Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised Hansard
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 01 Nov 2017
No summary available.
TUESDAY, 01 NOVEMBER 2017
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 14:02.
The Chairperson took the chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
QUESTIONS - DEPUTY PRESIDENT
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: You are very welcome, Sir. I would also like to welcome a very important guest of Minister Patel, the Sultan of Theodore Island in Indonesia, Mr Abubakar Altin, who is accompanied by Mr Mohamed Amin Farouk and delegation for a courtesy visit. Mr Farouk is a direct descendent of an Indonesia Freedom Fighter imprisoned on Robben Island in the year 1780 for fighting against Dutch colonisation. We salute, Sir. Thank you very much hon members.
In that excitement, hon members we will now proceed with the questions as printed on the Order pPaper. Deputy President, do you prefer the podium? Thank you, sir. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Chairperson and hon members, I also paid tribute to the Sultan of Theodore and also to Mr Farouk for their courtesy visit here and welcome them warmly.
I should apologise to members because I was requested to meet them outside briefly and that’s what caused the delay in my coming to the House. Mr Farouk is a descendent of the Farouk family. He was brought here in 1780.
But the important part of that story is that he is a relative of Minister Ibrahim Patel. Ibrahim Patel is therefore a great grandson of the great man who was imprisoned on Robben Island and served 12 years. After serving those 12 years he settled here in South Africa. So, Mr Farouk is a descendent of a great freedom fighter and so is the descendent, Mr Ibrahim Patel, and we pay tribute to you, Mr Farouk, for visiting our country. Thank you very much.
The development of township enterprises is a critical part of inclusive growth and real economic transformation that our government is committed to. In many ways it speaks to what we seek to do to develop township economies and rural economies in our country.
The spatial geography of apartheid damaged and deformed the economy of our country in many ways but also by creating a division where the majority of our people lived, worked and shopped and this in many ways impose enormous costs on our people.
Many township entrepreneurs were and are still excluded and restricted from opportunities in the major commercial centres of our country. Having been relegated to being small business players in the townships and in the rural areas, they have not yet found opportunities that can truly empower them.
However the government is determined to reverse this. We are already implementing key elements of a strategy to boost township enterprises to increase the involvement of South Africans in the economy, as well as to expand opportunities for our people through the Small Enterprise Finance Agency,
SEFA. Many small businesses located in our township have already received loans and industrial funding to enable them to enter new markets and also to expand their businesses and their operations.
Last year, disbursements from the SEFA total around R1 billion and this was targeted towards township businesses as well as rural businesses. As it was announced in the Medium-Term Budget Statement by the Minister of Finance last week, a new fund for small businesses and innovation will be established, which will be allocated R1 billion in 2019-20. The National Informal Business Upliftment Strategy is also available to help township enterprises to upgrade their business activities.
Now, through the Competition Commission, the market enquiry into the grocery retail sector, the government is looking specifically at the competition, spaza shops, phase from larger malls and the factors that may limit the growth of township grocery retail market.
The actions against cartels and monopolies are further means and ways of opening space for township enterprises. It was
through the complaints that were raised by township shop owners that the investigation into the bread cartels was launched.
With respect to youth entrepreneurs, the government provides financial support to youth-owned businesses through the SEFA, the National Empowerment Fund, NEF, as well the Industrial Development Corporation, IDC. In the past financial year, the IDC, approved R2,3 billion funding to youth empowered businesses, which are those with more than 25% youth equity ownership.
Last year, the SEFA reported that it approved funding of R222 000 000 million to over 10 000 youth-owned businesses - showing that the focus is on helping to empower youth-owned businesses. Much is being done to empower the youth and to also develop township enterprises, however, given the legacy of apartheid planning and the dire extent of youth unemployment, there is still much that needs to be done and
what also needs to be done is to improve the business skills, the entrepreneurial knowledge of young people in the townships, in the rural areas and we are embarking on a number of other initiatives of setting up incubation centres that are
going to help young people to become more proficient in the world of business. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
Mr M RAYI: Hon Chairperson and hon Deputy President, thank you very much for a comprehensive response.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Rayi, you are not audible. Thank you.
Mr M RAYI: Okay. Deputy President, I am from a select committee that oversee Tourism. It has been confirmed in the meeting that all together the spheres of government spent just on officials to meetings from Pretoria to Cape Town but also provinces amongst the local government sphere. They spent around 10 billion just on accommodation. I was wondering if this is a good strategy for township economy shouldn’t also compel departments so that government sets an example to invest in township economy particularly with regard to the Bed and Breakfast, B&Bs, rather than us going to hotels in towns. So, my question will be around that but also this is just an example on Tourism but also other sectors within the government as to whether they shouldn’t be compelled but also it should become the programme of each of the department that
they should report on what they are doing to grow township economy. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Chairperson, I couldn’t agree more that we need to do a lot more than what we are doing in relation to developing the township economy as well as the rural economy. And one of the ways is how the government spends its money and the government is the one agent that can stimulates the growth of the township economy by helping those entrepreneurs and by giving them business. But more importantly by also finding ways and means of incentivising them because it is out of doing that will be able to stimulate that type of business that will enable players to come into the market place and create those B&Bs and the whole range of other facilities.
And I can say that ... I mean in a number of areas and its small pockets throughout the country, we are seeing a development of how the creation of B&Bs and meeting facilities in the township actually can help to stimulate those economies. I have seen it in Soweto, for instance, with Vilakazi Street and if we could have more and more Vilakazi Street type of investment notes, our economies in the
townships can grow and this requires a determined approach by local government, provincial government, as well as national government.
So, we need to come up with incentive packages that can help to create those types of businesses and stimulates them and once they are stimulated and incentivised, they can grow on their own and they will be able to market those type of facilities themselves and attract a lot of clientele and users of the services that they provide. So, I agree with you. It could be money well-spent and it is where we should be spending our money much more than in the traditionally established areas where it is much easier to go.
We should go to new frontiers and townships and rural areas should be seen as new economic frontiers by us as South Africans, by the government itself. That is where we should be flocking to empower our economy but also to empower our people, who were previously restricted and prevented from operating in other more established areas. So, I agree with that. I am done. Thank you. [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members they must be on silent.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Hon Deputy President and hon Chairperson, I want to thank you for allowing me on my most important day, which is my marriage anniversary day - having being able to achieve twelve years. Yes, twelve. Hon Deputy President ... [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Mokwele, congratulations. Can we proceed with the business of the House?
Ms T J MOKWELE: Hon Deputy President, as a country we are experiencing challenges with regard to finances or developing our communities. Now, I am wondering if you have ever thought of narrowing your Cabinet size as executive to make sure that you redirect the funds that are allocate to, especially ministries that are not important for South Africans, so that we redirect the funds into township economic development, also into assisting small businesses so that they can develop. So, I am just asking you as my leader that have you ever considered that we should narrow the Cabinet based on the fact
that South Africa is the only country in the world with such a huge Cabinet size. Have you ever considered that?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Chairperson, let me take this opportunity to congratulate hon Mokwele on her birthday.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: No, wedding anniversary.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Oh, is a wedding anniversary? Oh, my! That is even better. Oh, that is even better. That is why you were showing your ring. Wow, well that’s even better than a birthday. We congratulate you and we are hoping that we will join you tonight in your celebration. [Laughter.]
The question of the size of the executive is a matter obviously that is decided upon in many ways by the President and its composition is something with regard to size, that has been debated on a number of occasions and a number of people have come forward with proposals that if you were to reduce the size of your executive it would save quite a lot of costs and I think these are matters that need to be given thought to.
We also need to give thought to where we can cut costs. What areas can we cut back on and save money? It could be areas like travel and as we travel overseas, how many people should we be taking in the delegation and all that, because these are very difficult times from an economic point of view. We do need to tighten our belts as our financial resources are becoming lesser and lesser from a revenue collection point of view.
We therefore need everyone to tighten their belts and it should start right from the top, from the executive to the parliamentarians, as well as all of us who are in government service and find ways and means of cutting down on everything that we are spending money on.
So, this is a collective effort and I am glad that it is being raised at this platform of Members of the NCOP, because it is here that we give leadership to everyone who works in the government sector. What you have said, we will be able to take forward and take into account that these are the sentiments that are being expressed by Members of the NCOP. Thank you very much.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Deputy President, I think you are already ushering in some changes for the next term ... [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I don’t know what you are talking about.
Mr J W W JULIUS: ... that the Cabinet won’t be as bloated as it is right now.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I don’t know.
Mr J W W JULIUS: But also just to congratulate hon Mokwele, I think next time you should dress up on your anniversary and get rid of the red overalls. [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order, members.
Mr J W W JULIUS: The culture of revitalisation programme can and will drastically transform the South African economy as you mentioned earlier, however, cumbersome bureaucratic regulation, high rates and infrastructural degradation hampers the Takeover Regulation Panel, TRP, in Gauteng especially.
Furthermore, it must be note that it is only focusing on certain areas in Gauteng, like Ekurhuleni, where the Mayor unfortunately said he won’t serve under you, but it is focusing on that area.
So, my question is this: What is being done to reduce these bureaucratic regulations and other hindrances in these municipalities and when was this intervention started if at all? Thank you, Chairperson.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Chairperson, the question of bureaucratic log jams and restrictions is a matter that is being attended to on an ongoing basis. When we first met with business through the Presidential Business Initiative, this is what many business people raised and one of the key issues the raised is that what is holding small and medium enterprises back is the bureaucracy and the various regulations that impede them from being successful and we embarked on a process to which we would look at the various restrictions that hold business back.
I can testify that there is a quite a few and that is why we have embarked on this process of looking more closely at what
those are - various municipal, provincial as well as national regulations. So, all those need to be looked at. Those that are not necessary and those that are found to be impeding the growth and development of business should actually be done away with because we need to free our businesses particularly in the townships and the rural areas so that they can thrive. Unnecessary restrictions like laws or regulations that hold them back and tie their hands should be set aside so that they operate.
Of course, we do need regulations and laws that are going to make every business to operate in terms of our rules, regulations and laws and we need to make them to adhere to those but we also need to ensure that they are not held back. We found that in many economies around the world if restrictions and the bureaucracy are lessoned, small and medium enterprises tend to grow and to thrive and this is precisely what we want to see in our economy as well.
