Hansard: NCOP: Policy debate on Budget Vote 4: Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 19 May 2015
No summary available.
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCE
Tuesday, 19 May 2015 Take: 1
TUESDAY, 19 MAY 2015
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 14:02.
The Deputy Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, I have been informed that the Whippery agreed that there will not be any motions, so we go straight to the business of the day.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
START OF DAY
Vote No 4 — Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs:
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Chairperson, delegates, ladies and gentlemen, Deputy Ministers Bapela and Nel, the chairperson of the select committee, Mr Mohapi, and the representatives of local government in our midst, I have the honour today to present for your approval in the National Council of Provinces the Budget Vote of the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. The mission of this administration is to radically improve municipal performance so that residents in the municipality can experience better living conditions, working conditions and business conditions. Above all, our people must enjoy dignity, safety and wellbeing in our municipalities. The Back to Basics programme is designed to achieve these objectives.
Over the past 15 years we have built the foundations for a resilient local government system. It has many strengths; it also has some weaknesses. Our task is to celebrate our strengths and address our weaknesses with courage and determination.
We are indeed on the path towards building a new narrative for local government; a narrative characterised by transformed spaces where our people work, live, play and conduct their business. These spaces must be known, among other things, for less or no sewage spillages, working traffic lights, safer roads, well-maintained parks and recreational facilities, and clean and healthy environments.
Over the past six months we have seen progress. Municipal leaders have in various ways embraced this programme and are giving concrete expression to it in their areas. The Back to Basics programme is working. It is gaining currency and support in national government and provinces. Increasingly, mayors and other senior politicians and officials are giving the leadership required to improve the conditions in our cities, towns and villages. They are increasingly providing the momentum that this programme requires.
Importantly, this programme provides opportunities for partnerships with NGOs, other community-based organisations and the business sector to improve conditions in our municipalities, but also to improve the capacity of our institutions.
As you know, on 18 September last year the President launched the Back to Basics programme at the Presidential Summit. You are also familiar with the five pillars of the Back to Basics programme: putting people and their concerns first, good governance, basic service delivery, sound financial management and building capabilities in our institutions.
In the last six months we have seen encouraging shifts in the three categories of “functional”, “dysfunctional” and “at risk” municipalities. A number of municipalities under intervention, for example, have been stabilised. Examples of municipalities that have shown greater stability and improvement - though not all the problems have necessarily been solved - are Mogalakwena, Matlosana, Umvoti, Umzinyathi and Maphumulo, to name a few. Step by step we are changing how institutions are working and practicing and we are already seeing positive results. It is important that municipalities develop their own capacity for sustainability in the medium and long term.
We have to state, however, as I said earlier, that challenges do remain. We indicated this frankly in the Back to Basis diagnostic. So, it is no secret. There is no easy walk to better performance. We are committed to ensuring that in the next four years municipalities will have taken a huge leap forward in tackling both the legacy challenges that we face and the complexities of the 21st century.
In the strengthening of good governance, we can not overemphasise the crucial leadership role played by mayors, councils and managers within municipalities. Municipal leaders must know that any shortcoming or progress on their part will impact either positively or negatively on the lives of the residents in their municipality. Among other things they must take responsibility for the following: accounting to and communicating with the public; governing within the law; ensuring that public funds are spent properly; ensuring that quality municipal services are provided in the right way, the competence of the staff they hire; applying by-laws vigorously to maintain discipline within the municipal area; creating helpful conditions for investment in their municipality and for small and micro businesses; and creating jobs and training opportunities for the youth and women. These are the non-negotiable basics, if you like, that must be practiced daily by municipal leaders.
In the context of strengthening good governance, I want to refer to some of the changes announced in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality yesterday. As the momentum of the Back to Basics programme grows, we will intervene in different ways in different dysfunctional or challenged municipalities in order to ensure the proper performance of municipal functions. In particular we will work with our provincial colleagues to intervene in municipalities that experience political instability or administrative malfeasance that negatively impacts on the community.
The announcement yesterday by the ANC of the new mayor and deputy mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality marks another milestone in the implementation of the Back to Basics programme. I congratulate Mr Danny Jordaan and Mr Bicks Ndoni on their appointment as executive mayor and deputy mayor. And I believe that one of your own, Deputy Chairperson, also takes up a prominent role in that municipality. I am sure you want to applaud him on his appointment. [Applause.] This is the beginning ... [Interjections.] ... We will get there ... This is the beginning of a comprehensive intervention and support package to radically improve the performance of the municipality. The package of measures will significantly change the performance of the municipality and meet the needs of all sectors of the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay. There will be further announcements in this regard in due course.
Regarding the enhancement of citizen participation, we have seen improvement in customer satisfaction at a number of municipalities after the introduction of a complaints management system in the municipality. For example, Tlokwe Local Municipality in the North West province has developed a fully functional complains management system. Monthly reports are tabled at council meetings. These indicate, among other things, the number of complaints received and resolved, the average time taken to resolve complaints, the availability of service delivery standards, and indications of whether a senior official has been delegated to monitor progress.
The City of Johannesburg is establishing an office of the ombudsman, which will deal with all complaints about the municipality and facilitate mediation and conciliation between the affected parties where this is necessary.
Similarly, strengthening the effectiveness of ward committees and improving oversight of the progress of Integrated Development Plans and various other plans at municipal level, including ward level service improvement plans, will ensure greater community involvement.
Ward 1 of Blouberg Local Municipality in Limpopo is an example of a successful ward committee model. The ward committee members are allocated portfolios that are linked to various departments of the municipality. This ensures that community concerns are addressed within the framework of service standards developed. Quarterly ward committee functionality reports are tabled at council meetings through the Speaker’s Office.
A similar trend can be seen in Nquthu in KwaZulu-Natal and several municipalities in the Northern Cape where ward level service improvement plans are currently being implemented. Our ambition is obviously that this must extend to many other municipalities across the country.
Again, to get a better assessment of customer satisfaction and community engagement in the coming year, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, together with the Government Communication and Information System, will intensify measures to ensure that people and their concerns are put first through a national citizens’ satisfaction survey, which will measure municipalities’ performance in relation to responsiveness, representation and accountability as the public experiences it. The survey results will be published nationally and we will engage with municipalities to address the issues raised by citizens. Baviaans Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape, West Rand District Municipality and the Ekurhuleni Metro in Gauteng have started with this service as well.
In order to bolster municipal performance, particularly in relation to infrastructure projects, the Municipal Infrastructure Services Agent, MISA, within the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs will over the next six months support municipalities in several areas. Among these are project and engineering management; waste water and sewage networks; and contracting services and asset management plans. We are in the process of refocusing MISA, so that the response to other infrastructure challenges in municipalities, especially in respect of the root causes of difficulties in service provision.
The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and National Treasury are developing robust municipal improvement plans to improve financial management. This will include credible audit action plans; the strengthening of Municipal Public Account Committees so that they can have effective oversight over public expenditure; clearing up indigent registers – I will come back to this in a minute; ensuring that competent staff are hired; and, above all, improving revenue collection. We are confident that there will be improvements in audit outcomes when the Auditor-General announces the results for the 2013-14 year in June this year.
Another important area - about which several delegates have sent us questions - is the question of the property rate and its implementation. Property rates are a significant source of municipal revenue, as we all know. We will be taking steps to ensure that municipalities collect the revenue due to them. Municipalities are being assisted in the following way in respect of the implementation of the Property Rates Act: They will firstly be assisted in respect of assessing rates policies, the approach to property categorisation, the criteria for granting exemptions, reductions and rebates, and consistency between the rates policy and actual rating practices within the municipality.
Secondly, they will be assisted with the “cents in the Rand” rate for each category of property and the ratios between residential and nonresidential property, checking whether council resolutions have been taken for the levying of rates in accordance with the law, and publication in the provincial gazette of property rates by-laws to give effect to the rates policy and decisions of the council.
Let me now move on to the free basic services to indigent South Africans, as I said earlier. The provision of free basic services to indigent households is an important pro-poor government programme. We are supporting municipalities to review the indigent policies of the municipalities to ensure that all indigent households are registered by the municipalities, remove all households on the register that are now able to pay for consumer services and remove all households from the register whose conditions of living have in fact improved.
It is regrettable that there are many instances in a few municipalities where indigent registers actually have the names of fully employed people who earn more than a decent salary. We make an appeal - and I hope this House, regardless of party political affiliation, will join us - to South Africans that they must desist from this practice. Please desist because we are now asking for benefits to be given to those who can afford to pay for their services, rather than to the constituency they are actually intended for.
Let me reiterate that as government we are serious about fighting corruption. However, we need the assistance of all those who have evidence of corruption. Report these instances to the police. This will send an important message to the private and public sector that South Africans will fight this scourge together. People who are found guilty are being dismissed in several municipalities. For example, the City of Johannesburg has dismissed officials who were found guilty of fraud and corruption. In the Eastern Cape officials are currently appearing in court on allegations of corruption and other related charges. We continue to work closely with law-enforcement agencies to assess 98 forensic reports from municipalities and to take the necessary action in respect of those reports.
An important area that we want to focus on in the coming year is partnerships with business. There are a number of business organisations, as collectives or individually, who have made a commitment to support municipalities and ensure that their service delivery programmes do indeed work. We have established 12 business development forums in the West Coast, Sedibeng, Sarah Baartman, Mgungundlovu, Waterberg, Bojanala, Ehlanzeni, //Khara Hais, Matlosana, Greater Tubatse and Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipalities.
Through these initiatives, companies such as ArcelorMittal SA, PPC, Tronox and others are working with provincial departments of economic development and tourism and local governments to expand their offerings of practical work training opportunities to over 900 artisans in the West Coast District Municipality.
In Sarah Baartman District the programme has successfully unblocked a commercial aquaculture investment valued at over R300 million and providing 400 jobs for young people when at full production. This is supported by the Blue Karoo Trust and the Giant Flag programme, which is supported by companies such as Toyota, Eco Pullets, Montego, the Giant Flag Trust and Ernest and Young, among others. Ernest and Young will provide over 800 jobs and an investment of over R200 million in respect of a project as well.
In Mgungundlovu District Municipality, the programme has facilitated the unblocking of a major investment in Msunduzi Local Municipality by Alumicor. It is valued at over R200 million and will create over 500 permanent jobs. We call on all South African companies to emulate these companies and ensure that local communities that work for them in their enterprises also benefit from the profits that accrue in those companies.
The Community Works Programme is this government’s way of providing a basic level of income security through work in socially important areas. The programme provides an important safety net for the poor who, through work and training, can enhance their life prospects over time. Some key features of the programme are the involvement of the community in determining what work must be done and the fact that in that community, from the year 2013-14 to the year 2014-15, the number of Community Work Programme sites has increased from 148 to 185, while the number of municipalities increased from 140 to 159. This year the number of sites will increase to 2020.
Over the five-year term of this administration, some R5,6 billion will be spend on this pro-poor programme. In the past year, some 44 000 people were trained as part of this programme, enabling them to explore other income-generating opportunities. Eight-hundred participants have been trained by the Amajuba FET College in early childhood education, bricklaying and home-based care, among other training elements as well.
As we address you in the NCOP we must ask ourselves how we could improve and strengthen the role of provinces in supporting and managing the performance of municipalities. In a capable and developmental state, each sphere of government has a crucial role to play in both delivery and mutual support to strengthen institutions. Provincial governments are required to play a significant and direct role in monitoring municipal performance, providing wide-ranging support to municipalities. Provinces also have an enforcement role, which is to ensure compliance with the law by municipal leaders and officials.
More will be done in the year ahead to increase alignment among spheres of government and ensure the development of appropriate expertise in all of the provinces to perform this role. In addition, the importance of joint work and joint planning to provide efficiencies in the provision of sustainable services such as water, energy, waste removal and sanitation is important. We must also respond to the need for well-designed transport systems, well-located economic opportunities and access to health and educational facilities within our integrated human settlements.
Last year I pointed out the important role of districts in regional planning and the provision of services. The Back to Basics programme introduced the Strengthening District Government Capability programme, the first deliverables of which have been six district case studies and an evidence-based report with important recommendations for key interventions. These assessments highlight where we should primarily direct our energies and focus. Three pilot districts will begin work in the next few months.
During March 2015 representatives from 187 UN member states adopted the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, namely a far-reaching new framework called the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Management. Our National Disaster Management Centre, together with the provincial and local government equivalents, is an important part of this process as well.
Let me indicate that with the local government elections coming, as we all know, the present five-year term of councillors ends on 18 May 2016. Elections must be held within 90 days of this expiry date of the term of office. The Municipal Demarcation Board is in the process of demarcating wards and reassessing the outer boundaries of those financially unviable municipalities that have been referred to them. The board will present its determination of wards to the IEC during November 2015 and the IEC will then begin the process of determining voting districts and driving voter registration, which is an important part of our democracy.
As I conclude, I am sure you will join me in congratulating King Mpendulo Sigcau - Ah! Zwelonke.
HON MEMBERS: Ah! Zwelonke!
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: He was coronated by the President last week. This was the first coronation in the country in the democratic era. The event was a marvellous display of our diversity and the linkages between constitutional democracy and traditional leadership.
Let me thank the chair and all the members of the select committee, the Deputy Ministers and the staff of the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs for their role up to this point in time and for their continued support in the future. [Applause.]
Mr M J MOHAPI
The MINISTER OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS:
Mr M J MOHAPI: Hon Chair, Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, the Acting Chief Whip, hon Minister, Deputy Ministers present here today, the MEC from the Eastern Cape, hon members of the NCOP, special delegates, Salga representatives, ladies and gentlemen, the introduction of this Budget Vote takes place against the backdrop of the passing of our Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, who was affectionately known as Mama Ruta. South Africa has lost a very inspirational, tried and tested liberation struggle veteran who contributed immensely towards what we are today as a new and united South African nation. The ANC and South Africa as a whole has lost a towering giant and a mother to countless generations of activists. May her soul rest in everlasting peace, knowing that her words in building our country’s future will never be forgotten. As a people we owe it to her, and to the generation before that, that our vision of a united, democratic, nonracial, nonsexist and prosperous society comes to pass.
Equally, this Budget Vote takes place against the background of the recent coronation - last week, on Friday, 15 May 2015 - of the amaXhosa king, King Mpendulo Siqcawu, at the Nqadu Great Place in the Eastern Cape. This was the first coronation to be conducted by President Jacob Zuma after 21 years of democracy since the coronation of his father in 1965, during the apartheid era. The event was of an international status, as invitations were extended to the kings and queens across our country, the continent and to European countries. Ah Zwelonke!
HON MEMBERS: Ah Zwelonke!
Mr M J MOHAPI: Chairperson, this year we are celebrating 15 years of democratic local government. Significant advances have been made in establishing a single local government system from the undemocratic, unaccountable and racially divided apartheid system. Progress has already been achieved in the provision of services to many communities. The White Paper on Local Government paved the way for a modern local government system with clear developmental objectives. However, as the Presidency 20 Year Review highlights, challenges remain. We have to do better to promote good governance and the functioning of municipalities, as well as in the delivery of basic services. We should do better in improving services such as water infrastructure, solid waste management and the provision of electricity.
The National Development Plan makes it clear that meeting our developmental agenda requires functional municipalities and capable machinery at a local level that can create safe, healthy and economically sustainable areas, where citizens can work, live and socialise.
The Back to Basics approach, which this Budget Vote aims to achieve, is meant to address challenges faced by local government, strengthening municipalities and instilling a sense of urgency in the improvement of citizens’s lives. Municipalities must therefore ensure that all programmes that are implemented at local government level are clearly communicated and reported to our communities.
As outlined in both the Municipal Systems Act and the Constitution, going back to the basics further means reviewing tendering systems and dealing with corruption systematically within the supply chain management system in local government. This plan is reinforced and informed by the ANC’s history of grassroots community involvement, its track record of bringing people together and working with them, as well as its vision of a better life for all, which is a guiding principle as we work together in local government.
As the Select Committee we will do our part to ensure that the 27 Back to Basics priority municipalities are supported by the department in order to implement the citizen empowerment programmes. This initiative will ensure that public confidence in the local government system is promoted by changing the relationship between citizens and local government.
Regarding the Community Work Programme, this programme will contribute to the NDP’s goal of broadening work opportunities through community-based employment schemes. This programme aims to tackle poverty and provide livelihood support for poor households by providing participants with a minimum number of regular days of work to supplement their existing livelihoods. The programme has been housed in the Department of Co-operative Governance since 2010. Over the medium term the department expects to provide employment to over 362 000 participants, with a budget of R9,7 billion in the infrastructure and economic development programmes. For example, resident Kgantse Smith from Kroonstad in the Moqhaka Local Municipality, who happened to be a beneficiary of CWP and is currently holding the position of administrator in Kroonstad, proudly attests to the success of this programme by saying, and I quote:
I have been unemployed since 2004, when I completed my schooling, but now, through this programme, I am able to put food on the table. I have since acquired various skills, including generic interpersonal skills and project management skills, which I couldn’t have before. Now I can use this experience to apply for other jobs in the future.
Siyaqhuba! [We are moving forward.]
Lastly, the Joe Slovo Engineering High School, which has long been a source of pride for the residents of Khayelitsha, left many people deeply disturbed to learn that the school was attacked by vandals during the December 2014 holidays, rendering it largely unusable. The science laboratories were wrecked. Through the assistance of CWP, the science labs were restored, new windows were installed in all classes that had broken windows and the school was painted, including the ceilings, and the school yard was cleaned and maintained. As the Select Committee we say, keep up the good work. Siyaqhuba. [We are moving forward.]
Chairperson, one of the biggest lessons of the last 15 years in local government was that co-operative governance is the precondition and constitutional obligation for the South African developmental state. This means greater involvement of people in the development process and in matters of governance. Furthermore, the state must play a more active role in the economy and in taking care of the poorest of the poor in our society. The view of the ANC is that the South African developmental state must be characterised by the following: directing development through a common vision; improved state leadership and technical and organisational capability; faster service delivery ; outcomes-based co-operative governance, which means focusing on making the lives of people better; not simply engaging in technocratic exercises but rather in a revolutionary approach that will require an activist conduct on the part of our public representatives and officials; and lastly, mobilising resources and working with partners, stakeholders and communities in developing and executing programmes effectively.
The operationalisation of the Back to Basics programme and approach requires some fundamental changes in the way the department works in order to create a more responsive, service-focused system that meets the needs of our people.
Our observation as the Select Committee is that the following has been done in terms of reorganising the structure of the department: Back to Basics Command Centre will be established; local government transformation; institutional development; local government management; Community Work Programme; finance and corporate services.
Hon Minister, we need to change the political culture in local government. To do this we need to popularise a new morality of service and integrity, making sure that effective leaders and well-run municipalities are recognised and rewarded, insulating institutional systems from political manipulation and ensuring consequences for maladministration and mismanagement, fraud and corruption. We urge that there should be a targeted and vigorous response to corruption and fraud and zero tolerance to ensure that these practices are rooted out. This includes the fact that supply chain practices in municipalities should be closely scrutinised.
Chairperson, during the Taking Parliament to the People programme in Oudtshoorn, 13 to 17 April 2015, which was held under the theme “20 years of democratic Parliament”, the programme reminded us all that there is much more that we still need to do. Although too few people have work, there are still many living in poverty, inequality is stark and social dislocation is pervasive. Too many of our people are still struggling to achieve a better life for themselves and their children. Unless we move with urgency and determination to address these issues, we will struggle to realise the vision of Freedom Charter.
Chairperson, during this period of Taking Parliament to the People, we were informed by Salga and in Back to Basics reports that there are municipalities in the Western Cape that are in ICU, such as Swellendam, Oudtshoorn and Kannaland Local Municipality.
The Municipal Demarcation Board closed the redetermination of municipality boundary processes in 2013 to commence with the ward delimitation processes in 2014. However, the Minister’s request to redetermine certain municipal boundaries necessitated a review of the MDB ward delimitation processes. As the ANC, our view is that communication on the work of the MDB should be improved to ensure that the public appreciates the work of the MDB. The public should be made to understand why certain municipalities should be re-determined, including the request to consider creating a metro for the whole of the West Rand District Municipality, with Mogale City as its core.
Chairperson, the call to reiterate the zero tolerance of initiation fatalities should be intensified. As the Select Committee we are glad that the Cabinet has approved the initiation policy. The policy will, among other purposes, serve as legislation that will enforce male medical circumcision.
Regarding xenophobic attacks, we strongly condemn the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, particularly what happened in Petrus Steyn in the Free State last night, where foreign nationals’ shops were looted and burnt.
In conclusion, we support the budget because it will integrate and align planning, performance monitoring, reporting, information management and communication management systems with the Traditional Affairs sector. It will also ensure that it addresses the challenges facing local government and for the Back to Basics programme to give South Africans a set of tools by which they can hold their municipalities to account and measure whether they are living up to their mandates. Local government is everybody’s business. Let us make it work. Siyaqhuba. [We are moving forward.]
Mr M CHETTY
Mr M J MOHAPI
Mr M CHETTY: Greetings and salutations, hon Chairperson, Minister, Deputy Ministers, hon members and fellow South Africans. Who would have thought that Tata Madiba’s famous quote on passing through the valley of the shadow of death, then in the context of apartheid, today speaks of the ANC’s deployment of corrupt cadres that is crippling the provision of basic and essential service delivery to our people.
Your party’s deployment of incompetent cadres has seen many qualified and deserving South African citizens fail to gain employment. This was epitomised yesterday when the ANC scored an own goal, announcing that Danny Jordaan will be the new mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay. Is the ANC playing political football with the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay as we run up to 2016 local government elections?
Many stadiums that were built under Fifa are white elephants because they do not generate enough income to be self-sustainable, leaving municipalities in serious debt. If the ANC and Danny Jordaan were serious, then Mr Jordaan should resign as Safa president if he thought he had any chance of ridding Nelson Mandela Bay of its current crippling ANC governance.
This is just an example of what frustrates more and more South Africans, sparking violent protests not only against our own government but also our foreign neighbours, who have come to seek refuge in our country. Hon Minister of Corrupt Governance and Traditional Affairs, what role and responsibility has your department taken to quell this rising tide of violence across our municipalities and against innocent people? Your ministry has failed not only our South African citizens but the African continent as a whole. The most recent xenophobic attacks on our foreign national brothers and sisters are unacceptable.
The irresponsible utterances made by King Goodwill Zwelithini, that “foreign nationals must pack their bags and leave the country”, was witnessed by your Ministry and the KZN premier. You abdicated your responsibility to hold the King accountable and instead the Zulu royal household splurged R5 million on seven new luxury Mercedes Benz E-Class sedans, one for each of the six queens and one as a “back-up vehicle”.
Your much publicised Back to Basics initiative has followed closely on the failure of the previous Operation Clean Audit. Under your Back to Basics, hon Minister, the corruption due to cadre deployment has reached a crescendo. More municipalities have been placed under section 139(1)(b) administration (6) or section 139(1)(c) dissolution (3) during your first year. This is not a good story to tell!
Interventions are meant to ensure that errant councils are forced to comply, yet we witness the ANC deploy further corrupt cadres to administer these troubled councils. Makana, where Pam Yako was deployed at an exorbitant monthly salary of R200 000 for only 18 days of work, boggles the mind. A council that is placed under administration needs continuous supervision, 24/7! It is regarded as a council in intensive care unit.
Ngaka Modiri Molema is another example, where you dissolved the council, elected new councillors and still, at the most recent Select Committee oversight meeting with the council, the newly elected mayor shed tears that they are not receiving assistance from the administration because it is the administrators who are still controlling the district council - the very same officials who were implicated in sabotaging service delivery to the people of Ngaka Modiri Molema. Minister, did your dissolution of this council herald the desired outcomes, which both you and the residents of Ngaka Modiri Molema expected? Sadly, the answer is a resounding no.
You should give serious consideration to our recommendation that when councils are placed under administration an independent auditing firm be engaged to oversee that intervention. This will ensure that not only competency but a proper exit strategy report will be presented, and that we as government can hold the accounting firm accountable.
Hon Minister, you are misleading our poor people. You have said, “Government will continue to provide, through the equitable share to municipalities, adequate resources to enable them to provide free basic services to the poor”. But you know full well that government is withholding that equitable share to some municipalities. This is a double-edged sword, Minister. Councils need to provide this service to its residents, yet the threat to withhold the equitable share to councils due to their outstanding accounts with Eskom has now placed these councils in further financial debt. This is an additional contributing factor to councils failing to make their payments to Eskom.
One cannot be faulted for assuming that Chancellor House’s shareholdings in Medupi and Kusile power stations must have been a key motivating factor to withhold the equitable share to keep those ANC shareholders happy. As of the end of March, these monies have been withheld from some municipalities. This is unconstitutional. But then again, what’s new? The ANC does not hold itself accountable to the Constitution. We can all recall the Speaker’s calling in of the Sergeant-at-Arms to manhandle the opposition members at the recent state of the nation address. Last week, the DA was successful in its court application that the ANC Speaker had no right to act in the manner she did.
Your hasty and ill-conceived attempt to merge municipalities prior to the 2016 local government elections is nothing more than a desperate attempt of gerrymandering by the ANC to strengthen and consolidate its support base in municipalities that are either controlled by a simple majority or in alliance, as those in alliance have seen ANC coalition councils being dissolved - like Mtubatuba, for example.
The times they are a-changing, hon Minister. You have not only failed hardworking, law-abiding, consumer-conscious citizens, but you have failed your very own comrades. Yes, Minister, we are witnessing your comrades, clad in their ANC t-shirts, embarking on service delivery strikes, marching against ANC-led municipalities, burning tyres, barricading roads and some turning violent. Mooi Mpofana in KwaZulu-Natal is one such example; Mokgalakwena in Limpopo is yet another.
Your reference to the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency is indeed shameful, knowing full well that they awarded a R600 million contract to the politically connected Siyenza Group without following the competitive bidding process. This is yet again indicative of “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.
As we celebrate our 21 years of democracy, and our first-year anniversary of being sworn into office as the Fifth Parliament, aiming to improve the lives of our fellow South Africans, we note the success of the DA-aligned DASO’s victory over the ANC-aligned SASCO student body at that bastion of learning for struggle icons, Fort Hare University. This is but the tipping point, hon Minister.
We must acknowledge that from the ashes of apartheid, a united, prosperous South Africa, based on the DA’s Values Charter of freedom, fairness, and opportunity, will emerge triumphant. I thank you.
