro’s in it. There were reports that the client, who happened to be the Dalai Lama, withdrew his application after his office received calls from the office of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation in Pretoria. These calls said that the Dalai Lama was not going to be granted a visa to come to South Africa. That is where the problem was. Now, as citizens, we need clarity on this issue; on whether there was any kind of influence which then pricked the client to withdraw the application before the denial took place, rather than embarrass himself.
Secondly, hon Minister, this was not the first time the Dalai Lama was not granted a visa. In fact, this was happening for the third time. So, we would like to know if this third instance was linked to the other two instances that happened before with the Department of Home Affairs in the space of five years. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon House Chairperson, the Department of Home Affairs does not involve itself in phone calls and such things. So, I would not know. Our mandate is limited only to administering the Act. In terms of the Act, if you apply for a visa, it is incumbent on us to adjudicate that visa application. If the visa application is subsequently withdrawn, we then have nothing to adjudicate. Thank you.
Mr J W W JULIUS: House Chairperson, surely the Minister should have done his own investigation into this. It is very important for his department. I want to know, based on that, whether relations with China were a factor in denying the said person - the Dalai Lama - a visa to South Africa. Because that question was not answered, I will ask it myself. Thank you, Chair.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: House Chair, I am the Minister of Home Affairs, not the Prime Minister. [Laughter.] Accordingly I do not investigate things that belong in other government departments. In my understanding, His Holiness withdrew his application and therefore we had nothing to adjudicate. There are many people who apply for visas to South Africa and there are many people whose applications are subsequently withdrawn for one reason or another. We never undertake any investigation. It is not our mandate to investigate why a person is subsequently withdrawing their application.
So, the hon member might like me to investigate all those things but unfortunately we neither have the budget nor the human capital to undertake such investigations. I think we would not want to interfere in matters that relate to other government departments, because the responsibility to establish relations with other countries belongs to the Department of International Relations and Co-operation. Perhaps if the question was put to the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation for the next question session, she would probably be able to answer it – just as my good friend the hon Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans had to contend with my questions, which I am now waiting for. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Minister, I think you made it loud and clear that you are not the Prime Minister, but the Minister. Thank you very much.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: House Chairperson, I actually have a problem. On the original Question Paper that we got earlier this week, this question was directed to the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation. On today’s Question Paper, dated 26 February, with the reduced oral questions, Question 23 is now directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. So, there is a total confusion about which Minister is supposed to get the question. It is not the Minister of Home Affairs; it was initially directed to the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Thank you very much, hon Van Lingen. Unfortunately what is before us today is the one we are using. [Interjections.] Order, hon members! Can we continue? I am going to take the last question. Oh, unfortunately he is the last one. [Interjections.]
Mr M KHAWULA: House Chairperson, I am not the last one. I just wanted to confirm - through you - that originally ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Oh, my apologies, hon member … [Interjections.]
Mr M KHAWULA: Yes.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Are you asking a supplementary question, because your time ... [Interjections.]
Mr M KHAWULA: No, I just wanted to give clarity, House Chairperson. Originally, when I wrote this question, it was directed to the Department of International Relations and Co-operation. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): All right, let me then say I will follow this up and, at the next sitting, answers will be provided. At the moment we are following the Question Paper that is before us.
Mr J J LONDT: Chair, we appreciate the Minister answering the question. Since he is the expert in the field of how to get visas, would he be willing to assist the Dalai Lama if he wanted to apply for a visa again and would he send such assistance in an offer to the Dalai Lama? [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Minister, this is a new ... [Interjections.] Chief Whip, would you like to speak?
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE NCOP: I am appealing to your good selves that we be orderly and honourable as members of this House and that we follow the questions as they appear here. New questions can be thought of when the inspiration comes, but may I suggest that they be put to paper and submitted in the next sitting, please! Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Thank you very much, hon Chief Whip. [Interjections.] Order, hon members! I was going to say to the hon member Londt that this is a new question. But, of course, it is up to the hon Minister if he has the ability to respond to a new question. So, over to you, hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: I have more than enough ability, hon Chair. [Laughter.] His Holiness is one of millions of people who apply for visas to South Africa, and we never take the trouble to assist one individual person. But what we have done is to establish Visa Facilitation Centres. It appears to me that the issue for His Holiness was not that he submitted a wrongful application, which was then rejected. He submitted an application and then withdrew it. There was nothing to adjudicate. So, if that happens, as it does in many instances, we have nothing to assist anybody with. As far as people who apply for visas are concerned, it is not our duty to assist them to submit their applications. We have established Visa Facilitation Centres, where they can make and submit their applications. We, as the department, only adjudicate on applications. When we receive the application at the point where we will receive it, we will then adjudicate on it, depending on the documents that will be submitted and are before us. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chairperson, the responsibility of the department does not extend to resolving custody matters between parents. However, chapter 3 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, which deals with parental responsibilities and rights, covers such instances. In particular, section 18(5) of the Children’s Act states, and I quote:
The consent of all the persons who have guardianship over a child is necessary in respect of matters set out in subsection 3(c) which includes consent to the child’s departure or removal from the republic, unless a competent court orders otherwise. The High Court is the upper guardian of all matters of all minors and therefore a parent who cannot obtain a certified letter of consent because of the other parent’s refusal to grant it or inability to find the other parent can approach a High Court, which will upon application consider dispensing the required consent.
The department would accept a court order to this effect in lieu of the consent of the other parent. Thank you.
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Hon Minister, I would like to know what measures have been put in place to ensure that collaborative efforts between the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Social Development and the NPA have resulted in the effective combating of human trafficking at the borders.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): This is another extended question, hon Minister!
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon Chair, I wish to submit that it is a new question. It is now about human trafficking. I do not know whether the hon Chair prefers that I answer it or save the time for follow-up questions to the question of the movement of children and the consent of both parents. I will be guided by the Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms. M C Dikgale): The ball is in your court, hon Minister. If you want to play it now, you can. If you want to respond at another time, you are also allowed to do so.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon Chair, the department works in collaboration. We are not the lead agent in terms of combating child and human trafficking at our ports of entry; the National Prosecution Authority is. We are collaborating with them in respect of what we have to do as our responsibility.
When the border management agency is established - which will then take responsibility for all matters of border patrol, sea patrol and even sections of air patrol - it will play a greater role. However, because it is effectively a prosecuting matter, our role will continue to be subjected to the leadership of the NPA. But even as we speak, our officials have received training at the ports of entry on how to identify either suspected traffickers or victims of trafficking, interview and interrogate them and on what they need to do in case it is confirmed that a particular individual or, particularly, a minor child is a victim of trafficking in relation to both the NPA and the Department of Social Development. Thank you.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE NCOP: Chair, may I once more appeal to members?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Yes, you are allowed to, hon Chief Whip.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE NCOP: May I once more appeal to members and say that we have a very long list of questions here and our Ministers work on specific programmes and schedules. Coming here is not the only responsibility they have. Similarly, even members here have got other matters to attend to. Please reserve new questions for the next sitting. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Chief Whip, as I have indicated, it is up to the hon Minister if he has answers to new questions. If they do not have the answers, they can simply stand up and say, this is a new question, and then sit down. No one will punish them. But if they have the answers, there is nothing we can do. [Interjections.] I do not know - is this a follow up question? [Interjections.] Point of order granted.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Chairperson, on a point of order: With every oral question that we put to a Minister, the House is entitled to ask four follow-up questions that depend on the particular answer that the Minister has given. So, the first question is the leading question into the subject and thereafter we have a right to ask further questions. I object to the point of order of the Chief Whip. The Ministers are here once a term to answer questions and they must make time for it. This House is the NCOP and we have a specific mandate to fulfil and it cannot be jeopardised because of other programmes. I thank you. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon members, we agree that we are not supposed to raise new questions but follow-up questions. Our follow-up questions must be relevant to what the Minister has been asked. But, as I said, if the hon Minister has the ability to answer, as our Minister has been doing, we do not have a problem with that. But, hon members, you are not allowed to ask new questions. Thank you very much.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Chairperson, I will ask the first question, for example one plus one, and my follow-up will be two plus one. Sometimes it will be simple but it becomes very difficult for us to ask a follow-up question and then it is being denied completely. What qualifies?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Julius, are you asking a supplementary question?
Mr J W W JULIUS: Yes, yes.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Can you please do so, then?
Mr J W W JULIUS: How has the Minister ensured that the right to freedom of association in terms of families is not compromised by the new visa regulations?
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon Chair, I am lost. What freedom of association is the hon member referring to so that I can answer accordingly?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): It is a new question, hon Minister. I think we need to move on to another question.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: The department is in the process of determining turnaround times for the smart identity cards. Empirical evidence of actual turnaround times once the system and processes stabilise will be determined as per the indicator. To date, the end-to-end process has shown that it takes approximately 10 working days to issue the smart identity card.
Most of this time is in relation to courier services to deliver the processed cards, rather than the printing of the card and other intermediary processes. Printing of the card from the time of lodging an application is less than three days and quite a number of South Africans have received their cards between three and seven days since application. Thank you.
Mr H B GROENEWALD: Chair, given that the roll-out of the smart ID cards require technology that is currently available only in 70 Home Affairs offices situated in mainly urban areas, how will the issuing of smart ID cards be rolled out in rural communities? Also, to what extent will the rural communities be involved and what will it cost the department? Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon members, may I request that next time you submit a question you please do thorough research because this is a new question now. But, as I said, it is up to the Minister.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon Chair, currently, we have converted 140 offices to smart ID card-dedicated offices. So, during this past financial year - which ends at the end of March - we added 70 more offices.
For the next financial year, we will be adding 38 more offices. As you can see, the numbers of offices that are being converted to smart ID card-dedicated offices is dropping. This is largely the result of a lack of resources, but also, at the present moment, the unreliability of the network that our network suppliers are supplying us. This means that even though we can be ready at the front office to deliver the service, the back-end network is unreliable and highly interrupted.
The hon member would have heard that since October last year many of our offices are facing problems of systems that are down, which means they cannot go ahead and offer the smart ID card service and take live capture, as they are expected to. This is not a problem arising from Home Affairs; it is a problem arising from our network suppliers. We are working with the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Telkom, and the State Information Technology Agency to resolve that problem so that we can have a sufficient and uninterruptable network to power our offices and ensure that they can deliver this service.
