Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 25 Apr 2018
No summary available.
WEDNESDAY, 25 APRIL 2018
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 15:03
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers and meditation.
Mr M N PAULSEN: Speaker, could you just tell Minister Sisulu the Rules of the House that her phone must be on silent or off. [Interjections.]
AN HON MEMBER: A whole Minister!
The SPEAKER: Order hon members!
QUESTIONS FOR ORAL REPLY DEPUTY PRESIDENT
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you hon Speaker for the opportunity, hon Coleman, on 23 March 2018, the international ratings agency, Moody’s Investors Service announced that they have maintained South Africa’s investment grade rating. Just as important, Moody’s changed the outlook on South Africa’s debt from negative to stable. We view this as a significant shift in the current sentiments of international investors towards us and a vote of investor confidence in the South African economy. Moody’s made their decision following meetings with broad sectors of our economy, government and the private sector. In their announcement they said the following:
The confirmation of South Africa's ratings reflects Moody's view that the previous weakening of South Africa’s institutions will gradually reverse under a more transparent and predictable policy framework.
This positive investor sentiment reflects recognition of the hard work which has begun by government to move the country’s economy and institutions in the right direction. Moody’s was clear on acknowledging the gains that South Africa has made under the new leadership of the ANC, and I quote, “The recent change in political leadership appears to have halted the gradual erosion of the strength of South Africa’s institutions”
It is clear we have not just halted economic decline, but we have also embarked on the path of economic recovery and the restoration of investor confidence in our country’s economy. It must be noted that this is the third consecutive time the South African economy has escaped a downgrade. With a stable outlook Moody’s has affirmed that we are indeed on the right path. This change in outlook from negative to stable is very important for international investors. Many international investors require that their investments go to ‘investment grade’ investments only. For those investors who may have been worried about their investment in South Africa, they can now rest easier following the decision by Moody’s. In fact, since the decision over a month ago the Rand has relied against international currencies such as the US Dollar, Euro and the Pound, and has strengthened, thereby reflecting the growing positive sentiment. Although this development is a positive one, it does place our trade-exposed sectors under more severe pressure. According to the Rand Merchant Bank Bureau of Economic Research, business confidence index rose 11 points during the first three months of 2018, showing a significant increase in confidence in six years. This means that the confidence and optimism of South Africa’s manufacturers, building contractors, retailers, wholesalers and new vehicle dealers has grown.
We are now working to ensure that this renewed optimism leads to real and inclusive economic growth and job creation for the country. Since the announcement by Moody’s we have also seen an increase in the demand for South African government bonds. This reflects the greater confidence from our international and local investors in our economy. Increased demand for South African government bonds is good news, as it translates into lower interest rates for South Africa, both in the public and private sectors. In the end, consumers ultimately benefit. This means less money is needed to service our debt, and more money is available for investment and consumption of goods and services which can drive our economy.
While economic growth exceeded the government’s forecast last year, we can, and should, do even more through the restored investor confidence in our economy. As Africa’s most- industrialised economy there is a huge potential to stimulate economic growth by more direct foreign investment in South Africa. The positive change in investor sentiments and the stable economic outlook will support and underpin the President’s call for a $100 billion investment over the next five years. Thank you very much hon Speaker. [Applause.]
Ms E M COLEMAN: Hon Speaker, Deputy President, you referred to investment sentiments and the impact of ratings on the economy, could you provide us with an example of the kind of effect that this could have on jobs and industrialisation. Just to contextualise this question, I note that a few years ago the Highveld Steel mill went into business rescue and closed its manufacturing facility. A lot of workers were laid off. Can the Deputy President provide details of what has been the recent development at the Highveld Steel mill facility? The role of the positive market sentiment and partnership used to address the need of creating jobs for workers and local communities affected by the plant’s closure. I thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Highveld Steel was placed under business rescue and of course we succeeded to secure investors. As we speak Highveld Steel is operational. It has employed more than 800 people. We are producing steel. There are more downstream small, macro and medium enterprises, SMMEs that are housed at Highveld Steel trying to beneficiate the steel. Of course it is not an easy task. We want to applaud the management of Highveld Steel for the perseverance. I think they are on the right track. There is still a lot of work to do but we can say that this kind of confidence will allow them to attract more investors to invest in Highveld Steel. Thank you very much.