Our economy can create many more jobs at the small and medium enterprise level than what we are creating now. Our participation with regard to job creation is around 55% or so. In other countries, small and medium enterprises create up to
85% of the jobs that are created in a country. So, there is still great opportunity for us to create more jobs and this we can do by freeing small and medium enterprises. In this case because of the history that we have had, we can free the township entrepreneurs and make them fly and make them contribute more meaningfully in the economy of our country by not having laws and regulations that restrict them too much.
Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
Mr E MAKUE: Chairperson, allow me to also thank the Deputy President particularly for putting the emphasis on both township and rural economies because I hear the voice of one our premiers in my ear when he talks about the towns and the villagers and it is important that we should include all of them.
Also, that this matter is going to be very complicated because what we have seen happening is the rise of supermarkets within our townships and also a very interesting development which is the foreign nationals opening spaza shops within our townships, primarily because they have a supply pool to supply lower prices.
My question therefore would have the two elements, which is the one in the strategy that we are looking at now. Is there also an element to help entrepreneurs so that there can be that supply pool so that they are able to make profits but also provide goods and services at reduced prices?
The second part of that is the reality that we are setting in the post-industrial revolution. If I go to Vilakazi Street now, I want to able to have Wi-Fi connection otherwise it is going to be less attractive to me as a tourist. Is that also an element of the plan that is embraced? I think it is just a piece of opinion that I would want to give is that we should never underestimate the potential of the entrepreneurs themselves to provide us as political leaders with guidance as to what they want. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, please, remember that you are only allowed one supplementary question. You can use your two minutes to preamble but ... , Deputy President, please.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Chairperson, it is on the very last opinion that you give that I would like to start my
reply. I an had occasion when we doing door to door visits in Orlando West. When I walked into a house and I found quite a number of brothers and sisters who are entrepreneurs and who said to me, our businesses here in the townships have died.
The one thing that we expect our government to do is to help to boost those businesses. Our corner shops have died. We no longer have facilities that are offered by the government. We would like the government to support us. They further said, we don’t need a lot of assistance and a lot of money; we just want government to be an enabler.
The government to assist and boost us, so that we can revitalise our corner shops and the government can do so by providing the facilities, the way with all to enable us to raise our businesses from the ashes of the destruction that has happened with the flooding in of other people from other countries who have come in to offer cheaper goods. They said, if we were to be given that opportunity and that uplift and assist, we would be able to revitalise our businesses and we will be able to become well-meaning entrepreneurs in our own country.
So, I took leaf from that and I felt that we need to be listening. We need to be listening to our entrepreneurs in the townships and in the rural areas and give an ear to some of their concerns and to some of the things they are putting forward to us because it is when we do so that we are able to come up with strategies that can assist them, for instance, when it comes to these various malls that are in our townships, we need to be pushing more and more so that space and opportunity should be created for our small-medium enterprises, yes, to participate there but also to create other shopping areas for our small and medium enterprises so that they create a market because we need to assist and support them in creating a good market for their services and their goods.
Our people have always been entrepreneurial, we just need to give them the possibilities, the capabilities and the energy to be able to do so and if we are able to do so they will form their own clubs. They will form their own consortia where they will buy in bulk and reduce the cost of the goods that our people buy from them. If we just give them the legs, give them the facilities and if we assist them. This gentleman by the name of Sibeko said, we don’t even need a lot of money. We
just need very little money either as loans or as part grants from our government to enable us to thrive and to succeed.
That in many ways can lead to the revitalisation of township economies, your Vilakazi Street type of business area can be spread throughout the country.
This, I believe needs to be an area of focus by our government and to focus on it quite vigorously to create markets and businesses in our country. Our people spend a lot of money travelling to the cities on transport to go and buy the very goods that they could easily have bought if they themselves were traders and entrepreneurs in the areas were they live.
So, there is great opportunity and our government just needs to come in and give them as much assistance as possible. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Chairperson, as the Leader of Government Business, I regularly table a report to Cabinet on the activities of members of the executive, as I did this morning at the Cabinet meeting, in relation to their responsibilities in Parliament, but it is not the function of the Leader of Government Business to discipline members of the
executive. I have always said that it is Parliament that should do so.
Where difficulties arise between Ministers and committees, such issues should be escalated to the appropriate parliamentary structures. I say this with great respect because, as members of the executive, we are all accountable to Parliament. That is something that should never be forgotten. That is a fact that we sometimes grouse over and don’t keep in the front of our minds.
Parliament has the full right and authority to sanction members, not only its members but also members of the executive. Those who miss scheduled meetings without a reasonable explanation can indeed be sanctioned by Parliament. Such powers do not reside with the Leader of Government Business.
As members may be aware, Minister Dlamini appeared before the joint meeting of the Standing committee on public accounts, Scopa, and the Portfolio Committee on Social Development yesterday, 31 October and that engagement is expected to continue later today.
I personally had a discussion with Minister Dlamini and we discussed the matter of her working in a co-operative way with the committee and that is happening. She appeared before Scopa. At the end, she is going to continue that engagement today.
As the interface between Parliament and the executive and the office of the Leader of Government Business, we will continue to work with Parliament to ensure that there is effective co- ordination and accountability. I would like to say that we should take this matter as a matter that we need to deal with on a co-operative basis. Where there are lapses, where there are problems and challenges, we should raise them, discuss them and then raise them with the respective member of the executive.
May I say that, in my view, it is not because there is a reluctance to attend to these matters; it is often the scheduling of the meetings. Sometimes we have crossed wires when it comes to that, but we rest assured that when matters of this nature are raised, they are followed up. And I am happy to say today, as we speak, that it is being followed up and today, the Minister of Social Development is working
together with the relevant committees and structures. Thank you.
Ms B A ENGELBRECHT: Madam Chair, Deputy President, thank you for that explanation. Yes, you are absolutely correct. The Minister has evaded the portfolio. She has not pitched up at Scopa. She has refused to answer questions and yet, she is still being protected by the ANC. Just last week on 25 October, you mentioned it. She failed once again to appear before Parliament. She has violated the Constitutional Court’s ruling by still allowing Cash Paymaster Services to pay for social grants.
So, I hear what you had to say where you basically absolved yourself from all responsibilities. So, my question to you as Leader of Government Business, which is your title, and I think you do need to take responsibility for that, is: What undertaking will you, as Leader of Government Business, make to ensure that the Minister is actually and eventually held accountable for her deeds?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Chairperson, as I was saying, it is not so much what I will do, but much more what Parliament
do to exercise its own duties to make sure that the executive is accountable. We have a separation of powers, as embedded in our Constitution. Parliament has its responsibility to make sure that we as members of the executive are held accountable for the tasks that we were given by the nation, the people of our country. If we don’t exercise those tasks, Parliament, in terms of its Rules and its Constitution does have the right to hold us accountable.
But, having said that, today, as we speak, the Minister is working with the various structures here in Parliament to address precisely the problem that has arisen. Yesterday, she was with Scopa and today, that engagement continues and Scopa has actually said that they should meet and come up with a result.
Let us allow that to happen because we have a serious problem that needs to be addressed. So, it is no use to be grandstanding, with great respect to you. Let us just make sure that the problem is solved and addressed. That should hopefully happen today, as they meet. That should be our focus. Thank you.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Deputy President, this matter is not about hon Bathabile Dlamini, Fela, it also cuts across all the Gupta- linked Ministers. Whenever Parliament had to hold them accountable, they don’t come, they abscond or the chairperson responsible for a particular portfolio will be removed. One way or the other, it is happening.
It is very difficult, as Parliament, to hold the executive accountable when there is political factions and political interference by ubaba ka [father of] Duduzane. It is very difficult for Parliament to deal with Ministers that are appointed at Saxonwold. That is the problem.
I will give an example of hon Faith Muthambi. She was called by the committee to come and account, but instead of her coming, the ANC caucus spoke and the Minister responsible cited her dissatisfaction towards the chairperson of the committee and the chairperson of the committee was removed.
I know that it is not your responsibility as Leader of Government Business, but I think you and the President are forming part of the Presidency. What do you as capacitated
members of Cabinet discuss in your meeting with the President to make sure that you deal with this? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Mokwele, I seem to be reading that as an invitation for you to attend meetings to come and hear what we discuss. [Laughter.] So, we will consider that invitation. More seriously, I think what we should not do, as Parliament is to, in the face of the challenges and the problems, which could include the nonattendance of members of the executive, run away and throw our hands up in the air. We are politicians and we are here elected to deal with difficult and complex matters. Those matters include precisely the challenge that you have spoken about.
As I was saying earlier, my task as Leader of Government Business, is to raise all these matters with members of the executive and make sure that members of the executive are aware of their responsibilities. But, at the end, the task of making members accountable rests with Parliament. It rests with this House and it rests with the National Assemble. That is where all of us are accountable. That is why we come here to answer questions. My presence here and appearance here to answer questions is that exercise of accountability.
If I did not come here to answer questions, you would be fully entitled to sanction me, to take whatever action that you may well wish against me.
So, I am saying this is politics. We are all politicians. Let us deal with the matter in terms of our Rules, in terms of the Constitution, to enforce the principle of accountability and actually increase and inculcate that culture of the executive being accountable.
As with Minister Dlamini, right now today, she is going to be appearing before the relevant structure and they are seeking to resolve this matter, which, as you correctly say, is a matter that affects the whole nation. That is the task that she knows she has at hand, to make sure that the problems are solved.
Ms T MOTARA: Deputy President, I think you have eloquently expressed the role of Parliament, as it relates to the executive. I think there has to definitely be healthy tension between the legislature and the executive in that accountability and in our role of holding the executive to account. A lot has been asked or said in relation to your
responsibilities as Leader of Government Business. Could you please, without going into extensive detail, express what your roles and responsibilities are, as Leader of Government Business, and when responding to that, could you, in your role as Leader of Government Business, relate to us as Parliament, what some of the issues are that Parliament needs to address in making your role as Leader of Government Business an easier one.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Chairperson, the role of the Leader of Government Business clearly is the interface between the executive and Parliament, and to ensure that there are good relations and smooth working relations between the two entities, whilst observing the separation of powers.