That notwithstanding, the President announced in the state of the nation address that we are piloting a project with the banks to be able to deliver the smart ID card. We hope that over time the SA Post Office will also be able to join the party so that we can reach out to rural areas. But the department is looking at the additional measure of smart suitcases, which are mobile offices that can be handheld. We could use these in certain areas or for certain categories of people in order to reach out to them.
In addition to this, we are going to undertake the process of converting our mobile units so that they are smart ID-card compliant and able to take live capture so that we are then able to reach out to rural areas. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Are you rising on a point of order, hon Smit?
Mr C F B SMIT: It is a point of clarity, hon Chairperson. I am concerned about how we determine whether a question is a follow-up question or a new question. We cannot sit here and thumbsuck whether a question is a follow-up or a new question. There is a certain theme above the question, for example, above Question 15 the theme that is indicated is the issuing of smart ID cards. That should be an indication of the theme of the question and what it relates to specifically. So, a follow-up question would be related to the issuing of smart ID cards.
So, why, then, was this called a new question? What merit is used to determine whether it is a new or a follow-up question? As I said, I need some clarity on this because otherwise we are going to have a problem in the future. Ministers who do not want to answer a follow-up question will say, no, this is a new question.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Thank you very much, hon Smit. I think we have already ruled on the matter you are raising. Let us now continue. I call for more follow-up questions.
Mr E MAKUE: Hon Chair, the hon member used the word “thumbsuck” in this House. I request that he withdraws that word; we do not thumbsuck in this House. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Order, hon member! Hon Makue is raising a point of order that is supported by Rule 46, where it says that no member may use offensive or unbecoming language in the Council. If the hon member feels the word that was used is unbecoming, then it has to be withdrawn.
Mr C F B SMIT: What word?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): the word “thumbsuck”.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Chairperson, on a point of order: You know we all speak in … It is very difficult to talk to you when somebody whispers in your ear. [Laughter.] [Interjections.] Chairperson, this is not an insult to you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): You are protected, hon member. You can continue with your point of order.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Thank you, hon Chairperson. “Thumbsuck” means it is an estimate; that there is an unsure element. It is the unsure element that we want to clarify. So, it is totally accepted in English; it is not an insult. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Order, hon members! Thank you! [Interjections.] Hon Chief Whip, I did not allow you to speak. Please let us make sure that we maintain the decorum of the House. Hon van Lingen, I will go and check on this matter of thumbsucking and then we will come back to that so that we can continue. [Interjections.] All right – “thumbsuck”.
THE MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY: Chair, I have a statement to the member who used that word. The statement was made that Ministers cannot say that these are new points when they are asked as the executive. Minister Gigaba has been responding to issues even when you had given him the choice to respond or not. That is why we are here as Ministers - to respond. Let us not cast aspersions that Ministers do not want to come and respond.
Mr C F B SMIT: Hon Chair, that was not a point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Order! Hon members, may I ask you to take your seats, with all due respect. We are now on Question 32. Hon Mokoena, at first you raised your hand. Did you want to ask a supplementary question? [Interjections.] I apologise. I just remembered that I saw you raising your hand.
Mr L G MOKOENA: Chair, I wanted to respond to two issues. One ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Order! We have already covered that.
Mr L G MOKOENA: It was a point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Let me ask you to sit, sir, because we have already ruled on that. I thought you were going to ask a follow-up question.
Mr L G MOKOENA: What have you ruled on?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): I beg your pardon?
Mr L G MOKOENA: What have you ruled on?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): I said ...
Mr L G MOKOENA: I have not made my point yet.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Is it not what hon van Lingen was raising?
Mr L G MOKOENA: No ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Oh, so it is a new point?
Mr L G MOKOENA: Yes, I was responding to what the hon Minister was saying.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): It was a point of order?
Mr L G MOKOENA: Yes, I am just saying that that point of order was out of order in itself, because the hon member did not say that Ministers are coming here and are refusing to answer questions. He said that we did not want to set a precedent in which Ministers come here and refuse to answer questions, saying that it is a new question, so that the Minister did not feel offended by processes.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Thank you for that clarity, hon Mokoena, but it is what the Minister was saying. They are here to answer questions. The Ministers are here to respond to questions. Thank you very much. We are now on question 32.
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: On a point of order: Only two questions were raised. Is there no opportunity for a third follow-up question on Question 15? We did not use all the opportunities.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): All right, hon member, I did ask and there were no hands. The hands that were raised were only for points of order. That is why I am saying we must continue. I did give hon Mokoena a chance, thinking that he was still on the list of follow-up questions, but he was not. So, if we still have members who want to ask supplementary questions, they are allowed to do so.
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Hon Chair and hon Minister of Home Affairs, I want to know: How will the voter registration be incorporated, or rather displayed, on the new smart card?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Voter registration? [Interjections.]
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: No, no! I am thinking ahead, like Sanlam. I am looking at my smart card, which I got in 10 days, and I am very proud of that. I want to know, Minister, how will the voter registration information be displayed or incorporated on the new smart card?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon members, Question 15 says: What is the current turnaround time for the issuing of smart identity cards? That is why we are saying, please do not raise new questions.
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: This is a follow-up question.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Anyhow, if you are ready, Minister, you may proceed. But this is truly a follow-up question … [Interjections.] Order, hon members! Order!
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chairperson, already in the previous general election, those who were in possession of the smart ID card were able to register with it and use it to vote. So, the difference is that on the smart ID card, we are not going to paste those small receipts that come out of the zip-zap machine. So it is incumbent on the individual whether they want to bring it by hand or rely on the technology of the Independent Electoral Commission.
During the previous election, it did not seem that there were problems with regard to those who had registered using the new smart ID card, so I think the system has already been tested. Going forward, it will continue to be used, without the need for attaching the receipt to the card.
Ms T MOTARA: Chairperson, I am rising on Rule 246(5), which clearly indicates that if a member does not rise when a question for oral reply standing in that member’s name comes up for reply, the question lapses.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Order! I hope you heard me when I was indicating that hon Vawda was not in the House, but if the Minister was ready to respond to the question, we would allow him to do so. But if the Minister is not ready, then the question would lapse.
Ms T MOTARA: Chairperson, the Rule indicates that the question lapses. It does not leave room for the discretion of either the Chairperson or the Minister being asked. It is unlike a follow-up question, which the Minister has the right to reply to if he is ready or, if it was a new question, the Minister would then request to respond to a new question in the next sitting.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Motara, I really agree with what the Rules are saying, but the Minister indicated earlier on that they were here to respond to questions. If he wanted to answer the question, we cannot deny hon members the opportunity to hear the response.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Signal jam! [Laughter.] Hon Chair, I will submit a written reply to the question. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chair, Zimbabweans who qualified for the Zimbabwean special permit were allowed to submit their applications from 1 October 2014 until 31 December 2014. Once submitted, the applications were then considered and adjudicated. This process is still ongoing. To date, a total of 11 467 Zimbabwean special permits have been issued.
The costs of goods and services are as follows: For the permit - which is the Zimbabwean special permit - stickers, the cost is R330 315; and for the 18 computers that were required, it is R238 054,78, which makes the total R568 369,78. Thank you.
Mr H B GROENEWALD: Minister, why did only Zimbabwean nationals receive these special permits? Will special permits be considered for other foreign nationals too and what are the relevant details? I thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chairperson, when the decision was taken in 2009, it was influenced by the fact that we were facing a large number of Zimbabwean nationals in the country, given the sociopolitical problems taking place in that country at the time. It was felt that to have such a large inflow of people who are not regulated and documented poses a threat not only to them but also to our national security.
So, we needed to provide a mechanism because many of them were already working, some were studying and others were conducting businesses. It was felt that we needed to regulate them in order for them to be able to pursue their lives without the burden of trying to evade deportation along the way.
The second and equally important reason was that most of them were now filing up at our asylum centres to apply for asylum. When they were being questioned by the status determination officers, it was quite clear that they were not running away from any instability in Zimbabwe, but that they were here as economic migrants. When we announced this project, it removed from the queues a large number of people who were clogging up the asylum-seeking system and ensured that they were being addressed through an alternative mechanism, which was very helpful for the department.
When we made the announcement, we indicated that if this project proved successful, we would then consider the nationals of other Southern African Development Community countries, starting with the Basotho, as well as with Mozambican nationals, who seemed to be in equally large numbers in South Africa and who were undocumented.
We are still committed to that view, but the resources at the moment do not permit us to go ahead with it and we are still looking at that issue. We are still looking at the lessons we have drawn from the Zimbabwean special permit process and how we can move ahead with the nationals of other SADC countries. But we had not intended to consider nationals of other African countries beyond the SADC region. We will continue to treat others according to the Immigration Act, which means that if they are undocumented in South Africa, we would have to deport them back to their countries. It is a costly and strenuous exercise.
As I speak to you, hon Chairperson, yesterday and today, the department lost two immigration officers who were travelling on the N4 to conduct deportations. So, you can see that it is really costly, not only in terms of resources but also in terms of human lives. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: Hon Deputy Chairperson, this year we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter. So, yes, human rights remain the guiding light of South Africa’s foreign policy. Human rights have always been at the core and serve as the centrepiece of our foreign policy engagements, as encapsulated in the annual reports of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation that have been presented to Parliament in the last two decades. For details, I refer hon members to the Department of International Relations and Co-operation Strategic Plan for the Period 2013 to 2018, as approved by Parliament.
South Africa continues to advocate for equal treatment of all the universally recognised human rights, including, in particular, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as the right to development in the international human rights system. South Africa also continues its leadership role in the antiracism agenda, as well as in issues of nondiscrimination in general, and we are currently serving in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where I will be next week. Thank you.
Mr F ESSACK: Hon Deputy Chairperson, I have listened to the detailed reply by the hon Minister. I must therefore ask this: If our foreign policy is still based on the belief in universal human rights, as the Minister has just stated, why did South Africa initially argue against and then eventually abstain at the United Nations report detailing North Korea’s systematic mistreatment of political prisoners, along with Russia, China and Iran, on 18 November 2014. That was just the other day. Does this mean that South Africa would rather side with friends of the state that have contentious democratic records than what we believe to be right? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: South Africa is an independent state and a member of the international community. As espoused in the Freedom Charter, which I referred to, we declared in 1955 that when South Africa becomes a free country, we shall become a responsible global player. So, an independent state takes care of all the rights of its own citizens, as I have elaborated on earlier, informed by the national interest of said state. So, we are no exception.