Mr F D XASA
Mr M CHETTY
Mr F D XASA (Eastern Cape): Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, the Acting Chief Whip, hon Minister, Deputy Ministers, Chairperson of the portfolio committee, members of the NCOP and ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. I stand here today, feeling greatly honoured to reflect on Budget Vote 4 of the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Indeed, our journey to build a united, nonracial, nonsexist and democratic South Africa is maturing and is firmly on the right track. This is evidenced by the fact that I stand here, addressing an audience in the Fifth Democratic Parliament elected by all the people of the Republic of South Africa.
Deputy Chairperson, the status quo is affirmed by the preamble to the Freedom Charter, which states:
We, the people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people.
I rise to acknowledge the commitment made by the hon Minister, to, among others, build resilient institutions to respond to the vexed and stubborn challenges of the day facing the municipalities and traditional leadership institutions in the country. Weak government institutions and systems make the government’s agenda to create better communities a daunting one. In this regard, the need to raise the quality of leadership to improve the capacity of the state to deliver on the needs of communities is long overdue. To this end, hon members, we welcome the deployment of the President of Safa as the new mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality. I can sense that there are people who are panicking about this deployment. They are making all sorts of attempts ... I am almost certain they are panicking because they know the credentials of Danny Jordaan.
In the same vein, as the executive council in the Eastern Cape, I have refused to concur with some of the appointments that failed to meet the prescribed job requirements. I am trying to say here we are not appointing incompetent cadres, as the speaker before me tried to imply. The Back to Basics approach that we have adopted actually indicates to all of us that we will not appoint anybody who does not pass the test. This is what we are doing in the Eastern Cape; this is what is being done across the country.
The Eastern Cape province has embraced the Back to Basics campaign with both hands and a provincial launch took place in November 2014. The provincial steering committee meets on a monthly basis to synthesise reports from district co-ordinators. A comprehensive communication approach to Back to Basics has been crafted in the province and presented to the provincial steering committee, and all communicators in the province are to align their plans with the Back to Basics campaign.
In our quest to bring government closer to the people, the implementation of the district co-ordination model is gaining momentum.
Hon members, I am pleased to announce that the establishment of the provincial disaster management centre is at an advanced stage in our province and will be operational in the current financial year. The centre will co-ordinate disaster management situations throughout the province.
The role played by our traditional leaders in the development and empowerment of rural communities cannot be overemphasised. I was looking around when the Minister was saluting the newly coronated King. I expected that all men would follow the Minister. It looks like there are still people who are not South Africans. They will have to learn. When you say “Ah! Zwelonke!” we expect all men to say “Ah! Zwelonke!” So this is a lesson for most of the members here. This is South Africa; it is not going to change.
The province will shortly be launching the new winter initiation season. A Bill on traditional initiation is also before the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature and it will help us to deal with wrongdoers.
I would also like to indicate that those who are patriotic would know that a lot has been done to deal with the issue of xenophobia - those who are patriotic. I do not understand, after all the effort that has been made by the country, that you still hear from members who have noticed nothing. I hope that those members are also learning. The intervention in Makana – I am just trying to help some of the members – is working. You may not know this.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon members, please avoid interrupting the speaker.
Mr F D XASA: I would also like to indicate that we might be misleading the whole country when we say that the procurement that was conducted at Amathole did not follow the law. I do not know what law we are talking about. The Daily Despatch, which actually published that story, had to appear before the ombudsman. They had to swallow what they were saying. In other words, we must not lie to the whole country and tell them things that do not exist. We are a law-abiding country. The same newspaper actually had to swallow their pride when they appeared before the ombudsman. I am therefore saying, let’s correct some of the things that people say here because they are far away from some of the things that are happening. Thank you very much, hon Deputy Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you very much, MEC. I just hope that from where I am seated, I would be exempted from “Ah! Zwelonke!” [Laughter.]
Mr A BREDELL
Mr F D XASA
Mr A BREDELL (Western Cape): Hon Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Pravin Gordhan; Chairperson of the NCOP, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. It is an honour for me today to represent the Western Cape Provincial Parliament and in particular the provincial department of local government.
As I stand here today I am proud to report that in the past financial year, according to the very latest audit outcomes from the Auditor General, every one of the 30 municipalities in the Western Cape received unqualified audits. That is 30 out of 30. I am more proud still to report that 17 of these municipalities went a step further and received clean audit opinions. That includes the City of Cape Town.
It is my goal and my department’s goal to maintain these achievements as far as we can and to improve on them to the best of our abilities. Clean government and good government is only possible if you have the right people in place; officials that take responsibility for their actions and officials who put the people and not themselves first. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon Bredell, just hold on. There is a point of order.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Chair, according to the speaker’s list that I have in front of me, speaker number five is hon G Manopole. I do not know whether you did this deliberately or if it was a mistake.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: No, don’t cast suspicions. You have brought the matter to my attention and she will follow immediately afterwards.
Mr A BREDELL: Thank you, Chairperson. I want to thank every official in every municipality across the Western Cape who played a role in making these achievements happen. Local government is the frontline of the battle against the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. We as elected officials are the generals who must make the decisions to bring this battle to a successful end.
These challenges include issues like Eskom and the inability of that entity to provide guaranteed electricity to the economy. We have also seen many municipalities across the country struggle to pay their Eskom debts.
This has even led to threats from National Treasury that local councils’ equitable share may not be paid out to them. This, of course, would cause havoc in many of those very poor councils. The warning shots fired by National Treasury must be taken seriously, however, and municipalities must look at themselves and how they manage their finances.
This includes reviewing credit control on municipal level. A well-managed credit control policy is vital in any local council for financial sustainability because without good credit control everyone in the town will be affected.
The poorest among us - those earning less than R3 500 per month - will be the people worst affected when councils cannot balance their books. Incidentally, credit control does not mean communities must get services free when they can afford to pay. Councils must understand that those who can afford to pay for services should pay for services.
This brings me to another point. I believe we should start looking at developing alternative funding models for our municipalities. Our communities are struggling to keep up with costs despite the initiatives already in place. While we want people to be able to pay for services, poor and vulnerable people must be protected. Perhaps we should look at ways to increase the levels of free services to our vulnerable communities.
Something we are investigating in the Western Cape is the idea of a basket of services that would be considered necessary to give people a dignified life. I like to think of it as a “waiting indignity” basket. This means that while people must wait for a house and are living in a shack or a backyard, they would get a basket of services to tide them over until their living conditions improved.
This basket would include a certain level of electricity and water and services like sanitation and rubbish removal. Yes, people already get these free services to some extent. But have we ever looked at what people’s needs actually are? Is 100 kilowatts per month free really sufficient, or should it be more? We are still thinking about what exactly this basket should look like.
When looking at funding models, one could also look at communities that are not indigent but are still struggling - perhaps households earning between R3 500 to R10 000 per month. To a certain level of usage, people in this bracket should perhaps only pay cost price for electricity and other services. Why must utilities make profits off people who are also vulnerable to some extent? There are no easy answers, but it is also not helpful to keep arguing over the same things without trying to bring alternatives to the table.
Chairperson, I want to share something else that we are doing in the Western Cape regarding Eskom. We are slightly concerned about the possibility of extended power cuts over the next three years. The continued operation of hospitals and other sensitive entities, for example, must not be compromised if there are power challenges.
Accordingly, I have asked our provincial disaster risk management team to develop contingency plans in the event of the power going out for an extended time. We understand the challenges Eskom has and I wish to call on communities and councils to use electricity sparingly and to assist Eskom as much as possible in keeping usage low. By working better together we can all get past these challenges, I am sure.
This is perhaps a good time to thank the disaster risk management officials and other entities, like Working on Fire, for the hard and selfless work they put in fighting fires in the Western Cape over the past fire season. We also thank colleagues and officials from other provinces who assisted by sending teams to help us. Thank you. We cannot do it alone.
Now we are heading into winter and that brings new challenges, including shack fires and flooding. I want to call on the public to help us tackle these challenges. One tool I want to highlight in this regard is the toll-free emergency number 112. Our disaster officials will respond when called.
Another issue I would like to highlight is protests and community unrest. In this regard, it is my belief that there is still a lack of communication and feedback from our councils to communities. Ward committees must work properly and be better used as channels to communicate with our communities. Too often people feel they are not being included in decision making. This lack of inclusivity, I believe, leads to protests and marches and unhappiness. Addressing this is also a priority for me and my department.
Chairperson, last year I told the President that best practice too often seems to mean “not in South Africa”. I told the President that I cannot agree with this. We have lots of best practice in this country that is too often overlooked.
Too often we do not want to work together. We must work together better. We should develop models, like twinning successful municipalities with struggling municipalities. In this regard, I wish to reiterate here in this House that my door is always open for colleagues from other provinces.
We share many of the same concerns and I look forward to our greater co-operation going forward. At the end of the day we serve at the pleasure of the people in our communities. We must serve them in their best interests, not ours.
Chairperson, allow me finally to express my gratitude to the NCOP for your continued efforts to bring together individuals, communities and the different spheres of government. We in the Western Cape remain at your service. I thank you.
Ms G MANOPOLE
Mr A BREDELL
Ms G M MANOPOLE: Ke a leboga modulasetulo. Hon Chair, let me greet the Acting Chief Whip, Minister and Deputy Minister, members of the NCOP and special delegates, ladies and gentlemen.
Modulasetulo o o tlotlegang, a o ko o ntetle ka gore jaaka moemedi wa ANC ke tsena mo ngangisanong e ya puo e, ke tlhotsa, ka ntlha ya gore mogaka, seaparankwe, mme Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati o robetse boroko jo bo bogolo. Mme ke ikgomotsa ka gore o itse puso ya selegae ka ntlha ya gore o kile a dira ko go yona, o tseile karolo e kgolo kwa Naledi Municipality, kwa Huhudi,. Se ke itshepisa gore ke ntse ke tsena ke sebetsa ka sebete ka ntlha ya gore re keteka botshelo jwa gagwe beke yotlhe go fitlhelela re ya go mo robatsa kwa lefelong la tidimalo, a moya wa gagwe o robale ka kagiso, tiro o e dirile, ntwa yona o e lwele.
Chair, as we engage in the local government budget policy debate, I will be failing in my duty as a disciplined member of the ANC if I did not amplify the ANC January 8 statement. We cannot engage in this debate without recalling that the ANC declared 2015 “the year of Freedom Charter” because local government is a sphere of government that is closest to our people for the delivery of service.
Regarding Back to Basics, the five pillars of the Back to Basics approach seeks to ensure that all municipalities perform their basic responsibility and functions without compromise, which is in line with the Mangaung resolutions that, and I quote, ”national and provincial government should monitor and support local government in ways that strengthen municipalities, not erode their powers and functions”.
As a result, the priorities listed in Back to Basics aim to further strengthen the system to accelerate the services of the municipalities they serve.
The core values of the Batho Pele priorities are eminent in driving or implementing the priorities that seek to inculcate a sense of urgency and pride in every approach in improving the lives of communities. The core and second radical phase is a concerted force to drive the fact that every South African should enjoy a decent quality of life, which applies to both income poverty and access to basic service. The idea that the people are their own liberators remain as relevant as ever when the ANC in Mangaung welcomed and embraced Vision 2013 of the National Development Plan, which is in accordance with the objectives of the ANC and its own elaborate and second radical phase.
The NDP, as the overarching programme of government, is an integral part of the way forward for the state. The ANC resolution decision taken at the Interdepartmental Forum should be implemented effectively, so the Department of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs should play and has been playing an important role in ensuring co-ordination in the intergovernmental governancy of the functioning of systems and co-operate governance.
In this budget policy debate that we are engaging in, we have noted that the bulk of the department’s spending over the medium term is in governancy and the intergovernmental relations programme that transfers the equitable share to fund basic services, free basic services and general operational costs of municipalities, which confirms that this budget is a pro-poor budget, as the Minister has said.
Over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, the department will deploy 20 municipal infrastructure grant specialists to provincial and district task team in order to develop action plans for all priority municipalities for the accelerated roll-out of projects funded by grants to offset backlogs in service, as we resolved at the Mangaung conference of the ANC.
The infrastructure services respond as a responsive programme of the Freedom Charter, under the heading “there shall be houses, security and comfort”, as we continue to account in the implementation of the Freedom Charter.
Regarding traditional affairs, the ANC government, as they prepared for the dawn of democracy in the Ready to Govern document, recognised the traditional leaders, as the institutions of chieftaincy played an important role in the history of our country. The chiefs will continue to have an important role to play in unifying our people, as was seen last weekend in our first combination of this democratic country and the King of the amaXhosa, Mpendulo Sigcawu. We congratulate him.
Therefore, the department has prioritised five priorities and keywords as the fundamentals in improving service delivery and development: the harmonisation, restoration, development, establishment and promotion of the cultural and customary ways of life of our people.
As the ANC in Parliament, we believe that this ANC-led government department of COGTA is on call to implement organisational resolutions that have been transferred to government policies and programmes. They should be resolute even when the counter-revolutionary, anti-majoritarian liberal democrats want to masquerade as people’s representatives and as constitutionalists who run to court while they have lost at the polls. This act seeks to undermine the democratic popular mandate of the people, as we advance the national democratic revolution. We justified it through the second radical phase. They will never derail the true people-orientated cause, which derived its mandate from the Freedom Charter of the people. One of its principles is “the people shall govern” and we shall achieve our government based on the will of our people as a result of free and fair elections.
Ba kae? gape ba leka ka thata mabina go tsholwa, diilakgaka.
We have noted that Cogta is continually striving to ensure that municipalities are effective and efficient and that they should be characterised by an improvement in the state of leadership, organisational capacity and fast service delivery. Let me therefore welcome the Minister’s congratulations to Mr Danny Jordaan and ...
Mme T J MOKWELE: Modulasetulo, ntlo e e maruru tlhe, re kopa di tekanyetsomowa di fokodiwe, ke a leboga.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon member, continue with your speech.
Ms G M MANOPOLE: Let me continue and join the Minister in congratulating Mr Danny Jordaan on his appointment as mayor of one of our critically important municipalities. We also congratulate one of our own who used to serve in this council, hon Litho Suka. We believe and we are confident that you will steer the ship in the right direction.
As I conclude, because the priorities speak to the Mangaung resolution, the manifesto and the NDP, in pursuit of radical transformation, and in the year of the Freedom Charter and the year of unity in action to advance economic freedom, as the ANC we support the Budget Vote presented by the Minister, in order to move South Africa forward.
Re ntse re re mo South Africa e, ba e rata ANC, a e gole ANC. Ke a leboga modulasetulo. [Applause.]
Ms P NGOBENI
Ms G MANOPOLE
Ms P NGOBENI (Mpumalanga): Hon Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Minister Pravin Gordhan, hon Deputy Minister, chairperson and members of the Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. It is an immeasurable honour and gives me enormous delight to come and address this revered assembly as we reflect on and ponder the general principles embodied in the 2015-16 annual performance plan and budget of the national Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. It came at the right time, just after we had emerged from our own consideration of the Mpumalanga provincial department of Cogta 2015-16 annual performance plan. I must affirm and confirm that the two policy documents are perfectly correlated, hence we support the general thrust of the Minister’s policy and budget speech.
As the province of Mpumalanga, we are grateful to Minister Gordhan for his undoubted support to our province, which has ensured the reduction of households without access to water by 31% - from 48 528 households to 33 377 households who will now have access to water.
With regard to understanding the context of co-operative government option, government has the constitutional and political responsibility to promote economic growth and sustainable and equitable development for the country and to provide for the basic needs of millions of people who live in poverty, joblessness and inequality. Undoubtedly, these noble goals are not achievable without an efficient, responsive, accessible and special reference system of intergovernmental delivery.
South Africa is often characterised as a democratic state, unlike the apartheid one that it replaced. It is legitimate in the eyes of the majority. However, it is also a developmental state, which does not entirely depend on the markets to deliver public service, but uses its own capacity to effect meaningful development. Furthermore, it recognises that each sphere of government is distinctive but all spheres are inter-related and interdependent and bound to co-operate with one another on matters of common interest. What makes a sphere of government distinctive is that it is a democratically elected government in its own right, accountable to its electorate for its actions, with the power to determine a budget and a plan and decide on the mix of services in response to local demand. National functions are primarily policy-making and regulatory in nature, whereas provinces and municipalities are essentially responsible for service provision.
Politicians and administrators had to confront two formidable tasks simultaneously. The first was to implement this new system of municipal government in its entirety. The other task was to establish a suitable intergovernmental fit between the new local sphere, endowed with its own functional responsibility, and the other two spheres, whose own regulatory and oversight responsibility and spending programme manifested in the area of the municipality. Both tasks generated complex problems in intergovernmental co-ordination and policy sequencing.
Progressively reconciling sector policies and the expenditure programme with the statutory municipal integrated plan and budget is essential both if South Africa’s cities, towns and rural villages are to break free of apartheid spatial forms to become integrated and sustainable settlements and to face the ongoing challenges.
When I was reading both the speech of the Minister and the 2015-16 APP of the Mpumalanga provincial department of Cogta, I found the same message, which is in line with the recently adopted Back to Basics policy document and concurs with what I have said above.
With regard to knowing the powers and functions of municipalities, some researchers argued that practice informs policy and policy informs institutional change dynamically, with the result that systems of government are continuously evolving.
For the greater part of the 20 years of democracy, the collective wisdom held that extensive responsiveness, efficiency and citizen participation could be achieved by decentralising more powers and functions to local government. This point of view, coupled with the historic significance of local forms of community and citizen organisation during the national democratic revolution against apartheid, ultimately secures the place of local government in the constitutional order.
Chapter 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa provides for exclusive municipal functions and requires functions that are better performed at municipal level to be reassigned to one or more municipalities. For instance, the Constitution contains the basket of exclusive municipal functions, such as the provision of potable water, electricity reticulation, refuse removal, municipal health services and municipal transport services.
Funding for municipal services is derived from three main sources. Firstly, the Constitution assigns certain revenue powers to municipalities in the form of property rates, user charges for cost-recoverable services and levies. The revenue derived from this function is used to fund capital and operating expenditure. Secondly, each municipality is entitled to an equitable share of national revenue to fund a basic level of service in accordance with a prescribed formula. Thirdly, a portion of national revenue is transferred to municipalities as a conditional grant to fund the infrastructure required to deliver a basic level of service.
Beyond the constitutional framework, practice is not as straightforward or plain sailing. Municipal performance is highly uneven and while recent studies show a gradual improvement in the number of municipalities providing a full range of services, some district and local municipalities are not performing all the functions allotted to them and may not have the capacity to do so.
The other two spheres of government are often assigning additional functional responsibility to municipalities without budget and resources, resulting in unfunded mandates and a widening physical gap between municipal expenditure and revenue responsibilities.
Municipalities are responsible for settlement planning, infrastructure, water, electricity reticulation, as indicated supra, and other built-environment functions, yet public transport and housing, which are critical functional areas for metropolitan government, are provincial responsibilities.
Where does service delivery take place? There is the notion of shared space and co-ordinating public delivery in municipal areas. Municipalities are a cradle for humanity. In the South African context this is an area of stimulating and interesting public discourse and perhaps there should be greater conceptual clarity about how the different spheres should interrelate and act, both independently and jointly, in a shared space, impacting on the same communities that live in that space in equal measure.
Furthermore, the question of how development is shaped in this shared space, both by government, with its intricate intergovernmental relations, and by social actors, residents and communities that live in this space, is under greater scrutiny as the country accelerates the pace of service delivery and economic growth and development within the theatre of service delivery protest action.
It can be argued that communities in a municipal space are the responsibility of all three spheres of government while recognising that local government is the closest to communities and often in the best position to be responsive and sensitive to specific local services, hence it is the coalface of service delivery.
The challenges of development imply that the simple compartmentalisation of revenue and allocation or distribution of tasks across the three spheres of government, while critical for accountability and predictability, cannot address the integrated and sustainable development outcomes required to change people’s lives.
In the final analysis, the state of service delivery in the country should be viewed vis-a-vis the results of Census 2011, which clearly shows where South Africa stands currently with regard to our population demographics. The extent of the public good, or the lack thereof in some households, … [Interjections.]
Mr G MICHALAKIS: Hon Chairperson, perhaps you should tell the hon member a bit louder that her time is up. I do not think she heard you.
Ms P NGOBENI: I did not hear what he said. Can he repeat it?
Mr G MICHALAKIS: Hon Deputy Chairperson, I said perhaps you should tell the hon member a bit louder that her time is up. I do not think she heard you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! She is done now. [Applause.]
Ms T J MOKWELE
Ms P NGOBENI: MPUMALANGA
Ms T J MOKWELE: Chairperson, I am back in action. The EFF rejects the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs 2015-16 Budget Vote ... [Interjections.]
Mr A J NYAMBI: Chair, in terms of Rule 16, before permanent members begin to perform their functions in the Council, they must swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution, as prescribed by section 62(6) of the Constitution. So, I am checking whether it is parliamentary for a new member whom we do not know to be before us. [Laughter]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: No, that is not a point of order.
Ms T J MOKWELE: It seems you are threatened by me. But I am here to stay anyway. Let me start by saying that the EFF rejects the Cogta 2015-16 Budget Vote as we cannot support a budget that sponsors the killing of protesters instead of providing service delivery to the poor.
South Africa has been dubbed the protest capital of the world. There has been a sharp rise in service delivery protests in the last 10 years, and 43 people have been killed in these protests. South Africa has a service delivery protests every second day and the number of protests in 2014 reached an all-time-high of 218, Minister.
This is a clear indication that the ANC government has not only failed to transform local government and provide service delivery to the people but can kill them as it pleases for demanding basic services such as water, electricity, roads and sanitation. Over one third of municipalities are dysfunctional - you must be ashamed, Minister – with no hope of ever improving and those that are said to be well off cannot provide basic services to its people.
Cape Town is a classic example. The DA-run Western Cape is hailed as the best-governed province with the best service delivery. But in reality, it faces the same contradictions that the rest of South Africa is facing: impeccable service delivery for the privileged few, while the majority wallows in poverty, like the people in Langa, Nyanga, Guguletu, Khayelitsha and Khayamandi.
We are led by a government that suffers from a poverty of ideas; a government that will continue to fail our people regardless of the resources at its disposal. How else can we explain why the most important sphere of government gets less than 10% of the allocated budget and be expected to pay the salaries of the thousands of councillors that we have, pay operational costs and still provide quality services to our communities, efficiently so?
Not only does the Division of Revenue Act need to be reviewed, but there needs to be a decisive and radical transformation of the local government sphere in South Africa, Minister. There needs to be a reduction of municipalities from 278 to a reasonable and manageable size and there should be the dissolution of district municipalities, because they are so useless and no municipalities should have less than 25 wards.
The state of service delivery in this country and our people’s dissatisfaction and mistrust, expressed through protests, is a clear indication that it is about time that the state abolished the tendering system and built internal capacity to construct and maintain infrastructure and provide basic services to our people. The dysfunction in most municipalities is a direct result of relying on tenders that have massive political implications. This often reduced the quality of work because of corrupt individuals and the corrupt nature of the whole tendering system.
The state must create a state-owned construction company ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Is that a point of order?
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Yes, it is a point of order.
Ms T J MOKWELE: At least you have missed me so much.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Can we hear the point of order?
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: The point of order to the hon Mokwele is that her own leader, Juju, benefited from the tender processes. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! No, that is not a point of order. [Laughter.]
Ms T J MOKWELE: That is not a point of order and there is no proof to that effect. Wait for the judgment to be concluded; the court should conclude the matter.
The state must create a state-owned construction company, a state road-construction company and a state-owned cement company, among other things. State-owned companies will provide sustainable jobs and prioritise providing cheap and affordable services to the people and the economy, instead of profit maximisation.
It is extremely unfair that the equitable share will be withheld from the municipalities who need it the most, simply because they cannot pay Eskom debt. By taking such a decision, the ANC has failed to showcase leadership and take responsibility for all the chaos in our municipalities. The municipalities are instead being used as scapegoats. The people’s attention is taken away from the real culprits: the ANC.
The cosmetic change in leadership in the Nelson Mandela Bay in the past few years and recently is yet another example of the ANC’s failure to lead decisively. Merely changing leaders instead of addressing the underlying systematic issues that gave rise to the municipality’s problems will not bring about fundamental change for the people of Port Elizabeth.
The government has failed the people of Relela, Mothutlung, Madikwe, Ledig, Bekkersdal, Khutsong, Nyanga, Langa, Bedford and other areas.
The ANC government killed workers in Marikana for demanding a wage increase, and it continues to kill protestors for demanding water, housing, electricity and sanitation. The ANC robbed 15-year-old Lucas Lebyane from Mpumalanga of his future and his family of a son. Those who killed Andries Tatane in cold blood, in full view of the world, lived on happily ... [Interjections.]
Why did you not give me five more minutes? I would continue. Thank you, Chair.
Mr M KHAWULA
Ms T J MOKWELE
Mr M KHAWULA: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Ministers, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Chapter 3, acknowledges the following: “In the Republic, the government is constituted as national, provincial and local spheres of government, which are distinctive, interdependent and interrelated.” This issue of “distinctive, interdependent and interrelated” entrenched in the Constitution is important and must be respected.
It is therefore wrong for National Treasury to withhold the equitable share that is due to municipalities on the basis that municipalities have not paid their debt to Eskom. National Treasury is not an Eskom debt collector, neither is it an Eskom agency. The issues between Eskom and municipalities should be left between the two for them to resolve among themselves.
The consumer debt to municipalities by different consumers is at R98,9 billion. Of this, R5,5 billion is owed to municipalities by national and provincial government departments. As different role-players in governance, we all expect municipalities to perform. But how will they perform if the very same role-players, which are the government departments, are not paying their rates to municipalities? The IFP thus welcomes the initiatives aimed at encouraging all defaulting consumers to timeously pay their dues to municipalities.
Back to Basics is fully supported by the IFP as an endeavour by the government to strengthen municipal performance. However, hon Minister, we should not behave as if municipalities were doing communities a favour, neither should we behave as if municipalities were doing Cogta a favour. Municipalities are charged by our Constitution with the responsibility to perform their services. Nonperformance should be subjected to consequences. Therefore, the report that only 58% of municipalities, which is 161 out of 278 municipalities, are reporting regularly, as required by the monthly Back to Basics reporting system, is not good enough.