Now, in terms of our Rules, the Leader of Government Business has to relate to the Speaker of Parliament and the Chair of the NCOP, and meet on a regular basis to deal with matters that have to do with that relationship. And those would deal with the programming of Parliament; the programming of the legislative programme, for instance, that will come from the executive into Parliament, being the National Assembly and the NCOP; how we streamline the tabling of those Bills and how
many Bills we expect should be passed in the year; and making sure that committees function well.
Now, we meet on a regular basis to deal with precisely that. Of course, we also deal with the ability of members of the executive to execute their own tasks, particularly in relation to, yes, ensuring that the answering of both written and oral questions takes place; and ensuring that the executive, yes, is living up to what it should.
However, the issue of accountability in the end is then left to the House. In doing all this, we smoothen the relationship and you are correct in saying that there has to be a healthy tension that, at the end, will mean that the executive should not try to encroach on the tasks and responsibilities of the legislature and similarly, the legislature should not encroach on the tasks and responsibilities of the executive.
When, for instance, there are changes, as there have been in the past in the executive, the Leader of Government Business has to notify the Speaker of Parliament and the Chairperson of the NCOP in a formal way, in a letter, that this has happened. Those are all set out in our Rules.
What will make our task a lot easier, as the Leader of Government Business and Parliament, is to make sure that Parliament does exercise its own role and that Parliament does hold us to account. You put it beautifully, hon Motara, by saying, healthy tension. There does need to be that tension.
It cannot forever be a sweetheart type of relationship. That tension does need to be there, but it should never be a tension of a hostile nature. It should be the type of tension that will demonstrate to the executive that we are accountable to the legislature and to Members of Parliament.
That will help to keep us on our toes and that will also help Members of Parliament to be on their toes and know that they have a task to execute.
The other one that will help is for Members of Parliament to take their own responsibility very seriously and to be members who will be diligent and attend their committee meetings and attend Parliament. On our side, we will also help you if we execute our tasks seriously and with diligence so that, when we are called, we come to answer questions and we attend committee meetings.
There is no other way to demonstrate that we are a fully- fletched democratic system or that we have democracy in our country, but to act out parliamentary democracy. We have got to see that it is alive. This is what is embedded in our Constitution.
So, I am saying that all arms of the state need to execute their tasks without fear or favour. That is what Parliament should also do. Thank you.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Deputy President, I hear you say that holding the Ministers accountable is about politics. It is about politics and it is about the ANC because you deploy them. It is an ANC problem that you cannot address. Now, because of that, we have factionalism, infighting, protectionism. We have a bloated Cabinet instead of about 15 Ministers. We know that, in terms of the annual reports on the performance of Ministers, ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: You are
protected. Please, proceed.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Thank you, Chairperson. We know that the annual reports on Ministers’ performance are not made public. Instead, we get an holistic view of the performance of all Ministers. So, you might miss one. In other words, the society, we, as parliamentarians, cannot hold Ministers properly accountable. I think you would agree with that.
If we get the performance reports of each and every Minister, we can properly hold them accountable. I want to know from you, as you said previously that you send in reports on Ministers, will you at least, for the sake of transparency and giving us and society, South Africans, at large, the vigour to hold Ministers accountable and make your reports available to the public? Thank you, Chair.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Chairperson, the Leader of Government Business issues a report of the executive’s performance at the end of each year. Since I have been Deputy President, I think we have issued two or three of such reports and they have correctly so, been reports that give a broad picture of how the executive has functioned in terms of the legislative programme, in terms of the executive’s
performance, and in terms of answering questions, both oral as well as written questions.
We have always found that those reports are well received. The very people that you are talking about, the masses of our people have received those reports well and they shed a light on how the executive is functioning.
In the end, in terms of our structure of government, every department, every Ministry, then issues its own report. The Presidency issues its own report and the various Ministries. In the end, we cannot be the jury as well as the judge. There are various institutions in our country that evaluate and measure the performance of the executive.
Your own party does so. The Democratic Alliance issues a report. Every year, it gives people 10 or five and all that, and we often wonder how you arrive at that. We live in a free country where everyone has the right or freedom to express themselves and we say that you are expressing yourselves in terms of the measurement of members of the executive.
As for the Leader of Government Business, we will continue to issue those reports because they are highly valued. We found that they are also appreciated by the masses of our people and they read them with a great deal of attention and interest. We will continue to issue those types of reports.
I know you would like to have reports that will drill into every member of the executive and how they have performed. That is much more sensational to you and I look forward to seeing your party, the DA, issuing such reports in that way, one day. ... [Interjections.] [Laughter.] You have said it. You say that you want to wait for 2019. Well, from your lips to God’s ears. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Chairperson, the government is not considering legislation that will ensure that a certain percentage of farms produce cash crops. However, there are policies in place that our government has introduced, such as the Agricultural Policy Action Plan that aims to ensure that agricultural land is preserved and developed appropriately.
The Draft Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Bill, which is currently at consultation phase has provisions for the declaration of protected agricultural areas which will be used for production purposes. The Bill makes provision for the establishment of a scheme to provide financial assistance to those who own land and those who use land to amongst other things, preserve agricultural land for purposes of food production and promote specific agricultural enterprise within a specific geographical area for purposes of food security.
Now, our policies need to take account of the fact that agricultural production, Madam Chairperson, ultimately depends a lot on the agro-climatic conditions that we get in our country. They also depend on the availability of water and the soil type which will determine which crops should be produced. There are certain areas that are good for certain crops and other areas that are not good for all crops.
Economic viability and sustainability also play a role in the decision on what to cultivate, where farmers respond to market needs. Through the Agricultural Policy Action Plan, producers are given guidance on key commodities to be planted depending on the agro-climatic conditions. The plan places the
imperative of food security within the broader objective of equitable growth through increased labour absorption and broadened market access and participation while maintaining a resilient and competitive sector in the agricultural sector of our economy.
Madam Chair, these are important initiatives that ensure that there is food security in our country, but also speak to how we should continue making all interventions to empower emerging farmers in our country, assist and give them the way with all through which they will be able to become successful farmers.
Agriculture by its very nature is a very difficult industry, particularly when you are an emerging farmer. Therefore, those emerging farmers need all the help and the assistance that the government can give. The government has an interest in doing so because it focuses not only on the empowerment of emerging farmers, but also on food security, which is one of the most important priority areas that the government need to focus on. So, all these initiatives are there, available to our people and the government is there to assist them. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Dr Y C VAWDA: I take this opportunity; hon Chair, not only to congratulate the hon Mokwele but also to remind hon Julius that the hon Mokwele is fully dressed. If he is hoping to see her in any other ... He can forget about it, okay. [Laughter.] If the Deputy President wishes to attend the celebrations tonight, then he better answer the question to my liking. [Laughter.]
Thank you very much Chairperson and more seriously, hon Deputy President, I fully understand that farms need to be sustainable. I have empathy for this situation. I also understand the issues related, which you haven’t really mentioned. I am now mentioning about the balance of payments on export products. I have empathy for that situation as well. But my real sympathies lies with the millions of people in this country, who cannot put bread on the table, with the thousands of children who goes to bed hungry at night. That is the rational behind this question, Deputy President. You have mentioned food security and the fact that we have limited resources and our resource both with regard to land as well as water. This is not so much about the emerging farmers and also not so much about small farmers. I humbly believe that they do
their fair bit to produce cash crops and put cash crops on the table.
The question is largely relating to the huge corporate farms that exist in this country. These farms are taking up huge amounts of land. They are also utilising lots of water in this country. These corporate are growing all the time ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Dr Vawda, your question.
Dr Y C VAWDA: ... if we do not put limitations on what they are doing. So, the question that I am asking is: Are we going to introduce legislation or are we going implement the legislation that already exist on these huge corporate farms to ensure that they do their bit to contribute to food security in this country? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Chairperson, the answer is, yes. There needs to be attention that we should pay to the huge corporate farmers and farming entities that they too should see themselves participating in the whole process of transformation. They should embrace the transformation agenda of our government because transformation of our government
speaks to, precisely, how the farming sector through these huge corporations has been monopolised. The monopolisation thereof has closed space and locked out quite a number of important players who would want to participate in this sector. So, transformation then calls for all that to be looked at, to be changed - there needs to be change because we cannot carry on this way. At the same time, we need as we change and transform to ensure that we secure food security.
The two things are not mutually exclusive. We can focus on food security and we can transform at the same time.
If all parties can embrace the transformation process and the transformation agenda, with regard to land ownership, with regard to utilisation of resources such as water because water is so important and with regard also to implements that go into farming because there is a lot of implements that is going to farming. But the other important aspect is the skills. The skills-base in farming was eroded from our people or destroyed during the period of dispossession. That is something that we should also find ways of bringing back and therefore, that calls for transformation as well as gender skills-base.
You will be pleased, hon Vawda, to know that many young people are now going into farming colleges and farming institutions to learn about farming because they see that there is a need and a gap in terms of their own career choices to get into this space. Now, what we should be doing as government is to enable them to get into the farming space to become extension officers to assist the cash crop farmers, to assist small- medium emerging farmers and indeed to interface with your big farming corporations or operations to help engender this transformation process.
I see this as an all inclusive process that can ensure food security but at the same time speed-up the question of land ownership and speed-up the question of entry of our people into the farming sector so that they too can become active participants in ensuring food security in our country. Thank you very much.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, I have the honour to welcome the wife of hon Faber in our midst. You are welcome, ma’am. [Applause.]
AN HON MEMBER: Whose wife is she?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Faber. [Interjections.] Yes. I did not recognise you, sir. I just recognise your spouse, there. Why are you up, hon Nyambi?
Mr A J NYAMBI: Point of order, Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Is it a point of order?
Mr A J NYAMBI: Yes.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Yes, sir.
Mr A J NYAMBI: We should at all times make the arrangements for the wife to be here so that we could have this proper behaviour. [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Faber, I think we can talk outside. The hon Mthimunye, you are recognised. Hon Faber, since when did you become Mthimunye? [Laughter.] Hon Mthimunye is on the floor.
Mr S G MTHIMUNYE: Madam Chair, the Deputy President has read my mind with the questions I needed to raise as supplementary
questions. He read my mind and perhaps it is also opportune as we talk agriculture to condemn equally farm killings that are happening in the farms but also to condemn the so-called Black Monday that has happened, which in my view took some posture of being racist really.