Some countries and some leaders of big countries come out clearly and say, we are following our foreign policy also informed by the national interest and the historical allies. What South Africa would say no to - because South Africa does not have a declared enemy internationally - is to take issues that should go to the United Nations Security Council and lump them with the United Nations Human Rights Council. We will say no to agenda creep. We will take issues that deserve to go to the Human Rights Council to the Human Rights Council and those that need to go to the United Nations Security Council will go there. Countries like Syria are still under siege. On another day, we should talk about the unreformed United Nations Security Council, particularly in this year, when we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. Some unfortunate countries get caught up in the division in the United Nations Security Council as, in 2015, it stands with the principles of 1945.
If the hon member wants to engage in those deep political debates, I am available to share information outside the House, because we have to deal with all the aspects and not be selective in what we want to discuss and what we do not want to discuss. Thank you.
Mr G MICHALAKIS: South Africa has an obligation in the international arena to stand up for human rights. The hon Minister has just said so. Our national policy is based on this principle. My question is similar, but I hope the hon Minister will indulge me. In March last year, South Africa once again joined a group of states with contentious democratic records by abstaining from the United Nations General Assembly resolution 68/262 regarding the Crimea crisis. Would it be fair to assume that our foreign policy is based on pleasing states like Russia and Cuba, rather than a belief in universal human rights as propagated by Nelson Mandela? I would just like to repeat my opening statement that South Africa has an obligation in the international arena to stand for human rights. In the light of that, would the hon Minister please answer that question?
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: I am keenly interested in this debate and I am requesting the hon member not to be selective in what to remember and what not to remember. In the same general assembly that he is referring to, some countries that we respect abstained from voting on the rights of the people of Palestine. I did not see him stand up and hear him saying something with regard to that. So, please, ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Allow the hon Minister to respond, hon members.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: ... let us focus on South Africa’s human rights record, yes. But our rights are not isolated from all the other rights that I have referred to here. As I have said, let us not be selective in what we want to focus on and what we do not want to focus on. If it is about debating the resolutions and the voting patterns of all the countries that champion human rights as we do, we do not hide. After every vote, whether we abstain or vote in favour or against, we openly come out with a statement on why we voted the way we did. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Thank you very much. Members, may I just caution us all to not raise points for debate, but rather genuine follow-up questions in relation to the principal question as printed. Yes, hon Van Lingen?
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Hon Deputy Chairperson, in other words, I may not make an introduction that is too long. I was going to say to the Minister that she is our Minister for international relations and co-operation and she must answer our questions. We cannot ask the British minister or the Russian foreign minister. But anyway…
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Van Lingen, will you please withdraw the first part of your follow-up question?
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: I withdraw. Will the South African permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo, be asked to resign for humiliating South Africa by voting against foreign policy principles?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Minister, I think that is a totally new question. [Interjections.] No, no, no, unless somebody wants to tell me that they want to preside, it is for me to allow the Minister the opportunity to either respond or not to respond to a specific, new question. That question speaks to a specific incident and individual. Hon Minister, it is your right to decide what to do.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: Hon Chairperson, our ambassador, an experienced ambassador, Kingsley Mamabolo, who is currently serving as our permanent representative in New York, is doing a sterling job and commands the respect of all his peers. He is currently, on my behalf, chairing the Group of 77 plus China with excellence. So, we have no qualms about his service.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: Hon Deputy Chairperson, South Africa, through our icon Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, rejoined the international community with pride and humility and was also accepted into the African Union with ululation and admiration in 1994. We therefore conduct very, very good, deep-rooted bilateral relations with all countries on the continent by championing the policy of a better South Africa and a better Africa in a better world.
Relations between South African and Nigeria are maintained along those lines. We continue to enjoy very good bilateral relations with Nigeria, this time headed by the SA-Nigeria Binational Commission, which is co-chaired by our Deputy President and the Vice-President of Nigeria. The 10th session of this binational commission is due to be held in 2015, on a date still to be confirmed. As you know, Nigeria is set to undergo elections soon.
His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan paid a state visit to South Africa in May 2013. The highlight of that visit was the signing of nine bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding. His Excellency President Zuma is also due to pay a return state visit to Nigeria on a mutually convenient date.
The two leaders often meet on the margins of multilateral meetings and conferences whenever the opportunity arises. They also correspond through other diplomatic channels, including sending special envoys to each other’s countries as and when the need arises. Thank you.
Mr L G MOKOENA: Hon Deputy Chairperson, I think the question pertained to specific issues that we have seen in the recent past. The first is the acquisition of the bodies of those South Africans who were involved in that horrific accident, and the second is the recent... I do not know if anyone remembers that Nigerians were chased away from the airport in Johannesburg, and then Nigeria retorted by saying that they were going to punish South African companies operating in Nigeria. Those are the specific questions.
My follow-up question would be this: Are we then communicating these diplomatic relations that you are speaking of to the rest of the department? It seems that in the specific incidents that I have mentioned, the departments were blaming each other. It seems that we do not understand the laws of Nigeria and Nigeria does not understand ours, and so on and so forth. These are the diplomatic relations that I think we are referring to. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: Hon Deputy Chairperson, I think the hon member did a good job in his previous calling.
Mr L G MOKOENA: Sorry, hon Deputy Chairperson, may I call a point of order, please.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): What is your point of order?
Mr L G MOKOENA: Can the Minister please just answer the question and not get personal with me. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION: Hon Deputy Chair, the South Africans who tragically passed away in Nigeria visited Nigeria on a private visit; they went there voluntarily. However, because of its scale, the South African government could not ignore the calamity and say that it had nothing to do with government. This was a first such experience, even for Nigerian staff. They had to deal with a calamity of a massive size.
South Africa is a unitary state. Nigeria is federal state. Nigerian federal law determines that Lagos is almost like a territory independent from other states. So, the synchronisation of other countries’ laws with our own situation did take a bit of time, but all 85 South African who perished in Nigeria were accounted for because the South African government meticulously followed all the laws of the country, motivated by one thing, just one thing, and nothing else: that we bring the bodies of South Africans back home. There were also another 25 South Africans who were injured and who came back safely.
That happened because there was collaboration and co-ordination between our High Commission and High Commissioner, Louis Mnguni, and the office of our Consulate General in Lagos. It took time because of all the things that needed to be attended to, including the DNA tests and all that. May their souls rest in peace. We responded on time. We co-ordinated our response to the challenge together, very much in line with the good relations that we have.
I did make a comment earlier on because I was trying to jog hon members’ memories. The issue he is referring to - he allowed Minister Gigaba to leave - is a Customs matter of the arrival of passengers from this friendly nation who arrived without yellow fever certificates. That was corrected.
Our President actually sent our then Minister of Correctional Services to clarify the matter. This happened within a week, because of the good bilateral relations enjoyed by the two countries. When you have good bilateral relations with a country, that does not mean that you will not follow the law. You will. But there should be co-ordination to clarify issues as and when they come up.
So we have absolutely no issues between us and Nigeria that we cannot solve. After all, they were good to us during the difficult days when we were declared second-class citizens in our own country. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order? Is that a follow-up question?
Mr V E MTILENI: Yes, I was raising my hand already.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: You are still thinking?
Mr V E MTILENI: I was raising my hand.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Oh, thinking to raise your hand?
Mr V E MTILENI: I am saying I was raising my hand.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Oh, okay, proceed.
Mr V E MTILENI: I just want to know the following from the hon Minister. There is a family that recently took delivery of the remains of one of the victims who is now complaining that they have received the wrong body. I just want to know if the Minister is perhaps aware of the situation and if so, if she is intervening in the problem, because they are carrying their own costs, you know, of doing their own DNA; conducting their own DNA testing. So I just want to know from the Minister if she is aware of this and, if she is, what exactly she is doing in terms of intervening in the problem.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Hon Minister, I do not know whether you understood the Question. [Interjections.].
Mr V E MTILENI: It is a follow-up!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Can you just raise your follow-up question again, hon Mtileni.
Mr V E MTILENI: I am saying there is a family that recently received the wrong body of one of those who lost their lives in that church. I just want to know if the Minister is aware of the problem that that family in Gauteng is facing. I have just forgotten their surname but they are facing this problem of having received the wrong body. I just want to know what the Minister’s department is currently doing to assist that family.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): You forgot the name of the family?
Mr V E MTILENI: Yes, but recently there was a serious cry from that family.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Can you imagine how the Minister is going to remember that?
Mr V E MTILENI: She should!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): No, it cannot be that she should. I think what you are raising is a concern and an issue that you think is important to bring to the attention of the … [Inaudible.] Can we agree that when you have the details of the issue that you are raising, you bring those details to the department, so that there can be an intervention. That would be better than treating this issue as a follow-up question.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Deputy Chairperson, the process of aligning the magisterial districts with municipal boundaries commenced in earnest on 1 December 2014. The Gauteng and North West provinces were the first to have their magisterial boundaries rationalised and this flagship project ... [Interjections.] ...
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): You may proceed, hon Minister. We can hear.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: This flagship project – incidentally, because I am using Braille I do not need light and I would encourage others to learn to use Braille – was launched on 5 December 2014 in Diepkloof. The following is a time schedule for the roll-out of the project to other provinces:
Firstly, in Limpopo and Mpumalanga, from 1 April to 31 August 2015; in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, from 1 August 2015 to 31 March 2016; in the Northern Cape, Free State and Western Cape, from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017. Secondly, there are a multitude of positive outcomes that emanate from this long overdue rationalisation process, primarily the rationalisation of court addresses. The legacy of historical imbalances resulted in communities living in former homelands and self-governing states being deprived of equal access to justice.
The following are the obvious benefits of aligning magisterial districts with municipal boundaries: Firstly, communities are able to obtain justice-related services within their own municipalities and therefore do not have to travel long distances to access the courts. This includes services that are service-delivery oriented, such as maintenance, deceased estates and the services of small claims courts.
Secondly, the rationalisation constitutes a scientific basis for the infrastructure roll-out programme. Through the project, a policy that will see to it that there is at least a magisterial district in each municipality has been adopted. New courts will therefore be constructed in line with this policy approach. This will ensure that, on average, the ratio of building is that two courts per year are maintained, if not improved. May I just say that 20 years down the line we have built 45 completely new courts in South Africa.
Thirdly, through the alignment of the areas of jurisdiction of the courts with that of the municipalities, integrated planning across the spheres of government is realised. As a result, the planning for a court takes into account population growth, urbanisation and industrialisation, which are important elements in ensuring the development of communities.