The department is reporting that, over the last three financial years, the number of municipalities with 100% expenditure on the Municipal Infrastructure Grant has increased from 110 to 130 municipalities. This is not good. Municipalities are not begged to spend, but are charged with the responsibility to spend.
Sixteen municipalities have been put under section 139 of the Constitution within a period of eight months up to now. Two of these municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal that were put under section 139(1)(c) were dissolved. These are Mpofana and Mtubatuba. Mpofana was dissolved because of the infighting among the ANC councillors. The story of Mtubatuba is an interesting one. The ANC-controlled Kwazulu-Natal dissolved Mtubatuba because the ANC-NFP marriage was not working anymore. When the NFP decided to marry the IFP, the municipality got dissolved. After the by-election this month, there is again no clear winner in Mtubatuba. The ANC has again gone back to the NFP for another marriage, which will definitely collapse. If the NFP was bad then as a marriage partner, the NFP is still the same bad marriage partner today.
Municipalities in our country are fraught with corruption, jobs for pals, nepotism, favouritism and partisanship. For as long as these challenges are not clearly dealt with, the problems we see today will persist. We see the service delivery protests mushrooming week in and week out. Like the President of the country admitted here last year, almost 80% of these protests are based on issues that relate to municipal services.
Up to now, the ANC-controlled government has not displayed much of a commitment in resolving the issue of the powers and functions of traditional leaders in relation to municipal functions. This matter must be attended to. Less than 1% of the department’s budget is spent on traditional leaders. This does not reflect conviction or a measurable commitment.
Some mayors continue to spending their very meagre resources on nonpriority items. For example, we have seen the mayor of Taung in the North West province spending R1 million on a BMW luxury car for himself, at the expense of the plight of his people. The department ... [Interjections.] But this thing is not working, Chairperson! [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Oh, is it not working?
Mr M KHAWULA: It is not working!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: No, mine is working!
Mr M KHAWULA: Can I finish my sentence?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Mine is working. Can you conclude?
Mr M KHAWULA: Let me conclude, Chairperson. The department must reign such mayors in. Other funds continue to be spent on huge security services for mayors. This is unnecessary. Why do you want to be elected if, after the elections, you will be unable to walk alone among the communities? Thank you, Chairperson. [Interjections.]
Mme T J MOKWELE: Modulasetilo, ke kopa gore fa o tsamaisa Ntlo ena, o e tsamaise ka go lekana mo go rona rotlhe. O gakolola maloko a mangwe fa nako ya bone e fitlha kwa bokhutlong, mo go rona ba bangwe ga o dire jaalo ...
... so, you must be consistent on your ruling. You just cut our time.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! In actual fact, I am very, very consistent. I gave you an extra minute when you came to deliver your speech.
Ms T WANA
Mr M KHAWULA
Ms T WANA: Acting Chief Whip; Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, hon Pravin Gordhan; MEC of the Eastern Cape, hon Xasa; Deputy Minister Dubul’amabhulu; Deputy Minister in the Presidency, hon Bapela; and Deputy Minister Nene, I greet you all in the name of the ANC. Let me start by correcting ...
Mme T J MOKWELE: Modulasetulo, ke ne ke botsa gore a motlotlegi Motlatsa Tona Bapela gompieno ke Tona.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Continue, hon Wana.
Nks T WANA: Makhe ndiqale ndilungise le ndawo. Apha sinengxaki bantu bakuthi, molweni apha eMpuma Koloni kulo mzi kaTambo, niyayibona imeko esikuyo yokuba bonke abantu abalapha basuka kwi-ANC, wonke umntu ke kufuneka ukuze alunge kumlungu wakhe kufuneka ame kule ndawo athuke lo mbutho wabantu abadala. Bonke khange balunge. Makhe ndikulungise, Khawula. Kaloku, Khawula, uma apha ngokokuvotelwa ngabantu. Ukuba bakuvotele kabini uza kuma nje ixeshana elifutshane.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon Wana, I have a point of order to take.
Mr V E MTILENI: I just want to know if it is parliamentary for a member to speak in another language because, according to this paper, it was supposed to have been indicated.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! It is highly parliamentary. It is Constitutional. A member has the right to express himself or herself in a language that he or she is comfortable in.
Mr V E MTILENI: But was it not supposed to have been indicated?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Leave that. Hon Wana, please continue with the debate.
Ms T WANA: Thank you, Chairperson. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! That is not a point of order, chief. I am making a ruling. [Interjections.] That is not a point of order. In actual fact, you are now bordering on infringing on the constitutional right of a member.
Nks T WANA: Njengokuba ndinixelela, kunjalo ke namhlanje. Masiyibulele ke siyi-ANC kuba kwezi zitshi zikhoyo nisoloko niyinyusa i-ANC ukuba ibe ngumthamo ovakalayo ekuxoxeni iintlungu zenu ngoba nina niyakwazi ukuhamba nzima. Xa ndisitsho njalo ndibulela olu hlahlo-lwabiwo-mali lorhulumente wasemakhaya, ngoba nangoku siyaqala singabantu basemakhaya ukuba iinkosi zethu zibe nesabelo esicacileyo. Namhlanje iinkosi zayeka ukwenziwa izikhuni zokoja ngabelungu kumane kusithiwa ithe iNkulumbuso. Saphuma kuloo nto!
Ndize ke kule nto yale mibuthwana isoloko igxila ku-O R Tambo. Mna inye into endiyaziyo yeyokuba ulele nje Tambo uyathetha. Ndazi into enye yokuba wena Madiba ulele nje uyathetha. Ngomhla we-15 besiphaya eNqandu, kumzi kaPhalo, kumzi wabantu abadala emva kweminyaka engama-50. Ngubani obangele ukuba sibe sagqibela kwiminyaka engama-50 eyadlualyo? Yenziwa yinkqubo yocalucalulo apho iinkosi zaphucwa ubuzwe bazo.
But the ANC is the first of its kind. Our own President ...
... mnye ke lo mongameli ndithetha ngaye ngulo ubekhona ku-Operation Vula. Inye ke le nkokeli ndithetha ngayo, yile ibikhe yaqamela ngenqindi phaya esiqithini. Isiqithi sinezothe kuba uMakana wabulawelwa phaya. Isiqithi sinezothe kumaXhosa ngoba iinkokeli ezazisilwa imfazwe zenzakaliswa phaya ngamabhulu.
Makhe ndiyithethe into yokuba kukho nale ngxambuluza ikhoyo ifikayo ungayaziyo nokuba ifuna ukuthini na. Ungathi unxibe i-ovarolo ulikhoboka, ngoko ke nengqondo yakho iyachaphazeleka ungaboni nto intle. Imbali yethu iyasixelela ukuba ii-ovarolo zazinxityiswa amakhoboka. [Kwaqhwatywa.]
Mme T J MOKWELE: Modulasetilo, fa ke utlweletse phetolelo, e bua jaana e re, Mme a re, re makgoba. Nyaa, ke bua ka puo yame, o se ka wa ntlhalosetsa. ...
... and I am addressing the Chair. I am not addressing any member of this House.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: As you address us, will you just withdraw the finger?
Ms T J MOKWELE: No, I am pointing a finger up into the air; I am not pointing a finger at any individual.
Mme T J MOKWELE: Modulasetilo, ke kopa ka tsweetswee gore maloko a Ntlo ena, fa a re bua ka rona, a se ka a re nyatsa.
MOTLATSAMODULASETILO WA NCOP: Leloko le le tlhomphegileng, ke kopa go tsaya tshwetso se o se fetisitseng ka ga jaana.
Mme T J MOKWELE: Ke a leboga.
Ms T WANA: I am standing here with my heart and soul moved by the passing of Mme Ruth Mompati. She will be laid to rest on Saturday. I would like to say rest in peace, Mme. She was among the leaders of 1956 who marched against oppression and exploitation by the apartheid regime.
This is a very important month. It recognises different forms of victimisation all over the world and the exploitation of workers by the bosses in different institutions. We salute the workers of 1886 to date because many people think May Day is for South Africans. They do not have the bigger picture. This month is very important because it identifies the road travelled, the exploitation, the victimisation of our own, which is the working class.
Let me congratulate the ANC because today we have been implementing the Freedom Charter for 21 years. As we bring about this transformation, there are problems in the Western Cape. They are not assisting our communities, especially with regard to service delivery. If the Western Cape were serious, at least the squatter camps would have been reduced by this time, after 21 years of democracy.
Benditshilo ke bantu bakuthi, kaloku ndimana ndibhekisa kuni, kuba nakule nto sikhala ngayo yowama-2014 babegwayimbile besithi bayalithatha eli lizwe. Benza ama-21%. Nangoku basatsho ukuba kulo nyaka uzayo baza kwenza njalo kuba nooChetty babekwi-ANC kodwa bakuthi ukuze balunge kwelaa khehlekazi bathuke i-ANC.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon member, can I take a point of order?
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA:
Modulasetulo, ke kopa ho botsa hore ekaba leloko le hlomphehang le ka dumela ho nka potso e tswang ho nna na?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Wana, are you prepared to take a question?
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: I don’t know if she understands the language.
Ms T WANA: Ewe mntakabawo, makakhe andibethe ngombuzo. Makaze ngqo kum esifubeni.
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Ndicela acacise gca okwekati emhlophe ehlungwini ukuba uyayazi kusini na ukuba iNtshona Koloni ivotelwa okwesibini ngoku kwiminyaka emihlanu.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Now you are debating. That is no longer a question. [Interjections.] What is the question?
Nks T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Ingaba uyayazi kusini na, kuba iinkonzo ziyafikelela ebantwini njengokuba phaya eMpuma Koloni zingafikeleli. Yiyo loo nto kutshintshwana nooSodolophu.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Let us not be opportunistic. If a member is at the podium, debating or presenting his or her speech, please allow the member to do exactly that. Let us not use a Rule that allows you to ask a question and then present your own argument on a particular issue. Hon Julius, you may proceed.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Chair, I would like to know if the member will take a question?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Are you prepared to take a question?
Ms T WANA: Yes, Chairperson. [Interjections.]
Mr J W W JULIUS: I wouldd like the member to tell me how many squatter camps there are in Gauteng at the moment. Thank you, Chair. [Laughter.]
Ms T WANA: Okay, thank you, Comrade Julius. What I can say is that I am from the legendary province, the Eastern Cape. I am a permanent delegate of the Eastern Cape. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: What is that now? Is that a point of order?
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Is it parliamentary for the hon Wana to address hon Julius as “member Julius”?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! No, no, no, I heard the member calling the hon Julius “comrade” and it seemed as if hon Julius was quite comfortable with that.[Laughter.] But it would still not be parliamentary … [Interjections.] That is exactly what I’m doing. [Laughter.] It would not be honourable to refer to a member as any thing other than “an hon member”.
Ms T WANA: For the sake of peace, ….
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Chair, I’ve been standing for a while. I happen to be in the House.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Okay, I didn’t see you.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: I have noticed. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Yes, because I was addressing hon Julius and your Whip over there. I couldn’t have seen you. [Laughter.] What is your point?
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Chairperson, the DA happens to be democrats and not comrades. Furthermore, the point of order is that this member is misleading the House with the statements she is making and you, fully knowing what she is doing, are approving and condoning it.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Van Lingen, I have said it is not parliamentary for a member to be referred to as anything other than “honourable” and that was my ruling. I do not know what the point is that you are trying to raise. Hon Wana, please continue with the debate.
Ms T WANA: Bantu bakuthi, njengokuba nihleli apho, niyayibona intlalo esiyihleliyo apha. Kaloku phaya ekhaya kwi-ANC sithuma umntu abe mnye. Apha ke ubona imibutho ephikisayo izigxumela, ingulowo ebuza into yentliziyo yakhe. Ndifuna niyazi ukuba njengokuba simi apha sivuma ukufundiswa nokuqeqeshwa ngumbutho wethu. Njengokuba ixesha lisityiwa, ndibethwa yinto yokuba ndiphuma emzini oqeqeshileyo oyi-ANC.
I succumb to the pressure. As I was identifying the issue of the Western Cape in terms of informal settlements, let me say those people are suffering, irrespective of impressing the media or the public. The bottom line is that service delivery in the Western Cape is zero. To give water ...
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: I would like to know if the hon member would like to take a question?
Ms T WANA: He bethuna, ndiza kuyithini na le nto?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Wana, are you prepared to take a question.
Ms T WANA: I will give them my number; they can sms me. I am sure there are five people from the same party asking me questions, and I’m not going to take it.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Continue with the debate.
Ms T WANA: During the state of the nation address, our President addressed us, stating that our municipalities have been built on a very firm foundation over these 21 years of democracy. That is a good story to tell, because before 1994 we were not benefiting as we are now.
IsiXhosa sithi “Namhlanje akufani nayizolo.”
And there is one thing that the ANC is doing. It has the capacity to assess itself. It has the capacity to evaluate and that is why today we are talking about the Back to Basics programme. We are trying to perform better than when we got these municipalities because all the state assets were taken by the big bosses of apartheid and we are still dealing with the remnants of that apartheid among us. [Interjections.] Yes, we knew he should because they were in power for 48 years and we have been in power for only 21 years.
Secondly, let me congratulate the department because they have managed to set an investigation of 115 forensic reports. [Interjections.] As a result of that, 98 have been assessed by the department.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Wana, just hold it. Hon Mokwele, may I ask you to withdraw the statement that I am favouring the ANC?
Ms T J MOKWELE: Chair, but the time has gone beyond her allocated time.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Mokwele,….
Ms T J MOKWELE: No, don’t force me. I’m not talking to you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon members, may I address hon Mokwele, please?
Ms T J MOKWELE: Please, behave! You must behave!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Mokwele,….
Ms T J MOKWELE: Yes, hon Chair?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I am addressing you.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Yes, but you must tell them not to address me.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I am addressing you, hon Mokwele.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Hon Chair, you must tell these members not to address me.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Stock, will you allow me to address the hon Mokwele, please?
Ms T J MOKWELE: Please, tell them.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Mokwele, will you withdraw the statement that says I am favouring the ANC?
Ms T J MOKWELE: Chair, I am saying I warned you for the first time to be consistent. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Mokwele, …
Ms T J MOKWELE: Listen, Chair, I will withdraw that statement, but you must also listen to what I am saying.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Will you withdraw that statement?
Ms T J MOKWELE: I will withdraw that statement but you must also listen to what I am saying.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Can you withdraw that statement?
Ms T J MOKWELE: I will withdraw but you must listen to ...
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you very much.
Ms T J MOKWELE: ... but you must listen to what I am saying, Chair.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you very much, hon Mokwele.
Ms T J MOKWELE: This is the third time that an ANC member is speaking and you give them more than five minutes.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Mokwele, this is very consistent. This thing is very consistent and I want to caution members because ...
Ms T J MOKWELE: No, Chair, I withdraw, but you must be consistent.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: ... the clock that you are using is not the same as this clock that I am looking at here.
Ms T J MOKWELE: No, it cannot be! We are using South African time.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: If a member ... Hon Mokwele, please take your seat.
Ms T J MOKWELE: No, no, we are using South African time, unless it is a Chinese one. [Laughter.] We are using South African time!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Mokwele, can you take your seat, please?
Ms T J MOKWELE: But, Chair, you must be consistent. I am taking my seat and I withdraw, but you must be consistent.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Can you take your seat, please?
Ms T J MOKWELE: I am taking my seat and I withdraw, but I am saying to you that you must be consistent.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Let me just explain one thing. I do not know why members are doing this so deliberately, because according to the Rules of this House, the Rules that govern this House, if a question is put to a member, or if there is a member who stands up on a point of order, this clock that is guiding me stops running. You are looking at that one, which does not operate in the same manner as this one. So, I’m just pleading with members. That is the first point.
Secondly, I want to make this point so that all of us will know this: As a presiding officer, I have the opportunity to use my own discretion as far as time is concerned, hence I said to you, hon Mokwele, I gave you an extra minute earlier on when you were speaking here because you were interrupted. [Interjections.] Can you take your seat, hon member? Take your seat; I’m not going to take that order. I am not going to take it. Hon Wana, can you wrap up, please?
Ms T WANA: Lastly, I want to congratulate our government for recognising and integrating Khoisan people who had been exploited and destroyed by the regime. Today they are so happy because they have been recognised by the leading party, the ANC. With those few words, ...
... akwaba abantu bebenokufunda laa ncwadi kaPeter Mtuze esihloko sithi Isizukulwana sentandabuzo ngokuba ngamanye amaxesha sihlangana nabantu abaphume ebantwini kuba bona bengafuni kuva ngomnye umntu. NgesiXhosa kea bantu abaqalekisiweyo andikwazi kuthetha ngabo. Enkosi.
Cllr D MTINGANE (Salga)
Ms T WANA
Cllr D NTINGANE (Salga): Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Minister, hon Deputy Ministers of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders, hon members, MECs, ladies and gentlemen, as we celebrate 15 years of democratic local government, we must recognise that local government has come a long way since the democratic establishment of wall-to-wall municipalities in 2000. We should never forget the massive transition of the preceding transitional phases. While progress has been made, we are the first to acknowledge that substantial work remains to be done over the remaining months of local government’s current term of office.
The work to be done will be guided by the Back to Basics approach launched by the President in September 2014. The recent Salga National Members Assembly held in March 2015 endorsed this principle and deliberated on the key themes and objectives of this in order to agree on how best to fast-track its implementation and institutionalisation in our member municipalities. I am happy to confirm that all the pillars of the Back to Basics approach are aligned to our strategic goals for the period up to 2017.
A number of focus areas, as highlighted by the hon Minister, is of critical importance to local government. These include plans to reduce municipal debt and improve payment to Eskom; to improve municipal procurement and infrastructure delivery; pilot projects to strengthen districts; to introduce community feedback mechanisms, and to enforce competency requirements.
On the reduction of municipal debt and improved payment to Eskom, Salga has encouraged its members to embark on a dedicated credit control drive to ensure that debt collection and credit control policies in municipalities are consistently implemented. The government-wide campaign to cultivate a culture of civic responsibility and payment for services throughout all communities in our country is strongly supported. Equally, businesses should ensure that they commit to payment for municipal services rendered. However, we appeal to other spheres of government to urgently support said campaign by ensuring that the R5,5 billion owed to municipalities by national and provincial government is settled.
As much as Salga appreciates the important role that Eskom plays in the economic development and sustainability of the country, it is concerned by the drastic measures taken by National Treasury in withholding the equitable shares of municipalities who have not yet entered into settlement agreements with Eskom for the payment of arrear debts. Salga is also very concerned about the consequences of this action and the impact it will have on the delivery of basic services and, in particular, free basic services.
An improvement in municipal procurement and infrastructure delivery will improve the ability of municipalities to provide basic services, and it is trusted that economies of scale will ensure more affordable provision of goods and services. It is critical that all infrastructure development projects are included in the integrated development plans of the affected municipalities to ensure that communities are able to hold all spheres of government accountable for projects planned in the municipality. This will also ensure greater integrated development across the three spheres of government. The strengthening of district municipalities is supported. The debate on the role of the district municipality is long overdue, and the pilot projects will allow an informed debate in this regard.
The introduction of community feedback mechanisms will improve active community participation in municipal matters. Salga has always argued that ward committees constitute one of the many forms of community engagement, as it is a dedicated forum that can provide feedback on specific focus areas in municipalities and will ensure active participation of all role-players in the municipality.
The enforcement of the various competency requirements applicable to local government is aimed at professionalising the sector. Salga fully supports the professionalisation of local government and has conceptualised this through the launch of the Salga Centre for Leadership and Governance at our 2015 National Members Assembly. This centre will drive a development agenda through active reflection and leadership programmes. Targeting elected local government leaders and senior managers, the programmes will focus on enhancing leadership and governance capabilities to drive professionalism and excellence in a dynamic and complex municipal environment.
In order for the ambitious plan of the professionalisation of local government to come to fruition, the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs needs to ensure that the payment dispensation for senior managers in municipalities is concomitant with the capacity requirements included in the professionalisation framework. All municipalities, including less capacitated rural municipalities, need to be able to attract and retain the services of the calibre of senior management we envisage to lead local government into the next term of office. Here I must say that we appreciate what the Minister said earlier about the support, including engineers and so on, to local authorities. That much we appreciate.
Equally, municipalities need dedicated and responsive political leaders leading municipalities to 2016 and beyond. In this regard, greater equity is required between political office bearers in all three spheres of government. Salga is particularly concerned about the late issuing of the determination of the upper limits of salaries, benefits and allowances of municipal councillors.
The Minister alluded to the fact that provinces have invoked section 139 interventions as measures to improve the delivery of services and to stabilise governance in municipalities. There are, however, still discrepancies in the implementation of section 139 across the different provincial executives. Salga is of the view that the proposed support, monitoring and interventions Bill is overdue, and we are looking forward to engaging on the Bill in the near future.
With regard to the work done by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs on fraud and corruption, we would appreciate it if the revision of the Local Government Anticorruption Strategy could also be concluded in order to provide further guidance to municipalities.
Salga supports the development of the Integrated Urban Development Framework, which is the implementation framework to promote densification and mixed-use spatial development. We are of the view that the IUDF has the potential to align national, provincial and municipal spatial plans. In order to ensure the success of the IUDF, high-capacity metropolitan municipalities should be assigned more functions in order to ensure full integration with regard to urban development. The focus on urban development should not detract from the requirement to also ensure rural development and small town regeneration projects. In this regard, the Departments of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and of Rural Development and Land Reform need to collaborate.
In conclusion, national and provincial government must support municipalities within the framework of the constitutional mandate of local government and should also collaborate with the sector to improve development outcomes. Our collective commitment is that the remainder of this term will be characterised by dedicated leadership that responds to the urgent challenges facing the local government sector. It is only then that we will be able to demonstrate that local government is indeed responsive and accountable to its inhabitants. Thank you for the opportunity. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr G MICHALAKIS
Cllr D NTINGANE (Salga)
Mr G MICHALAKIS: Deputy Chairperson, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, and hon members, of all state departments the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs can be labelled as one of the most important, since it deals with the issues that affect our citizens most directly – service delivery issues such as the provision of electricity, water and basic sanitation, the things one can hardly live a dignified life without.
Of all the promises that came with democracy in 1994, it is these issues that ordinary South Africans looked for to be addressed. The government that was to give hope to millions of South Africans 20 years ago turned out to be the catalyst for the most service delivery protests in our nation’s history. When we erect the tombstone of Jacob Zuma’s ANC after next year’s local government elections, the most apt heading we can give them is, “They died trying” – for trying is all they did.
First they tried Project Consolidate. It failed. Then came the Local Government Turnaround Strategy. It failed. Then there were the evergreen Batho Pele principles. It failed. Who can forget the recent Operation Clean Audit of 2014? Thanks to cadre deployment and corruption, that too failed. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I give you a budget devoted to the fifth attempt – the Back to Basics campaign, addressing everything but the basics.
In summary, the ANC failed at local government but, more importantly, they failed those people who voted for them; those people who get told by ANC councillors that there is a difference between the municipality run by the ANC and the ANC itself. Can you imagine a party too ashamed to tell people that they are governing a specific municipality because they know if people continue to make the link between the ANC and bad governance - if they continue to realise that there is a direct link between them not having water or houses or electricity and the ANC - that they would stop voting for the ANC, as so many have already done?
Where the DA governs, we also experience the challenges left by apartheid’s legacy, hon Wana. That is why we will not shy away from this fact - but informal settlements are not unique to the Western Cape. This is also why we do our utmost to ensure good governance and the elimination of corruption because cadre deployment, corruption and self-enrichment take freedom, fairness and opportunity from the lives of all South Africans. The DA-run cities and municipalities are not without their challenges, but they are a long way ahead of any ANC-led council in this country. I needn’t indicate in this speech the proposals the DA has for good local governance. That has already been done by my colleague from the Western Cape government. I merely need to extend our warmest invitation to the hon Minister to visit one of these municipalities and bring his notebook with him. [Interjections.]
By the way, hon Mohapi, a political speech for a select committee chairperson is inappropriate, but if you can’t even get a quorum for your committee to approve this report, I guess you have to abuse parliamentary mechanisms to speak on behalf of someone, I suppose. [Interjections.] [Applause.] On that point, welcome, hon Mokwele of the EFF. It has been quite some time since I have last seen you.
Chairperson, it is sad that an entire budget has to be spent on the Back to Basics initiative, which is definitely necessary. The sad part lies herein: that cadre deployment has destroyed municipalities to such an extent that it has become a challenge to get even the basics right. Hon Minister, I suggest you leave the cheap comments for a department that has time to waste on such futile pastimes and save your sharp tongue for those cadres who fail our people in the first place. If you won’t, we surely will be coming for them and their municipalities. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S G THOBEJANE
Mr G MICHALAKIS
Mr S G THOBEJANE: Deputy Chairperson of the Council, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, colleagues, ladies and gentleman, good afternoon. Budget Vote 4 speaks to all of us as the citizens of the Republic of South Africa. It does not exclude any person. You cannot single out any corner and say it does not apply there. We are talking about corner-to-corner municipalities in South Africa. This was a programme and a project that intended to clean up the segregation setup of the Republic of South Africa before the ANC took over in 1994.
If you were to reverse your mind quickly and look at South Africa before the ANC and before where it is today, all of us would regret being South Africans at that particular time. It is only now that we are proud to say we are South Africans. We can go all over and say that we are indeed South Africans. We don’t regret it; we don’t have challenges that we inherited from the previous regime.
Some hon members stand here and speak about this government. Many of us have forgotten that we are dealing with the legacy of other people’s parents who have created this problem for us. We are making efforts to make sure that we find the correct setup for this country. Instead of people helping us, they keep on cherishing what their forefathers did to us. So we are not going to look back and be delayed by those who were comfortable during the apartheid system.
We are here to transform South Africa. South Africa will never be as it was before. We will do everything in our power; hence the Minister mentioned that there are interventions that intend to correct the very same abnormalities that we found in municipalities, where there are councillors who are not performing as expected. The very same department is putting systems in place to say that we need to correct these things. In South Africa, there is no other government that I know of that stands tall, like the ANC is doing, and says that here and there things are not right and we need to get them right.
However, there are people called the so-called opposition – of course this is “so-called because you cannot be an opposition that forever opposes and always goes the wrong direction. You need to oppose moving towards building the country. You cannot forever pull South Africa back and say, “This ANC!” but you don’t even look at what the ANC is doing. You are sitting here today, proud as you are, because the ANC is working for the betterment of your life.