The question I needed to ask is: Through the Bill and the Agricultural Policy Action Plan that the government is busy with now, can’t we find the way because two weeks ago, we did what we called a Provincial Week as NCOP. The observation we made in farming communities, especially the farmworkers, is really a dire one. In the main it is centres around the issue of right of tenure to those poor people there. My take is that perhaps it is important for the government to consider ...
Looking at the one word that I boroowed from hon Sefako this morning, the one hector, one homestead phrase in the farming area because when we deal with this issue ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: The member is still talking. Are you interjecting what he is saying? [Interjection.] On what point, ma’am?
Ms N P KONI: Chairperson, no, I would appeal with hon Mthimunye to stop beating around the bush and come out of the box and say he agrees with the expropriation of land without compensation. That’s where he is going.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: But that’s not a point of order. Hon Mthimunye, you have 30 seconds left.
Mr S G MTHIMUNYE: My submission is to hit three birds with one stone. Do we use this transformation as a tool for right of tenure for farmworkers, empower them economically and transform the sector and also use it as some kind of food security?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Deputy President, you are at liberty to comment, but that sounded more like a comment from the hon member.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Chairperson, it is a good comment and it is a comment worthy of repetition, I would say from my side that, yes, we do need to embark on a vigorous transformation process to address land issue because there is land hunger in our country. Our people are hankering for land.
We need to address that. In addressing it, we need to ensure that there is full transformation - transformation that is going to lead to the full empowerment of our people.
When it comes to workers on farms – many of them have been working on those farms for many years and the issue of land tenure for them is an important one. I wouldn’t agree more with hon Mthimunye. We need therefore, as we transform this sector, as we ensure that land is returned back into the hands of our people, as we ensure that their skill-base is increased, as we ensure that they have market access and they farm effectively and efficiently. We complete our transformation story so that our people can reap the economic dividends of what this democracy has brought to them.
Addressing what I would call the original sin, where land was dispossessed from our people in an effective way in a transformational way, which is whole and complete, should be the approach that we utilise. That will mean that we move away from slogans. We get down to doing what is right and what will lead to food security for our people and proper empowerment.
If we can do that, then we will be able to move the land question forward in a very effective way that will end up
empowering our people much more effectively than just relying on slogans. Thank you very much.
Mr O J SEFAKO: Hon Chair, hon Deputy President, of course, it is an opportunity also to appreciate the role played by farmworkers and of course the farmers in the production of food but equally so, condemn the racist murdering of the very same farmworkers.
The follow up question is that there are wonderful pieces of legislation. The Labour Tenants Act and the Extension of Security of Tenure Act aren’t defending and protecting the poor farmworkers. What is it that you will be doing to ensure that these legislative pieces of framework are indeed enforceable to counteract the perpetuation of the sufferings so far of the farmworkers? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Chairperson, indeed, a lot needs to be done, not only to address the issues of the implementation of the Labour Tenants Act and other piece of legislation but to secure, may I say, yes, the rights of farmworkers, some of whom are killed, some of whom are put into coffins and some of whom are assaulted, they have rights that need to be upheld.
They have rights that need to be protected. The government has always sought to defend farmworkers. We need to do much more to do precisely that.
Many of our farmworkers are still subjected to evictions from farms where they have lived and worked for all their lives.
That clearly, must come to a stop that because that is a violation of the rights that they have. The rights that farm owners have cannot be the types of rights that will violate the basic human rights of farmworkers.
At the same time, we do need to condemn the farm killings that continue to take place in our country because we can never justify any form of taking anyone’s life. So, the farm killings too must be brought to an end. I stand here to also condemn those who participated in that march, where they flung out the old South African flag. If they did anything ... [Applause.] they actually just damaged their own case because by hoisting the old South African flag, they clearly demonstrated to all and sundry in our country that they still hanker for the old days of apartheid and they are still trapped by the racist past that we thought that we have moved away from. That does not do well for their course. That should
be condemned in every respect. Anybody who still hoists a flag that is representative of terrible crime that was committed against our people - what the world called a crime against humanity should be condemned very strongly.
I am hoping that that flag will never be flown in South Africa ever again and if we have seen it for the last time, this must be the last time we have seen that flag being hoisted. [Applause.]
Now, coming to farmworkers and their protection, it is something that we should treat as being priority because farmworkers are some of the most vulnerable citizens of our country. They are completely subject to the whims and the whirls of farm owners. Therefore, the government and various role players must make sure that we protect their rights.
I want to call upon farm owners to stop violating the rights of our people. They must stop killing our people. They must also stop assaulting our people. I call upon our law enforcement agencies to be a lot more vigorous, particularly in those areas where we know that those types of attacks are still prevalent. We cannot today afford to have any inch of
South African soil, where the rights of our people will be violated in the way that they continue to be violated on our farms. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Chairperson, Deputy President, what happened on Monday reminded some of us about the hardships that we went through at our very early ages. It is true that our people are still subjected to oppression, especially by white farmers. I will cite an example, in Kgetleng, Swartruggens, those people; they don’t know anything about freedom even if we are more than 20 years into democracy - they do not know what the meaning of freedom is.
The manner in which these white racists disrespects us, hon Deputy President, it brings to me a question as to, did we achieve our democracy for us to be lenient and even compromise our dignity and values as black people to be subjected to this humiliation when we said, let’s forgive and forget or can we go back, can we remind ourselves why did we had to fight for the freedom that we are in today? It must have reflection in our minds and we must rethink the issue of forgive and forget and take what is rightfully ours as black people because we
are subjected to humiliation every time we come across these white racists.
My question: Hon Deputy President; I know that our people lacks capacity – our black farmers lack capacity with regard to production. We, as a country, we don’t have enough institutions where we ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Mokwele, your time is coming to an end and you have not put the question.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Okay. Have you ever consider increasing the institutions of learning with regard to agriculture? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Chairperson, answering the question directly, yes. As I was saying earlier, the skills-base of our people when it comes to agricultural production at a high level needs to be increased. It was destroyed during the period of dispossession. Our people were forced off their farms and we were reduced into being labourers, hewers of wood and drawers of water. We now should have an opportunity of
reclaiming those skills and our people were well skilled when it comes to food production and they were good farmers.
What we now need to do is to make sure that we spread the skills and increase institutions that are going to develop those skills. Those institutions can be agricultural colleges and TVET Colleges where our people can learn technical skills, logistical skills, marketing skills and production skills.
I found that when our people are given those opportunities, they take up those skills with a great deal of enthusiasm. Our task should be to spread those skills more and more to make agriculture attractive for young people to get into and incentivise them to see agriculture as a career choice that will revolutionise agriculture.
I know of countries, such as Ethiopia, that had an agricultural sector that was right at the bottom. When they focus on it and trained tens of thousands of young people in agriculture and turn them into extension officers, they were able to upgrade the agricultural sector. Today, it is number one contributor to their GDP. I believe that it is through skills acquisition that we will be able to upgrade
agriculture. Right now, the participation of agriculture in our country is very little to our GDP but we can turn that around. We can ensure that the transformation that needs to take place with regard to land, with regard to everything that goes with land can be upgraded by giving our people skills.
The know-how in agriculture is what is the main challenge. I have found from a practical point of view. Agriculture is something that you learn over time. You don’t just learn it at college. You learn it by doing and that is where we can also harness the good meaning players in agriculture right now and get them to transfer those skills so that many of our people can acquire those skills. That can be done in real practice.
That is what we should be focusing on. Thank you, Madam Chair.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Chair, the National Development Plan, NDP, and the Industrial Action Policy Plan both place significant emphasis on leveraging public procurement to grow the domestic manufacturing sector and to create decent jobs. Since the state is a very large consumer of a wide range and variety of products, public procurement is a very strong policy instrument that can be utilised to support local
manufactures and also can be used as an instrument to engender transformation.
The Department of Trade and Industry works closely with the National Treasury, to support localisation and industrial development through policy instruments such as designations. For designated products, the preferential procurement regulations require that all organs of state should procure and purchase only locally produced products at a prescribed level of local content.
This policy lever has been used with considerable positive results to raise aggregate demand for local manufactures and to improve the competitiveness with these manufactures.
Further work is indeed needed to maximise the impact of this programme. This includes ensuring that there is compliance across all public sector procurement and that we build the requisite capacity across all organs of state for local procurement and supplier development.
Madam Chairperson, the localisation and supplier development processes that are embedded in the Competitive Supplier Development Programme which is the responsibility of the
Department of Public Enterprises has met with considerable success across the energy and rail value chain, including localisation empowerment, support for new market entrance, technology transfer and absorption as well as job creation.
South Africa is constrained by its commitments as a signatory to the World Trade Organisation in prescribing local procurement requirements to the domestic private sector.
Nevertheless our government is working with business and labour through the Proudly South Africa to promote buy local campaign.
Our social partners understand that there are massive economic benefits from buying local. If, for example, large corporates in just the retail, the construction, the health, tourism and mining sectors could clearly commit to local procurement and supply development. This would raise aggregate domestic demand supporting transformation and supporting new entrance into key value chains.
The government deploys a range of incentive programmes for companies that produce value-added goods locally with a range of conditions. These include Manufacturing Competitive
Enhancement Programme, the Special Economic Zones and the whole range of others including the Black Industrialist Programme.
South Africa has a number of critical initiatives to promote local procurement, because we have realised that it is when we promote local procurement and encourage role players to buy local that we will be able to create more jobs. We find that a number of countries are precisely doing this. I know of Uganda for instance; where they are preaching more and more product substitution by saying rather than import, make your own products so that you make more products available to your citizens.
So, through import substitution of a number of products we should be able to localise more and more. We need to expand and intensify these initiatives as part of our strategy to significantly grow our manufacturing sector and encourage the development of Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs. If we were to focus on this in a very strong and focused way, I have no doubt that we will be able to see a great improvement, particularly in our manufacturing sector because that is the real engine that can ensure that our economy begins to employ
more and more people as it is an enabler for various other sectors of our economy from mining, construction, tourism and retail and all the others. Madam Chair, it is through localisation that we will be able to achieve this goal. Thank you, very much.