In respect of the Gauteng and North West provinces, the rationalisation has yielded the following positive results, among others: Firstly, communities living in Marikana, who before 1 December 2014 had to attend court in Odi, which is 160km from their homesteads, now receive services from the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court, which is in the region of 35km from where they live. This example replicates itself in respect of each of the 17 newly proclaimed districts in Gauteng and the 18 proclaimed districts in respect of the North West province.
Secondly, there is closer co-operation between the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster departments and law enforcement agencies, which is necessary for the effective and efficient administration of justice. The rationalisation of the magisterial districts is a precursor to the rationalisation of the areas of jurisdiction of the divisions of the High Court as part of the outcomes of the rationalisation of magisterial districts. The jurisdictions of the divisions of the High Court will be aligned to provincial boundaries, as required by the Superior Courts Act and the Constitution.
The construction of the Limpopo and Mpumalanga seats of the High Court is part of the rationalisation process to ensure that communities obtain services of a High Court within their province of residence. The alignment of magisterial districts with municipalities constitutes an important element of the National Development Plan Vision 2030 and of redressing the spatial injustices of the past. I thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF NCOP: Thank you, hon Minister. Is there any follow-up question, hon Nzimande? Hon Wana? [Interjections.] Speak into the microphone, please. Is that a point of order? [Interjections.] Are the microphones not working? [Interjections.] Just hold on, I am trying to sort out the issue of the microphones. Take your seat, hon member.
Hon members, I am advised that there is a problem with the rebooting of the system in order for the microphones to operate. I can hear you but your comments will not be on record. That is the only problem. The advice is for us to wait a few seconds so that the rebooting can take place. [Interjections.]
Ms T WANA: [Inaudible.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF NCOP: Order! Your comments are not going to be on record, hon member.
Ms T WANA: Chair, that is not a problem. I wanted to clarify ... [Inaudible.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): No, no, hold it, hon member. All right, there it is. A point of order was raised by hon Mokoena, which I had to make a ruling on. Can you put your question on record now?
Mr L G MOKOENA: Hon Chair, the objection I had was that earlier there was a ruling made with regard to the question that was asked by hon Vawda. The objection was in terms of Rule 246, which states that if the hon member does not rise when the question is asked, that question lapses. We have just allowed a question where the hon member is not present. I wanted to get a ruling on that and I also wanted to respond to ... [Interjections.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE NCOP: [Inaudible.]
Mr L G MOKOENA: It is part of the point of order.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Are you raising an objection?
Mr L G MOKOENA: Yes.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Will you therefore allow me to make a ruling on what you have just said?
Mr L G MOKOENA: Thank you, Chair.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): My attention is drawn to the fact that ... [Inaudible.] ... from the Rules, which states that unless the person who is to reply to the question elects to reply to the question or tables the reply. Now, let me just cut this whole thing short by taking responsibility. I should have asked whether somebody had been elected to reply on behalf of hon Nzimande. It is true that the House Chair had brought to my attention the fact that hon Wana had been elected to respond to the question of hon Nzimande. Here is the note; I just forgot to read it. Thank you very much.
Ms T WANA: Deputy Chairperson, my follow-up deals with the scenario given by the Minister in his reply, when he is talking about the accessibility of the courts – the High Court in particular. In the Eastern Cape, where Flagstaff is concerned, there is a move that would shift a High Court from Mthatha, where there that court was, to Port Elizabeth. The distance from Flagstaff to Mthatha is 200km. If one has to travel from Flagstaff to Port Elizabeth, as is proposed per the rationalisation, then that is an exploitation of the masses.
I am just raising this question: How far did the department plan in terms of implementing a roll-out of the infrastructure in the Eastern Cape, particularly in that disadvantaged rural area? Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Deputy Chair, as I indicated, this programme is being rolled out in phases. We started in December last year with Gauteng and North West. Part of the reason was to facilitate the roll-out of the new High Courts for the Limpopo and Mpumalanga, which currently fall under the jurisdiction of Gauteng, as well as parts of North West, which would then fall under the jurisdiction of the Limpopo High Court.
This was to ensure that those provinces, for the first time since democracy, will have their own High Courts. They are the only ones that currently do not have their own High Courts. We would then be able to simultaneously establish those High Court jurisdictions and roll it out effectively because they depend on the magisterial districts that would then fall under their jurisdiction.
I also indicated that the next batch of provinces that would be focused on or targeted would be KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, where the roll-out will be from 1 August 2015 to 31 March 2016. The reason we are prioritising those two provinces as the next batch of provinces is precisely because of the challenges that the hon colleague has alluded to.
We believe that especially the Eastern Cape , given the homeland system of the past, where you had several so-called “independent homelands” which then had to be integrated into a single province, came with many complexities associated with the delineation of boundaries from magisterial districts, which also impacted on the boundaries for the High Court there.
We are going to ensure that both those provinces are dealt with at the same time so that the delineation of magisterial districts in both courts would then also facilitate the delineation of boundaries for the two High Courts in the two provinces.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Hon Deputy Chairperson, in his first reply, the Minister clearly stated that the various state departments are working together but it sounded to me that it was only the Justice cluster that was doing that. I would like to ask the hon Minister, through you, hon Deputy Chairperson, if he is he aware that the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs has initiated a redetermination of municipal boundaries across South Africa. This is a process that he started at the beginning of the year and it affects most of South Africa’s provinces. For instance, in KwaZulu-Natal, there are 30 municipalities that are affected in the three different categories. While there is a request for the redetermination of municipal boundaries, the two proposed for traditional areas have been aligned.
So the question is: Are there any discrepancies between the magisterial district maps and the new demarcated Cogta redetermination of municipal boundaries, and are these two departments communicating with one another so that we do not sit with a system that does not work?
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Thank you for that question, hon Deputy Chairperson. Let me indicate that the process of rationalisation of courts dates back several years and has been a process that has involved a number of stakeholders at all levels of government, including local communities and other local stakeholders.
We are aware that lately there has been a major overhaul of our system of municipal boundaries, with particular objectives that I think the Minister of Cogta is best placed to elaborate on. We are keeping a close eye on how that process is going to unfold and how it is going to impact on the plans and the maps that are unfolding in the context of the redemarcation of magisterial districts.
The primary principle, as I indicated earlier, is that the tail should not wag the dog. First you have the demarcation of municipal boundaries, and then you have all the other services readjusting in line with those boundaries. However, you also take into account practical implications for ordinary people, for example, will you be improving access by incorporating a particular portion of one district into another simply in order to facilitate accessibility by reducing the incidence of travel? So, there will be those nuances as well.
Hence, we invite input from all stakeholders. For example, the sheriffs would have their own peculiar needs and would request that certain deviations be made to accommodate their needs. We would have to look at their interest versus other interests to see whether the different interests can actually be mutually accommodated.
If there are difficulties, a process of negotiation will unfold. Hence, it has been a very protracted process to ensure that everybody is on board. But the underlying primary principles are ensuring accessibility and equal access to justice, especially for those who cannot afford to travel long distances to access our justice system. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Thank you very much, hon Minister. Is there any other follow-up question? In the absence of any and before we get to the next question, lest I forget: The hon Nzimande is not in the House for his question, Question 33. The hon Nzimande nominated hon Thobejane to handle the question on his behalf. So, before we even get to that question, I just thought that I must raise it upfront so that we do not run into a problem.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): On a point of correction, Deputy Chair, if you check on the note, the person responsible for Question 33 is hon Manopole and not Thobejane. Just go through the note.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Oh, the note says Question 42 is for hon Manopole ... [Interjections.] ... and Question 33 is for hon Thobejane. [Interjections.] We dealt with Question 38. Question 33 is for hon Thobejane. [Interjections.] Question 42 is for hon Manopole. [Interjections.] That is how the note reads. So please do not ambush me by the time we get there.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Deputy Chair, the criteria used to prioritise the areas targeted for awareness are as follows: Firstly, the areas where One-Stop Child Justice Centres are established to raise awareness of the benefits of One-Stop Child Justice Centres are the services rendered by the One-Stop Child Justice Centres and the role-players involved in One-Stop Child Justice Centres.
Secondly, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development estimates the statistics for areas where a high volume of cases of children in conflict with the law are reported and these areas are selected for public education and awareness events. Thirdly, child and youth care centres and correctional facilities where children are detained are also prioritised for public education and awareness events.
Fourthly, areas where specific crimes are prevalent among children, such as a higher number of child-on-child sexual offences, cyberbullying or harmful religious practices resulting in crime, are targeted for public education and awareness events. Fifthly, in some instances, schools in the regions result in a large number of children at risk, and these schools will then be selected for public education and awareness events.
Sixthly, areas where there are a large number of parents who do not accept their children back into their families after committing crime are selected for public education and awareness events.
Lastly, areas for public education and awareness events are also selected in consultation with nongovernmental organisations, faith-based organisations, other implementing departments and institutions such as the Departments of Health, Basic Education and Social Development, the National Prosecuting Authority, Legal Aid SA and the SA Police Service during Provincial Child Justice Forum meetings. I thank you, hon Chair.
Ms B S MASANGO: Thank you, Minister, for the answer to the question. Still on the Child Justice Act, the National Prosecuting Authority has conducted criminal capacity research. I would just like to know if the Minister would be able to give us the key findings of this research and what progress the department has made to date to implement the key findings as they come out of the research on criminal capacity.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: That is a totally new question, Deputy Chairperson. I will only be too happy to obtain the information and make it available to you. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Deputy Chairperson, yes, the programme on social integration has been successful in reaching its objectives. This process has two phases, namely prerelease and social reintegration. The correctional programme on prerelease is rendered to offenders who are due for release.
The focus points of the programme are as follows: Firstly, preparing offenders for successful reintegration; secondly, teaching of skills to overcome difficulties associated with reintegration; thirdly, ensuring that the proper support systems are in place before placement; fourthly, providing information about external resources to assist with the restoration of relationships between offenders and their next of kin and others; fifthly, teaching offenders to take responsibility for their own behaviour; sixthly, assisting with the building of self-esteem of offenders and self-confidence; and lastly, providing information on the prevention of reoffending and relapse. In this programme, evaluation is based on measurement of understanding and growth of knowledge of offenders who attended the programme.