We need to appreciate and acknowledge that this ANC is the only government we have ever seen ... [Interjections.] I am sure the word “corruption” … [Interjections.] If in your time there had been a public accounts committee, we would have had the very same robust debate that we are having now. The very same apartheid that made you what you are today would have been the worst. However, nobody was talking about apartheid because you were killing everybody who wanted to talk about apartheid. [Applause.]
You need to respect and honour this ANC that gave you the freedom that you did not have then. The hon Minister must bear in mind that these people are the product of the very same system that, instead of sitting here building the country, they were taken for training to kill our people. It is not that time any more. What we are saying is, let’s reconstruct the country; let’s put the country where it belongs in order for all of us to be proud of being South Africans.
Mr J W W JULIUS Chairperson, on a point of order: The hon Thobejane said “these people” were trained to kill our people. Where are the people he is referring to as “these people”? Me, myself? Maybe he killed me, I don’t know! I don’t know.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I did not hear that, hon member.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Chair, he is actually calling us murderers. You have to rule on that. You have to rule on that. I did not kill anyone.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon member, you are now raising a point for debate.
Mr J W W JULIUS: I didn’t kill anyone! It is in fact his party members who are sitting here … [Interjections.] Hon De Beer was one of them!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon member, let me rule that kgoši [chief] must continue with the debate.
Mr S G THOBEJANE: Minister, the area we think needs attention and improvement is the one of traditional leadership. That area is ignored ... [Interjections.]
Mr V E MTILENI: Chair, I think what the hon Julius raised is very serious. The allegation of saying these people were trained to kill our people - I thought you might ask the chief to withdraw that. If you were to pose the question to the chief as to whom he is referring to – I thought maybe you were going to ask him the very same question.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon member, I made a ruling on the matter and if you are not happy with that, there are processes you can follow to raise your concern.
Mna S G THOBEJANE: Ke be ke sa hlalošetša Motlatšatona gore karolo yeo re bonalago re sa šome gabotse go yona ke ya go matlafatša bokgoni bja magoši, go dira gore magoši bjale ka ge ba ile ba dudišwa boima ba šomišwa ke mmušo wola wa kgethollo, go nyakega gore re ba tliše maemong a makaone. Re matlafatše bokgoni bja bona gore ba kgone go thuša metse ya bona go gatela pele ka tlhabologo. Ba šome ka mošito o tee le temokrasi ye re lego ka fase ga yona. Ga bjale go bonagala gore nako ye ntši ge re bolela re lebeletše fela ka go bommasepala ga re bolele selo ka batho bao e lego baetapele ba ditšhaba tša rena.
We need to make sure that we invest in them; that we build their capacity and place them at the level where we will all be happy with their performance in making sure that we run this country. You don’t hear these words often but I heard hon Bredell being honest about the opposition by saying that they are products of the Expanded Public Works Programme and that they were shown support when they wanted help as a province.
Ke nagana gore ga o ke o hwetša nnete ye e swanago le ye ka gare ga mekgatlo ya kganetšo.
We wish for this kind of opposition. This is the kind of opposition that we condone; one that we want to build in our country so that we can have a constructive opposition...
... ya go tseba gore e bolela dilo gomme moo go swanetšego ke go retwa, re rete batho gore ba šomile gabotse.
I think we need to strengthen the EPW and make sure we build it in order to continue to support the needy people who need our support.
Ke nagana gore Motlatšatona ...
Mr V E MTILENI: Chairperson, on a point of order: I am getting lost here. I don’t know if there is a programme that this ANC-led government is running called the EPW. I don’t know it.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! No, hon member that is not a point of order. Please continue, chief. [Interjections.]
Mr V E MTILENI: Maybe I... [Inaudible.] [Interjections.]
Mna S G THOBEJANE: Mananeo a mmušo wo o etilwego pele ke ANC - o dumelago gore o kgona go hlatha bommasepala ba rena ge ba fokola wa ba wa fihla moo o rego a re ba phatlatšeng; ke go bontšha gore ANC e na le maikarabelo, moo dilo di sa sepelego gabotse e di tšweletša nyanyeng gomme ya akanya gore di dirwe ka tsela ye nngwe. Ga se mang le mang yo a ka bago le mafolofolo a mabjalo a gore a phatlalatše mmasepala wa gagwe. Eupša ka lebaka la go ba le nnete le ka lebaka la boipolelo bja mmušo wo o etilwego pele ke ANC bja gore e mo go direla batho e se go itirela ...
... we check if everyone is performing as expected ...
... gomme ra mo fa seo se mo swanetšego go ya ka Molaotheo wa naga ye. Tseba gore, Afrika Borwa e sepetšwa ka molao ga e sepetšwe ka gore o befetšwe ka ge o kgopišitšwe ke motho yo mongwe. O tsebe gore bontši bja mekgatlo ya rena ya kganetšo e theile go ba gona ga yona godimo ga pefelo.
They are very angry. You can’t sustain anger. You get angry today and next week you collapse.
Ke nagana gore ngwana yo wa ka Tebogo, ke yo mongwe wa bana bao ba befetšwego. Ka fao ba swanetše go kgeba, re ba fe nako ba fole. Ba tla fola ba boela ka gae.
Anger cannot be sustained. You cannot run the country with anger. Anger is a temporary thing. Tomorrow you will be happy. You need to make sure that you have better municipalities in order to make sure that South Africa continues to grow.
Ra ba le South Afrika ye mpsha. Ke be ke fetša ngwanaka.
Mme T J MOKWELE: Modulasetulo, ke emela ntlha ya kgalemo: Ke a itse gore kgosi o ntsaya jaaka ngwana wa gagwe, le nna ke mo tsaya jaaka ntate, mme mo ntlong e, nna le ene re a lekana, re maloko a a tlotlegang, ka jalo, ke kopa gore kgosi a ntseye jaaka ... [Setshego] ga ke a kwata, re batla go fetola maemo a ekonomi ya naga e. Ke a leboga.
We are hon members. And I am not angry. We want to transform this country… [Inaudible.]
An HON MEMBER: The order is carried! The order is carried!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you, hon member. Please proceed, hon Thobejane.
Mna S G THOBEJANE: La rena la mafelelo re re, legatong la mokgatlo wa ANC, go tšwa komiting yeo e lebeletšego matlotlo a le ditaba tša wona, re rata go tšea sebaka se go thekga Boutu ya Kabotekanyetšo yeo e adilwego mo pele ga Ntlo ye. Ke a leboga.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
Mna S G THOBEJANE
Mr S G THOBEJANE:
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Hon Chairperson, it is impossible to respond to everyone, but let me make a few appeals for this House to join into. The first is in relation to the initiation season that is coming up, both in this winter and later in the summer. Our call is that we should have zero tolerance for initiation that is in abuse, and I am pleased to announce that Cabinet has approved the initiation policy that will act as a framework for this process. Together with the Justice cluster and with our traditional leaders, government will ensure that those who are operating illegal initiation schools and those who engage in criminal activities are actually prosecuted.
Secondly, in relation to the Khoi and San communities, the Ministry will table the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Framework Bill in Parliament soon. For the first time the Khoi and San people would be formally recognised and integrated into the traditional leadership structures.
We also want to commend the good work the traditional leaders in various provinces are doing to advance the socioeconomic and job-creation possibilities in their communities. Today there are many excellent examples to list here of initiatives by traditional leaders that are making a useful contribution.
Similarly there are excellent examples of collaboration between traditional councils and municipal councils, which is quite crucial to service delivery and development within traditional communities. Good examples of this practice and collaboration between traditional leaders and municipalities are seen in, for example, Ehlanzeni and the Gert Sibande District Municipality in Mpumalanga, as well as in several other provinces.
On the question of building capacity for traditional leaders, as Kgosi Thobejane was saying, it is going to be a work in progress and I am sure we will certainly get there.
In relation to some of the issues raised by the two hon members of the DA, with your permission, we should arrange tea between MEC Bredell and the two gentlemen concerned, because with the MEC Bredell we have an excellent working relationship. We have the support of the premier of the Western Cape for the Back to Basics Programme. The submissions to the Municipal Demarcation Board have been done with every MEC’s participation. The Western Cape decided not to participate or nominate municipalities for this particular process, but to accuse us as the Ministry of gerrymandering is really reckless. In effect you are saying that an independent statutory body called the Municipal Demarcation Board, whose job it is to determine and redetermine municipal boundaries, is now the subject of political manoeuvring. All we did was to obey the law - section 22 permits the Minister to make submissions to the Demarcation Board chairperson to review, in its wisdom, or refuse to review, the boundaries of municipalities with a view to increasing financial viability. So, this kind of recklessness that we see sometimes, for cheap political shots, does not speak well of the members concerned.
Hon Chetty also says we failed to respond to the violence. In fact, it is the DMCs - the disaster management centres – which, again, MEC Bredell knows, played a key part in the Western Cape, together with members of so-called ANC provinces and the ANC municipalities, where fire-fighters came from. Similarly, in respect of xenophobic violence, these disaster management centres at provincial and local level in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal played an instrumental role in making sure that shelter was provided, food was provided and safety was assured. As government we should be very proud of the way in which we have intervened and ensured that things happened in the right kind of way.
I certainly want to agree with MEC Bredell that we need to look at alternative funding models for municipalities and we have said so. Let us work together and identify what those models could actually look like.
Hon Khawula, I agree, this is not the time to buy expensive BMWs - I am not sure if hon Khawula is here or if he has left. [Interjections.] Oh, he is at the back. We certainly agree with you and hopefully you can join us in reminding these mayors and so on to stop exercising their control of money in this kind of way.
Hon Ngobeni, on the question of unfunded mandates, that is a perpetual problem that local government has had; one to which we need to find more structured responses. Perhaps for a start, the NCOP should look more critically at legislation that comes to it from the National Assembly and keep asking the question: Is this an unfunded mandate for municipalities? You do have the ability to input into this process and ensure that such unfunded mandates do not begin to accumulate themselves.
Finally, I do not think anybody is in a position to point fingers at others about corruption this, that and the other. You know, corruption operates in different ways: through tender systems, through stealing cash. It also operates through giving development rights and changing spatial planning permission within municipalities. So, there are different levels of sophistication, depending on which municipality you visit.
By the way, I do not need any invitation to visit the Western Cape municipality. I am the national Minister of Cogta; I can go wherever I like. However, with my colleague here, MEC Bredell, I have had the great privilege of visiting several municipalities. Thank you very much.
Vote No 11 – Public Works:
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS: Hon Chairperson, MECs and, I note, MEC Grant, the chairperson and members of the Select Committee on Economic and Business Development, hon members, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, in the time available I will present the policy proposals for the Budget Vote and commitments for the 2015-16 financial year. I will also account for what we have done, as the department, over the last year and provide a progress report to this House on the turnaround strategy for Public Works and the five priority areas I announced in my 2014 Budget Vote.
Regarding the turnaround strategy, we have moved from stabilisation to efficiency enhancement. Our seven-year plan to rebuild the Department of Public Works, developed in 2012 with the support of National Treasury, envisages overlapping phases. Phase 1 of the turnaround strategy – stabilisation - was necessitated by the lack of adequate management and financial controls, culminating in adverse audit findings and high levels of fraud and corruption. Three years into the plan, we have stabilised the core business areas: lease management, the immovable asset register and finances, combating corruption.
In relation to lease management, 1 455 out of 1 576 leases were renewed through the National Treasury special dispensation, with projected annual savings of R33 million.
In relation to the immovable asset register, Public Works has produced a reliable register of state properties under its custodianship. Ninety-nine percent of the properties were physically verified, resulting in significant improvements in audit outcomes. Public Works is now able to determine its property portfolio, comprising 108 657 buildings on 32 509 land parcels. We have been able to confirm the existence and do a high-level condition assessment of our properties and confirm the user departments that occupying those properties.
Public Works can now leverage this massive portfolio for socioeconomic development, black economic empowerment, support for small businesses and job creation, as well as to generate revenue to maintain state assets.
Part of the immovable asset register project has been to assign fair values to assets. Applying municipal values to 60% of the assets has increased the disclosed value from R49 million in 2012-13 to R59,5 billion in 2014-15. The disclosed value of immovable assets will increase significantly as the asset register is finalised, thus more appropriately reflecting on the national balance sheet.
The clean audit project has stabilised the finance and supply chain management environment and addressed negative audit outcomes. The main Vote improved from a disclaimer to a qualified audit opinion in 2012-13 and an unqualified audit opinion in 2013-14.
The Property Management Trading Entity, PMTE, improved from a disclaimer in 2012-13 to a qualified audit opinion in 2013-14, with significantly less areas as the basis for qualification. Due to the complexity and sheer volume of transactions, the PMTE remains a concern for the 2014-15 audit. We are, however, encouraged by the PMTE’s steady migration from a simple cash basis of accounting to an accrual basis of accounting.
In relation to irregular expenditure, 1,5 million transactions were revisited for the period 2009-10 to 2012-13. The result was that the department identified R35 billion of irregular expenditure, some of it originating as far back as 2001. All irregular expenditure identified is being systematically investigated for further action. Meanwhile, the department, working with National Treasury, has put in place control measures to prevent the recurrence of irregular expenditure.
The President has stressed the need to pay creditors within 30 days of the receipt of invoices, as it is crucial to the financial health of small and emerging businesses. With respect to invoices paid within 30 days, the main Vote’s performance improved from 86% in 2013-14 to 89,4% in 2014-15.
The PMTE performance has regressed slightly from 93,9% in 2013-14 to 92,3% in 2014-15, largely due to the implementation of the new billing, accounting and verification systems, which only stabilised in 2015. Measures to enhance compliance include ministerial road shows to address staff and suppliers.
Furthermore, the Construction Industry Development Board, CIDB, an entity of the department, is publishing draft regulations for comment, compelling payment within 30 days throughout the industry.
Phase 2 of the turnaround strategy - efficiency enhancement - is where we seek to improve the business model and processes of the department, focusing on the five key priority areas that I presented to this House in the 2014 Budget Vote.
Priority 1 is the creation of 6 million work opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme. This is a firm manifesto commitment of the ANC and government.
South Africa, like most of the rest of the world, is experiencing massive structural unemployment. In fact, many countries now look to South Africa as a model for the creation of real public employment opportunities to mitigate unemployment. We are on track. The EPWP created one-and-a-quarter million work opportunities in 2014-15, working with other lead departments — Environmental Affairs, Social Development and COGTA, as well as with provinces and municipalities - to roll out EPWPs to communities across the country.
In addition to a stipend, EPWP beneficiaries receive training, which is the real thing and makes a real contribution to communities. Let me give you some examples. Last year, EPWP beneficiaries erected 33 000 km of fencing, laid 110 000 km of pipeline, constructed 450 km of stormwater drains, maintained 65 000 km of road, planted 20 000 trees, cleaned hundreds of cemeteries, fed 1,5 million schoolchildren through the National School Nutrition Programme, and provided 20 000 home-based care practitioners who were trained to provide support to sick individuals at home. In the EPWP, the Working on Fire programme played a leading role in tackling the runaway fires in Cape Town this year and most of them were taken from as far as Mpumalanga.
Moreover, research by Statistics SA shows that an increasing proportion of EPWP participants goes on to find permanent employment.
Priority 2 is the operationalisation of the PMTE to manage the core business of Public Works, the custodian of state immovable assets and provision of accommodation to government. The vision for the PMTE is to ring-fence, professionally manage, secure, maintain and optimally utilise this massive state portfolio to build value and bring savings to the state; to promote job creation and empowerment; and to improve service to client departments by better projecting demand and client needs. With this in mind, we have set up joint technical teams with the client departments.
The outputs of the PMTE and its subprogrammes, over the last year, include the following: Firstly, as part of the National Accessibility Programme, 21 buildings were made accessible to people with disabilities, with a further 15 buildings in the final stages.
Secondly, 160 capital projects were completed in 2014-15 at a cost of R349 million, representing an expenditure of 98% of the PMTE capital budget compared to 88% in 2013-14; 86% of the client capital budget compared to 70% in 2013-14; and 99% of the planned maintenance budget compared to 84% in 2013-14.
PMTE targets for 2015-16 include the following: Firstly, to make available 100 vacant, unutilised freehold properties for redevelopment by black developers.
The second target is to make available 600 surplus freehold properties to let out for revenue, using the services of black real estate agents. Thirdly, in support of Operation Phakisa, the department has established a special unit to facilitate the development and modernisation of small harbours. We will also audit all properties on state coastal reserves falling under the custodianship of Public Works, to promote development and job creation.
Fourthly, framework documents to operationalise the National Infrastructure Maintenance Strategy will be completed by 31 July 2015. These tools, once approved, will ensure that public sector institutions improve their maintenance policies and practices in line with a holistic national strategy and standard.
Lastly, since last year, the Inner City Regeneration programme, which previously focused exclusively on Tshwane, has expanded its mandate to include other urban and rural areas, supporting integrated development and the creation of government precincts in collaboration with provincial and municipal counterparts to facilitate frontline service delivery to the public. Precincts in the planning phase include Polokwane, Mahikeng, Christiana, Idutwa, Balfour, Mt Fletcher and KwaMahlanga. This is just a start, because we want to improve the places where our people are getting the services.
The PMTE has set the following five-year targets: 75 000 work opportunities created through construction projects; 60% of construction projects allocated to BBBEE contractors; 25 000 job opportunities created through maintenance programmes; and 65% of facilities management contracts allocated to BBBEE businesses.
In response to the President’ state of the nation address with the call to save energy, the following five-year targets have been set for buildings falling under Public Works: 1,6 billion kWh reduction in energy consumption and 23,8 million kilolitres reduction in water consumption.
To support the delivery of construction projects, Public Works is collaborating closely with the Independent Development Trust, IDT. During the 2015-16 financial year, the IDT, working with the department, will finalise its business case and mandate, positioning itself as an implementing arm of Public Works for the social facilitation and delivery of social infrastructure.
Priority 3 is the operationalisation of the Governance Risk and Compliance Branch. In 2012, I stated that the turnaround strategy rested on improving the way Public Works did business and the combating of fraud and corruption. Both are concretely addressed by the establishment of the Governance, Risk and Compliance Branch.
In relation to fighting fraud and corruption, I can report the following: Firstly, we have seen the establishment of an anticorruption unit, focusing on investigations and fraud awareness. Investigations now commence within 30 days of the receipt of information.
Secondly, the backlog of 289 allegations of fraud and corruption were investigated, resulting in 129 disciplinary actions and 18 criminal referrals to SAPS.
Thirdly, the Special Investigating Unit, SIU, has investigated 39 separate matters and recommended disciplinary action against 41 officials, of which three resigned; seven were dismissed, including deputy directors-general and directors; seven received final written warnings and the rest are still in process. Twenty-two criminal referrals have been made to SAPS and civil action was taken for the recovery of fraudulently obtained funds.
Fourthly, summonses were issued against landlords and former officials to recover money paid for unoccupied buildings, while eight criminal cases have been opened against service providers and an official. Furthermore, a comprehensive fraud risk assessment was conducted to inform the introduction of control measures to prevent fraud and corruption before they occur.
Lastly, the department is relaunching Operation Bring Back to reclaim state properties that have been misappropriated or unlawfully occupied. Previous efforts relied exclusively on the goodwill of the public. The current project is proactive by investigating and recovering misappropriated state properties, and by drawing on unusual land and property transfers identified in the process of compiling the immovable asset register.
Over 1 000 properties have been identified as being illegally occupied. A panel of mainly black-owned investigation firms has been established to resolve these matters. You hear that I have been talking about black-owned. It is because the property space has been dominated by the old boys’ club. We want to open it up now for transformation. That is why we want to use our own people and open up that space.
The first National Operation Bring Back Forum will convene next month with a clear message to wrongdoers: You can run, but you can’t hide. The Governance, Risk and Compliance Branch also spearheads the efficiency enhancement phase of the turnaround strategy, using the tools of strategic planning, service delivery model processes and performance management.
During 2015, Public Works focused on improving strategic planning. I invite hon members to compare the quality of the strategic plans and annual performance plans for 2015-16 with those of last year. In this effort, we were supported by officials from the Department of Public Service and Administration, National Treasury, the Public Service Commission and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency.
I would like to acknowledge the support and advice I received from our dearly departed Minister Collins Chabane. We honour his legacy by striving to entrench continuous improvement in the planning, measurement and management of service delivery.
Priority 4 is policy review. The department will develop a new Public Works White Paper to review its mandate and role. This will form the basis of a Public Works Act, which we intend to table in 2017-18. Remember, we do not have national legislation currently.
With regard to the concurrent mandate, a large part of the policy review will address the concurrent mandate of Public Works. On the ground, national and provincial Public Works are working closely through MinMecs. MEC Grant will tell you how well we work together. There is no fighting there as there is here. [Interjections.] We are working well on the issues that are affecting all the departments. We are addressing areas of concurrence, interdependency and best practice, ranging from the immovable asset register, the Infrastructure Delivery Management System, training, the implementation of the Government Immovable Asset Management Act, Giama, energy efficiency and the roll-out of the EPWP.
Over the last three years, we have also developed customised performance indicators that help measure performance across the Public Works family. Four programmes out of six performed above the set targets for 2014-15. All provinces achieved above set targets in relation to immovable asset management, reflecting the imperative for national government and provinces to collaborate on the asset register. Significant achievements against set targets were also experienced for EPWP.
Priority 5 is the transformation of the built environment. I can report that the Construction Sector Charter Council and the Property Sector Charter Council are aligning their sector codes with the revised BBBEE Act of 2013, to promote black enterprise and supplier development and skills acquisition.
Working with stakeholders, my department is developing a property management empowerment policy. I also need to flag developments on the ground. The operationalisation of the PMTE has provided major empowerment opportunities, which are reflected in the construction and property targets that I have announced.
The Construction Industry Development Board, CIDB, seeks to support emerging contractors as they graduate into sustainable businesses. This includes the continuous roll-out of the National Contractor Development Programme, and the development of best-practice standards for public sector contracts, which specify goals for black enterprise development and skills acquisition.
The CIDB has a role in combatting collusion in the sector. Fifteen contractors have been charged for contravention of the code of conduct. The point here is that collusion not only cheats the state and the taxpayer, it also shrinks the space available for black empowerment.
The CIDB is also developing standards for an integrity management system to eradicate corrupt practices in the industry.
The Council for the Built Environment, CBE, in a situation where only a quarter of registered professionals are black, has made the following strides. Firstly, it has implemented a mathematics and science programme to support learners in disadvantaged communities, achieving impressive results, particularly in Limpopo, with the top 27 matric learners in Vhembe District achieving 90% and 89% averages in mathematics and physics respectively -it is through this particular programme. If you look at those universities, you will find that a few of those kids who are doing engineering are from the deep rural areas of Lusikisiki, Limpopo and so on. It is through this particular programme.
Secondly, the CBE has implemented a workplace training model for the built environment professions to unblock the skills pipeline, whereby many black engineering graduates fail to find placements. Even those who do find positions do not receive the appropriate workplace training to lead to professional registration.
I should also mention that Public Works has active schools, bursary, candidacy, internship and artisan programmes for some 1 297 participants.
Last year, the department trained 120 youths in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga to operate water services under supervision. Currently, a further 320 unemployed chemical engineering graduates are receiving training and will be appointed to 97 water facilities across the country.
In conclusion, in my 2012 Budget Vote, I likened the Department of Public Works to a patient in ICU. In 2013, with some improvements, I said that we had now stopped the bleeding. In 2014, I informed hon members that the patient was fully stabilised. Today, I can inform this House that the patient has been discharged, but is still subject to a strict medicinal and therapeutic regimen, which is needed. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L SUKA
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS
Mr L SUKA: Hon House Chair, hon Minister, Comrade Thulas; my colleagues, MECs from various provinces here today, the director-general and his colleagues, let me take this opportunity to add my voice to this critically important Budget Vote debate. I wanted to get straight to the point, but I suspect that members would like me to respond to issues they are raising as far as my being here is concerned.
Yes, House Chair, I have been deployed by the movement, the ANC, to another area of need - the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality - to become the Chief Whip there. [Applause.]
An HON MEMBER: You are not dreaming; you are living the dream.
Mr L SUKA: So, when I was approached, I agreed. I was taken aback, because, I think, where I am from, when you join the movement voluntarily, under the oath with the seven I’s, you decide to take the challenge. Now, I am also taking that responsibility, knowing full well that I have run my race. I have come full circle.
I started in 1994 in that province. I proceeded to the NCOP in 1999 and stayed until 2002. I went back to the province because there was another deployment that I had to deal with when we had to take the Western Cape. So, I had to go back and sharpen my spears, coming back to this province with a detachment that we formed at the time in 2004: the Basil February Detachment. He was one of the combatants of the movement who fought gallantly in the struggle. At that time we had to name that detachment after Comrade Basil February.
After that, I was redeployed to the NA. Also there I was given some responsibility to be a House Whip, the Whip of a committee, and so on. We had to come back again to the NCOP. Finally, I am going down to my hometown in Port Elizabeth to become the Whip of that municipality. So, I am thanking the ANC for all it has done for me, because it provided me with the privilege to exercise that opportunity very discreetly. Thank you very much for your support. [Applause.]
Mr J J LONDT: Chair, I would like to enquire if the hon Suka will take a very short question.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Suka, are you ready to take a question?
Mr L SUKA: Chair, because he is my colleague in the committee, yes.
Mr J J LONDT: Just before I ask the question, hon Suka, I want to say thank you. It was a privilege working with you as the chairperson of the committee. I just want to find out: As the Leader of the Official Opposition after the 2016 election, how will you be an effective opposition to the DA? [Laughter.]
Mr L SUKA: Hon Chairperson, it is not the first time the ANC has encountered that question. Whenever we approach elections, even small parties will say they will take over that municipality, or the ANC will be the opposition party. I wonder what he would say if tomorrow they lose the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality, as they have never won it. It is not a new thing for them to repeat their aspirations. Those are ambitions and I cannot talk about probabilities that will never happen.
I just want to commend the hon Minister on his profound speech. He has always been like that, to be very honest. I remember when we were together in the trenches in 1982, forming the National Education Union of South Africa. He was highly energetic and very young indeed when it was not fashionable to join the struggle. He was always robust. He hasn’t changed, although he is getting older now. Keep up your transparency, the good work and the honesty, which is the best policy to survive, Comrade Thulas. We were together - and he knows that story - with the likes of Thami Mseleku under the leadership of Curtis Nkondo, who passed on some time ago. I am in a jovial mood today, that is why I am giving you a little bit of information because we don’t know each other.