Mr B G NTHEBE: Hon Chair and hon Deputy President, like you said you were quite eloquent that probably public expenditure or public procurement is one of the biggest; if we could be taking public expenditure growing on the other side as some are saying is bad, however others are arguing that it is good because if you use the public expenditure that is growing to be the procurer of goods and services that should be able to spill out into your emerging small and medium businesses for cash and capital injection that is so needed for them to survive. If you look at that comparably to our gross domestic product, GDP, and we should be using our instruments as you alluded to, to be channelling them to that direction, shouldn’t we be having growth that is spilling out into ... I am raising this because I attended the recent Energy Indaba and in that Women Energy Indaba, it was said, we are in this sector, but we are unable to penetrate because bigger businesses and government prefers already established
businesses. My question is: Shouldn’t we be rather using the procurement system that we have to be stimulating as a cash injection for small and medium businesses?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Chairperson, I could not agree more that government should be using its strength as the biggest procurer of goods and services in the country as an instrument to foster transformation and the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises. That is the lever that we need to use more effectively. However, we need to start somewhere. We need to make sure that government does indeed have those partners who are going to take up those opportunities. This is where we need to be empowering those Small and Medium Enterprises by making sure that they are created, they are sustainable in terms of their own existence they are able to get the market share and they are able to be efficient and operational.
When we are able to see them and government procurers are able to see that, that is when they are then able to take up those opportunities. It is almost like a chicken an egg type of situation, but the two cannot be said to be mutually exclusive. We can focus on growing those Small and Medium Enterprises and I would argue that that is where we need to be
investing quite a lot of money so that they grow and take up all the opportunities, but at the same time we also need to increase the skill base to make sure that they are knowledge- based, expertise-based, and their capability base is raised.
Already there are quite a number of methods and interventions that are being utilised and some of those have to do with how we can help create and grow them and how we can incubate them. The incubation process needs to grow more and more in our country. We have found that when businesses, Small and Medium Enterprises are incubated and given the necessary assistance from a skills-based point of view and how they can go and seek finance and market their goods and services they are then able to grow, increase their turnover and that engenders their sustainability and then they become attractive not only to government, but to other role players as well.
We have seen how a number of emerging Small and Medium Enterprises are taking up a huge range of opportunities and this is where government also needs to be playing. It needs to procure from them, but it also needs to help to strengthen and create them and ensure that they get skills and if we can have that the expenditure that the government is deploying can then
be taken up by those Small and Medium Enterprises. They pay tax and we then get into a virtuous positive cycle where everyone benefits. The economy benefits and they create jobs and we will see our economy turning around in a very effective way. Thank you, Chair.
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Hon Chair and hon Deputy President, I want to know from you ...
... bayakhala abantu baseMzantsi Afrika, bakhalela wena kwaye ndiyavuya ukuba uthethe ngeziseko zokutatamisa amashishini asakhulayo. Kulapho lukhula khona usana. Ndithetha njengomama. Iziseko ezingundoqo apha eMzantsi Afrika kwenziwa ntoni ngazo? Ulutsha lwaseMzantsi Afrika luyakhala, alunamisebenzi, bathi begqiba izifundo zabo babe beneenkuntyula zamatyala. Kungoko sibhekisa kuwe ukuba unike abantu baseMzansi Afrika uncedo olufunekayo. Ndifuna ukwazi kuwe ...
... if this is essential it means that when they go into the job market ...
... xa besiya kufuna imisebenzi kufuneka baqesheke. Umzantsi Afrika awuqinisekanga ngekamva labo. Ungenza ntoni ukuncedana nabo?
USEKELA MONGAMELI: Enkosi mama. Zininzi izinto esizama ukuzenza ukuba abantu bakuthi bayifumane imisebenzi, ingakumbi abo bancinci. Sifuna ukuba baqeqeshwe, baphumelele bafumane izidanga zabo ukuze bakwazi ukuxhamla kumathuba emisebenzi noba kuphi na.
It is important and this is what we are seeking to do to focus on the employment of newly qualified young people to introduce them into the world of work. Now, I have spoken before about this agreement that we have reached with the private sector of bringing up to 1 million young people over a three year period into job opportunities. This is a mega agreement and a major opportunity that is going to enable us to make a dent on youth unemployment as it will also lead to further opportunities being opened beyond the 1 million and it can run into a couple of millions and this is where once it starts next year, we will be able to call upon the private and indeed the public
sector to do everything they can to open up opportunities for young people or the unemployed people in our country so that they can get into the world of work, learn to work and get those job opportunities and we have often found that once they get into job opportunities they are then able to be employable and those certificates that they would have obtained, then work to good effect for them.
So, government is utilising this opportunity that it got with business to foster the employment of young people. However, beyond that we want to create and are essentially doing so many more opportunities for our young people and we keep looking for avenues and platforms through which we can create jobs for them so that our people can become economically active.
We want to focus on a number of sectors. The one key sector that is proven to be growing and a job creator is tourism and agriculture. We are focusing attention on those to ensure that people do get into those sectors, but not only as job seekers, but also as players, as employers and as entrepreneurs. That is why our efforts are focusing also on the creation of small medium enterprises and strengthening them as I was saying and
also creating real jobs for young people and those who are unemployed.
As our economy begins to pick up and we will be able to engender that process as well through the various other interventions that we make, we will see more and more jobs being created. This I am certain of because we have hit rock bottom and the only way to go is now up. We cannot accept that our unemployment figures keep growing and growing, we must do everything we can to inject a lot of activity in our economy to ensure that we create jobs. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
Mr O S TERBLANCHE: Chairperson and Deputy President, we are still trying as the country to recover from the bad news that we received the other day when the hon Minister of Finance tabled the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement. However, Deputy President, this morning we were fortunate again to get presentations from the private sector and academics and other people who made presentations from the revenue side and obviously also the expenditure side. Deputy President, now there are low-hanging fruits, for instance we were told and we were even given figures in that regard and that can be easily be done. If the government only decide let us say only to buy
locally manufactured vehicles for government use it is going to boost the economy and create additional jobs and really we can do something. I think that is something that can be easily done. We really need to change procurement policies and staff like that and I have worked with that in my life so, there are obviously other examples again. Deputy President, can’t we start somewhere maybe with vehicles and whatever? I would like to get your comment. Thank you, Sir.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Chairperson, I could not agree more and I think that as government we should be buying and using locally made vehicles. That is what many other countries do. Government officials and government people utilise locally made vehicles and locally made goods. I completely support that. If we were to do that and given that government is the biggest procurer of goods and services, if we were to do that it would begin to move the needle. I do not know to what extent it would move the needle, but it would certainly serve as a great demonstration to our people as a whole that buying local is lekker [Nice.] and that is what we should be doing. Buy local because it creates jobs. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Deputy President, there is a point of order. Ma’am, you are on a point of order.
Ms T J MOKWELE: My point of order is: I just want to check with the Deputy President ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: It is a point of order.
Ms T J MOKWELE: ... Yes, that he emphasises that our Minister of Finance must start wearing local clothes, so that it reflects the ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you, very much. That is not a point of order, hon Mokwele. Thank you. The hon Dikgale.
Ms M C DIKGALE: Ke a leboga. Mohl Koni, aowa ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Dikgale, I am presiding address me. [Laughter.]
Ms M C DIKGALE: Tshwarelo, ke a leboga Modulasetulo.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order!
Ms M C DIKGALE: Motlatšamopresidente, potšišo ya Mna Nthebe ke potšišo ye botse. Gape ke a kwa le ka mokgwa wo le e arabago ka gona gore le tloga le e araba botse. Go bontšha gore le tla re tlela le tharollo ye kaone. Efela bothata bjo re bago le bjona ke gore ge re eya mola ga gabolena Limpopo, diprojeke di thomilwe, go a bontšha gore batho ba na le maikemišetšo. Batho ba re go šoma ra ba thekga ka go ba rekela gatee, gomme ge o boelela gape o re o ya go ba thekga ka go ba rekela, o hwetša gore ga ba sa šoma moo. Lebaka e tla be e se gore ba a tšwafa, efela e le taba ya gore Eskom e ba dutše molaleng. Eskom e ba fa theransefoma [transformer], gomme kgwedi ge e fela e nyaka R30 000 yeo ba se nago yona. Ke a tseba gore taba ye e wela kgorong ye nngwe, feela kgopelo ya ka ke gore naa le ka dira eng gore le thuše batho bale ba Modimo ka gore Eskom ga e ba dumelele gore ba reke mohlagase wa go lefelwa pele, e nyaka gore ba lefele kgwedi ka kgwedi. Bjale ga ke tsebe gore re ka dira bjang gore batho ba feleletše ba thušega.
Re etetše naga ye nngwe – le ge e le gore nka se e bolele ka leina – moo ba rego go opela koša ya bosetšhaba, ba boa ba opela koša ya profense[provincial anthem] ya bona. Go koša yeo ba gatelela gore bomenetša le bohodu di swanetše di fele. Nako ye nngwe ba re go šoma, gosasa ge ba boela mošomong ba hwetša batho ba utswitše dilo tša bona. Se se feleletša se bontšha o ka re mmušo ga o dire mošomo wa wona, mola e le gore wona o a šoma. Re na le mathata a a mabedi. Potšišo ye ke ye botse,ebile le e araba gabotse, efela mathata šea. Ke a leboga.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Deputy President, I think you got the gist of the interaction and the question.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Ee, ke kwele.
Ms N P KONI: On a point of order, Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Deputy President before you respond, there is a point of order. Hon Koni, what is your point of order?
Mme N P KONI: Mma, ntlha yaka ya kgalemo ke gore, o mongwe wa batho ba ereng fa lo dutse mo o dutseng teng, lo be lo re bolelela kgotsa lore gopotsa jaaka maloko a EFF gore, motl Koni, potso e o e botsang e kgakala le kgang e re leng mo go yone. Ebile mokgwa o lo tlholang lo kgalema ka teng, e tlhola ekete lo tla betsa le batho ba ba arang dipotso gore potso ya rona e se ke ya ba tsewa gotlhelele. Jaanong, ke kopa gore fela jaaka o tlhola o dira mo EFF, o dire fela jalo le mo ANC. Ke a leboga mma. [Setshego.] [Tsenoganong.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Koni, the problem is that I am also very, very conversant in most of the South African vernacular languages. Ma’am Dikgale started of by getting into the gist of the question and the direction actually following up on what the Deputy President had said. Where she lost you, especially the hon Essack, is when she went to a country which has a national and a provincial that, but you could not then say you cancel out the rest of the question which she had started asking and on that yes, I get you, but she actually was not irrelevant. The Deputy President.