The system of community correction enables offenders to lead a socially responsible and crime-free life, while serving their sentences in the community and to facilitate their social acceptance and effective reintegration into their respective communities through effective monitoring, supervision and various programmes geared towards crime prevention and the reduction of reoffending. Effective monitoring and supervision of offenders under the system of community correction is conducted through 228 community correction offices nationally. These offices were mainly established to provide access to a wide range of support services and programmes to offenders serving their sentences under the system of community correction. A further 234 community service points were established within communities for easy access by parolees and probationers.
Currently, a total of 70 661 offenders - that is 17 140 probationers, 51 914 parolees and 1 607 awaiting-trial persons - are under the system of community correction. A policy framework - that is, a community participation policy and community participation procedures - has been developed to centralise the principled participation of various stakeholders in the advancement of the rehabilitation and social reintegration of offenders, including the family, communities, nongovernmental organisations, faith-based organisations, community-based organisations and the criminal justice system.
The department is continuously engaged in discussions with other criminal justice partners to promote the effective use of noncustodial sentencing options. This seems to promote the confidence of the criminal justice partners and the public in the system of community correction in order to optimise the participation of all sectors.
Halfway houses were established to accommodate those offenders who are without support systems. Since inception, a total number of 106 parolees and probationers have been accommodated in halfway houses. Some 60 were successfully reintegrated into their communities with sustainable jobs. The other 46 parolees and probationers are still in the process of being reintegrated with their families. Partnerships were established with Working on Fire ... I thank you, Deputy Chair. [Time expired.]
Ms T WANA: Deputy Chairperson, I am satisfied with the question. Thank you, Minister. This thing is not working.
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: I am hon Mpambo-Sibhukwana, Ntate. Hon Minister, under Programme 5: Social Reintegration in the department’s annual report for 2013-14, the department met 30 out of 41 targets. I want to know, Minister, what progress has been made in implementing the strategies aimed at addressing failure to achieve the targets in terms of the vacancy rate, security operations as they relate to unnatural deaths in correctional facilities, the number of escapees and the challenges of overcrowding in the correctional facilities. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Hon Minister, I do not know if you are going to answer that question because there already is a question addressed to you about overcrowding and so forth.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: All I can say is there are a plethora of questions in that question. It will take me a bit of time to respond to each of those questions because each of them is a stand-alone question. Therefore, I am not sure which one to prioritise from the list of questions that the hon member asked.
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Hon Chair, I am quite happy for the Minister to give a written reply.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Deputy Chairperson, the department has picked up the challenge and it is being addressed by deploying diligent personnel who conduct thorough searches of inmates and their possessions on a regular basis.
We have rolled out cellphone detection systems in various correctional centres. Cellphone detection systems are part of ongoing, integrated security systems upgrades happening in various centres across the country. We are using the same in Tswelopele, in Kimberley and in Brandvlei in the Western Cape.
The retrofitting in the Western Cape, as well as the retrofitting of systems in various centres spanning several provinces, is ongoing as we speak. Mobile and portable cellphone detection units are being used and will continue to be procured to ensure a speedy roll-out where fixed units are inadequate or have not yet been installed.
Chairperson, we have also completed the procurement of body scanning equipment and are expecting the delivery of the first scanning units within this financial year. The department is also in the process of exploring its own solutions in countering the use of cellphones; and this is meant primarily to pair cellphone detection with random cellphone jamming. I am not referring to the jamming that the National Assembly experienced the other day. The effect is that there will not be blanket ... [Interjections.] [Laughter.]
The MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY: [Inaudible.]
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: You see, the Minister is interrupting my signal here. [Laughter.] The effect is that there will not be a blanket permanent jamming, but that strategically located cellphone detectors will trigger cellphone jamming for a pre-determined duration, thus rendering any communication impossible. The solution is subject to an agreement reached with the Independent Communications Authority of SA, Icasa.
The department will continue to discourage members of the public from aiding inmates in the smuggling of contraband into the facilities. Equally, the department will continue to engage its officials with a view to ensuring that they do not fall foul of the law and of the policies of the Department of Correctional Services by being corrupted and smuggling these items into correctional facilities themselves. I thank you.
Mr G MICHALAKIS: Thank you, hon Chairperson. Minister, just a quick bit of background before I put my follow-up question: The reason I asked this question is that last year the same question was asked of the Deputy Minister of Justice responsible for Correctional Services, and he could not give a single immediate solution. He only had plans. Now, I am very glad to hear that the Minister mentioned a few examples of where matters are being dealt with immediately.
However, I am sure the Minister would share my concerns that he only mentioned one or two facilities. I would like to know, since this is a nationwide problem and there are only selected facilities where the solution is being rolled out, by when does the Minister expect this to be a nationwide control mechanism and what is the success rate in the areas where it has been implemented already. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Thank you very much for that question, Deputy Chairperson. What we do as the department is to prioritise our correctional facilities according to the level of security risk in determining which methods or tools would be best suited to counter the threat. For example, you would notice that urban centres tend to be higher risk than rural centres. Issues of overcrowding, as well as the extension of gangster activities into correctional facilities, also pose a higher risk, mainly in urban centres.
So, in determining which facilities to prioritise and which instruments or interventions to use is also influenced by that consideration. It is not necessarily so that everything we have mentioned here would absolutely and necessarily be everywhere in the country. On the other hand, it would be absolutely critical that all of these facilities or interventions are installed at the same time throughout the country, bearing in mind that we operate in the cost containment environment, given the economic situation in the country.
However, I can confirm that where we have identified problems, we have made interventions and we are very happy with the outcomes that we have achieved so far. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you very much, hon Minister. Is there any other follow-up question? In fact, I thought the Minister would invite hon Michalakis to Tswelopele centre, where I saw something very interesting ... [Inaudible.]
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Deputy Chairperson, let me just confirm that I have the correct reply here. The Department of Correctional Services follows a multipronged strategy consisting of the following dimensions: Managing the levels of remand detainees through the Integrated Justice System, case management task teams and the Inter-Sectoral Committee on Child Justice; managing the levels of sentenced offenders through improving the effective and appropriate use of the conversion of sentences to community correctional supervision, release on parole and transfers between correctional centres to attempt and establish some degree of evenness in overcrowding; ensuring progress with the Department of Correctional Service’s capital works programme to upgrade correctional facilities, as well as to build new correctional centres that are both cost-effective and rehabilitation-oriented.
The department encourages debate in South Africa about the reasons for incarceration as a sentence and encourages an approach to appropriate sentencing that is focused on facilitating rehabilitation. It enhances community correctional supervision so that it can be better used as an appropriate sentence for less serious crimes.
It also improves correction and development programmes within the Department of Justice and Correctional Services to ensure the enhanced facilitation of rehabilitation that targets the offending behaviour. It encourages the improvement of first and second levels of correction in the families, social institutions, social and economic sectors, as well as government departments respectively, to decrease the rate of entry into the criminal justice system. Simply stated, the department aims to prevent crime and corruption and to support the reintegration of offenders back into their communities in order to assist in reducing the levels of repeat offending.
The Department of Correctional Services is implementing unit management in all the correctional centres. Unit management is an approach to the offender and the correctional centre’s management that is designed to improve control and relationships by dividing the larger correctional centre-population into smaller and more manageable groups. This improves the delivery of correctional services pertaining to care, corrections, development, security and aftercare.
In order to facilitate service delivery within this regime, a comprehensive strategy, called the Offender Rehabilitation Path, was developed. This strategy deals with, among other matters, the following areas, as they relate to each individual offender: Firstly, the initial Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine, Vimm, risk and needs assessment; secondly, profiling and classification; thirdly, the development of a correctional sentence plan.
The Offender Rehabilitation Path schedules interventions and skills development and monitors progress in relation to the correctional sentence plan. It includes preparation for release, aftercare and the multipronged overcrowding strategy. The unit management approach and the Offender Rehabilitation Path enhance efforts to minimise the negative effects of overcrowding in correctional centres. I thank you.
Ms G M MANOPOLE: Deputy Chairperson, thanks to the hon Minister for the response. My question is with regard to the strategy on community rehabilitation programme, one of the strategies that are in place.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Excuse me, Chair. The sound is not audible; I am not hearing the question.
Ms G M MANOPOLE: Thank you, Minister. Am I audible now? [Interjections.] You have outlined the number of strategic areas that you have placed. Under the community rehabilitation programme, I just want to check the strategy regarding offenders who are classified under rape cases and who had a negative impact on the rehabilitation programmes. How will they then go back to the centres? Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Hon Minister, I do not know whether that was a comment. How did you understand it?
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Well, I understood it to be a comment, Deputy Chairperson. I am not sure if the question is whether we have adequate rehabilitation interventions to deal with offenders in that category; of offenders who have committed those kinds of offences. If that is the question or the comment, my reply would be that the rehabilitation programmes that we implement also take into account the nature of the offence.
The psychosocial assessment that is conducted on the offender upon entering our correctional facilities is done to determine whether any psychosocial and other developmental needs can be identified to improve the overall character of the offender. This is also done to improve their self-esteem and to ensure that that offender’s behavioural trends are enhanced for the offender to emerge from the rehabilitation programme as a better person who can then be effectively reintegrated into society and contribute positively to society. Thank you.
Mr W F FABER: Through you, hon Deputy Chair, to the Minister, which rehabilitation programmes are actually effective and successful in keeping offenders from reoffending and being sent back to the correctional facilities? If I can just know what types of programme are really effective among these rehabilitation programmes?
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Well, my response actually named a plethora of programmes and interventions that are aimed at achieving rehabilitation, including educational programmes, because we are in skilling programmes. What we have realised is that, for example, by improving the levels of education of an offender, they are being given a new lease of life. Their sense of self-confidence is being built, so that, upon leaving our correctional facilities, they are better poised to seize opportunities that are available out there.
Psychosocial interventions and therapies are also critical in ensuring that the offending behaviour is targeted and corrected, so that the offender who does not have anger management skills, for example, can be given that. There is a lot of road rage, for example, in South Africa, which is a reflection of some people’s limited ability or their lack of anger management skills. Those are the kinds of human tendencies that sometimes result in fatal offences that cost human life.
So, those kinds of behavioural tendencies should be targeted through our assessment tools and the needs-specific intervention should be targeted in order to produce an all-round better person upon their release from our correctional facilities. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Chairperson, the National Crime Prevention Strategy was adopted by Cabinet in May 1996 and implemented in respect of government departments being allocated specific responsibilities in accordance with their core functions and mandates. The NCPS provides specific programmes aimed at addressing specific factors that contribute to crime.