We are debating today in a celebratory mood, because our custodian of the nation’s property assets is indeed out of the intensive care unit. In fact, we agree with the Minister that it is out of the hospital. We are mindful of the challenges ahead. After years of many challenges in that department, today we are boldly saying that the department received an unqualified report for the 2013-14 financial year. We are looking forward to the 2014-15 audit outcomes.
We commend the department for the development of the Fraud Prevention Strategy and the Anti-Fraud and Corruption Policy. We are happy to see that the newly established Governance, Risk and Compliance Branch would pay special attention to this policy area. We know that many culprits are now facing various criminal charges. Other officials who have committed fraud have been dismissed. The Governance, Risk and Compliance Branch needs to be adequately resourced in order to eliminate effectively criminal activities in the department. The ANC government must be seen doing something very serious in dealing with corruption.
Amasela namatutu angabinandawo yokuzimela. Mayitshiswe ibe mifutshane iminwe kubantu abaneminwe emide, zisuke izandla ethilini. Siyayibulela loo nto Mphathiswa.
We can see that the hon Minister has remained true to his words when, in his previous visit to this House, he made a commitment to root out corruption. Minister, we can see that you remain true to your words. We know that more needs to be done. We are helping with the direction that the department is currently taking. The department is on a growth path.
We know that the department has also stepped up efforts to eliminate irregular expenditure. We also know that good audit outcomes are one of the indicators that represent good governance, but we should be careful of overemphasising compliance and clean audits and getting trapped into a lack of emphasis on actual performance.
Our call is to determine how far we have contributed to changing the lives of our people. As we get to the good audits, which is the right thing to do, we must be mindful of the child who lives in deep rural areas without food, electricity, has no school uniform and lacks good living conditions. The Minister of Public Works has in the past made a commitment to position the department to be able to respond adequately to the socioeconomic aspirations of our people. For the 2015 financial year, the department is anticipated to spend R6,4 billion. Of that, R3,5 billion will be used as a transfer payment for the operationalisation of the Property Management Trading Entity.
An amount of about R50 million would step up implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP, for the nonstate sector. More than 30% of the department’s budget - almost R2 billion - has been allocated to the EPWP. This marks the commitment of government to respond to the needs of our people. In this financial year, the department, through the EPWP, is expected to create approximately 1,2 million work opportunities. Of these, a total of 450 462 work opportunities will be full time-equivalent jobs.
We should continue to support partnerships in development. To this effect we appreciate the partnership that the department has created with the construction, education and training authority and National Skills Fund. Today, the training interventions offered are recognised by the SA Qualifications Authority, Saqa. It is important for the department to continue with efforts to improve working relations with industry players, to support workforce development and to strengthen working relations with higher education and training institutions, including sector training agencies.
We can see that the efforts are directed at gearing up skills development programmes. For the rural communities, 700 000 work opportunities will be created in rural municipalities. In addition, ineligible provinces, 275 municipalities and nongovernmental organisations will be given incentives to increase job-creation efforts in the EPWP.
Abanye abantu babengayifuni le nto ye-Nkqubo yemiSebenzi yoLuntu eyaNdisiweyo, EPWP beyigxeka kodwa namhlanje sonke siyaxhamla kuyo. Into nje ekufuneka siyenze Mphathiswa kuza kufuneka nje ukuba siyigade ukwenzela ukuba ingahambi ngokuba ukweliphi na iqela lezopolitiko ukuze ufumane umsebenzi njengoko isenziwa kwabanye oomasipala. Lo mcimbi uyafuna ukuba ugadwe ukuze ungasetyenziswa ngendlela engalunganga.
Ungajongi i-ANC, le nto yenzeka apha kuni. Thina sinayo imizekelo. Musa ukufuna ukuba ndiye kule ndawo endingafuniyo ukuya kuyo. Ndiyiphakamisa ngabomi le nto njengorhulumente oselulawuleni nosezintanjeni. Sithetha ngaye wonke ubani.
We have noted good progress in the implementation of the EPWP, but we need to enhance the performance of the incentive grant paid to eligible provinces, municipalities and nonprofit organisations in order to increase job creation efforts with regard to the Expanded Public Works Programme. Our people, hon Chair, ...
... bafuna imisebenzi. [They want jobs.]
Public sector infrastructure spending provides a good indicator of the construction industry’s performance. There is the SA government’s Infrastructure Development Plan and the new Presidential Infrastructure Co-Ordinating Commission was set up to co-ordinate infrastructure expenditure between the three different spheres of government. This is a positive signal for future growth in the industry.
Government continues to prioritise infrastructure investment and social programmes that support those citizens most in need and these commitments are reflected in the 2015 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! Let me allow you to finish up and bid us goodbye.
Mr L SUKA: We are saying, as the ANC, as I have said earlier, that clean audits should not be the only yardstick to put the department in a good space - jobs, houses, hospitals, schools, roads, including in rural areas, and electricity also count. I get the sense that they count more in the eyes of our people. The department is moving in the actual performance direction to change the lives of our people for the better.
Sihlalo, mandithabathe le nxaxheba ndibulele apha kuwe ngendlela osiphethe ngayo njengoSihlalo waleNdlu uncedisana nabanye ooSihlalo abakweli ziko. Uze usibulisele kooqabane bakho kubalingane bakho. Ndibulele nale Ndlu indlela ebesisebenzisana kodwa ndakuba andenzanga nto ukuba andinakubulela amaqabane ebesisebenzisana nawo kulaa komiti yoPhuhliso lwezoQoqosho ibijongene namasebe amahlanu nangaphezulu.
I want to thank my colleagues and comrades who served with me on various committees. Keep up the good work. I appreciate, from the ANC point of view, all of you, comrades, and the support that you gave us. Thank you very much. We will see each other in due course. Amandla! [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): To those who come to the podium for the first time, let me remind you that you would be making it much easier for me if you stuck to your allotted time. There is a clock on my right, so there is no need for me to tell you when your time is up.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi)
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Good afternoon, hon Chairperson, hon Minister and colleagues. Today we debate not only the Public Works budget but also its management of national assets and the effectiveness of budgetary allocations that directly influence how this department adheres to its mandate of job creation and eradicating the internal plague of corruption caused by the ANC-led national government.
With a R6,4 billion budget, which will increase by R400 million annually over the next two years, it should not be an aspiration but rather a reality that jobs will be created through Public Works and that we give a guarantee to all South Africans that this department will stop squandering their money and make cadres richer while the poor get poorer.
Two of the major programmes that can influence job creation and where corruption is more prone to occur are the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP, and property and construction industry policy and research, both worth financial allocations of R1,99 billion and R3,8 billion, respectively. With this type of allocated budget it is essential that money is spent correctly and accounted for to ordinary South Africans, because indeed it is their money. I need to agree with hon Suka, who has just departed, who said that those jobs in the EPWP must be available for all the people. Well, we will watch him in the Nelson Mandela Bay elections, when they come up. We will see who gets the jobs.
In order for this to happen the ANC should take a leaf out of the DA’s book. Where the DA governs we have shown this country that we are able to supervise effectively and to manage and report on large-scale Public Works projects. What is intrinsic about the DA is that we are transparent, responsible and accountable. My Western Cape colleague will attest to that in a moment and show how the DA has given more South Africans freedom, fairness and opportunities.
However, the Minister has already agreed that his department is doing well because it is going well in the Western Cape. Minister, thank you for acknowledging that. You are one out of 34 or 38 Ministers who have done that. Thank you. It takes a man to say something like that. [Laughter.]
The DA will continue to win major municipalities in 2016, including Nelson Mandela Bay, where we will be able to implement more of our sound financial policies to benefit more South Africans who have become desperate to rid this country of corruption and bad governance.
The EPWP pledged to create over 1,1 million work opportunities, with 450 000 full-time equivalents, by upscaling the programme and improving the co-ordination and performance of all four participating sectors in 2015-16. That is a major job. I hope the Minister understands how serious this is and that South Africans now more than ever need jobs - permanent jobs - to be created in the private sector to grow the economy. However, it is clear that the ANC is not good at creating jobs as our unemployment rate under President Zuma has increased from 28% in 2009 to 34% now.
After 21 years as a democracy, this department must gear up and, through the Property and Construction Industry Policy and Research Unit, must now deliver on the immovable asset register, where it claims that it has verified 99,1% of the properties. At this stage only 60% of the properties have been allocated municipal values, which increased the disclosed value to R59,5 billion. It seems to be a very large amount of outstanding work that still needs to be done and one must not fixate on the 99,1% of state assets verified. How do we know that all properties belonging to the state and state-owned entities have been verified and added? What progress is being made on all the provincial and municipal assets?
When it comes to corruption, financial mismanagement and irregular expenditure in this department has amounted to R35 billion since 2009, some of it, as the Minister quite rightly indicated, in the past, dating back to 2001. This is a daunting example of what should not happen in any state department. Minister, we are glad that your patient is out of hospital but the concern is that you still call it a patient.
The Minister has also referred to the Special Investigating Unit, which investigated 39 separate cases and where 41 officials were recommended for disciplinary action. All we have to do is ask the Minister is whether those who resigned and those who were dismissed were also prosecuted on criminal charges and if those who have been found guilty were listed on the national government’s list for the blacklisting of government officials. If we do not do that, those officials will remain in the system forever and corruption will stick to the department and government forever. If our systems are not in place and tenders are not transparent, this department will be stuck in a perpetual state of financial mismanagement, corruption and criminal activity.
I would like to raise a few property cases that I have experienced in Kouga, my own little municipality where I live. In around 2009, there was a state house at 6 Verbena Street that was in a transfer from a state-to-state property transaction – if one can call it a transaction – with the amount being R23 million. This is while the actual value of properties around it in Verbena Street, or Verbena Crescent, were valued at between R800 000 and R1,2 million.
Then, in the Kabeljous Caravan Park deal in 2011, the caravan park, a municipal property, was sold for R15,5 million, but the documents that appeared before the bank for the bond listed the selling price as R35,5 million. Also, in 2008, Mr Moegamad Naashied Mallick purchased farm 793 for R2,6 million in Kouga. This property, without any development, any improvement or any rezoning, was sold to Eskom and transferred in July 2013 for R33 million.
Hon Minister, I want to know if your department can pick up things like that and sort them out, because then you would become my hero.
I also need to ask you how high-ranking ANC leaders are linked to a tender worth R631 million to build 66 toilets in villages in the Amathole District Municipality in the Eastern Cape. Gwede Mantashe, who is benefiting directly, is one. We are once again reminded of the involvement of Chancellor House to pump up the party coffers at the cost of the state. One can only think of Hitachi and Medupi.
As members of the ANC leadership become greedier, they are following the President’s lead at Nkandla - I don’t have to mention it in the debate of this department because we are familiar with it - and are lining their own pockets at the cost of the state.
As I said earlier, I commend the Minister for stabilising his patient and I’m sure that it was a very tough task to do so. I must tell you a story about this Minister. On my very first overseas trip, the Minister, Mike Ellis and I - and I think Rasmeni - went to Brazil. This Minister has a very difficult name to pronounce, especially to Brazilians. Nxesi is a very difficult name to pronounce - even I battle with it. He would say, “Don’t worry about that; just call me Minister Sexy!” [Laughter.] [Applause.] Well, the Minister is busy with an effort to make his department sexy. Thank you, Chair. [Applause.]
Mr M KHAWULA
Ms E C VAN LINGEN
Mr M KHAWULA: Hon House Chair and hon Minister, I want to start by congratulating the Minister and his team for at long last achieving an unqualified audit report for the first time in 15 years.
The Department of Public Works carries with it the hopes of all government departments, in order for them to be accommodated under adequate and satisfactory working conditions. If this does not happen, it dampens the spirit of employees to deliver. Adequate working conditions are an essential necessity to every employee. Unfortunately, Public Works in South Africa suffers from a lack of skilled personnel, which hinders government’s ability to deliver.
The department suffers from a shortage of professionals in property management. The Property Management Trading Entity, PMTE, is also struggling as a result of not having properly qualified personnel. Hon Minister, in some provinces Public Works is struggling so much that it is nearing a state of collapse.
Two or three years ago, the Department of Health ago started implementing the pilot programmes for the National Health Insurance, NHI. This entails that they have to attend to improving the infrastructure of the department for the NHI to be fully functional. The hon Minister of Health reported that in Limpopo his department has decided to implement construction programmes on its own because of the poor and very bad state of Public Works in Limpopo.
The EPWP must be handled with care and, most importantly, impartially. It is wrong for some people in power to abuse the EPWP as a campaign tool for political gains. This is a programme designed to provide relief to struggling South Africans. Poverty and hunger knows no colour and knows no party affiliation. Relief programmes of government should therefore not be given eyes that will discriminate in accordance with political beliefs.
There are many of government’s immovable assets that still lie out there, unaccounted for. The issue of finalising government’s asset register must be finalised. Hon Minister, when this register is finalised, the next step is this: What will happen to those who have been abusing state property, especially those who are government officials and government employees? Illegally occupying a government property is as good as stealing from government.
For as long as government has not as yet effectively dealt with the Nkandla residence issue, the efforts of fighting fraud and corruption remain unconvincing, and government’s commitment to this remains doubtful. Hon Minister, the Nkandla issue remains a benchmark of your commitment.
Public Works needs to deal with the scourge of prices that go abnormally high if the client is government and remain relatively reasonable if the client is anyone else. There needs to be a constant re-evaluation and inspection of value for money when government is hiring services such as accommodation. Transformation has not effectively taken place in the built environment and the property business sector. It is taking place at a snail’s pace. Very few previously disadvantaged individuals are engaged by government as estate agents when government is seeking the services of accommodation hire.
The overuse of consultants as implementing agents for work that should be performed by Public Works also remains cause for concern. I thank you, hon Chairperson.
Mr D GRANT (Western Cape)
Mr M KHAWULA
Mr D GRANT: Hon Chair, hon Minister of Public Works, hon members and office bearers, delegates from provinces, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, as always, it is an honour for me to represent the Western Cape provincial parliament here in the NCOP today on the occasion of the policy debate on Budget Vote 11 - Public Works.
Almost a year ago in this House, I indicated that I had been on a steep learning curve in the few weeks that had passed since assuming my current responsibilities. I went on to say that I had already learned that if a government allows the less-than-efficient provision and management of its assets and overall infrastructure, its chances of meeting its economic growth and job-creation targets are significantly reduced.
Chairperson, I have now been in this portfolio for close to a year and nothing I have experienced or observed has caused me to change my view of the central importance of a properly and efficiently managed and utilised physical asset base to the development plans of any country. Internationally and locally, report after report stresses the fact that infrastructure is the backbone of national and regional economies. In this way it supports growth, sustainability and, most importantly, social upliftment. A recent World Economic Forum fact sheet put the shortfall between infrastructure needs worldwide and actual investment at almost one trillion dollars.
It is a mistake to think that the need for such investment is limited to developing economies such as ours. Infrastructure like buildings, roads and energy generators does not remain static and functional forever. It has to be maintained and updated as new technology and techniques are developed.
Five years ago, economist Paul Krugman, in examining infrastructure in the United States of America, described America as being “on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere”. As a consequence in the USA, it is estimated that an investment of almost ninety billion dollars per year in infrastructure is needed to maintain or improve the productivity of the economy. It is no wonder that the USA tracks carefully the relationship between infrastructure spend and job creation.
The SA Development Bank records that in Sub-Saharan Africa, countries invest between 2% to 3% of gross domestic product in infrastructure projects. China currently spends approximately 9% of GDP on similar projects. This demand must place huge strains on the budgets of all countries and increasingly the trend worldwide is for governments to concede that their budgets cannot meet these demands on their own.
It is no wonder that the whole range of alternative partnership financing models has developed around this need to invest massively in infrastructure. However, before a country can plan for its built environment needs, it has to know what it has and what the condition of its existing infrastructure is. In this regard, the Minister of Public Works inherited a massive challenge and has referred to the need for his department to go through a phase of stabilisation before embarking on enhancement and development.
In a masterpiece of understatement, the Minister said that this was necessitated by the lack of adequate management and financial controls culminating in adverse audit findings and highly publicised levels of fraud and corruption. That this situation has been allowed to develop is obviously unacceptable and reveals, at best, a casual approach by his predecessors to their custodial responsibilities. At worst it was a flagrant ignoring of governance responsibilities and accountability. That the Minister has been willing and able to address the state of affairs is to his credit. It is clear from the documentation and information available in the various structures in which my department and I participate that much has been done to establish accurate records of immovable assets, their condition and their value.
Never again should the invaluable immovable asset base of South Africa be allowed to degenerate to the point where it jeopardises crucial economic development potential. Where people are identified as having been criminally involved in any fraud and corruption, they must be charged and dealt with in terms of the criminal justice system. Minister, thank you for your work in that regard.
Departments of this nature interact with and service many aspects of society. Public Works would be failing in its responsibilities if it did not respond to the countless developments and new ideas in these fields, applying this new awareness and the new agenda wherever appropriate. As knowledge of environmental sustainability, the urban ecology, green building technology and alternative energy resources increases, the department of Public Works has to ensure the responsible incorporation of these developments in its day-to-day activities or be accused of creating infrastructure for society which does not need it any more - the society that has moved on, so to speak.
In addition, given that these assets are distributed throughout the breadth and width of South Africa - across all provinces - I would expect that there will be the highest level of co-operation across the various spheres of government to achieve the highest possible impact on the improvement of the lives of people in South Africa.
Last year, in the same debate, I pointed out that an intervention made by government, especially one that has an infrastructure focus, ultimately lands in a municipal space. The dynamics are clear and must be taken into account in planning and implementation.
There has been much coverage in recent times about the difficult financial position of many municipalities. In this regard, the attempts made by the Public Works Minister to resolve the often unacceptably high levels of state department debts to various municipalities are also to be commended. As clarity emerges about the proper allocation of the debt, the payment of the outstanding amounts, usually of critical importance to municipalities involved, can be pursued. There are lessons to be learned from the Eskom experience.
Earlier in the speech, I mentioned that in the USA, there is careful tracking of the link between infrastructure spend and employment opportunities. Evidence there indicates that for every billion dollars spent on infrastructure, an average of 18 000 jobs are created.
In my budget speech in March this year in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, I indicated that our spend in this field, in the Western Cape, generated over 13 000 work opportunities on infrastructural and maintenance projects and more than 6 000 such opportunities on road and rail networks.
In this regard, the role that the Minister’s department plays in the Expanded Public Works Programme is critical and welcomed. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms R S MATHABE
Mr D GRANT
Ms R S MATHABE (Mpumalanga): Ngilotjhise kumhlonitjhwa uThulas Nxesi, ngilotjhise amaLunga woke wePalamande weNCOP,ngilotjhise woke amalunga ePalamende abuya eemPalamende ezahlukahlukeneko, ladies and gentlemen lotjhani. Ngitjho ngithi, njengenarha le erholwa mbutho kaANC sikudemokhrasi namkha sikuntando yenengi eneminyaka ematjhumi amabili nanye. Sitjho kugcwale umlomo sithi: siyakuthokozela lokho begodu siyazikhakhazisa.
Mr J J LONDT: Chair, I would like to listen to the hon member from Mpumalanga, I think, but unfortunately our translators have left for dinner or something. So, either they need to come back or the hon Chair might indulge me and maybe switch between English and ... [Laughter.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): No, you can’t encroach on that; it is her democratic right. We will deal with the issue of the interpreters. Any official language is accepted in the House. You cannot prescribe to a member the language to be used. We will attend to the people who are doing the interpretation. Continue, hon Mathabe.
Ms R S MATHABE: Ngitjho ngithi: siyakutjho kugcwale umlomo sithi siyabonga begodu siyazikhakhazisa bonyana i-ANC yakhulula abantu enarheni le. Sithi abantu bekhethu baphila ngcono khulu kunalesa sikhathi esidlulileko. Eminyakeni emakhulu amane namatjhumi amahlanu la gade baphila ngaphasi kwegandelelo, sithi siphila ngcono khulu ngenca yakho wena-ANC.
Hon members, as the ANC government we are proud of what this country has achieved in 21 years of democracy in comparison to the how many years that we lived under colonialism. We are more determined than ever to continue to improve the lives of all the citizens of this country, in particular the previously disadvantaged. Though we admit that there are challenges, we are continuing to improve the lives of our citizens ...
... Sithi siyaraga, siyaraga siya phambili. Siyaqhuba.
The challenges are there but they make us stronger, to have more initiative and to be more determined to do what is best for our people, because the ANC lives for the betterment of our people.
As the ruling party, we are in full support of the budget allocation of Vote 11 to the Department of Public Works. As the hon Minister has indicated, as the ANC we are fully aware of the challenges facing this department. We are pleased by the progress that has been made by this department under the stewardship and leadership of hon Minister Thulas Nxesi. We are confirming and affirming our commitment to and full support of the seven-year plan to rebuild the department, namely stabilising the department, enhancing efficiency within the department and ensuring that sustainable development is achieved ...
... Siyatjho ukuthi lokho kungakghonakala.
Hon Chairperson, as the people’s movement we are pleased about the progress that has been made by this department, particularly in the stabilisation of the supply chain processes in an effort to prevent the recurrence of irregular expenditure in the department. Indeed, as the ANC-led government, this further shows our commitment to fighting corruption and irregularities in the department.
Hon members, as the custodian of state assets or properties we are pleased, as the ANC, that the department has managed to stabilise the lease management, the asset register and the finances, in collaboration with other role-players like National Treasury. We cannot be happier, as the ANC-led government, than knowing that when we wake up in the morning, we can account for the property portfolio under this department. We regularly do condition assessments and we can confirm the user departments of those properties.
Once again, hon members, this shows that the ANC-led government is still accountable to its people and the management of public assets is still at the top of the ANC agenda. Operation Bring Back also affirms our commitment as a government to fighting corruption. We can only encourage and applaud the hon Minister for re-launching this important operation. State properties belong to the state, and those who are found to be cheating the government and tax payers by wrongfully occupying state properties must be called to account and the rule of law must be applied. Indeed, as we have indicated, hon Minister, they might be running but they can’t hide. They will be exposed soon.
Hon members, the President of the Republic of South Africa ...
... sikhuluma ngaye lapha umhlonitjhwa ubaba wethu uJ G Zuma osiphethe soke khona ngapha; noma ubuya kiyiphi ihlangano unguMongameli wakho.
On behalf of the ANC he confirmed and once again re-affirmed our commitment as a ruling party to going back and fully implementing what is envisaged in the Freedom Charter. Thatis why 2015 has been declared the year of the Freedom Charter. This is also in consideration of the targets clearly articulated in the National Development Plan, which is the cornerstone of government programme implementation.
As the ANC we are therefore pleased that the department has made efforts to earmark 475 ha of land for sustainable human settlement. The Freedom Charter is very clear on issues of land sharing and we are pleased with this effort by the department.
Also, 60% of construction projects is to be allocated to BBBEE contractors.
Sitjho sithi kubuhlungu kuyasika emathunjini walabo ebebazuza kade. Ngombana kwanje sele kusikhathi sokobana kuzuze abantu bekhethu, bayathoma bayarareka, bayakhuluma, bayabuza ukuthi kungani kuzuza abantu bekhethu. Bakhohliwe bonyana banjenjenje baziinjinga namhlanje kungombana nabo bazuza ngesikhathi segandelelo. Sitjho sithi ...
... Creation of 6 million job opportunities through EPWP ...
siyayithokozela nayo leyo programme. Sihlala hlangana nabantu siyabona ukuthi leprogremu yenza umehluko emaphilweni wabantu esiphila nabo. Asikhulumi ngabantu abahlala emadorobheni ebangawuboniko umtlhago lo thina esiwubonako sihlala emakhaya.
There will be the creation of 75 000 job opportunities through construction projects, with 25 000 job opportunities to be created through maintenance programmes.
Nawo mahlelo esiwathokozelako avela emNyangweni lo.
Hon members, the number of job opportunities to be created by this department clearly points to our commitment as the ANC government to achieving the target set out in the National Development Plan, as well as the 2014 election manifesto of the ruling party, which is the ANC.
Ladies and gentlemen, as the chairperson of the portfolio committee on public works, roads and transport and community safety and liaison in the Mpumalanga province, and with my colleagues in the ANC, we are satisfied with what has been presented by the hon Minister in his Budget Vote. I can also confirm that the department of public works, roads and transport in our province has also aligned its provincial plan with more or less what the national Department of Public Works seeks to achieve. There is indeed a clear link between the departments in these two spheres of government.
In conclusion, hon Chairperson, the department has optimally aligned itself to be able to deliver on its mandate within 2015’s allocated resources.
Ngiyathokoza sihlalo. [Applause.]
Ms T J MOKWELE
Ms R S MATHABE
Ms T J MOKWELE: Thank you, Chairperson. I think your time will operate as South African time; not Chinese time.
Once again, the EFF rejects the budget. On 1 May, instead celebrating Worker’s Day, workers were telling stories of workplace abuse. The working and living conditions that workers live under must be a reflection of the progress we have made in bringing about fundamental economic transformation. They must be an indication of how apartheid employment practices have been eradicated, how the plight of workers in general has been addressed and what plans were in place to address unemployment in this country. However, the speakers made no admission that the ANC has refused to completely ban labour brokers, and that it is the ANC that continues to leave workers vulnerable to all sorts of exploitation in any of the May Day events.
Minister, what is even more concerning is that the government is continuing to recycle the same lies and misleading the nation, giving the impression that all is well in the workplace, while workers have been telling the EFF a different story. [Interjections.]
Mr E R MAKUE: Chairperson, on a point of order: We are discussing and debating Public Works, and not Labour. [Interjections.]
Ms T J MOKWELE: I know that we are discussing Public Works. Perhaps you don’t know that it has workers in it. It is a very broad department. [Interjections.] Chairperson, am I protected?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr R J Tau): You are protected. Please continue.
Ms T J MOKWELE: What I have said can also be said of Public Works. By insisting on renting buildings instead of building offices for government use this department is promoting corruption on a grand scale. It was for this reason that Bheki Cele was removed as Police Commissioner. He, like most senior ANC people, use loopholes provided by this department to loot millions of rands from the State.
In the Western Cape, police were even locked out of their buildings at some stage by the landlord because the Department of Public Works had bungled the lease contract.