MOTLATŠAMOPRESIDENTE: Mohl Modulasetulo wa Ngwako, potšišo ke e kwele; gagologolo ke kwele ye ya mathata ao batho ba rena ba kua Limpopo ba nago le ona mabapi le Eskom. Nako ye nngwe Eskom e nyaka ba lefele dilo tše di swanago le ditheransefoma [transformers], tšeo ka nako ye nngwe di bitšago R30 000 go ya godimo. Ke ka lebaka leo re swanetšego re boledišane le ba Kgoro ya Enetši le Kgoro ya Dikgwebo tša Setšhaba gore ge dilo tše di swanago le tše di diragala re tsebiše Eskom gore le yona e lebelele gore e ka dira diphetogo bjang ka gore batho
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Deputy President, I have the hon Faber on his feet. Is that a point of order, sir?
Mr W F FABER: Chairperson, unfortunately I have no translations here and if someone can just help us on that.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: My apologies.
Mr W F FABER: I really like to know what the Deputy President is saying.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: On which channel?
Mr W F FABER: President or Deputy President, yes.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Faber, we will attend to that I am told it is there and I am trying to check which channel? Channel one is English. Channel one is Afrikaans and channel two. Is it now correct? My apologies for you and me not being able to see whether you are at the right channel. Deputy President, please continue. [Interjections.]
I have apologised. Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Just to give a brief summary, I was saying that clearly the hon member Dikgale was trying to say that there are problems and challenges particularly in relation to Eskom where electricity has been reticulated, but they then require that people should be paying exorbitant amounts of money for things like transformers and I was saying that, clearly this is a matter that needs to be addressed and tackled by the Departments of Energy and Public Enterprises to ensure that Eskom approaches some of these matters from a developmental agenda point of view obviously without saying
people should not pay. However, they should find ways and means of getting people to pay up, but to pay up in a way that the people who are concerned will be able to have the capability of doing so.
For what she was saying is that it is not that people do not want to pay and that people do not want to work, they do and they need to be given all the capabilities, the assistance and the support. So, I was saying it is a call that needs to be made on state-owned enterprises as well as energy to have a much more empowering type of approach to the challenges that our people are having.
It is no use being a co-operation like that and you approach these types of challenges from you know an approach that says you pay of we just cut you of. You need to precisely understand problems and challenges that people are going through and to find ways of say accommodating them and encouraging them to also pay up. Thank you very much, hon Chair.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Chairperson, in the 2017 Budget Speech, the former Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan ... [Interjections.] ... the previous Minister said proposals for putting the capital structure of SAA on a sound footing would be agreed to in the next few months and this would be dealt with in the adjustments budget later in the year.
However, the rapid deterioration of SAA’S cash flow position necessitated more urgent action to be taken. In particular, the necessity for action in terms of section 16 of the Public Finance Management Amendment Act was initially triggered by one lender, Standard Chartered Bank, which insisted that the amount of money they were owed – R2,2 billion in government- guaranteed short-term bridging facilities that it had provided to SAA – be fully settled by no later than 30 June 2017.
Another lender, Citibank, initially required a full settlement of R1,8 billion in government-guaranteed short-term bridging facilities that it had provided to SAA by no later than the
29 September 2017.
As we all know, SAA was not able to settle these debts because of the dire financial situation it had been facing. It became clear that failure to settle these debts would result in SAA
defaulting on its R1,8 billion debt to Citibank and would have resulted in cross defaults on SAA’S other guaranteed debt of R11,9 billion and general banking facilities of R830 million.
There have been protracted deliberations within government on how we should recapitalise SAA. There have also been protracted negotiations with SAA’s lenders in a bid to roll over the maturity dates of SAA’s loans. These negotiations were only concluded, as you might have imagined, during the last week of September.
In addition to the R1,8 billion due to Citibank, SAA also had loans to the value of R5 billion due to other lenders maturing at exactly the same time. These lenders agreed to extend the date of maturity on condition that government injects
R3 billion into SAA. They said, if you do so, we will then be able to extend.
A R10 billion equity injection – which includes R2,2 billion provided in June of this year and R3 billion provided in September of this year – has now been tabled by the Minister of Finance. With a reconstituted board and a newly appointed permanent CEO, government believes that SAA can and will be
put on a path of financial sustainability. However, for that to happen, the shortfall in the capital structure and over- reliance on debt by the airline has to be dealt with.
Now these are challenges that this state-owned enterprise, SAA, has had to face. As it is a state-owned enterprise, the challenges had to be borne by our government and had to be addressed.
Now, the pleasing thing is that the remedial actions that had to be taken are now under way. The board has been reconstituted, a CEO has been appointed and a clear plan to revitalise SAA is in place. I would say that we should give an opportunity for the new board and the new CEO to execute the plan which will be closely monitored by government as the shareholder on an oversight basis to make sure that SAA does indeed get out of the challenges that it is in right now.
We say good luck to SAA, its CEO and all those who have been appointed to the board as they execute this plan. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Chairperson, I have one piece of advice to the Deputy President: Just follow the OLX link and sell it! Sell it!
But, Deputy President, section 16 that you mentioned ... You know that it was triggered very late, yet they knew way before then that it was going to be done. So they side stepped parliamentary processes in order to do that R3 billion bailout.
But, be as it may, since you have been the Deputy President, the government has given out 13,9 billion in handouts to SAA. This is equivalent to funding of 58 000 three-year university degrees or 916 new schools, 116 000 RDP houses, and it would connect 2,5 million homes to the electricity grid.
Poor South African taxpayers’ money is repeatedly put to waste in SAA, yet they never get the opportunity to set foot in a plane where the money is spent.
These numbers are staggering, Deputy President, especially when one considers that 55% of our population lives in poverty. You often blame state capture and President Zuma, but
you are equally guilty of doing this. You are guilty of depriving the poor and not stopping bailouts of SOEs because these bailouts are from consequences of poor management and you are in charge of that.
The DA believes that it is time to stop throwing good money after bad. Its time for the people to eat and not the fat cats of the ANC... We simply cannot afford these bailouts ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: You are left with five seconds; ask your question, please.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Yes, thank you, Chairperson. [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order, members!
Mr J W W JULIUS: Deputy President, since you are charged with turning SAA around ... [Interjections.] ... I also want to know from you, as a businessperson, for how long we will still bail SAA out, and in how many years from now will SAA start making profits. Because the new CEO, a board and so forth can only do so much. Thank you, Chair.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Chairperson, I am sure what I had to say earlier has been clearly heard. Clearly, there are different views and opinions, from selling SAA to doing all the things that hon Julius was talking about. All we can say is, SAA is a state-owned enterprise, and there is no running away from that. So, because it is a state-owned enterprise, we have to do everything we can to revitalise it and to make it operate in a way that will be profitable and less reliant on the state.
In other countries and regimes, state-owned airlines are subsidised by government and in others they are sold off. We have not decided to sell SAA off. It is still a state-owned enterprise.
The Minister of Finance did announce something that we are going to do. Yes, we are going to assist SAA with a funding that it requires with a view to ensuring that it is revitalised. We have full confidence in the board that has now been appointed and also in the CEO. That is why, when I finished my initial remarks, I said, let’s wish them well.
Let’s not beat them to the ground. They are South Africans who have been given a very difficult task and, as they set off to
try and revitalise SAA, rather than tearing them down and criticise them, let us wish them well and say, we wish you the very best. What we want from you is to secure SAA to be a more profitable entity so that it no longer has to come to the fiscus for more draw down. That’s what we should be saying. We have SAA on our books as an asset, so let’s make it function and work.
What you are saying hon Julius is not going to help us. It is here in our hands and it is not an asset that we can just throw away because it is not doing well. What we should be doing is precisely what government has chosen to do and it is the prudent thing to do. We have chosen to revitalise SAA and to give it the wherewithal that can enable it to go back to profitability.
Can it be profitable? We all are hopeful that it can. Do we have the right jockey? Do we have the right board? We believe we have now chosen the right board, the right jockey and the CEO to make it operate well. We wish them well as we set them off in the difficult task that they have. It should not be coming from our lips that you are going to fail; you are not going to succeed. It’s like saying to your child when it goes
to school, I know you are going to fail so stop going to school. We should not be doing so, let us wish them well.
SAA is a South African asset. I plead with and beg the members of the DA to have a positive approach, if not towards anything, then at least have a positive approach to what we own as government. Thank you very much, hon Chair.
Mr L V MAGWEBU: Deputy President, I am very positive, believe me, but let’s speak the truth to power. You know what, bailouts is not free money. We live in a country where there is high unemployment. More that 9 million people are unemployed. These bailouts are simply quick fixes to the problem of mismanagement. Mismanagement is caused by corruption, procurement fraud, and abuse of power.
The Public Protector has exposed this in her State Capture report. In her report she recommended that a commission of inquiry looks into these matters. The Chief Justice must appoint a Judge because Mr Zuma is also implicated in the fraud at the SOEs and in government at large. Therefore, it would be wrong for Mr Zuma to appoint the commission because he is implicated.
Do you agree with me? And, if not, why not? It must be done in the manner that the Public Protector has recommended. [Interjections.] That’s how we can deal with the corruption at the SOEs and deal with all these matters. If that is done, these SOEs will be self- sustaining and will fly. If that is not done, these bailouts will continue and we will be throwing money into a bottomless pit because this bailout is not the first one and, I promise you, Deputy President, it won’t be the last one until we deal with state capture. That is the root cause. Until that is addressed, we are getting nowhere.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Magwebu ... [Interjections.] Order, members! [Interjections.] Order! Order! Hon Magwebu, you do know that you have pushed your luck to bring in other matters.
Deputy President, I think it would be prudent to confine ourselves to part of the question ... [Interjections.]
No! no! no! Sit down, I am ruling on this matter. I will deal with you, ma’am, I will give you a chance.
Hon Magwebu did put a question which was focused on SAA, but then he embroidered a bit on state capture and the Public Protector. That is the point I am raising, the embroidery, which you are within your rights, I suspect, with the two minutes you have.
Hon Mpambo-Sibhukwana, you are on a point of order? What is your point of order, ma’am?