A lead department was assigned with the responsibility to co-ordinate these programmes. For example, the Victim Empowerment Programme was led and co-ordinated by the Department of Social Development, at the time referred to as the Department of Social Welfare. Participating departments on the VEP include those of Police, Justice and Constitutional Development, Health, and Correctional Services.
The SAP-led programme at the time included a firearms programme, which has resulted in legislation and the implementation of the Firearms Control Act of 2000.
Initially, the NCPS was a government strategy with a governance mechanism catering specifically for the NCPS. Leadership programmes shifted from clusters from 1999 onwards. The implementation of the NCPS has now been institutionalised through clusters and governmental and departmental programmes and budgets.
The SA Police Service has continued to implement the NCPS and the NCPS-related activities of the SAPS are included in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster’s programme of action. Progress is being followed and tracked through regular reporting.
In 2014, we initiated a process to revive the NCPS implementation with a specific focus on getting all sectors involved in order to complement the efforts of the police and the JCPS cluster.
We also engaged with provinces to request that each province either revives, reviews or adopts a provincial crime prevention strategy. It was critical that the revival process of the NCPS should be led and informed by local and provincial government.
Once the provincial crime prevention strategies have been finalised, a national review summit would be held to review the NCPS. It is important that the process should dovetail with the implementation of the community safety forums, led by the provincial and national Civilian Secretariat for Police. Provinces are also expected to convene youth crime prevention summits and develop youth crime prevention strategies.
During this period, the SAPS national commissioner engaged with the premiers of seven provinces for the launch of provincial crime prevention strategies. The Free State and Northern Cape had already launched their provincial crime prevention strategies and had started preparing for a review. The process was well received and supported by provincial governments. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Order! What point are you rising on, hon member?
Mr J W W JULIUS: I rise on a point of order, hon Deputy Chair. I am very sorry to disturb the process. I just want to confirm: We are now on Question 40, aren’t we?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Yes.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Deputy Chair, hon Dlamini is not here. We did not indicate who will take the Question. Thank you, Deputy Chair.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): You did not listen. But nevertheless, thank you ... [Inaudible.] … for the response because I avoided this kind of a thing. Hon Parkies has been given the mandate to deal with the question in the absence of hon Dlamini.
Mr J P PARKIES: I am satisfied with the response, hon Deputy Chair. Thank you. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Is there any other follow-up question? Oh, here is a note. Any note that does not bear the signature of the Chief Whip, I would not take it as... [Interjections.] Come again? I cannot hear. [Interjections.] Yes. No, it is not a surprise. Here is the note. [Interjections.] And now we can put it on the Order Paper for next time. [Laughter.] All right, any other follow-up question?
Mr C F B SMIT: Hon Deputy Chairperson, before I submit my follow-up question, I just want to make sure that you are aware that sign-language interpretation is not present. I am worried that some of our citizens reliant on that service might not be able to follow the debate.
Hon Deputy Chairperson, is the discouragement of the reporting and opening of criminal cases at police stations part of the National Crime Prevention Strategy in order to make the crime statistics look better? We have found many examples of this. It apparently happened at Mogalakwena just a while ago at the Mogolareng police station, where Councillor Thapelo Pooe had gone to open a case after he was attacked by five individuals with a knife. He was told that he would get the case number later. Until today, there is no case number. Follow-ups on that reveal that there is no case at all. So I want to know from the Minister if that is part of the strategy.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Chair, I will try to respect this particular question even though it is not necessarily relevant to the question originally posed.
What the NCPS does is talk to the mobilisation of resources at various levels in government departments that belong to the Security cluster, in the fight to combat crime. At the centre of this is also the question of community mobilisation and so forth. That is why, in the response I provided, there is also the question of the role of the community safety forums.
So clearly the question of laying charges and how those particular charges are dealt with subsequently at police station level is not necessarily an issue that is being addressed through this particular strategy. So I would like us to separate that operational issue from the strategic objectives captured by the strategy as adopted way back in 1996. Thank you.
Ms G M MANOPOLE: Hon Deputy Chair, I thank the Minister for his responses. My follow-up question is about the two provinces you mentioned that have implemented the strategy, namely the Northern Cape and Free State.
With regard to the lessons that you have learnt, I want to ask you if there are any lessons that have been learnt from the Northern Cape’s successes and challenges, particularly concerning community police forum participation in the context of public participation, and whether those will be taken to the provinces that have not yet implemented the strategy. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Chairperson, a number of lessons have certainly been learnt throughout the process. It is for this reason, for instance, that we have recently approached Cabinet on the question of reviewing the White Paper on Safety and Security. There are new dynamics and new developments and new structural challenges, as well as institutional arrangements that we need to begin to look at in order to refine our way forward in the fight against crime, and so on.
For instance, I do want to suggest that the exercise of reviewing the White Paper on Safety and Security will encompass, among other things, a number of lessons drawn from experiences at provincial government as well as local government levels, and so on. These will then allow us to look at how we shape our way forward.
Mr F ESSACK: Hon Deputy Chairperson, I want to ask the Minister a simple, straightforward question: Why are drug-related and gang-related crimes on the rise despite the implementation of the National Crime Prevention Strategy? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: I like your smile, Chair! [Laughter.] Look, I must have alluded to this issue at some point in this House. We are indeed facing serious challenges at the social level. The question of the fight against things like drugs, and so on, is essentially at the root of our social problems. We all – particularly ourselves as leadership - need to move away from the notion of thinking that the solution to that problem lies squarely on the shoulders of the police. The solution to that problem lies in the effective mobilisation of state agencies, particularly state agencies that are rooted in the social make-up and fabric of our society, to begin to deal with these challenges.
For instance, the active participants in drugs and gangs are our children. Therefore the question would essentially be: What do we do as members of this society to deal with those particular circumstances, because if gangsters and gang-related formations and drug lords target our youth, we must understand that that is an ideological onslaught on our own make-up as a society.
So, the police can play whatever role it can in terms of law enforcement and so forth. But we must remember that law enforcement essentially entails a reaction to an incident. Therefore, in this particular instance, the point of emphasis should be the question of crime prevention. If we talk about crime prevention, we all have a role to play to tackle this particular question so that, next time around, we do not stand up here and begin to ask one another yet again why this problem is on the increase. If we ask that question, we should all be in a position at some point or another to provide absolute clarity and leadership to South African society about why this problem is on the increase. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Chair, the answer to the question - and I am sorry to be brief – is no. The SA Police Service was not in possession of a court order. The newly appointed ANC councillors of Mogalakwena Local Municipality requested the SA Police to escort them to the municipal offices in order to ensure their safety since expelled councillors from the ANC who lost their seats as councillors refused to vacate their offices. The SA Police Service was also attending to a complaint of trespassing. After explaining the situation, the expelled councillors from the ANC willingly left the premises. Thank you very much.
Mr C F B SMIT: Hon Chairperson, it is quite clear that it was politically motivated, then. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Hon Smit, can you say that again? I did not hear you.
Mr C F B SMIT: I say that it is very clear from the answer that it was politically motivated and that political instructions were being followed. Hon Minister, my follow-up question is as follows: Why did the SA Police Service ignore a court order that was granted to the Mogalakwena Local Municipality on 4 November, as well as all subsequent orders, of which there was five, which instructed the SA Police not to enter the premises of Mogalakwena local Municipality? I was personally present when the SA Police Service entered and they could not provide any documentation. In fact, the court order was presented to them and what they did was that they tore it up and stepped on it.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: I just want to say two things, hon Deputy Chairperson. The SA Police Service does not service party political interests. It services the interests of the South African public and that is what our duty is all about. Now, I would not know what to say unless the hon member elucidates the whole question of what is meant by politically motivated. I mean, if you were asked and requested, for example, to assist in a particular stalemate, it is within our mandate to actually do that as the SA Police Service.
The second thing is that the original question asks whether or not the SA Police Service was in possession of a court order to enter the premises of Mogalakwena Local Municipality. So, I responded to this question. I said, no, we did not have a court order and the reason we entered is that we had been requested, and so forth. So, that is where it is, unless the hon member in question has some other information that he is entitled to. He can then effectively file a new question and we will gladly respond to that question too.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Sorry, I am getting very excited. [Interjections.] Before the law in South Africa, I cannot stand up and say, “Ek het nie geweet nie”; “andiyazi” [I did not know] when I do something wrong, if you understand what I am saying.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Very well.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: No. I do not think that hon Smit said that the Minister acted or the police acted on instructions. He said it was clear that the whole set-up in Mogalakwena was a political thing.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): No, he said it. He said it was a political instruction.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Yes. So now, when I say that one cannot say andiyazi [I did not know], surely when there is a court order doing something or saying something, then the police or the sheriff must inform the police members of such a court order so that things like that cannot happen. Now it almost looks as if the police did not know and they may have acted against a court order.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Hon members, I do not want to sound ... Hon Minister, maybe you can assist because that sounds more like a statement than a follow-up question to the original question. That is why I cautioned members earlier on, saying let us avoid confusing our follow-up questions with political statements because we then lose the essence of the exercise we are supposed to undertake in the House. I will leave it to the ...
The MINISTER OF POLICE: I am being instructed to go and sleep. [Laughter.] Hon Deputy Chair, I think we should not complicate this. The question is so simple: Was there a court order or not? The answer is that we did not have a court order and therefore, I think ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Can you use this as well as an ... [Inaudible.]
The MINISTER OF POLICE: I am saying, hon Deputy Chair, that the original question is simple and straightforward: Was there a court order for us to enter the premises of Mogalakwena Municipality? I have responded to that by saying no. Further to that, I think, the question asked, on what basis did we do so. So, we have also responded to that question. We had been requested to come in and assist and that is what we did and eventually the stalemate ended and so forth. Now, there are references to some other court orders and so forth. That is not part of the question as posed. What we do not understand is what exactly is wanted by referring to other court orders that do not necessarily apply to this particular question.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Hon Khawula ... [Interjections.] No, I am not going to recognise you, hon Smit. Hon Khawula, you may proceed.
Mr M KHAWULA: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, what I would like to find out is whether in a situation like this it is common or rather standard procedure that the police would behave or rather respond in the manner they did in circumstances like the one you have cited, irrespective of who asked for that assistance in circumstances like those in Mogalakwena.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): The question is simple: Is it standard procedure that the police, if requested to assist, would assist?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Yes, hon Chair, we do assist. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Hon members, I take it that there is no other ... [Interjections.] No, hon member, hon Smit, let us just follow the rules. Hon Smit, you asked the principal question, and it has been responded to. You were given an opportunity to ask a supplementary question; I gave you the chance. I asked other members who have supplementary questions; I gave them an opportunity. So, in light of the fact that there is no other member with a follow-up question, we will proceed to the next question. Hon Labuschagne, proceed.