The government boasts about the successes of the Expanded Public Works programme – in Setswana it is said to be “epa wena popaye” (dig up, you clown). [Laughter.] They talk about the so-called work opportunities and the plans to create about 6 million work opportunities in the next five years. This will prove fruitless. The reality is that only a small fraction of the EPWP “epa wena popaye” money reaches people on the ground. Instead of changing people’s lives, this department has subjected people to excessive exploitation, while ANC-connected tenderpreneurs rake off all the cream. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! Hon Mokwele, …
Ms T J MOKWELE: That one will be proven in court. Don’t say it now.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! Hon Mokwele, you can’t do that! Take your seat. Proceed, hon Thobejane.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Oh, I did not see…
Mr S G THOBEJANE: Yes, sisi. I just want to check if it is parliamentary for hon members to refer to the people of this republic as Popeyes. Is that how we should be referring to them, Chair?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! Allow me to ascertain that that was said and I will make the ruling at a later stage.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Can I continue, Chair?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Yes, carry on, hon Mokwele.
Ms T J MOKWELE: It seems that I am a threat to this House. Whenever I speak, people raise issues.
The reality is that only a small fraction of the EPWP money reaches people on the ground. Instead of changing people’s lives, this department has subjected people to excessive exploitation, while ANC-connected tenderpreneurs rake off all the cream. People get as little as R50 a day after enduring hard labour and terrible working conditions. This, according to the ANC, is “moving South Africa forward”.
This EPWP projects have been turned into a lucrative money pot for ANC councillors, who use them to force EPWP contractors to pay a tithe to the ANC. We know about this; I do not have to explain more.
The ANC has neither the ability nor the vision to free our country from corruption and repressive labour practices. It does not have this vision because it benefits immensely from the exploitation of our people and the safeguarding of corruption. It does not want to ban labour brokers because it benefits from them. It does not want to ban tenders because tenders are their lifeline. It does not want to build the capacity of the State to do its own operations because by doing so, they would be closing off the tap of corruption that has been sustaining them so far.
Modusetulo, ba re pinyana ha e re ping ya be e utlwile tse dikgolo. We therefore reject this budget. Rona re le EFF ra re mmangwana o tshwara thipa ka fa bogaleng. Kajalo go tshwanetse re le mokgatlo o lwelang ditshwanelo tsa batho go netefatsa gore ditirelo tse le maleba tse di nang le boleng di isiwa ko bathong.
We therefore reject this budget.
Ke a leboga, Modulasetulo.
Mr J J LONDT /Chris
Ms T J MOKWELE
Mr J J LONDT: Hon Chairperson, Hon Minister, hon members, good afternoon. Firstly, let me start off by saying to the hon Suka, - who, it seems, has already left for Port Elizabeth but, in any case, in his absence - that it was a privilege, honour and pleasure to work with him. Secondly, on his appointment as ANC Chief Whip in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, shame – and good luck.
Hon Mathebe, as the chairperson for the public works, road and transport committee in Mpumalanga, I really do not know how you can come here and say that the ANC is delivering. I say this because I went to your province four weeks ago. I had to dodge all the potholes going through the province. Therefore, I think you should first go back to Mpumalanga, please, and attend to that. After doing a good job there, you can come and tell us “the good story” because currently you do not have one.
Hon Mokwele, about your track record in government, I know you have never been in government and you will never be in government. [Laughter.] We will just leave you there. [Interjections.]
Personally, I went onto the Public Works website while I was preparing this speech. I really like the slogan that Public Works uses: “South Africa works because of Public Works.” That is a good slogan. You and your department use it. But now I want to find out something: Since August last year, you said that Public Works was first in ICU and then in the high-care unit. Now you have been released from hospital and you are still on heavy medicine. As far as I know, then you are still on sick leave as a department! [Laughter.] [Interjections.]
Now, if South Africa works because of Public Works and Public Works is still on sick leave, what is going on in the country? You are actually saying, in your own words, listen, South Africa is not working because you are still on sick leave. [Interjections.]
Now, if you are on medicine, I really hope you use the Western Cape department of health to deliver your medicines … [Interjections.] … and not the Eastern Cape or some other province, because then you will never get better. Therefore, please come to the Western Cape and we will deliver your medicines so that you can improve.
An HON MEMBER: We will even give you muti!
Mr J J LONDT: Minister, we had the hon President here last week and we asked him about the performance evaluation of the Ministers. He did not want to make public what the scores were and did not want say who was his top performing minister and his poorest performing minister. But I want to tell you and the Minister of Police not to worry because you have protected the President with Nkandla. I am really worried about when that is going to come up for the Minister of Police as well. However, I can tell you with quite some certainty that you will get a good report from the hon President and you don’t have to worry about your jobs.
From our side, I want to commend you for the progress that you have made in the department thus far. It is unfortunate that you inherited such a bad department. I really plead with you to put aside any party political pressures internally and externally. Focus on the job and please, let us get this government and this department working because, as you said, South Africa works when Public Works works. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr J P PARKIES
Mr J J LONDT
Mr J P PARKIES: House Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members of the NCOP, we are alive to the fact that there is no political democracy that can survive and flourish if the masses of our people remain in poverty without land and without tangible prospects for a better life. [Interjections.]
We say this because we are fully conscious of the fact that the successes of our democracy, and the progress the ANC government is making in advancing the lives of our people, should and will be measured by decisive intentions and interventions that the ANC-led government takes to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable people in our society.
Now, the shallowness of the DA ...
An HON MEMBER: Talk like a fighter!
Mr J P PARKIES: ... represents in our politics the liberal parrot cry. We need to educate them that when they talk about reality and aspirations, the ANC as a movement, in terms of its theory of the revolution, is a scientific organisation, and reality will always supersede fiction. Now, if they talk of the aspirations of our people, these aspirations are ingrained in our organisation and in its principles and vision.
In our politics the DA will continuously want to ingratiate itself with the masses of our people for its own political expediency.
An HON MEMBER: Practicalise!
Mr J P PARKIES: White business in South Africa is only good because it is white. For black people to engage in business is a crime to DA members. [Interjections.]
Let me make this point. The transformation of our economy requires far-reaching changes in market policy and the structure of our economy. Democratisation begins with the transformation of the state and society. The industrial policy of the past created jobs with repressive labour practices, a neglect of training and the excessive concentration of economic power. This must be our precise response to the EFF: Exploitation in our country is not practised and imposed or foisted on by the ANC government. It is foisted on by the system that is advocated by the DA.
An HON MEMBER: We are expropriating!
Mr J P PARKIES Look, we need to expose the EFF again. They say they are rejecting the budget. We must tell our people what the political implications are of the EFF rejecting the budget. If they reject the budget, they mean that the content of the programme of the department for this year of building schools will not be there. Those job opportunities will not be there. [Interjections.] Upgrading the infrastructure for disabled people in this land will not be there. [Interjections.] Those are the political implications. [Interjections.]
I want to say to the Minister ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order, members! [Interjections.] We can’t drive the speaker out!
Mr J P PARKIES: When our government says we are going to upgrade the infrastructure for disabled people, that is an aspiration of our people.
The DA must be able to instruct its health department to distribute medicine to the poor people in this province. [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: What about the Free State? [Interjections.]
Mr J P PARKIES: The dialectical link between meeting the basic needs through infrastructure programmes and reviving economic growth is the essence and the kernel of reconstruction and development. We have been saying as the ANC, even captured in our strategy and tactics, that our understanding of the developmental state is ... [Laughter.] ... located at the centre of a mixed economy. [Interjections.] It is the state that leads and guides that economy; that intervenes in the interest of the people as a whole. This is what we say in the ANC’s strategy and tactics. [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: Practicalising!
Mr J P PARKIES: Let me raise two fundamental points. An amount of R1,17 billion for provinces and municipalities is a huge resource to be monitored by a national department. [Interjections.] Is my time up?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): No, not yet. Hon Khawula, what are you rising on?
Mr M KHAWULA: Chairperson, I rise on a point of order. Is it parliamentary for the hon member to laugh at himself while addressing us? [Laughter.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): That is not a point of order. Continue, hon Parkies.
Mr J P PARKIES: I didn’t capture that, Chair.
It is for this reason that, as the ANC government, we took a conscious decision to continue to ensure that the evolution of our society and successes of our interventions are premised on the following cardinal pillars of the developmental state: economic growth, transformation, employment creation, poverty, equality reduction, improved access to health care, social cohesion, safety and security, international relations and good governance.
As the ANC, we are aware that our commitment to work tirelessly to transform our society is continuously undermined by a number of historical and institutional deficiencies, such as the skills gap, unemployment and poverty.
Let me be opportunistic, Chair, before you cut my time. Hon Minister, let me raise the point of the issue of skills. I have been articulating this point even in the province that as much as we will continue the programme of infrastructure building, in that process we have the opportunity to make sure that we create our own internal capacity.
Let me illustrate the point that I want to make. You give a huge tender to a private company. That tender must be with conditionality that says we give you this particular tender, but you must make sure that you have 10 graduates who are civil engineers. In that process you say, for example, we want you to take four black-owned companies. When that project is finished, you are sure that we have got one skill in the state. [Interjections.] You shall have developed black-owned companies. When that project is finished, you are sure that you have 15 or 20 black civil engineering students who will serve our government.
For how long shall we be dependent on these big, well-established construction companies that do not even belong to South Africa? I am passionate about this point, hence I say this. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS
Mr J P PARKIES
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS: I will be quick. Hon van Lingen, we are currently following up and investigating all the transactions, prioritising those where there is fraud or the possibility of fraud. Most of the irregular expenditure is for technical reasons. An example is the failure to keep the right documentation. But the point is that even where there is no material loss, irregular expenditure provides the climate or opportunity for wrongdoing. The point is that we are committed to addressing the sins committed in the past before we can move on. The priority is to prevent a recurrence of irregular expenditure.
In 2014 our own chief executive officer issued a schedule that empowered the Inspectorate and the Compliance Unit across the department to review the entire supply chain and service provider. So, we are dealing with those issues.
When it comes to this issue raised by the hon Suka and van Lingen, again, we hear constant stories of corrupt recruitment along political lines. These accusations have been raised in both ANC and DA-run municipalities. As Public Works, we are saying we want to deal harshly with any form of such corruption and we have systems in place to combat this. We are saying any allegation must be investigated and the responsible implementing body has to remedy the situation. We have issued a ministerial determination and the Code of Good Practice for the Expanded Public Works Programme. These clarify the process of the recruitment of the beneficiaries so that it can be done in a fair and transparent manner. [Interjections.]
Mme T J MOKWELE: Modulasetilo yo o tlotlegang, Maitato, ke kopa ka tsweetswee mo gore re kope Tona ya Ditiro tsa Bosetšhaba ...
. . . to speedily fix the air conditioning in this House because the cold is affecting our health. This is on a very serious note; I am not joking. It is very cold and I was with an hon member there who had to put blankets around her waist. It is a very serious matter that needs to be looked at.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): That is not a point of order. When the Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Tau, was here, he said it was bad and I am experiencing it too. It will be attended to.
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS: Well, when you know about management and planning, you must understand that when you deal with the air conditioning system of such a massive institution, you plan for it. You don’t just spend money and then take money from elsewhere. This is planned in the department.
While we are talking about Public Works, there was a specific media allegation of corruption in the EPWP project in eThekwini, for instance. The allegation of corruption was centred on a councillor, a committee member in Ward 65 of the eThekwini Metro. The national Department of Public Works, as the overall co-ordinator of the EPWP, is liaising with the eThekwini Metro. The metro has advised that the municipal ombudsman is investigating the matter and a forensic investigator has been assigned to deal with that. So, give us the specifics, and then we will deal with those specifics, instead of being general when we deal with these programmes here.
On the Special Investigating Unit, we have told you about the investigations that have been done; the criminal referrals. But what is important is that when officials have been dismissed, our practice is to allow the dismissed officials to exhaust all the appeal processes before submitting their names for blacklisting. It is very important that we follow those fair procedures.
Regarding Operation Bring Back, it is intended to detect and to expose irregular property transfers to the detriment of the state. We are doing it by engaging in a number of reviews.
Hon Khawula, the lack of skilled personnel is the right issue. This is the issue affecting the performance of the department. In fact, almost 70% of the work of the department is technical. You need engineers, surveyors, architects, technologists, property economists, property analysts, property lawyers, facilities managers and property investment people. As we sit today, we have 70% to 80% more people in general administration than in these skills. So, it is a skills mismatch and that is why we are growing our own. That is why we are investing in this one.
I agree with MEC Grant from the Western Cape: Alternative partnerships are needed in infrastructure - but we must be careful. I agree with that. This must be true partnership; it must not be the private sector takes all the profit and government takes all the risk. It is very important, as we evaluate all these partnerships - whatever type of public-private partnership - because models in Britain and other countries have shown people running away with profits and then pushing all the risk to government. I think this is a matter for debate.
Hon Parkies, we already setting those conditions to companies as part of making sure that we are using Public Works as a training space.
Hon Mokwele from the EFF, you said you rejected the Budget. Unfortunately, hon Chair, I do not have time to engage rejectionists and anarchists. To try to convince an anarchist is a waste of time because an anarchist knows no order and will not listen to any logic. [Interjections.]
Ms T J MOKWELE: I rise on a point of order, hon Minister. I have been respecting you … [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! Hon Mokwele, address me on a point of order, not the Minister.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Okay, I’m addressing you to tell the Minister that, one, I am not an anarchist. [Laughter.] I am a mother, I am a wife, I am a sister and I am a younger sister of somebody. So, the Minister must never, ever refer to me as an anarchist.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! Hon Mokwele, take your seat.
Ms T J MOKWELE: I will take my seat. I request to be noted so that the hon …
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Take your seat - I want to address your point of order.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Yes, I am a wife, so he must never say to me that I am an anarchist. If needs be, we will debate on a separate platform.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Mokwele, you rose on a point of order. I gave you an opportunity and listened to the point of order so that I can make a ruling. Unfortunately, I am not getting a point of order that can assist me to make an informed ruling.
Mme T J MOKWELE: Ke kopa go bua ka puo yame gore o kgone go nkutlwa.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! I heard you.
Mme T J MOKWELE: O nste o re ga o a nkutlwa.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): No, I got it perfectly.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Hon Chair, [kgang ya ka e nngwe feela] I’ve got only one point. I know that these members are referring to us as anarchists. We are not anarchists; we are taking the revolution forward - if they still don’t know that. Mark my words: History will judge us, I am telling you. So, you must never, ever refer to us as anarchists. We are not anarchists and we are not here by default. We were voted in by the people of this country to represent them and whatever the issues we raise in this Council, we raise them from our constituencies. So, the Minister does not have the right to call us anarchists. I am not an anarchist; I’m a well-respected citizen of this country.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Mokwele, I said you should address me in terms of your point of order. The unfortunate part is that you are not only raising a point of order but you are debating. Please, allow the Minister to conclude the debate!
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS: Chairperson, I stand my ground. No amount of persuasion or convincing will persuade a rejectionist who says I am rejecting everything. I stand by that and it is a point for debate. I will welcome all those who have made constructive criticisms. Thank you very much, Chairperson. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! Let me address that issue. It is not parliamentary to call an hon member an anarchist. [Interjections.]
Ms T J MOKWELE: So why don’t you caution the Minister? [Interjections.] Why don’t you caution the Minister? [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! Can you take your seat? I have been listening to you making your point. Can you take your seat?
Ms T J MOKWELE: You must be consistent. Do not judge us because we are EFF members. We are EFF members and we are here to stay, if you don’t know that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): No, I am very consistent. You raised … You never said they referred to you as an anarchist; you just raised the word “anarchist”. [Interjections.]
That concludes the debate. I would like to thank special delegates, the Minister and the MECs for availing themselves for the debate. Hon members, in view of the flow of events, although they have already arranged lunch, we thought it would be in order to continue and conclude the debate.
Vote 10 – Public Service and Administration:
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION: Hon House Chairperson, hon Chairperson of the select committee, Mr Mohapi, hon members and delegates, all protocol observed. It is my privilege to share with this eminent House today policy input for Public Service and Administration, following our recent Budget Vote input to the National Assembly last week.
As the Ministry for Public Service and Administration in this fifth administration, we have the daunting task of guiding our Public Service to new heights of professionalised service delivery. A good foundation has already been laid by the late Minister Collins Chabane, and I am certain that, over the next four years, we will see significant public sector reforms.
Hon members, since 2014, Minister Chabane had already assumed the onerous task of redirecting the Public Service machinery and policy discourse. With his feet firmly rooted in the reality of the needs and conditions of ordinary people, he made the commitment to this House and to the people of South Africa at large that the face of the Public Service was going to change, with the objective of creating a Public Service with a soul. He committed to working with all stakeholders at the coalface to bring quality services to our people, by including and imploring all public servants to provide transformative solutions to improve government operations.
Hon members, four key touch-point messages were shared with the nation in the Budget Vote speech last week. These form the basis of what influences the trajectory of the policy direction and future of public administration, and are as follows.
Firstly, our ongoing efforts and commitments in addressing the transformation of the Public Service in line with the National Development Plan’s social vision for Outcome 12 will be entrenched by managing the state’s strategic capability and governance to deliver public services.
Secondly, we will introduce mechanisms intended to improve the efficiencies and effectiveness of Public Administration by focusing on operations management toolkits and productivity measurements within the Public Service.
Thirdly, the Public Service will be professionalised through targeted capacity-building programmes that institutionalise Batho Pele ethics, as well as technically relevant skills.
Lastly, the Ethics and Integrity Unit, as well as the Office of Standards and Compliance, will be operationalised by introducing common norms and standards through the institutionalisation of the Public Administration Management Act and other legislative instruments.
As part of our ongoing public sector policy reform initiatives, President Jacob Zuma signed into law the Public Administration Management Act in December 2014, after an extensive consultative process. This was the successful culmination of an extremely complex process which spanned a number of years, resulting from our quest to ensure seamless service delivery by all spheres of government within common values of a public administration, as enshrined in the Constitution.
The Act provides for powers for the Minister of Public Service and Administration to set minimum norms and standards in selected areas, including the promotion of basic values and principles contained in section 195(1) of the Constitution, in consultation with the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. It is important to note that the Public Administration Management Act repeals certain sections of the Public Service Act but does not replace the Act in its entirety.
The Act will apply to all government departments in the national, provincial and local spheres of government. This takes inter- and intra-governmental relations to a new, collaborative level.
Hon members, the Department of Public Service and Administration is developing draft regulations that are necessary to support the implementation of various provisions of the Public Administration Management Act. A critical provision currently receiving our attention in the regulations is the provision that seeks to ensure that officials convicted of corruption or those facing serious disciplinary charges will not fall through the net. This provision seeks to ensure that affected staff members are not transferred between departments or spheres of government without the involvement of a central knowledge and/or management system.
As part of our ongoing efforts to manage discipline within the Public Service, Cabinet approved the creation of a centralised pool of labour relations specialists and legal experts to deal with the backlog of disciplinary cases and uniform guidelines for precautionary suspensions. We are encouraged by the response and support received from departments towards the creation of this pool. Thus far, we already have a total of 200 experts assigned to the pool, and we have held a number of workshops with them to ensure that there is a common understanding of the task at hand.
In pursuing an appropriate developmental Public Service machinery, our solutions are embedded in the extent to which the Public Service can set and steer a national public administration plan, infused with the vision of the National Development Plan.
Thusong Service Centres are a strategic government intervention in taking services to the people, especially to communities that are unable to access government services easily in rural and peri-urban areas. The focus of these centres in communities is the delivery of various government programmes and services through collaboration with community development workers who drive strategic pro-poor initiatives from these centres, including co-ordinating citizen participation through izimbizo and feedback loops from citizen needs, which are key aspects of the National Development Plan.
The blueprint to finalise the governance and funding arrangements for Thusong Service centres is near completion.
The Management Performance Assessment Tool, Mpat, has highlighted weaknesses in basic building blocks in the organisational functionality within most departments. Our Operations Management Framework has responded to these concerns by mapping business processes and standard operating procedures and also by conducting organisational functionality assessments of selected departments.
We have revised appropriate service delivery models with local government, and these will have to be explored going forward. As government we are cognisant of the fact that modernising through interoperable e-government systems and multimedia platforms is the route to fast-track service delivery at all levels of government.
Hon members, we are driving a campaign to continually instil the Batho Pele values in all public servants, especially our frontline staff. The DNA make-up of our public servants must consist of men and women with impeccable ethical conduct, including a high work ethic, displaying the high morale, humility and pride associated with being a loyal public servant. We must be beyond reproach as public servants. Our administrative culture must create an organisational culture in which is embedded a civic culture reflective of an Ubuntu value system.
It is for this reason that the Department of Public Service and Administration, in partnership with the National School of Government, will begin the process of changing our bureaucratic patterns of thinking and our attitudinal behaviour to be in line with the Batho Pele principles. The NSG will be transformed to provide high-level, in-house customised capacity development and training within the Public Sector which meet our ideals for reviving our Batho Pele strategies, going forward.
The complaints about the deficiencies and defects of government must inspire us to develop new ideas and practical innovations collaboratively with the Centre for Public Service Innovation on how we must work to improve service delivery.
Having institutionalised unannounced visits to frontline service delivery points during Public Service Month, we have started yielding positive turnaround results. Selected hospitals, Home Affairs offices and police stations have demonstrated improved service delivery when implementing this system and process changes. There is still a lot we should be doing.
As part of our commitment to reward professionalism and service excellence, as well as improving the morale of deserving public servants, we have institutionalised the Annual National Batho Pele Excellence Awards ceremony. We hosted the second ceremony in 2014.
Hon members, in August 2013, we launched the first ever Service Charter, which was signed by the employer and all Public Service trade unions represented in the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council. The charter represents a social contract; a commitment between the state and public servants to improve performance and enhance the delivery of services to our people.
Last year, we went around the provinces enlightening frontline public servants about the charter and getting their commitment to it. We would like to urge organised labour to continue working with us on the implementation of the charter, and we invite the public to help us monitor the charter and report any incidents of noncompliance with both the charter and the Batho Pele principles.
As the Public Service, we need to start doing more with less, as taxpayers want to see efficiency and effectiveness in spending. We are cognisant of the fact that productivity in the public sector is just as important to the economic performance of South Africa. In this financial year, we will address gaps in efficiency and effectiveness measures, through improving our performance measurement instruments.
To ensure that targeted outputs and outcomes are achieved and that government receives value for money, we will strengthen the Heads of Department evaluation system, and well as the Senior Management Service performance management system. The performance measurement and appraisal systems for all other levels and categories of employees will also be an area of focus.
In line with the value-for-money principle, we have to justify the number of employees recruited to the SMS level and all other levels as well. We are currently reviewing the post-provisioning norms in order to ensure the optimal utilisation of employees and personnel expenditure. We are reviewing norms for supervisor-to-employee ratios and the ideal span of management control, so that we can empirically justify the public service size relative to the population size to be served, residing within a geographical area.
This exercise will help to confirm or dispel the perception that ours is a bloated Public Service. It will also ensure that our human resources are deployed equitably according to the needs of our people in various geographic areas.
Hon members, the macro organisation of the state is an ongoing process. During 2014, following the announcement of the new Cabinet, the Department of Public Service and Administration implemented the second National Macro-organisation of the State project, NMOS 2, to effect the transfer of functions, and renaming and creation of new departments.
To manage the administrative to political interface in terms of the NDP, Cabinet approved a delegations framework, as well as a directive that clarifies the level of the executive authority’s involvement in human resources management matters, including appointments. What this framework introduces is an easier and more user-friendly manner for Ministers and MECs to delegate certain powers to HODs in order to ensure speedy and timely decision-making. For example, in our monitoring of vacancy rates in the Public Service, it has come to our attention that some of the delays in the filling of posts can be attributed to a lack of such delegated authority, as many of the appointments have to wait for the decision of the Minister or MEC.
Our target is for the vacancy rate to be 10% or less. Overall, the Public Service is not performing badly - our reports for the period ending March 2015 suggests that the vacancy rate is just over 11%. However, a breakdown of this overall average shows that there are still provinces and departments whose vacancy rates are much higher, and our delegations framework will go a long way towards assisting departments to address these backlogs.
The NSG, as part of the Management Development Institutes network in Africa, participates in initiatives championed under the African Union’s Conference of Ministers of Public Service in Africa, CPSI. Since 2008, the CPSI has been co-ordinating the All Africa Public Service Innovation Awards, AAPSIA. The CPSI has further requested that we continue playing this crucial role.
As part of our ongoing international commitments, we continue to manage the UN Public Administration Network through the CPSI by uploading articles from the SADC region, as well as managing this portal.
We also contribute to the assistance of post-conflict countries to stabilise their Public Services and enhance their administrations. Our involvement in both the multilateral structures of the UN and of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has seen us assenting to instruments that measure transparently as part of our efforts to combat bribery and corruption.
The country has, through the Open Government Partnership, assumed increasing responsibility and leadership in the global battle for openness, transparency and good governance. South Africa was elected to the position of Co-Chair of the OGP Steering Committee from October 2014, with Mexico as the lead Chair. South Africa will assume the role of lead Chair of the OGP in October this year, supported by France as co-chair.
Therefore, hon members, given the primacy of strengthening good governance locally in 2015 and beyond, our focus will be on creating and strengthening mechanisms for ongoing civil society and government interaction.
The African Peer Review Mechanism is our demonstration to the world that, on our continent, leaders and citizens are committed to the highest levels of accountability. We wish to report to this House that we continue to effectively play our role as host to the APRM Secretariat. We are working collaboratively with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation as we prepare to host the 2015 African Union Summit.
The Government Employees Medical Scheme, GEMS, is linked to our endeavour to have a healthy, productive workforce. The Government Employees Medical Scheme remains central to assist the Public Service to fully address employees’ health needs. However, numerous innovative support programmes from GEMS provide the necessary support to departments in trying to combat work environment-related illnesses.
The Government Employees Medical Scheme has a zero tolerance stance towards fraud and a Fraud Policy and Prevention Plan is in place. All incidents reported in 2014 were investigated. The implementation of appropriate prevention and detection controls is continuously assessed and amended. All confirmed fraud cases were investigated further and managed in accordance with the Scheme’s Fraud Policy and approved sanctions.
Our overall objective remains: achieving excellence in governance capacity. In this we shall collectively succeed!