Nksk T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Sihlalo, ndenza isiphakamiso sonqwanqwada: ndicela ukuphawula kule nto ithethwa ngohloniphekileyo uMokwele ukuba yintetha enobuhlanga obuninzi. Kutheni ohloniphekileyo eza kubuza ukuba kutheni kuqhwaba abantu abantsundu kuphela?
Ms N P KONI: It’s a question! Are you that dumb? How can I be racist? Are you stupid? [Interactions.]
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Can you rule on the word “dumb”?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Koni! [Interjections.] Hon Koni! You will not address members of this House as dumb and
stupid. You are impugning their integrity. It is wrong! Please withdraw.
Ms N P KONI: I withdraw unconditionally so, but black people can never be racist. This woman must not be ... [Interjections.] [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: No! no! no! Don’t do that gesture! [Interjections.] [Laughter.] Don’t do that gesture! Hon Koni, please take your seat, ma’am. What we will recognise is that you have withdrawn unreservedly and unconditionally.
That is what we are recording. [Interjections.] No, there is no standing up, we are continuing. [Laughter.] [Interjections.] Deputy President?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Chairperson, the issue of SAA and indeed other state-owned enterprises ... hon member expresses
... he says he is optimistic ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Mokwele, what is the point of order?
Ms T J MOKWELE: I understand that you have made a ruling in terms of me fighting a racist statement by asking a question. But hon Mpambo-Sibhukwana is still continuing to say I am racist and I want to make it clear to you ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: Hon
members I will not have this House ... [Interjections.]
Ms T J MOKWELE: That I am not racist, ma’am, I will never be racist but I will contest racist tendencies. That one I will do. [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: Please
take you seat and let me rule. [Interjections.]
Ms T J MOKWELE: I will never ever shy away and I will never allow a black person to be abused by white racists. [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Please take your seat. Hon members, order! [Interjections.] We are dealing with a very emotive matter. I can understand that tempers are rising, but to now degenerate the House into this sideshow is wrong.
Hon Mpambo-Sibhukwana, hon Mokwele and hon Koni let us not entertain issues of racism. Let us not denigrate one another. Let us observe the decorum of this House. I am pleading. Allow the Deputy President to finish his job. If you want to degenerate, hon members, you can come to my board room and degenerate there. I will be the referee. Deputy President, please continue. [Interjections.] I know, but at least there is space! Deputy President?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Chairperson, the hon member says he is optimistic and I take that to heart and I find that very encouraging because optimism is what we need. We need to be optimistic. Our state-owned enterprises have gone through a really horrendous period. Some of them are still going through that type of period.
But the important thing though is, with regard to Eskom, a new board has been constituted and a CEO has been appointed. Much as the hon member is saying that procurement processes are being violated and money is being stolen, through these appointments we are hoping that ... we expect – not even hoping – that they are going to be working to the processes that have been set in place. The norms, standards, corporate
governance, rules and regulations are going to obtain and they are going to adhere to good procurement processes as well.
That will lead to the stopping of any form of corruption and any form of theft. That is what we now expect.
So, with that in mind, we should therefore be optimistic like you are. So I join you in your optimism because we expect that is what is now going to happen.
Coming to the state capture issue, the commission that the Public Protector asked for ... The matter is before the court. It is being considered by the courts so let us wait to see and hear what the honourable justices are going to say because they should be issuing their judgement soon on this matter.
As we heard yesterday, the President made his submission to the court in relation to what his proposals are and they are now going to take that into account with regard to seeing how best this commission that was called for by the Public Protector should be appointed.
I think what is clear is that everyone, through the length and the breadth of the country, expects that the commission should
be appointed and, fortunately, the President himself said that he is not averse to appointing a commission. In fact, he wants to appoint a commission sooner rather than later. So, the court is going to adjudicate on this matter. Let us allow that to happen. All of us sitting here, we are just legislators; we are not judges. Let us allow the judges to do their work and we do our work as legislators. Thank you very much, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Mr F ESSACK: Chairperson, my question is a very simple one for the Deputy President, I have it right here. Regarding the boards at all our parastatals and the state-owned companies, it is a fact that these boards and CEOs that have been steering this state-owned enterprises, have turned out obviously not very successful in the long scheme of things.
So, as a successful business man or a smart business man, you would realise that it is not a very complicated one to figure out.
So my question then to you, having come from a business background myself, Deputy President, would you honestly as a smart businessman invest your hard-earned money in SAA? Thank you, Chair.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The Minister of Finance has said ... and this is in line with the policies that we have adopted as the inter-ministerial committee dealing with public or state-owned enterprises with the view to implementing the Presidential Review Committee’s report. He said that we need to be looking at how we can bring in strategic partners and equity players in some of our state-owned enterprises and we have also said that SAA is a candidate for that.
Now, what we have also said is that we need to reposition SAA. Having pumped or deployed this amount of money into SAA, having appointed a new board and a new CEO, we are confident that it will reposition SAA and make it much more operationally efficient and finally leading to a level of profitability.
There are players out there who are in this industry who would see great opportunity in investing in an airline like this. It is a big airline, possibly the biggest on the African continent and it has a lot of reach throughout the world. It is a prized asset that needs to be revitalised. If it is revitalised, it will be attractive to strategic investors, equity players who will look at it and see great opportunity.
Now you asked whether I would invest my money in SAA. I am no longer in business and ... [Laughter.] so if I were still in business, I would possibly have taken a view, but ... [Laughter.] [Interjections.] ... the view that one would take is to look at what the future portends for this asset. What opportunities lie out there for this asset? Is it possible for it to grow? What is happening in the industry?
Now, players ... business people who are in that sector would be able to take a view very quickly and see what that sectors’ future looks like from an economic or profitability point of view.
As we talk now, there are a quite number of players who believe that the airline industry, particularly where SAA is playing now, can be profitable because SAA has a domestic market and it also has a long haul market. It is one of the airlines that is big enough and has good aircrafts, good pilots, good staff, and is very safe and can keep hauling tourists and foreigners to our shores.
So, I think we need to look at SAA from the point of view of the potential. I think astute business people could possibly
see a great attraction in SAA. I am not now and never was an aviation type of investor, so I wouldn’t know. [Laughter.] But I think there is a great attraction to SAA as an asset class. Thank you very much.
Mr M D MONAKEDI: Hon Chairperson, my thanks to the Deputy President for the responses and in particular for the interventions that you as government have done to make sure that SAA, our national pride, is indeed saved.
My question is, what would the outcome have been if government had failed to intervene in the manner it did? What would have happened if government failed to intervene and put in place the plans and the additional recapitalisation? What would the implications have been if government were to fold its arms and do nothing? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: If government were to fold its arms and allow SAA to fail, it would be a real catastrophe, not only for SAA but also for our economy as well because SAA’s debt is guaranteed by government. So, if SAA were to default, that defaulting would run right across the other guarantees that government has given, not only to SAA but also to Transnet, to
Eskom, to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa, and to a number of other government-owned entities because government, in the end, is the guarantor of last resort for the debt that is carried by a number of state-owned enterprises.
So, South Africa Inc would then have been at great risk because, when creditors call on that loan and SAA is not able to pay, that nonpayment would run right across a number of other entities and South Africa would, at one go, be expected to pay up.
That would also immediately have an impact on the bonds that government has issued. It would have an impact on our own credit rating in a catastrophic way.
So, those who argue that this is throwing good money after bad just don’t realise precisely what they are talking about because it would be bad money right across the board. So, this is one blow that we just need to take on the chin and hope that the board and the CEO we have installed are going to be able to turn SAA around. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Chairperson, the Human Resource Development Council is contributing on a number of initiatives to develop scarce technical and other skills in our country.
The first area of focus is to improve access to universities, technical vocational education and training, Tvet, colleges and community education and training centres. The council is doing this by facilitating the establishment of partnerships with industry. For example, the automotive industry development centre is playing an important role in up-skilling Tvet college teachers in highly specialist automobile skills. The council works closely with the sector education and training authority, Setas, and the national skills fund to ensure that resources are allocated where the needs are identified. For example, the chemical industries education and training authority that Seta entered into a partnership with Flavius Mareka Tvet College and Sasol where learners are not only offered industry related occupational qualification, but also that they are considered first for all vacancies in their relevant disciplines at the Sasol pride.
The quality of the skills programme is another area of focus for the Human Resource Development Council, HRDC. Here the
council works very closely with the various regulatory bodies responsible for qualification and quality assurance. We have set targets for increasing numbers of the graduates who qualify with scarce skills. For example, we are aiming to increase a number of engineering graduates from 9 700 in 2012, to 13 000 engineering graduates in 2019. Teacher education
graduates are expected to increase from 13 700 to 24 000 graduates in 2019. Although these targets may seem to be very ambitious and very high, we are confident that we can attain them and we are using the approach that says “aim high and hope to reach the stars”.
South Africa enjoys a number of collaborative relationships at an international level which assist in producing valuable skills that are needed by our economy. One example is the employment improvement programme implemented in collaboration with the Japanese International Corporation Agency involving six of our universities. There are also a number of scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate South African students in a number of countries: In countries like China, Russia, Hungary, Ireland, Sweden, Japan, Chile and Cuba. The Ministry of Higher Education and Training signed an action plan with China for training of up to 2 000 public
servants in short term skill programmes. We also have a partnership with France and South Africa’s higher education institutions in the form of specialised training centre to strengthen human capacity development in the fields of science, engineering and agriculture. All these programmes are helping South Africa meet its needs for scarce technical and other skills.
The task of the council is to assist in taking these initiatives to scale and ensuring that they are properly co- ordinated, monitored and evaluated. When one travels overseas we often take time to meet a number of students that our country has farmed out to a number of institutions in the global arena and we often find, as we meet those young people that they are learning, a lot and they are determined to come back and contribute to the development of our country. A lot of work is happening at this level and the Human Resource Development Council is setting up great standards to enable our country to produce skilled people who will be able to contribute to the economy of our country. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
Ms L L ZWANE: Hon Chairperson, your Excellency Deputy President, thank you for the response, it was quite comprehensive and informative. Nonetheless, one would like to make a follow up because we all agree that South Africa as a developmental state, we need skilled and capable workforce to support inclusive growth or inclusive economic growth. I want to assume that the Council for Human Resource Development is keeping an updated record of a skills audit for those skills that we have and skills that we need to have. I also want to agree with you, Deputy President, when you say that we have got students that are recipients of scholarships in overseas countries. Also, as committees of Parliament when we are on study tours, we do come across those students. For instance, in the Czech Republic we met a group of students that were receiving skills on the assembly of the train and it was interesting that amongst those six students that were there, there were female students as well from Gauteng.