Mr M HLENGWA: Speaker, hon Deputy President, I am going to assume that the thoroughness of your response in terms of the attitude now of government towards ratings agencies has changed because we are coming from an era where from that very podium rating agencies were dismissed as people who are interfering.
So, I would like to then find out what initiatives are in place in so far as the new administration is concerned to strengthen the working relationships between government and these rating agencies so that whatever it is that is their output, assessment and findings finds better reasons in government’s policy are making and secondly, the issue is all the niceties that you spell out in a finer analysis, the poorest of the poor in this country remain poor and recent reports say we are the most highly unequal society in the world and so do all these things you say translate into tangible results for the poorest of the poor in this country. Thank you.
The SPEAKER: The hon Deputy President ... hon Hlengwa those were two questions ... [Interjections.]
Mnu M HLENGWA: Uzokwazi!
The SPEAKER: ... and I am going to request hon members to stick to one follow-up question. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, I think as a country and as government we have acknowledged that we cannot be a referee and a player at the same time. It is important to allow external people to criticise and we must these criticisms very positively and try and correct where necessary. So I can tell that our attitude towards these rating agencies will change and we will understand their role exactly. So, we are taking their comments very serious and we are trying to address the issues that they are raising. But above all they are concerned about political stability beyond the performance of our institutions. Now that we have restored the credibility of our institutions and we are in the process of reversing certain things that were seen to be wrong in their eyes, we must deal with the political stability of our country so that people with their monies can have confidence in this country that when we borrow their money we can the debts.
Now with regards to the inequalities in the country, unemployment, poverty, these are issues that we are grappling with. That is why the President took it upon himself, realising the positive mood, we had to ride on the wave to say, here we
are as a country, we are calling on investors to come, we are opening our hands and we are prepared to welcome you and I am sure this move will yield good results and as a country we should be prepared to welcome those investors because they will help us to deal with the levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality, but it is a long journey that we must travel. Thank you very much.
Question 7 (cont):
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Thank you, Madam Speaker, hon Deputy Speaker, it is obvious that some benefit as a result of disinvestment in South Africa and we, as South Africans need to sell ourselves to foreign investors. Deputy President, what do you believe are some of the stumbling blocks in boosting investor’s confidence in South Africa? What role can the media and opposition political parties play to encourage investment in South Africa? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Well, as a country we must act in Unison. We must realise that we can only survive through external forces that will have an impact in our day to day economic activities. As a country, we can’t isolate ourselves. Therefore, as we criticise ourselves, we must be mindful that our criticism must be constructive and it must seek to build the country for all of
us. It is not only for the party that is leading the government, but it is for everyone. Criticisms should be directed to correct not to destroy. Now, we must be patriotic all of us and defend our country. Of course, those that are being criticised must take criticism very seriously and seek to correct those things that are being pointed out. However, as a country, we are coming from a divided past and I can see that we are seeking to unite and have a common vision. This Parliament probably should play a very central role in bringing that unity of purpose of a country that is working towards addressing its own problems. It is a fact, that as a country, we have a high unemployment rate that must worry all of us. This kind of unemployment affects the most precious young people in our society that must take over from all of us sitting here. Therefore, it must concern all of us if these young people are sitting idling. This is the energy we must put in good use for our own sake. Therefore the problems that we are confronting do not really rest on the governing party alone. The governing party can do what it is expected of it, but we need partnerships, private sector and civil society to work together in achieving certain outcomes. That way, the country will progress. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Prince M G BUTHELEZI: Hon Speaker, I was just saying that we know that is our prerogative to interject, but I would ask you
to protect us because some of our colleagues on this side of the House make a running commentary while the Deputy President is speaking to the extent that we can’t hear what the Deputy President is saying.