In conclusion, as the Public Service, we will, as we do every year, participate in the Africa Public Service Day in June 2015 under the theme “The role of the Public Service in women empowerment, innovation and accessible service delivery”.
Hon members, as 2015 is the year of the Freedom Charter, President Zuma has committed that, and I quote: “as government we will go back to basics to improve the lives of all South Africans”. Exactly 60 years ago, in June 1955 in Kliptown, Johannesburg, the foresight and wisdom of ordinary South African citizens were consolidated in the foundation of our globally admired Constitution.
We are reminded that this powerful policy lodestar, which was collectively conceived of by our forbearers so many years ago, promises that, “All people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country.” The Portfolio Committee for the Public Service and Administration is well positioned to ensure that government fulfils this promise. We therefore request the House to support this Vote. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S J MOHAPI
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION
Mr M J MOHAPI: House Chair, acting Chief Whip, hon Deputy Minister, hon members of the NCOP, special delegates, ladies and gentlemen, let me categorically state that, as the select committee, we fully support the Deputy Minister’s Budget Vote of the Department of the Public Service and Administration, for the simple reason that the National Development Plan asserts that the Public Service is central to us achieving our objective of improving our people’s lives.
We have to address and defeat the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. To do this, the Public Service needs to play both a transformative and developmental role. It is for this reason that the Public Service needs to reinvent itself to proactively assume this important responsibility. For us to succeed, we require professional, effectively co-ordinated and well-managed state institutions, with highly skilled public servants who are committed to serving our people. This will only be achieved if we work as a collective, with input from all departments, unions, academic institutions, civil society and the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council.
Our critical revolutionary task as the Fifth Parliament is to drive the realisation of the aspirations of the people of South Africa about their own Public Service. This will develop the capacity of the state to deal with the challenges in a way that recognises their deprivation.
Through this budget, dedicated resources will ensure that meaning is given to the objectives expressed in the resolutions of the 53rd national conference of the ANC. This was where a call was made for a Public Service that directs its efforts towards building a developmental state, with technical and strategic organisational capacity, among other attributes. Building strategic and organisational capacities of government requires a developmental state that will focus on the integration, harmonisation and alignment of planning and implementation across all spheres of government.
The implementation of performance management and a developmental system for heads of department and other senior management service members is not yet optimal. Challenges in this regard include the failure to enter into and sign performance agreements on time and a lack of performance assessments and feedback.
Improved human resource capacity in departments is critical for the effective implementation of the National Development Plan. It is therefore essential that human resource professionals are not only equipped to enforce rules and implement administrative processes, but also to advise senior management on all aspects of strategic human resources management and development.
The Deputy Minister will recall that, in the select committee’s deliberations with the department, one of the challenges we observed is the absence of clear and formalised delegations within departments. This creates instability and makes it harder to establish clear lines of accountability. For this reason, the department should provide proper delegation guidelines that will ensure that junior managers also have the authority to make and implement decisions.
The Auditor-General, in the department’s audit report, raised concerns and has identified key challenges and weaknesses with regard to the implementation of IT governance and IT security measures. Importantly, the National Development Plan has also identified IT as an important tool for improving service delivery, as it can be used to make services more accessible; reducing the cost of accessing services; and strengthening accountability and responsiveness.
It is good to know that the department will implement a number of interventions towards the creation of an enabling environment for ICT to be used as a strategic resource and enabler for improved service delivery. It will also develop an e-government strategy that deploys information and communication technology as a tool for effective service delivery.
Corruption in the Public Service is the antithesis of development. Public perceptions and reported acts of corruption have had negative consequences for the levels of trust from the public in public servants. There have been concerns regarding the delayed response by departments to combat and prevent corruption. It sometimes takes several months for disciplinary processes to commence. During this time, officials are suspended on full pay, often for several months, while waiting for charges to be brought against them. This impacts negatively on the performance of the Public Service and on the morale of those public servants who are required to continue functioning diligently, despite the increased workload, since, in such instances, these posts are not vacant and cannot be filled.
We, as the select committee, believe that by increasing transparency and eradicating corruption, the department will optimise the use of scarce resources to achieve our developmental goals.
Thusong service centres are regarded as strategic service delivery access points for the government of the Republic. They were formerly known as multipurpose community centres, a programme of government initiated in 1999 as a primary vehicle for connecting communities with government services. The select committee has noted that there are challenges facing the Thusong service centres in some areas, especially the rural areas. This needs collaboration between the departments ... [Interjections.] ... Unfortunately, you were not there.
Limited resources is one of their major problems. This inhibits their capacity to fulfil their mandate of integrating government services through providing information. Deputy Minister, the department should therefore ensure that resources are prioritised for Thusong service centres in those rural areas where there are challenges. This will assist in minimising the movement of people from rural areas to urban areas.
As you know, the Public Service Charter is a commitment signed by both the state and unions representing all civil servants, to provide better and more efficient services to all South Africans. The core of this commitment is to provide citizens with better services while respecting them as human beings. In the end, it is about establishing a caring relationship built on trust between civil servants and the citizens we work for.
The charter further commits, among other things, how government should act against issues of corruption and use appropriate systems to fight fraudulent administration. The transversal management policies, which strive towards ensuring good governance and facilitating best human resources practices, are an imperative and a tool for this programme.
It is expected of all civil servants to adhere to the principles and objectives as outlined in the charter. However, having a knowledgeable public is of greater importance – a public that is fully aware of their rights and roles to report poor services. Deputy Minister, let us therefore use Public Service Month, in September, to launch a campaign to educate all public servants about the significance of the charter. This task can be co-ordinated by the department and all human resources units in that department throughout the country. Public Service Month should also be viewed as an ideal opportunity to energetically promote the service charter among ordinary South Africans.
Africa is writing its own history and this is through, among other means, the African Peer Review Mechanism, APRM. This peer review instrument has allowed the continent to objectively review our collective efforts in developing our continent and improving the lives of our people.
South Africa submitted its third APRM Progress Report to the APR Forum in January 2014. In response to President Zuma’s presentation to the report, the APRM lead panellist for South Africa, His Excellency Prof Amos Sawyer, hailed the country for the remarkable progress it has made in the past 20 years in ensuring that our democracy consolidates public participation. In addition, we should redouble our efforts to fight corruption; improve infrastructure; protect consumers; spearhead the roll-out of antiretroviral treatment; and prevent the spread of HIV/Aids and other infectious diseases, such as TB. Siyaqhuba! [We are moving forward!]
Judging from some of the challenges facing the APRM, it is clear that the success of the APRM and its continued relevance to improving the lives of the people of Africa remains our collective responsibility. It is the responsibility of government and civil society – and, indeed, of sectors such as the media.
In conclusion, the Budget Vote presented here today is geared towards ensuring that the government is committed to improving the capacity of the Public Service through integrated service delivery and better co-ordination across all spheres.
The select committee calls for the finalisation and implementation of the Government Employees’ Housing Scheme. This should be expedited in order to improve the lives and living conditions of the public servants.
The sum of all our actions during this financial year should be that of transforming the Public Service and contributing to the tangible benefits of faster growth, better public services, less corruption and less poverty. Hence, the select committee supports the Budget Vote on the funded vacancies to be filled within the prescribed period.
Deputy Minister, we support the following in the Budget Vote: the 2% target of people with disabilities to be achieved; improvement in the delegation of powers in the Public Service; the strengthening of systems relating to procurement and contract management in the Public Service; the inculcation of the Batho Pele principles; and capacity-building in government departments.
Our support for the Budget Vote is a principled one. It gives expression to the historic constitutional aspirations that are made in section 195 ...
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Chair, on a point of order: In terms of Rule 210, I want to know if, when the chairperson says, “We support …”, he is talking about the committee or is he talking about the ANC members of the committee? According to that Rule, any member standing in the select committee can withhold their support or not. So, he must report on what is happening in the committee and if he is saying “we support”, he must clearly specify who is supporting what. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Labuschagne, that is not a point of order. It is a point for debate. Your members will have an opportunity to raise their views in the debate. It is an issue for debate. Hon Mohapi, continue. [Interjections.]
Mr M J MOHAPI: Thank you very much, hon Chair. Unfortunately, the danger of reading the laws in isolation always results in this, because, in most instances, if and when one gets a briefing, one will always find a stage ...
Mr C F B SMIT: Hon Chairperson, on a point of order: It is important that we understand that there must not be a misrepresentation of the committee. The chairperson speaks on behalf of the committee. There are different members of a committee and different members have different opinions. There is the right to a minority report, as well, if a decision was made. The fact of the matter is that the chairperson speaks on behalf of the committee, and if the chairperson says the committee supports that, does he have the backing of the committee? That is the question, because it is misleading. It is very misleading.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! [Interjections.] No, no, order! I am listening very attentively. I thought you were going to refer us to a particular Rule that addresses exactly what you are raising. [Interjections.] However, you are raising something that is a subject for debate. All members of the committee will have an opportunity to engage in the debate, hon Van Lingen. I will give you an opportunity, hon Nzimande.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Chairperson, I refer you to Rule 211 on page 77 of the Rule Book, which refers to section 75 Bills. This is a section 77 Bill. In terms of the Constitution in this regard, a section 77 Bill is treated exactly like a section 75 Bill. That member must not speak on behalf of the party. He can only speak on behalf of the committee. We had this in the Whippery this morning. He is transgressing that Rule.
Mr L P M NZIMANDE: Chair, I rise on a point of order, though I do not have the Rule Book with me: I know that in the section in the Rule Book that refers to the functions and powers of the chairpersons, chairpersons are given the sole power to direct the committee’s work and activities. Therefore, the chairperson is responding in the budget policy debate and it is within the ambits of those powers and functions that are given to the chairperson. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! Hon members, I am ... Take your seat. [Interjections.] Can you take your seat? [Interjections.] Can you take your seat? Hon Van Lingen, take your seat!
Hon members, I am surprised. You had the opportunity as a committee to engage the department. Let us not now convert a plenary session of the NCOP into a select committee meeting. When debating, the chairperson is presenting the view of the majority and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. [Interjections.] There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and ... [Interjections.]
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Chair, on a point of order ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Can you allow me to finish? [Interjections.] Can you allow me to finish?
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Chair, I have to raise the point of order before you make the final ruling. If you make the ruling, you will not give me the chance.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): All right, make your point of order.
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: All right. Chair, on a point of order: This morning in the discussion in the Whippery, there was a decision made and, unfortunately, you, as Chairperson, were not there. It was stated there that the chairpersons of committees have to reflect on the committee, not on a party-political point or on a majority point.
Now, the Rule in this book states ... [Interjections.] Read your Rules! Rule 211(1) on page 77, which the hon Van Lingen referred to, states that, first of all, the committee to which a Bill is referred – and this Bill is a section 77 Bill – must table in the Council the report - the report is not tabled - and the Bill that has been agreed on by it, or, if the committee has not agreed on a Bill, the Bill as referred to it; and the supporting memorandum which was introduced with the Bill.
Then, we go back to 208, which starts by stating, “When a Bill has been tabled or the Council is not scheduled to sit ...”, and it goes on like that. We can go back to the beginning of the book; I can read this whole book for you now, if you want to. [Interjections.] The chairperson, as the hon member Nzimande said, can speak for the majority of the committee, but then he must say so, specifically. Otherwise, we can raise another point of order, because the chairperson is speaking for an extra 10 minutes in this House. [Interjections.]
Let us not go into that, Chair, with all due respect, because this is the issue. If the chairpersons are speaking on extra time in this House, they have to present the point of view of the committee, and not a party-political view, which is the majority point of view. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Let me get to the Rules that you are reading so that I may conclude it once and for all. Rule 211 (2)(d)(i), as you are quoting it:
In its report the committee must, if it is not a unanimous report, specify in which respects there was not consensus; and in addition to the majority report, express the views of any minority concerned ...
That is why, when I started clarifying it, I said that there is nothing wrong with specifying the majority report. However, you must also express the minority view. Can we conclude? [Interjections.] Let’s allow the hon member to continue.
Mr M J MOHAPI: So, it is unfortunate, Chairperson, that we become opportunistic, even when we are not part of the select committee. It is really unfortunate.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: But we know our Rules!
Mr M J MOHAPI: Rules ... [Laughter.] [Interjections.]
Mr G MICHALAKIS: Hon Chairperson, it is funny that the chairperson says that one is commenting without being part of the select committee. I am on that select committee and my point of order is this: The department did give its presentation to us. Questions were asked, but a vote never took place. In other words, the hon chairperson does not have any mandate from the committee saying that we approve or disapprove if no vote was taken. Thank you. [Interjections.]
Mr M J MOHAPI: Chairperson, I want to place on record that there was a follow-up meeting where we reaffirmed. The record can also bear testimony to that. Nonetheless, I am not going to consume time in terms of that.
Our support for this Budget Vote is a principled one. It gives expression to the historic constitutional aspirations made in section 195(1) of the Constitution, where the Public Service is characterised as one that would promote and maintain a high standard of professional ethics and be accountable to the public. We therefore fully support the Budget Vote as presented by the Deputy Minister. I thank you.
Mr C F B SMIT: Hon Chairperson, I am asking you to look into the matter of whether the chairperson of the committee is in fact presenting to this House exactly what happened in that committee and, at a later stage, to come back and give a report on whether that was the exact report or whether there was a misrepresentation of that committee because, if so, then he is misleading this House.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Smit, I have already ruled on the matter.
Mr J W W JULIUS
Mr M J MOHAPI
Rre J W W JULIUS: Kea leboga, Modulasetilo. [Setshego.]
Deputy Minister, hon Dlodlo and hon members, firstly, allow me to join everyone and extend my condolences to colleagues and family members on the passing of Minister Collins Chabane. May his soul rest in peace.
Let me just start with our beloved chairperson of the committee.
An HON MEMBER: The progressive chairperson!
Mr J W W JULIUS You know, it is funny how we can fight about whether something went through the committee or not. I have never seen them in our select committees. They came once - the first time - at the start of the Fifth Parliament, and then came back last week. In between, they did not come. So, they only came when we needed them. That is why, last time in the National Assembly, one of the Ministers said, “Who are you? We don’t know you.” It is because they do not come here.
The Department of Public Service and Administration has no - or little - regard for the constitutional importance of the NCOP. We are now marking 12 months into the Fifth Parliament and, sadly, this department visited the select committee twice since then - I have already elaborated on that. [Applause.] If this trend is to be followed, I can predict a bleak future for working relations between the NCOP and this department.
The bloated public sector wage bill of R430 billion per year must be reduced. The DA proposed that the public sector wage bill be reduced by R4,3 billion. Borrowing substantially more money to pay Public Service employees will negatively affect future growth in our country.
There are serious questions to be raised about the verification systems that are used upon employment of our public servants. We urgently need to review the human resource models used to hire our public servants in South Africa.
The 640 public servants who misrepresented their qualifications are sending the wrong message to young people who are intending to enter the Public Service as a career choice. This is precisely what the department envisages to do - to attract the youth to the Public Service. What will encourage our youth to obtain a matric or a degree qualification if we protected public servants who misrepresent their qualifications? No matric; top positions. [Laughter.] How can we allow that?
The substantial delays in finalising the prescribed pre-employment verification by the SA Qualifications Authority should be investigated. This is causing a major increase in the vacancy rate of this department. The Auditor-General actually raised concerns last year about the high vacancy rate in the Public Service.
Service delivery is seriously compromised by unfilled posts in the Public Service. The cases where people serve in management positions in an acting capacity are very worrying and should be seriously address. We might as well call this department the “Hollywood Department” and change the Batho Pele awards to the Oscars.
The hon Deputy Minister of the department, hon Dlodlo, acknowledged in the Budget Vote speech in the National Assembly on 14 May 2015 that little progress had been made in resolving the location of the Community Development Workers programme, and that this made it difficult to derive the true value of the programme as envisaged at its inception. This is a serious problem. If we cannot derive the true value of a programme, how else will we establish its effectiveness? We cannot work without a clear goal in mind. When people are employed without direction, how will we assess the effectiveness of the CDW programme?
The new law that prohibits government employees from doing business with government is welcomed. However, this practice is deeply entrenched in all spheres of government. Action is what must follow this piece of legislation. Just to prove a point, I can give the example of the City of Johannesburg, our economic hub. The Auditor-General reported in the 2011-12 financial year that contracts worth nearly R100 million were awarded to public servants employed by the government and other state departments.
According to this report, even the name of the Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, was on the list of public servants who hold directorships in companies awarded contracts by the City of Johannesburg. [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: Are you sure? [Interjections.]
Mr J W W JULIUS: It is there. [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: Are you sure? [Interjections.]
Mr J W W JULIUS: It is here, in Parliament. [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: Sure? Sure?
Mr J W W JULIUS: This problem is deeply entrenched. How will we get it right? How will we get rid of this problem? How will this department ensure that this legislation of prohibiting government employees ... [Interjections.] I fail to see how you can defend the defenceless.
An HON MEMBER: Can you expand? [Interjections.]
Mr J W W JULIUS: I will check yours. How many of the companies doing business with government employees have been blacklisted? How many of these companies still have running contracts that have not been cancelled? Deputy Minister, legislation will remain legislation unless we enforce it. If this practice is happening in the city, what about the province? What about national departments? A concerted effort is what is needed from the department to avoid this from happening in all spheres of government.
The slow response by departments in disseminating findings of the citizens’ report card should be prioritised as a matter of urgency. This truancy is silencing the voice of our people; it is also against the Batho Pele principles.
Furthermore, the delay in submission of service delivery improvement plans by national and provincial departments cannot be tolerated. I call on the Minister to act decisively in getting these improvement plans. How else will we improve services to our people without these plans?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Please summarise, hon Julius.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Resolution 1 of 2003 of the Disciplinary Code and Procedure in Public Service provides for, among other things, that the suspension period is 60 days within which a disciplinary hearing should be held. How many departments are adhering to this prescript? The cost incurred by the state due through noncompliance by government departments is huge and of great concern.
Acting allowances are becoming the norm in our Public Service. The longer we take to resolve disciplinary cases involving precautionary suspensions, the more we spend on acting allowances. It can take up to 243 days to resolve cases in national departments, and 240 days to resolve cases in provinces. What is the amount lost due to the fact that we are paying acting allowances? It is almost R50 million! The fact that the department has established and internal pool of experts to assist with the finalisation of cases of employees placed on precautionary suspension will help.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Julius, your time has expired.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Can I finish up?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Your time has expired!
Mr J W W JULIUS: I just call on the President to please appoint a permanent Minister to get this department back on track. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M KHAWULA
Mr J W W JULIUS
Mr M KHAWULA: Hon House Chair and hon Deputy Minister, it is important that government negotiates issues pertaining to the conditions of service and salaries with the Public Service unions on time. The citizens of our country need not be subjected to unnecessarily prolonged tensions between government and unions because of inadequate planning.
The IFP agrees with the hon Deputy Minister that we need integrity in our Public Service. We need to do away with maladministration and we need to instil the spirit of servanthood, passion and love for one’s duty and service. If these do not happen, South Africa will keep on losing a good number of the most required skills and expertise to the global market.
Of late, the country has experienced a sizable exodus of its Public Service through resignations. This was due to the fear of our public servants over the loss of a portion of their pension savings to government. This myth was not properly explained and communicated to our public servants. The instability we are partially experiencing right now in some parts of our country in health, education and the SA Police Service is partly due to this exodus.
The practise of the ruling party of getting into bed with some unions in the form of the tripartite alliance is cause for concern. Sometimes government is held to ransom by unions on the basis of these marriages of convenience. The unions scratch your back in the form of campaigns and funding; later government operations get sacrificed when payback time comes. Things are falling apart in some parts of our Public Service because some promises made can never be fulfilled.
The IFP commends all those dedicated men and women who get into the Public Service and do the best they can to serve their country. We accept that there are hundreds of thousands of government employees who really earn their salaries. In the same vein, we condemn those public servants who fail to earn their pay; who paint the good ones with a red brush because of their nonperformance, attitude and behaviour.
In almost all instances where national government has had to intervene in provincial departments, and where provincial government has had to intervene in municipalities, it has not been due to a collapse or near collapse caused by the lack of resources. It has been due to egoism, self-centredness, greed and unpatriotic behaviour.
The lack of skills caused by the “jobs for pals” syndrome is another major contributor to poor performance in the Public Service.
E-government is a good step forward, but if this does not have a back-up plan on nonoperational occasions it causes frustration and a waste of time and money to clients. This has happened, especially in the rural areas, where, because the e-system is not operational, people are turned back home.
Like the hon chairperson of the committee was saying, long periods of suspension with pay are an unnecessary cost to government. While government cannot just terminate salaries while disciplinary measures are still continuing, it is important that disciplinaries not take ages to be completed. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms G M MANOPOLE
Mr M KHAWULA
Ms G M MANOPOLE: Thank you, Chairperson. Let me start by greeting the Acting Chief Whip, hon Deputy Minister Dlodlo, members of the NCOP, special delegates, guests in the gallery, ladies and gentlemen.
I just want to find out from the hon Julius whether he is a public servant because when he was standing here, he said Minister Mbalula is a public servant. I just want to make it clear that we are not defending corruption. We wanted to correct you and assist you by saying that the Minister is not a public servant. Get the right information. This also questions the credibility of your source. How can we trust that your source of information gives a true reflection?
Modulasetulo o tlotlegang, ere ke tseye tshono e ke leboge mokgatlo o mogolo mo Aforika, o e leng ANC e e ileng ya mpha tshono e ya gore ke tle go atlhaatlha mo ngangisanong ya puo ya Vouto ya Tekanyetsokabo ya Lefapha la Bodiredipuso le Tsamaiso.
I would like to start by saying that by the end of this week we will be celebrating Africa Day. This debate precedes the celebration of Africa Day, which will take place against the backdrop of xenophobic and afrophobic riots against foreign nationals. When he addressed the first Tri-Continental Conference of people from Asia, Africa and Latin America in Havana, Amílcar Cabral said:
When the African peoples say in their simple language that “no matter how hot the water from your well, it will not cook your rice,” they express with singular simplicity a fundamental principle, not only of physics, but also of political science. We know that the development of a phenomenon in movement, whatever its external appearance, depends mainly on its internal characteristics.
As we engage in internal assessment checks and balance among ourselves on the continent with all the programmes we are embarking on, I want to believe that all those programmes and structures resonate with what Amílcar Cabral said that day.
South Africa participates in the Africa Peer review mechanism, whereby it submits progress reports. The main aim is a concerted effort on the continent to develop and improve the lives of our people, and public servants are change agents for this cause.
The Batho Pele principles are key in ensuring that the Public Service plays the role that it should and to understand the relationship between the people and the public. The people are also the constituency of the government and therefore the public... [Interjections.]
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Through you, Chair, I wanted to check if I could ask the hon member a question.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Manopole, are you ready to take a question?
Ms G M MANOPOLE: No, Chair.
Nnya Modulasetulo, go tsididi mo teng mo, nna ke batla go fetsa mo ke emeng mo teng mo, ijo! Ke batla go fetsa.
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Chair, I really want to know if she is related to Minister Lindiwe Zulu. Are they related? [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! No, hon member!
Ms G M MANOPOLE: No. The people are the constituency of the government and therefore the public servants of the national democratic state must be defenders of the poor, fighters against corruption and a key force for transformation. Public servants should enhance efforts and ensure that efforts to improve and deliver quality service to our people bear fruit.
We congratulate the department for implementing the National Batho Pele Excellence Awards as an incentive to recognise and reward the hard-working public servants who strive for excellence in the execution of their duties. [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: Is that jacket parliamentary? [Laughter.]
Ms G M MANOPOLE: Batho Pele represents quality, mutual respect, dignity, the promotion of basic human rights after so many decades of struggle and sacrifice. Therefore, public servants, as they strive for excellence, should keep that at the back of their mind and never compromise on that.
As we build the developmental state, as the ANC, we are looking forward to the implementation of the Public Administration Management Act by the DPSA. It will be represented to the select committee later in the financial year. I hope hon Julius and hon Mokwele will be present when this plan is presented so that they do not come here later, wanting to dispute and question the programme.
The plan is aligned with the NDP’s action plan that uses placement and secondment to enable staff to gain experience of working with other spheres of government. This is because we believe in a unitary state and it will improve relations between national, provincial and local government.
This entrenches intergovernmental and co-operative governance, as it will be implemented in phases, which will include the process of consultation. I believe the department will prioritise local government given the challenges it faces, especially in the rural areas, where there is a shortfall of skills, which hampers service delivery to the poorest of the poor.
The ANC’s Ready to Govern document recognises the fact that we develop transformation policies. The problems ahead of us are not going to be resolved overnight. They are not easy or quick games to win because the problems run deep and resources are limited. We are still on course to correct the injustices of the past, and the objectives of the NDP recognise that.
The department is still struggling to address transformation. To drive the transformation of the state, we need a developmental state that has capacity - technical and organisational - to mobilise society; a state that is people centred and people driven. The attributes of the developmental state define the common national agenda. The state should have effective systems of interaction with all social partners while it drives the transform.
We should remember the words of former statesman uTata Nelson Mandela when he said, “A good head and a good heart are a formidable combination.” We also remind public servants that when they implement Batho Pele principles, they must always remember that “a good head and a good heart are a formidable combination”. They go together. They must do that with passion and know that they are patriotic to their own government.
The Minister has recognised and, over and above that, made a call and a commitment that the public management system of the senior management system, SMS, has challenges. It needs to be enhanced so that it will not hamper service delivery. She will also be able to address that.
The Thusong centres are fundamental to service delivery and the co-ordination of government services to our people. They symbolise a caring government.
Because of the priorities that speak to the Mangaung manifesto and the NDP, in pursuit of radical transformation and in the year of the Freedom Charter and of “unity in action to advance economic freedom”, as the ANC, we support this Budget Vote presented by the Minister in order to take South Africa forward. [Applause.]
Ms N MOKGOSI
Ms G MANOPOLE
Mme N P MOKGOSI: Botlhale jwa ka, ke botlhale jwa tsalo. Ke a leboga Modulasetulo, ke dumedisa le Aforika Borwa ka bophara.
The EFF rejects the Public Service and Administration 2015-16 Budget Vote because we cannot support a budget that enriches directors-general, deputy directors-general and directors who already get paid extremely high salaries for sitting in cosy, air-conditioned offices all day, and who, together with the Minister, are blatantly refusing to meet public servants’ demand for a mere 10% wage increase.
As the EFF ... [Interjections.]