However, I was yearning that all the other provinces would actual have an opportunity to send the youth out there to acquire skills. In Netherland, for instance, there was a group that was trained in the assembling of cars. There are many other countries that we have met our students studying there
and we want to appreciate the effort by the government to ensure that they go outside to get the skills. Therefore, my question, Deputy President, is in light of the fact that we need more skills, we need to focus on artisanry as a country. The way our budget is structured, do you think it is favoured adequately towards skills acquisition or that is not the case because I would imagine that if you want to grow the economy, we need to put our budget more on skills development, particularly the budget of Higher Education and Training.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I can say without any shadow of doubt that if there is a portion of our budget that goes to one area it is towards education. Our government right from 1994 has sought to allocate as much resources as possible to education and also to skills development. However, in addition to that the wonderful thing that has been unfolding in our country is that the various, apart from the Department of Basic Education and Higher Education and Training, number of other departments themselves have a portion of their own budget focus on skills acquisition. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has that, Science and Technology has that, Transport and you name them. They have a portion of their own budget,
now an agglomeration of all those will testify to the fact that real priority and focus by our government has been on skills acquisition.
Is this money being put to good use? Yes, it is being put to good use. Sometimes we think not, but it is as you correctly say that as you travel to the Czech Republic and many other places we meet these young people, and they are highly qualified and highly skilled. When they get into the workplace many of us have found that their profession, they have great levels of capability and all that our young people ever need is to be given the opportunities. There is nothing wrong with our young people. You give them the opportunities and they fly. There is no different from young people from any other country and, in fact, they do it with much more zest and much more commitment.
Therefore, the skills acquisition revolution is underway and we want to speed it up and we want to make sure that more and more of our young people get skills because it is true this type of revolution that we can revolutionise our economy and our economy can grow and can become robust. In the end, it is skilled people who are able to get jobs a lot easier than the
unskilled, and therefore we need to see more and more of our people getting skills and of whatever nature the Human Resource Development Council has also focus on artisan training. We know what the past of our country has been where our black people were not even allowed to become artisans and yet, they were doing the work. With artisan training, we want to increase more and more of our people to become artisans and focus on technical education hence we are saying that we need to slant more and more towards your Tvet colleges, your community colleges and make sure that young people see that going into Tvet colleges as a great career choice area rather than all of them flocking to universities to go and do Bachelor of Arts, BA, degrees and yet they could go to Tvet colleges and go and learn real skills that can be better utilised in our economy. Great progress is going ahead and in that regard I am optimistic. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
Mr C HATTINGH: Hon Chairperson, yes, the Deputy President uses strong words, actually loaded words such as skills revolution. It appears that the Deputy President is actually passionate about this. In an economy such as ours which is at this stage is rather still, but if it becomes dynamic once again, there are facets of our economy like where special scarce skills are
needed like the Southern Africa Largest Telescope, Salt, and desalination which is now very topical. My question is, hon Chair, can you perhaps ... the red ants here ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: Hon
Mokwele, you are drowning out the speaker. You are protected, hon Hattingh.
Mr C HATTINGH: Hon Chair, in our economy such as ours, what interventions are implemented by the HRDC or the structure to align the demand or specific skills which if not addressed maybe constraining growth and the investment with the supply of these skills. Now, obviously if it is going in the wrong direction we are like you refer to specific university degrees while the demand maybe for something else. These interventions then to address the scarcity of these skills are successful or these interventions and what can we say is a typical time spent from the identification of the scarcity of these skills that the demand for it and then to sufficiently realign to supply these scarce skills?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Chairperson, hon Hattingh has raised a very important question which we are dealing with the HRDC because what we have sought to do so you know that is to look at the skills, if you like, based in audit in our country and said what are the skills, what are the needs and what does the economy need right now and to have a scan of that. We have got teams that are now working on looking at specific skills in certain areas and to look precisely at the time scale and the time period from having identified what the skills need is and the production of those skills.
When it comes to artisan training, that was precisely more or less what was done, we’ve got scarcity of artisans in our country and of a wide variety in the various skills it could be specialised welding and a number of other areas, electricians. Once we had looked at that we said that we now need to focus on the training of artisans and we have started upgrading that process and getting a number of partners to participate including the Setas and including various other institutions that we have. May I say that we’ve seen quite a lot of marked progress in that regard? The artisans based that we used to have few years ago has increase quite exponentially and actually in quite admirable way. We are now looking at the
others. One other area, of course, where there has been a great deficiency is in the higher level graduates, particularly when it comes to people doctoral degrees who are going to be able to help us produce these educated young people. We have been looking at that to see how best we can increase the production of people with Doctors of Philosophy, PhDs, because they are the once we will also help.
The important area that has also been in just getting the private sector to work with our Tvet colleges because our Tvet colleges in the main have been training young people on a solo basis without being attached to the real world of the operational sort of companies. We are now encouraging more and more for our Tvet colleges to be twinned to be adopted as it were by businesses in the area where they operate so that that can lead to the improvement of the curriculum, but more than that that should also lead to giving our young people an opportunity to do experiential training as well as in the end to be able to get jobs almost instantaneously once they finish their training. Therefore, hon Hattingh has been working extremely well because it also leads to the identification of those scarce skills that some of those companies have, and we have found that that works very well indeed and it also has a
great opportunity of keeping those young people almost immediate jobs as soon as they finish with their training. Thank you, hon Chair.
Ms L C DLAMINI: Hon Chair, His Excellency, the Deputy President, I appreciate your response, especially on the Tvet colleges and community colleges. If we are to meet the objectives of the National Development Plan, we need to have a skill base that is equal to the tasks to perform so that we are able to meet our objectives. When it comes to the Tvet colleges as well as community colleges, those two ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: Hon
Dlamini, raise a voice a little bit.
Ms L C DLAMINI: If we speak about the Tvet colleges as well as community colleges, those two, Deputy President, are grossly underfunded. We’ve been there as a committee to do oversight in terms of the facilities and also in terms of the human resource that is there. One would suggest that we invest more to that so that we can produce skills within. I think that we have enough colleges to do that and what is lacking is funding
and is beyond the Department of Higher Education and Training. It needs your intervention at your level to interact with the National Treasury.
I want to conclude by condemning what happened on Monday and say that I have observed with interest that none of the DA members had said anything about that. I would like to challenge them to say that whether they support what was done in terms of the Black Monday or they don’t because some of us who are still sitting with the wounds here of the apartheid, they must say if they support it or not, but it was very bad, I must say.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: Hon
Dlamini, I am not going to put that to the members of the DA. I think that my sentiments in the House have been very clear. I have said that this House must work towards a uniting South Africans ... [Interjections.] ... no, no, this House is not, hon members, going to add to the pain in the street. This House is going to give direction towards a South Africa we all want to live in. Deputy President!
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Chairperson, I couldn’t agree more that one of the key challenges we have is the funding of higher education particularly at the Tvet college level. If we are to produce more skilled young South Africans, we need to pay more attention to the funding of those colleges. There is a great need to increase that and I listened to hon Dlamini there. Therefore, I say yes, I agree that we need to find sources of funding for those colleges because it is when we have increased the funding that we can make those colleges much more attractive. That is when we can also expect the private sector to partner with those colleges and work with them and adopt them, improve their curricular. They will then be able to open their doors much more easily to young people to go and get the skills because it is almost been said by many that and particularly the people who work in those Tvet colleges that young people who come into the Tvet colleges and where there is a partnership with the private sector, those young people are able to get jobs, a lot easier than colleges that just operate on their own.
Therefore, we want to encourage those partnerships, but at the same time we do need to find sources of funding for those colleges they should be improved and they should attract good
lectures and teachers who will be able to disperse high quality of education and skills to the young people there. I agree with the hon member very, very strongly there. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
Man B T MATHEVULA: Ndza khensa Mutshamaxitulu.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: Hon
Mathevula is protected. Order, members!
Ms B T MATHEVULA: Deputy President, the only way which we can see large skill development in this country is through the implementation of free education. What is the Deputy President’s position on the free education and his understanding on decolonised education? Thank you very much.
XANDLA XA PRESIDENTE: Manana Mutshamaxitulu, onge va ku rhandza ngopfu eka Yindlu leyi. [Ku hleka.] Va vula leswaku u sasekile swinene sesi wa mina. Ha ku khensisa swinene.
Hon Chairperson, free education is ideal that many of our young people have and it is a matter that is now being addressed and it has been addressed by the Heher Commission and the government is going to be pronouncing itself to the Heher Commission as the President has said. Let us wait for that and thereafter clear debates and discussions can ensue. What is clear is that the students of our country in higher education clearly want free education and we also have a document that I think your party associate itself with, the Freedom Charter, which also speaks about the issue of education.
On decolonised education, I think many of us in South Africa agree with the demand that our students have made that we should decolonised our education at both higher education level and at basic education level. We cannot continue with an education system that is still tied back by a colonial framework and ideology. Therefore, we need to decolonise our education. I subscribe to that and I agree with that completely. Decolonise education is the way to go and we need to have an education curriculum construct that responds to the life of our people and the history of our people. Indeed, the
culture and the future of our people of this country without having that poisoned by our colonial past. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: Thank
you very much, Deputy President. That was your last supplementary on the last question for today.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Madam Chairperson. [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: Order,
members! Order! Members, please take your seats. Tshamani [sit.] Please, take your seats. Hon Koni, is that a point of order?
Ms N P KONI: Yes. It is off the record point of order.
Moh N P KONI: Modulasetilo, ke kopa gore re tlhokomele ... [Go se utlwagale.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: That is
not a point of order. Hon members, order! I wish to take this opportunity to thank you, Deputy President, for spending the afternoon with us and for answering the questions in this House. Hon members, this concludes the business of the day.
Hon members, you are requested to remain standing until the procession has left. The House is adjourned.
The Council adjourned at 16:55.