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Chair, may I ask a question? May I ask a follow-up to the previous question?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): All right, proceed.
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Chair, with all the responses that the Minister gave, I am so confused now. I want to know from the Minister, according to the question of the hon Mr Smit, the police had a court order that prevented them from going into the municipality and then the Minister said they went in on request. I would like the Minister to answer this: Did they not know about the court order or did they ignore it? The other issue we need to make clear here is that if we transfer these actions of the police to any other situation - not a political situation or anything, but perhaps something like domestic violence - and I, as a wife, have a court order against anybody else, can they just ignore it? Because this is the impact that this could have. Therefore, we need the answer in this House today. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: I am not so certain whether I understood what the follow-up question is. I think that the follow-up question is more or less similar to what hon Khawula asked. If you are my wife, for example, and we are in a domestic dispute of sorts and you obtain a court order – or even if you do not obtain a court order – and, for example, you want to go and pick up your belongings at what used to be our home, you can ask the police to accompany you. You do not require a court order to do so. That is what normally happens right across the societal spectrum. Hon Smit posed a question. The long and short of it is: As the police, did we enter on the basis of a court order that we had? We are saying, no, we did not have a court order and therefore this is how we act. We acted in response to a particular request that was directed to us as the SA Police Service. So, I think that that issue has been resolved.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Chairperson, the retraining of members in the SA Police Service with basic detective skills is an ongoing process. During basic police development, new recruits are trained in basic detective skills during the crime intervention cycle of the learning programme. The theory and practical work in the academy is followed by a workplace component at the police station.
In-service training is presented to new members who are recruited for the detective service to undergo a two-week basic crime investigative practice course. Further in-service training follows with the resolving of crime skills programme. The resolving of crime skills programme consists of a 15-week in-class phase, followed by a workplace portfolio to be completed. Continuous detective development is also done to equip members to conduct specialised investigations. Thank you very much, hon Chair.
Mr V E MTILENI: I am interested to know from the Minister: How many weeks of training or what was the duration of the training that the police underwent while they were preparing to manhandle the EFF members on 12 February? I think it is very relevant, because there was specific training ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): No, no, no, you do not have to motivate your thoughts.
Mr V E MTILENI: I understand there was retraining of some kind. I want to know the duration, because EFF members were manhandled. They were assaulted by police on the day in question.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Hon Mtileni, what is the relevance of that question in relation to training in basic detective skills?
Mr V E MTILENI: Chair, it is very relevant. It has to do with training. I am asking a question about what the duration was. This is a follow-up question to what the Minister has just answered.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Hon Mtileni, can you please take your seat? That question is irrelevant.
Mr V E MTILENI: But I want the question answered!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): That question is irrelevant.
Mr V E MTILENI: It is not, Chair!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): It is irrelevant, but I will allow the Minister to engage with that question if he wants to.
Mr V E MTILENI: Yes, thank you, thank you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): However, I just want to make the point that the question is irrelevant in so far as the principal question is concerned.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Chair, I am unable to violate the protocol of this House. You have made a ruling. Therefore, I respect that ruling, sir.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Thank you very much. I will then ask if there is any other follow-up question. [Interjections.] Your question is irrelevant, chief, so please take your seat. [Interjections.] No, take your seat. [Interjections.] No, can you take your seat? Can you take your seat? Yes, take your seat. [Interjections.] Take your seat! Hon Mtileni, can you take your seat, please? Any other follow-up question, hon members? In the absence of any, we will then proceed to Question 42 asked by hon Mohapi, hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Deputy Chairperson, the reply will cover the successful service delivery by the Hawks from 1 April to 31 December of the 2014-15 financial year, as informed by the SA Police Service’s annual performance plan. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Is that a point of order?
Ms T J MOKWELE: Deputy Chairperson, as far as I am concerned, the hon Mohapi is not in the House.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Order! I read this note again. Hon Minister, please proceed with answering the question.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Insofar as ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): What is the point of order? Hon Minister, just take your seat.
Mr V E MTILENI: Deputy Chairperson, were you not supposed to inform the House that there is somebody who is going to respond on behalf of hon Mohapi, like you did with the other speakers? You seem to be just taking us for granted. [Interjections.] Yes! He is not following the Rules. He is supposed to say that he received a note, as he did with the other speakers.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Hon member, please take your seat. Thank you. Question 42, in the name of hon Mohapi, will be dealt with by hon Manopole. That is what I said earlier on, after recognising and accepting that I had committed an oversight with the first question, and I took responsibility for that. I said the following: To avoid this question coming up in the future, let me pronounce on it, and I did that. No, it seems like we do not listen. The hon Manopole is here. Yes, hon member?
Ms T J MOKWELE: Deputy Chairperson, I think all of us in the House have the right to speak, and if I was not in the House, no member must tell me that I was not in the House. If I did not hear you, you did the right thing to read that note for us to know, so no one has the right to say that listening is a skill. We know that it is a skill.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Order, hon member!
Ms T J MOKWELE: On a very serious note ...
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): I was not aware that ...
Ms T J MOKWELE: ... we know that listening is a skill, and you must not take us for granted. [Interjections.] The Chair must be the one who is answering us, not you. Thank you, Chair.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Thank you very much for recognising that. If I was not aware that you were not in the House, and if you were not in the House, your apology is accepted. Hon Minister, please proceed.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Deputy Chair, in respect of the subsections of Question 1, we have had 6 536 cases. That also accounts for the same when it comes to investigations. Insofar as subsection (c) of the same question is concerned, the number of convictions stands at about 2 367, of which 1 348 fall in the category of commercial crime, and 1 020 fall under organised crime. The other category, called special corruption, stands at 71.
Currently, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation is handled by Maj-Gen Ntlemeza. He has been doing this in an acting capacity since December 2014 in the absence of the national head of the directorate, who is currently on special leave. The directorate has had various legal challenges related to, among others, issues that have been before the court in the last few years. There is the question of the independence of the entity. Also, the other area is the question of the so-called unlawfulness and illegality of the suspension of the national head. Another area is the stalling of processes relating to the structure of the entity and so on. These are some of the areas that fall under management and administration challenges insofar as the DPCI is concerned.
There are significant successes, as indicated in paragraph one above, for example, as stated earlier on. It is worth mentioning that the existing DPCI structure entails force levels of about 3 654 as ideal, but we currently stand at 2 654. Therefore, we have a variation of about 1 000 there. These are the issues that we are embarking on and focusing on in terms of addressing that kind of variance.
Since December 2014 the acting head has embarked on an outreach programme to provincial offices where concerns were raised, including vacancies in funded posts for commanders and operational members. As a result, the senior management posts were recently advertised externally in most of the national Sunday newspapers. We have more than 200 posts that have been identified as vacant. The process of filling such posts will also be phased in.
The shortage of human resources poses a threat to capacity and competency in addressing serious organised, commercial crime, as well as matters of corruption. The latter trend poses a threat. Even internally, some members of the DCPI were dealt with without fear or favour and they were charged in certain instances in some of the provinces. Therefore, capacity-building is underway to strengthen the DPCI’s independence and compliance with the SA Police Service Act. Thank you very much.
Ms G M MANOPOLE: Deputy Chairperson and hon Minister, I am happy with the response, particularly with regard to ensuring that you are going to capacitate the directorate, since we are concerned about the number of cases that are still outstanding. Thank you very much.
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Deputy Chair, I would ask this question: According to the Independent Police Report that was finalised in March 2014 and the investigation that was done, the now-suspended heads of the Hawks, Anwa Dramat and Shadrack Sibiya, say no prima facie evidence was found against them. Now, looking at the management challenges in the directorate, can we get clarity on the situation and on what the department or the Minister is going to do about the situation? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Deputy Chair, part of the reason that I, as the Minister of Police, moved for an investigative process around the DPCI is that it is, among other things, at the centre of the issues – and of exactly this issue that you are talking about. As we speak - and I hope you have been noticing because somehow this issue has also leaked into the public domain - the first independent police report places the two gentlemen right at the centre of the issue. They even recommended the type of challenge, and that is that the report went to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, who also, in turn, did not do anything about it. For some strange reason, that report just lay at the National Prosecuting Authority and nobody acted on it for months on end.
Then, a few weeks later, you have the emergence of another report, which wants to suggest that the content as well as the recommendations of the original report filed with the NPA were somehow tampered with and altered in some form or another. Therefore, you move in the direction of a situation where two conflicting reports – the one originally filed and the second one a few months later – contradict each other in key components of evidence contained in the first report. In the second report, certain key components no longer appear. Therefore, the question that you are faced with, from where I am seated as the Minister, in my oversight responsibilities, is the question of establishing what happened in this particular instance.
Originally, that is the thing. I still think that for our sake, as an institution, but also for the sake of South Africa as a whole, we do need to establish exactly what happened with regard to a matter of this particular nature, particularly because the allegations pertaining to the individuals that I have mentioned are as grave as their having been part of this kind of illegal operation. So, that is what the issue essentially was about when I took the position that this matter needed to be investigated further so that we can get to the bottom of the issue and clarify it for ourselves once and for all. Thank you very much.
Mr J J LONDT: Deputy Chair, through you to the Minister, are the high-profile investigations into, firstly, the ANC; secondly, President Zuma’s tax bills; and thirdly, the tobacco industry continuing in the absence of the two suspended heads of the Hawks, Shadrack Sibiya and Anwa Dramat?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: What is the question?
Mr J J LONDT: Will those investigations continue in the absence of the two suspended heads of the Hawks?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: I could not even hear properly what the cases are. The fact of the matter is this: With any particular matter that is before a unit of this nature, the unit must continue to do its work. The unit is not one person. Part of the problem with the South African landscape insofar as the politics of today is concerned is that we tend to think that because the presiding officer is sitting here, he is one person, and we tend to think that that is now the NCOP. You cannot do that. A unit is a unit, and it has an operational mandate, founded both in law and in administrative procedures and processes.