Mr T C MOTLASHUPING: Hon Chair, I am just wondering about this: Since this morning, when we started with the first debate, the member has rejected the budget every time. Has the member read the budget? Does she know the total amount of money that she is rejecting? Maybe she can answer that question. What is the total amount? Just give us the total amount. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): No, hon Motlashuping. [Interjections.] Hon members, no. Hon Mokwele, take your seat. Hon members, it is a convention that when somebody makes a maiden speech, it is advisable that the person avoids raising controversial issues.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Recognise me, Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): I am recognising you.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Have you recognised me?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Yes.
Ms T J MOKWELE: On a point of order, Chair ...
Ga ke tshosetse Modulasetulo, ke tsala ya me.
The hon member on my side does not have a mandate from the North West province to ask the hon member a question. He must refrain from doing that. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): No, hon Mokwele. Hon members, let us not be frivolous and abuse the opportunity of points of order, as if we were rising on a point of order.
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Chairperson, the convention is that a new member should not be controversial if the new member does not want to be heckled. However, this member has chosen to be controversial. So, she must take the punishment, like we all do. [Interjections.] If you’re a toffee, you’re a toffee! [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! I have already dealt with that. You are right, hon Van Lingen. That is the convention and you have reflected it correctly. That is what I was saying. In order for a person making a maiden speech not to be heckled, you should avoid things that would be controversial because you will get yourself into trouble.
Ms N P MOKGOSI: As the EFF, we refuse to abandon the workers’ struggle and we state that if it was sustainable for politicians to be given a 5% wage hike, despite the Remuneration Commission’s recommendations not to do so, then a 10% wage increase for public servants is very sustainable. We are even tempted to think that speaking about percentages confuses the Minister. Public servants must take the baton from the miners in Marikana and demand their wage increase in figures.
Minister, please note that a 10% wage increase for someone who earns less than R10 000 a month will never equate with a 10% wage increase of someone like you, who earns more in a month than what that person earns in a year, including benefits. The wage gap among public servants must be reduced to ensure that the gap between the lowest paid and highest paid worker is narrowed.
This department claims to have a shortage of skills, yet it demands five years’ experience for entry-level jobs. Where are job seekers who have just graduated going to gain such experience? You must first employ them so that they can gain experience. [Interjections.] How are we going to do away with the over-reliance on consultants when the government has all this red tape that prevents qualified young men and women from entering the job market?
As the EFF, we also strongly reprimand the Government Employees Medical Scheme’s use of percentages across the board to increase its already unreasonable fees. As a result, most South African public servants live without medical aid as they cannot afford it.
Minister, central to public administration should be a thorough implementation of government policies and the provision of public services to South Africans, not milking the Ministerial Handbook, corruption, nepotism and refusing to account for anything. The President of this country repaid his loyalists by establishing multiple departments and creating more government entities, all of which have not improved the Public Service in this country.
The budget allocation to Batho Pele must be reviewed as it is not an independent entity but part of the Public Service Charter. How is this department to function when the Ministry does not understand the purpose of its own charter? [Interjections.] The enforcement of the Public Service Charter must be prioritised, otherwise Batho Pele will always be ...
... bogodu pele, batho ko morago.
The implementation of the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council’s resolutions of 2012 has never been monitored. As a result, we still have the same issues that we had before they were adopted. For example, teachers in the Eastern Cape still do not have toilets; nurses in Khayelitsha took to the streets about two ...
An HON MEMBER: The speech is lost.
Ms N P MOKGOSI: ... weeks ago; and police officers are often off sick because of the unhygienic conditions they have to work under.
We have also observed that some of the budget allocations were merely a copy and paste from the previous budgets and directors-general could not account for previous budget allocations.
The appalling conditions at some of the Thusong centres are heartbreaking. There are Thusong centres where multiple social workers are crammed into tiny offices, with no proper filing systems in place. If one had a client, the others would have to vacate the room. Who actually benefits from these Thusong centres? How are such centres serving our people and why have the responsible Ministers and MECs not followed up on the entities that are involved?
The National School of Government has been in a floundering state ever since its conception. All it does is to create work opportunities for ANC members - if there are no plans to open an actual school of government, it should be closed. Appointments in this department of the entire public sector are politically motivated deployments that end up destabilising functioning departments.
The over-reliance on consultants, who charge exorbitant fees when we should be employing people with the necessary skills and qualifications, should stop. The portfolio committee returned the first draft on incapacity leave and the health retirement policy because the consultant the Department of Public Service and Administration hired was not aware of all the dynamics that influenced the policy and ended up producing a document that was not even worth the paper ...
An HON MEMBER: Your time is up!
Ms N P MOKGOSI: Because of this, today we are sitting without incapacity leave and a health retirement policy. Instead, the department is being dragged to court by consultants. Public Service and Administration in South Africa is primarily about looting state resources and abusing our people. That is why we reject the Public Service and Administration Budget Vote. Thank you. [Interjections.]
Ms T WANA
Ms N MOKGOSI
Ms T WANA: House Chairperson, let me greet the following dignitaries: the Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, acting Chief Whip, Deputy Minister of Public Works and Administration and your entourage, permanent delegates of the NCOP, distinguished guests and members of the media. It is unfortunate that when one is here, one needs to make things right because every now and then the public listens to our deliberations.
Ndiyavuya kakhulu bantu bakuthi kuba niyabona ukuba abantu abalapha abanawo umdla wenu, banomdla kuba i-ANC ...
... fought a good fight. As a result they are getting salaries at the end of the month. Therefore, it is their priority ...
... nanjengoko nibona indlela abaziphethe ngayo. Ezilalini kuye kuthiwe, “uhluthi nje uyabagezela abantu”. Umntu uthi akuhlutha abagezele abantu. Yingxaki ke le esidibene nayo apha kuba abanye abantu abazange bayazi into yokuba bangalapha.
It is because of the democracy of the ANC that we voted for on 27 April that even the person who does not deliberate in a committee can come here and confuse our masses.
Ndiyicelela uxolo loo nto bantu bakuthi kuba bonke abantu abangena apha abanixoxeli ngezinto emazenziwe ukulungisa ilizwe lenu ...
… to create a better future for you.
Namhlanje silapha kuba i-ANC ...
... is a caring organisation that allows every Jack and Jill to come and put a face on the screen. However ...
... asizelanga loo nto apha. [Kwaqhwatywa.]
We are here for the future of the South Africans who have been oppressed for many years. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Wana, can you take your seat. Hon Mokwele, what is your point of order?
Mme T J MOKWELE: Chairperson, I rise on a point of order.
Emela go tlhagisa ntlha ya gore go na le tlwaelo mo Ntlong ena ya go re fetola maina. Ke kopa jaana Modulasetilo ...
... I think I am making this plea for the fifth time now that we must not be called by names that are not in our identity documents.
Lo na le bothata. Bothata jwa lona ke eng?
What is wrong with you? I am not talking to you; I am talking to the Chairperson. You are not the Chair. Your time will come to be on the podium. Please, refrain from that. The next thing you will say is that we are anarchists. We are here to stay, Chair, and we will stay for the next five years. We must be respected like hon members. We are voted in by people; we are not voted in by these members who are here. We are voted by the masses outside. [Interjections.] I will point at you because you are not respecting yourselves. [Interjections.] I will continuously point at you. I will point at you. You are not the Chairperson. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Mokwele, let me address two issues. The first one, in terms of Rule 33 ... [Interjections.]
Let me first read Rule 33 so that we can see whether I am hiding behind the Rules. It says that no member may interrupt another member who is addressing the Chair, except to call attention to a point of order or a question of privilege. Therefore, I was protecting you. How is that an insult to you? You should stand up and withdraw because I was addressing members who were interrupting you, and you decided to stand up and say I am hiding behind the Rules. Can you withdraw that?
Ms T J MOKWELE: Chair, ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Can you withdraw that?
Ms T J MOKWELE: A kere wa utlwa?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): I have read Rule 33 ... [Interjections.]
Mme T J MOKWELE: Fa ke ikemisetsa go gogela mafoko a ka kwa morago...
... they will start talking. [Laughter.] I am referring to them, not to you. To you, I will withdraw. However, I still maintain the consistency of this House. I am not going to withdraw my words in terms of consistency. Please, be consistent. These ANC members are used to insulting us.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Let me address you again, probably for the last time.
Ms T J MOKWELE: I withdraw.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): I wanted to deal with the conditions. Hon members, we are not going to allow this House to degenerate into something else. Let us allow hon Wana to continue. Continue, hon Wana.
Ms T WANA: Secondly, …
... bantu bakuthi, ndifuna sikhe silungise izinto kakuhle njengokuba silapha nje.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Wana, take your seat, please. Hon Mpambo-Sibhukwana, what is your point of order?
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Ntate Modulasetulo ya hlomphehang, ke ne ke kopa hore ...
... should retract her statement when she called us Jack and Jill. [Interjections.]
O se ke wa hweletsa hle, ka kopo! [Ditsheho.] Ke ne ke kopa hore a hule mantswe a hae ntate.
... the same precedent that has been set before. We cannot be called names here. We are hon members and we are representing our voters here.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Wana …
Ms T WANA: Chairperson, I withdraw and I want to carry on with my speech. Chairperson ...
... ndifuna ukulungisa le ndawo apha, kukho ingxaki apha kuba iindwendwe sidla ngokuzidibanisa singazohluli mhlawumbi. Apha uMongameli wethu waseka iKomishoni yaseMarikana. Ngoku sixoxa ngokuba elinye inqanaba lorhulumente liye kujonga umcimbi waseMarikana. Bantu bakuthi, umcimbi waseMarikana awuyiyo into yabantu abancinci abangathi bayayiqonda kakhulu. Apha kukho izinto ekufuneka zijongiwe kuba akukho kwantelezi onokuqala uyigibisele ebantwini phambi kokuba umntu ayokuxoxa ngemivuzo. Ngenxa yolawulo lwentando yesininzi imibutho yabasebenzi nanjengokuba ivumelekile ukuba ibhalise kodwa akuzange kuthiwe kufuneka kuphinde kuqeshwe nexhwele elinguNdzaba, kwakule nto inye. Ngoko ke yohlukile into ye-industrial participation kweye-public participation. Kwazona nje ngu-Abet angonaxhala. Kukho into ekuthiwa zii-labour unions ...
... to deal with such things.
Kukho into ekuthiwa zii-public sector unions ...
It is where we are standing.
Sisebenza ngaloo nto. Ndifuna ukuthi kubantu bakuthi njengokuba nimane nisiya kuvota, nivotele abantu abanikhuselayo. Ningavoteli abantu abangafuniyo ukuba nitye.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Wana, take your seat, please. Hon Van Lingen, what is your point of order?
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Chairperson, the hon member is misleading the House. She is trying to infer that the President is dealing with Marikana and he is not. The Farlam report is lying on his desk and he dodged questions last week in the House. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): That is not a point of order. [Interjections.] Hon Wana, continue.
Ms T WANA: Comrade, let me say this in English. Mrs Van Lingen, please apply your listening skills. I am saying that here we must differentiate among issues. We are dealing with public sector unions when we are dealing with the Department of Public Service and Administration. [Interjections.] I am saying that. I am not saying anything about whatever you are saying because you always want to cause confusion. Every now and then you think you can win over the people of South Africa, but they know your history as the DA.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Wana, can you take your seat, please. Hon Smith, what is your point of order?
Mr C F B SMIT: Hon Chairperson, I rise on a point of order: I have been observing something that is not consistent. The hon member is having a direct conversation with the other member; she is not speaking through you. That is the one thing. The second thing is that when there is a point of order, the hon member does not sit down like what was expected from the EFF member.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): I sustain your point of order. Hon Wana, you cannot speak to the hon member; you have to speak through the Chairperson. Continue, hon member.
Ms T WANA: Chairperson, let me congratulate the people of this country for taking the resolution to adopt the Freedom Charter in 1956 because today we are implementing that Freedom Charter, irrespective of the year.
The leading organisation, called the ANC, is a caring government. As a result, this department has made a policy framework called Batho Pele - People First.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Wana, please take your seat. Hon Van Lingen, why are you rising?
Ms E C VAN LINGEN: Hon Chairperson, on a point of order: I just want to ask you this: Do we have a counter government here? I ask this because South Africa is a country governed by the Constitution and Chapter 2 has got all the human rights. We are not living by the Freedom Charter. South Africa is governed by the Constitution, which is the supreme law.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Van Lingen, I am saying this, probably for the last time, with the utmost respect. One, this is not a point of order and you are raising an issue for debate. If you were to ask a member a question, you must first ascertain whether the member is ready to take your question. I have to do that on your behalf, and the member must confirm whether he or she is ready to take your question. Hon van Lingen, continue. Sorry - hon Wana, continue.
Ms T WANA: Hon Chairperson, please, I will never be the hon Van Lingen! [Laughter.] You are just destroying my image. [Laughter.]
I want to congratulate the Department of Public Service and Administration of South Africa because within this short space of time they have managed to put South Africa on the map. It has managed to win certain awards in the SADC region. Therefore, I congratulate them.
Secondly, as our chairperson has outlined, that department has almost filled all their vacancies. I am very pleased about that. They have identified that they still have a vacancy rate of 11% and they are promising to fill all those posts.
However, what I can say to them is that they must try because our manifesto as a ruling party prioritises that this ANC–led government should create jobs. Therefore, all other departments must monitor and assist them to fill all those posts. For that I say, as the ANC, we support the Budget Vote and we say, Aluta continua! Thank you. [Applause].
Ms B S MASANGO
Ms T WANA
Ms B S MASANGO: Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister Dlodlo, members of the National Council of Provinces, good evening. Having listened here, and to confirm my point, hon Deputy Minister, the absence of this department in the NCOP is quite a concern. I have just been given reason to confirm this by the very chairperson of the committee, who confused his role as a servant of the people of South Africa, through this committee, and an ANC member who is using the time here at the NCOP to further his political agenda. I just thought that was quite interesting.
And then, when the hon Wana came through, she greeted the public through the media, and then she started off saying nothing about the Budget Vote. [Laughter.] I then thought: What should the person sitting at home be listening to if you are not talking about what you are here for?
So, Chairperson, I’m just illustrating from my observation the importance of making sure that when we are here for a subject, we stick to it. But let’s go back to the Budget Vote. [Interjections.]
Hon Minister, Public Service and Administration is at the centre of government service provision, as we all know and as has been said throughout this Budget Vote debate. I am sure the Deputy Minister would agree that if we neglect our duties, we are actually holding back improvements in rendering a quality service to the citizens of this Republic.
To reiterate what my colleagues said earlier today and what my National Assembly colleagues have also been saying, the Public Service wage bill should be reduced. These resources can be channelled into the creation of economic opportunities in which small businesses and entrepreneurs can be given support to better their lives and our economy. So, since government employees are no longer allowed to do business with government, greater emphasis should be placed on the disclosure of interests, especially business interests.
The Public Service Commission found that 182 senior officials did not disclose their properties and belongings. Furthermore, only 38% and 59% of disclosure forms were submitted by national and provincial departments respectively, and this is alarming. That is the reason why it has to be confirmed because it is alarming.
How do we plan to prohibit government employees from doing business with government if they do not disclose their interests in businesses? This means that we are not applying any means of ensuring that this comes to an end - this step that has been taken towards ensuring that this does not happen.
As mine is the last speech of the DA on this Budget Vote, it has to summarise what colleagues said earlier. I have a long list here. I am not going to finish the list, but I am going to try. The issues on this list that need immediate attention in the department include the time it takes to fill vacant posts – some people will say this is repetition, but it is true; the huge bill incurred because of the extended periods of precautionary suspensions, the subsequent periods of precautionary suspensions and the consequent acting allowances; the skills shortage in our Public Service; the huge wage bill; the lack of compliance with legislation by government departments in handling disciplinary processes; political interference in the appointment of senior managers; cadre deployment; corruption in the Public Service; and improper vetting.
As I said earlier, I could just go on and on and on. These matters need to be addressed urgently. Our people need quality services as envisaged by the Constitution of the Republic. I thank you, Chairperson. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr S G THOBEJANE
Ms B S MASANGO
Mr S G THOBEJANE: House Chairperson, Deputy Minister, members of the National Council of Provinces, ladies and gentlemen, once again: good evening. We are debating Budget Vote 10, which has the significant role of building what we call the transformative and developmental state that we wanted to achieve at the end of our plan. As we said: We have arrived where we want to.
Deputy Minister, we are looking to the department, of course, to guide the public servant, not only mechanically but also to transform the soul of our people, making sure that they become a caring public servant; that they worry about us, the people they are providing a service to.
As you deal with your four key touchpoints, therefore, you need to include the human face of making sure that we transform and change the attitude of our public servants; that they start to understand that they are there as the hope of the people of South Africa. All of us are relying on the services that government will provide to us in order to build the better society we intend to build. The efficiency and the effectiveness of the public servant should be fundamental to how we build our institutions in order to make sure that our people properly receive the services they need most.
We are saying this, taking into consideration that the majority of the people who rely on public servants are the poor, the vulnerable and the people who expect government to give them everything they would want to get. If we do not build a very effective public servant, we are saying that these people have nowhere to go. We do know that some of our people in this country have got to where they want to be, hence they do not care about public servants.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! Hon member, I am sorry. Hon members, we have been subjected to serious workshops and training, and it is totally not in order what you are doing, hon Michalakis. You have been allocated a seat, and you know where you are supposed to be seated. We are busy with a Budget Vote of a department. I hope the Whip will address this. Sorry, hon Thobejane, you can continue.
Mr S G THOBEJANE: Ke a leboga, Moduasetulo. Ke be ke sa hlalosa mo ke bontšha gore go bohlokwa gore ditirelo tša rena tša setšhaba di be maemong a mabotse go fa batho ditirelo tšeo ba di hlokago. Ka godimo ga fao, re hlokometše gore taba ye ya go se tlatše dikgoba mmušong e ba bothata bjo bo nyakago gore le bo hlokomele, Motlatša Tona, le bo lokiše bjalo ka ge le etla ka maano a gore ...
... the delegation of powers to Ministers and MECs is what you are considering too. It should be fast-tracked in a way that ...
... ga re tšwele pele go bona batho ba rena ba palelwa ke go fiwa ditirelo ka lebaka la gore diposo ga di a tlatšwa ka tshwanelo.
Eupša taba ye e sepelelana le ya ge batho ba sentše mmušong. Batho ba ba swanetše ba išwe makgotla-kgalemong. Taba ye e sepela nako ye telelele ra ba ra hwetša re sa tsebe gore e sa le gona na. Mo nakong ye, batho bona ba re gononelago gore ba swanetše ba kgalengwe, ba tšwela pele ba a gola; ba humana tšhelete ya mmušo. Mafelelong ge re fetša taba, o humana e le gore motho yoo o sentše tšhelete ye ntšintši. Ge e le gore o hwetšwa a le molato, go bonagala gore re be re senya tšhelete yela ka gore motho yoo o na le molato. Bjalo, re swanetše re be le tsela yeo re sepetšago makgotla-kgalemo ka lebelonyana, gape le dilo di sepele ka tshwanelo. Re a tseba gore go ditelega ga go tšwe go lena feela. Le rena bao re amegago gantši re diriša molao go ditela dilo ka moka ge re swanetše re itšweletše. Efela mmušo o swanetše o be le bokgoni bjo bokaone bja go dira dilo tše gore re se ke ra tšwela pele go ba le makgotla-kgalemo ao a sa felego gohlegohle. Ke rata go tšea mohlala ka profense ya gešo ya Limpopo yeo e sa tšwago ka fase ga taolo. Go sa na le batho ba bantši bao ba swanetšego ba ye makgotla-kgalemong. Efela makgotla-kgalemo a gona ga a sepele. Go fihla mo e lego nako ye a swanetšego go ba gona e a feta.
Gape re a tseba gore molao o re mo go nago le motšwaoswere, Motlatša Tona, go swanetše go fihla lebakeng le itšego. Efela ge re lebetše mmušong wa rena, go ba le bomotšwaoswere ba bantši nako ye telele. Bjalo, se ke se sengwe sa dilo tšeo di amago mošomo wa mmušo. Ge re ka kgona go hlokomela dilo tša go swana le se, re tlo aga mmušo wo mokaone ra kgona go ihlaloša go batho ba Afrika-Borwa ra ba bontšha gore dilo di sepela ka tsela ya maleba.
Ke gopola gore mmušo wa ANC ke mmušo wo o eteletšego batho ba Afrika-Borwa pele ka maikarabelo ao a feleletšego. Ke ka lebaka leo o sa kego o katakata taba ye ya go bolela ka bomenetša. O e bolediša ka dinako ka moka ge dilo di sa sepele gabotse - gore go na le batho bašoming ba rena ba mmušo bao diatla tša bona di kgamathetšego madi. Ba a senya, ba senyetša mmušo. Ba senyetša batšhedi ba motšhelo. Bjalo, re gopola gore dilo tše bjalo ka tše ge di ka šalwa morago tša kgalengwa gomme tša sepela ka tsela ya maleba, re tla bona re fihlelela dilo tše re di nyakago.
Re a tseba gore gantši ge re bolela ka Palamenteng, le mo gore re swanetšego go kwana re bontšhe gore dilo ga di sepele gabotse, tšatši le lengwe ba bangwe ba kgetha go tšea tsela ya bona ye e sego yona. Nnete ke gore komiti ye re dulago go yona ga e tsefele ke tsela yeo kgoro e tšeago NCOP ka gona. Kgoro ga e tšee taba ya NCOP ka tsela ya maleba. Re be re duma gore le tšee karolo bjalo ka ge go swanetše. Re swanetše re tsebe gore le tla kae kotara ka kotara ge re šalela re boutela Tekanyetšo ya lena ya Kabo ya Ditšhelete. Re swanetše re tsebe gore le tla kae le gore na mananeo a lena a sepela ka tsela ya maleba. Lebaka ke gore bontši bja tšeo Mohlakiši Kakaretšo a kopanago le tšona bo nyaka tekolo ya kgoro ya lena. Bjalo, ge le ka tšwelela la re bontšha gore le katana le eng le gore le lokiša bašomi ba mmušo ka tsela ya mohuta mang, re tla kgona go dira tlhokomedišišo ya rena ka tsela ye kaone. Ge le thoma le sa itšweletše, ...
We will be able to do our oversight in a better way. At the moment you deprive us of information that will help us to do oversight effectively on behalf of the people of South Africa.
Bjalo, rena re dumela gore ge re ka šoma mmogo ra dira mmogo, taba ye ya go gana diBoutu tša Ditekanyetšo tša Kabo ya Ditšhelete e tla fela gomme ka moka ga rena ra šoma re le bašomi ba Afrika-Borwa ra hlatloša naga ya rena gore e kgone go phadišana le dinaga tše dingwe. Ga re a swanela go lebala gore Afrika-Borwa e phadišana le dinaga tše dingwe lefaseng.
So, in everything we do, we should be able to say that we are putting our country forward.
Re nyaka go e bea mmepeng gore batho ka moka ba e hlomphe lefaseng.
Ka wona mantšu a, re rata gore rena ba komiti ye – kudu rena ba go tšwa go ANC – ga re lebelele morago ge re re Boutu ye ya Ditekanyetšo tša Kabo ya Ditšhelete e amogelwe e be ye e tlago kgona go sepetša ditirelo tša mmušo gabotse. Sebatakgomo. [Legofsi.]
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION
Mr S G THOBEJANE
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION: Hon Chairperson, hon members, thank you very much for your inputs. I would like to set the record straight. To my knowledge, when we are invited to come and give a presentation to the House, we do come. This is why, the last time I appeared before this House, I specifically requested the House to make sure that they call us to account from time to time. It was a plea I personally made to the House. [Interjections.]
I think we should plan better - not that I am chastising the House - so that we are able to engage more frequently because this is how our people will know what it is that we are doing and where it is that we need to be correcting matters.
The second thing I want to raise is that I think it is a bit disingenuous and unfair to mislead the public on the things that happen within the Public Service. I think as much as possible - because we are the representatives of the people - we need to be as honest as possible in our deliberations - both from our side as government and also from the side of the committee itself, so that when we engage we are able to give people an opportunity to determine what it is that we say we will be doing, whether or not it does indeed happen or not.
I will give a few examples. The Budget Vote for the department is much more than the salaries of all the deputy directors-general and directors-general combined. The department is a small department that deals with norms and standards across the Public Service and the budget for the directors-general and deputy directors-general is a very small budget throughout the portfolio.
I think it is unfair to say to the public that that is where the budget goes because I think at some point we need to assist one another to understand how the planning processes of government work. First and foremost, all departments are guided by the National Development Plan, which further informs the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, including other variables. That strategic framework is then costed. From that you then have your yearly or Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.
The processes need to be understood in context, so that when we talk to our people out there, we are able to explain this effectively. I think some education needs to happen in an effort to help one another understand how the planning processes of government work and how the reporting processes of government work.
Determining by what percentage wages need to grow is a process that is determined at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council. It is not the department that determines that; it happens through a process of negotiations. Again, let us inform our people properly that the process entails negotiations - and not just with the Cosatu-affiliated unions, as people will want us to convey to the public. That is not true. There are other unions that are not affiliated with Cosatu and are part of that process.
Again, I think all unions will go into the negotiation process so that they can get the best they can out of the process for their membership. Out of about 1,3 million public servants, only about 600 have been found not to have the prerequisite skills. I am talking about the Public Service that I work for. Only about 600 have been found not to have the prerequisite skills. Applicants are included in that 600, which means that those applicants will automatically fall by the wayside. The issue is not as bad as it is made out to be, but 600 is way too much. I am not justifying that when I say it is better.
On issues relating to discipline and such stuff – matters that are labour related in nature - I have said that we have developed a pool of experts that will be able to help government deal with all the matters relating to precautionary suspensions and also with disciplinary cases, grievances and matters like that. We are doing something about that - of course, we can always do better.
On financial disclosure, as at the end of May 2013, we stood at 81% for national departments again, and at 88% for provinces. Let us be truthful and honest when we report on these matters. I do not have the figures for 2013-14. I would like to say that regarding the questions that have been asked of the department, if anybody needed further information, we only need to be called by you as the select committee to come and give an account of what it is that the department is doing. We are always ready to do that. If you call us, we will come. We have made that commitment and it is a commitment that we want to stick to. Thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Order! I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Deputy Minister for making herself available.
The Council adjourned at 20:00.
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