So, it would have to pursue the matters that are before it. For example, standing here, I do not know what types of cases are currently under investigation. I think the hon gentleman seems to know pretty well what the operational issues are within the DPCI. Standing where I am, as the Minister, I do not know. They do not necessarily have to come to me and ask whether they can conduct a certain operation. Their operations are informed by law; they are informed by the Constitution and so forth; and they would have to do whatever they need to do.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Chair, could I ask that this question stands over, particularly because the information that is required is not readily available. That is because in each case there must be a process of verification before the information can be submitted to the hon member. I therefore ask that we are given an extension and that the question stands over so that we can provide a quality response to this question. Thank you very much, hon Chair.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Thank you very much. That is the request from the Minister. What do you say, hon Londt? [Interjections.] Agreed to. Nobody is saying that the hon Masango is not here and asking why am I asking the hon Londt. It is because I have a note again! [Interjections.] That was just in passing. [Interjections.] That was just in passing. [Interjections.] All right, okay, hon Mokoena. Can we then proceed to Question 43, asked by Kgosi Thobejane.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Chair and hon members, yes, the SA Police Service has adopted a multidisciplinary approach, which includes all environments within the SA Police Service and the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster. Among other strategies, it includes the following: intelligence-led operations; a geographic approach to identify crime hotspots; an organised crime approach; as well as the “six pillars” operational approach.
The “six pillars” approach speaks to aggravated robbery and crimes involving the Firearms Control Amendment Act; liquor and second-hand goods enforcement; crimes against women and children, including vulnerable groups; the arrest of wanted suspects; road traffic safety; and border security. These are the six pillars that constitute the operational approach.
All operational plans are monitored through the National Crime Combating Forum, National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structures, known as Natjoints, Provincial Joint Operations and Intelligence Structures, known as Provjoints, and command centre structures.
Yes, the SA Police Service has established task teams to deal with this particular problem, namely detection task teams responsible for the investigation and tracing of wanted suspects; a crime combating task team to address all identified crime hotspots as informed by intelligence work; a crime pattern and crime threat analysis; and a partnership policing approach that involves the community policing forum sector, Business Against Crime and the SA Banking Risk Information Centre, Sabric, including the Consumer Goods Council of SA. Thank you very much, Deputy Chair.
Ms T WANA: Deputy Chairperson, I want to say I am satisfied with the answer from the Minister. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY: Deputy Chair of the NCOP, to my colleagues, Ministers and hon members, thank you very much for the question that is asked by the hon member Khawula. Our response is that the Department of State Security has with concern taken note of the media report suggesting that some tuck shops in our country’s townships and villages are being used to launder money for Al-Shabaab.
As a department, working with our law enforcement agencies and our counterparts, we need to confirm that. We are conducting an intensive investigation into these allegations with the aim to confirm or refute said allegations.
Equally, we want to confirm that our work goes beyond the scope of money laundering. We also look at issues of the illicit economy, drugs, human trafficking and so forth within the Security cluster. That will be our response because at this stage we are not able to give the outcome of the investigation - it is currently under way – of the complaint that we received through the media in KwaZulu-Natal, and say whether this is true or not. I thank you.
Mr M KHAWULA: Hon Chairperson, and hon Minister, I do understand your being conservative on the matter, and I will bear with you. However, I would like to find something out from hon Minister, because these issues are gradually and increasingly becoming a cause for concern. It seems that South Africa is gradually becoming some kind of playground for espionage activities. There were other reports that came out yesterday in the media. Now, there may be links to what I asked before, but I want to ask if the department is taking action to ensure that these activities do not make South Africa seem like a country where you can go to do whatever you like and then make it into the cleanest, nicest thing behind doors, and that is how you become successful. Because that is where the concern is. Are we ... I am trying to choose my words carefully. Can we as South Africans be confident that we are protected enough so that we are not likely to become a playground for espionage activity. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY: Chair, we can assure South Africans, and we have done this. Sometimes we should be able to stop being so pessimistic about ourselves. Our country is very peaceful. We are at peace with ourselves and with our neighbours. However, as we have said, there are challenges, but there are people who are working hard to ensure that we are able to come to work like we are, representing our people. There has never been a major incident that we have not been in a position to contain.
And as the Minister responsible for state security, I can assure you that if it does happen, we have the capacity as the Security cluster to respond. But the question about money laundering is a bigger issue. It is a bigger issue, so let us not reduce it to our brothers and sisters who are from the continent. It is an issue that people both in the private sector and in the public sector are involved in. That is why, if you look at issues of either money laundering, tobacco or drugs, some of them are happening in suburbs. We need to cast our eyes a little bit wider and work with the communities because the communities are closer to these activities. Communities must work with the law enforcement agencies because our people are on the ground and we rely on the information that comes from our people. Working together, we can deal with this issue. Where I come from in Mpumalanga, we normally say...
We will not be able to do this important job of looking after 53 million South Africans alone. That is why my Minister of Police earlier on spoke about community safety forums, street committees and others.
Therefore, we are engaging with the people who are from other countries – you saw us in Soweto. You saw us in many parts of the country. They are welcome in our country but they must respect our rules. We, too, must treat them as people, so that we do not have this thing that is called Afrophobia, which means that because you are from our continent, we treat you indifferently. Let us respect the rules. Where people are doing the wrong things, irrespective of their nationality, the law will bite and it can only be effective by joining hands. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY: Hon Deputy Chairperson, this is an important topic and we want to thank the hon Mokwele for raising it. We are remaining greatly focused on identifying, investigating and implementing mitigation measures to address the particular risks associated with terrorism. Specific concerns exist regarding the risks caused by the movement of foreign fighters, especially in states like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and their return to their countries of origin, where they could potentially become involved in radicalisation, recruitment or even the planning of terror attacks.
The number of international terror attacks in the past few months has underlined the realisation that no country is immune from the scourge caused by international terrorism. In this regard, the risk caused by the radicalisation and the self-radicalisation of individuals prepared to fight on behalf of a state that is non-existing, namely the Islamic state, and the other terrorists groups such as Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabaab committing acts of terror, is clear.
The global intelligence establishment is faced with the challenge of the timely identification of individuals that are being recruited, trained and exported for the purposes of conducting these acts. As a country, we want to assure South Africans that the allegations that there are members of the terror group in this country are not true. That information is not in our possession but we continue to work within the multilateral institutions.
For example, over the past few days there was a list of 11 people that were thought to be in the country. People were panicking last week Friday but these people are not here. We are working with the United Nations Security Council, where there is a structure called the UN Counter-terrorism Directorate. On a monthly basis, as a member state and as part of the United Nations family, we share that information to see what is happening. Look out for these people; do they get into the trains, into our seas; do you find them on our flights?
We are also monitoring their movements in terms of money because if you want to fight terrorism, you must deal with the question of funding. If you want to fight terrorism, you must also deal with the question of recruitment. They are recruiting young people because they are vulnerable in terms of ideological extremism but at the very same time they will do co-ordination and planning. We do that.
The other thing we must also do is to deal with the question of the proliferation of arms and ammunition. Who is giving the arms to the particular people doing this work? On our own continent we have the African Union Peace and Security Council Framework. I represent the country in that particular structure.
We have our own intelligence structure on the continent where we share this information, working with the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism. In our own SADC, we have similar structures where we continuously share this information. On a monthly basis we receive reports on who the individuals are in terms of these committees, including the sanctions committees, who are actually being traced as people being involved in issues of terrorism.
Therefore, we can confirm that as the South African government we also support initiatives to ensure that there are global narratives pertaining to terrorism that encapsulate all aspects and are not only restricted to matters of violent extremism. Failing to do so could play into the hands of those who are fixated with the extremist interpretation of ideology, sectarian belief or religious belief. In the process you could lose sight of the other forces that are set on the destabilisation of regions and countries.
But we can assure you that we will monitor people. In certain communities where our borders are porous - because we are not immune - communities at these borders must be able to report. Why would it happen that for two or three hours you see a stranger but as a responsible citizen you do not raise the alarm?
We should also raise these issues with the traditional leader there, or a councillor, a member of a ward committee, or the political structures on the ground, in your own village, in your own street and in your own neighbourhood because we must know who is around us so that we are able to ensure that we secure the country. That is our appeal: We say, let us reach out more.
The intelligence trade or craft no longer has the bad history of being impimpi. We should be able to report to intelligence, to the police and to other law enforcement agencies that will be able to deal with that issue. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY: Hon Deputy Chair, I want to thank hon Mphephethwa Nzimande for the question asked. Over the years, as an agency, we have continued to provide strategic assessment of the situation on the ground using our own co-ordinating structure, which is permitted in our laws. This is the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee. We provide information to all line departments, provinces and municipalities with the aim of addressing the root causes of service delivery protests and also the question of the looting of foreign-owned businesses.
Our assessments also make recommendation on how these matters are dealt with. Sometimes, when you see a protest, that does not necessarily mean that we have not raised the alert. Sometimes the municipalities do not have the money to respond. We say, a pipe is leaking there; can you fix it? There is a pothole; there can you fix it? Someone has committed corruption; can you act on this? Failure to act does not mean that no intelligence report was provided. In intelligence, as a Minister I would not be able to announce that I have this intelligence information for operational reasons. Imagine if we wanted to arrest people and we announced that there would be a roadblock between these time frames on such and such a road and this is how many people and machines we are bringing. The thugs would run away!
So that is a question we are facing: sometimes when these alerts are given, they are not acted on. We also need to add that in fulfilling our mandate, providing our early-warning system and advising on the threats of national security, we continue to play a critical role as part of the Security cluster as we share intelligence on potential hotspots and areas that could be prone to incidents of service delivery protest and failure.
The sharing of intelligence in this regard also assists to inform the deployment of law enforcement authorities. You can see it all the time: Whenever people protest, the police will be there in the morning. Whether people have authority or not, we also want to mitigate the risk to stability that is caused by such incidents.
We have taken the decision to work very closely with Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and with communities in the sharing of information. There are specific projects, like the issue of cable theft, which is one of the big things that we are looking at, because if they steal a cable, there will be no water supply. We are also looking at disruptive tendencies in service delivery, where people will come and take out valves from the main pipelines so that their water tankers can return to business.
These are some of the things that we are doing to try to safeguard the country’s critical infrastructure, including the networks, by doing some of these particular activities. I thank you, hon Deputy Chairperson.
Ms T WANA: Hon Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, I would like to thank the hon Minister for the very clear and understanding answer to this issue.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): Order! Hon members, may I take the opportunity to thank all the hon Ministers who availed themselves to take questions or to respond to questions today. Of course I also thank you for your good behaviour. That concludes the business of the day.
The Council adjourned at 17:53.
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