The SPEAKER: Yes, that point of order is sustained and in order. Hon members, may I appeal to you, please don’t make a running commentary.
Mr D J MAYNIER: Speaker, the independence and technical strength of the SA Reserve Bank has been and was critical to sustain Moody’s investment grade rating of South Africa. So, will the Deputy President tell us whether he supports proposals to review the mandate of and nationalise this SA Reserve Bank? He must realise that if he does support those proposals they will shut the investor’s confidence and make a downgrade to junk status more likely in South Africa.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much; I can see you taking your luck on this question. This is a new question. [Interjections.] It’s a new question. [Interjections.] We are looking at the comments made by these institutions and at no stage, where this institution Moody’s has reflected on the SA Reserve Bank. It reflected on the institutions that it thought
were regressing. It is happy now that it looks like we are now reversing the tide not only the Reserve Bank. I am not going to comment on the Reserve Bank, unfortunately.
The SPEAKER: If that is it, hon Deputy President, I would like us to move to the next question.
Mr D J MAYNIER: Speaker, on a point of Order, the hon Deputy President is misleading the House. I am going to quote from the Moody’s review which he quoted earlier which reads:
The technical strength and independence of South Africa’s media, civil society and institutions, including the Reserve Bank and the judiciary, have been critical in sustaining the country’s credit profile, etc.
The Deputy President must answer the question. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: I don’t want now to move us to a fifth supplementary question. [Interjections.]. The hon Deputy President has said that he is not commenting on the Reserve Bank. Therefore, I would like to move.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. The whole point of this exercise is to hold the executive accountable. You must agree, Madam Speaker, the question as directly related to the original question as the House felt is still the question. Why is the ANC allowed to ask the questions like that, but the opposition cannot? Also the executive can’t choose how they hold accountable by this legislature. [Interjections.] It is their duty to submit to the oversight and accountability. I would urge you, Madam Speaker, as presiding officer to please ask the Deputy President to answer the question which is completely stemming to the original question. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order! Order, hon members! Order!
UNIDENTIFIED MEMBER: Does he know the answer?
The SPEAKER: I am simple reminding you that the Deputy President has already told us he does not intend commenting on the area of the Reserve Bank.
Mr I M OLLIS: Speaker, on the point of order. The President doesn’t get to choose which questions he wants to answer. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Speaker.
The SPEAKER: I was looking for a Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY: My apologies, hon Speaker.
The SPEAKER: Yes, Deputy Chief Whip.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY: Hon Speaker, the Deputy President responded to the question. [Interjections.] So, he doesn’t have to be told by the DA how to respond to the question. May we proceed to the next question, hon Speaker. I thank you.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, I am sorry, and I really don’t need to make your life very difficult, but this is ... really. This is what lies at the heart of what our job is. This is not the DA; it’s an individual Member of Parliament who has asked the question. Every single Member of Parliament here has exactly the same rights as any other member. Now Madam Speaker, if you are not going to allow that question to be answered. I will ask you to please make a ruling that you are
regarding that question having been answered. So, at least, we as the opposition have some recourse. At the moment we have a member of executive who simply refuse to answer the question that is being put to him. Please make a ruling that in your opinion the question has been answered so that we can entitle it to the Rules Committee. You can’t leave it with this dead end here where our job and duty is to hold them accountable is being stymied and stifled with no point of accountability for us.
The SPEAKER: Hon members, I wish to bring an end to the matter of the supplementary question asked by hon Maynier by saying if you insist that you want him to comment on something he has already indicated, he will not do. Then, let us pursue the matter after this session because we can’t go round and round in circles. I now wish us to move to Question 8.
Mr D J MAYNIER: Speaker, Speaker.
The SPEAKER: Hon Maynier, I know you want the Deputy President to answer your question. I am saying there is no point in you getting up and pursuing that.
Mr D J MAYNIER: Speaker, the point of order which I raised I said the Deputy President had misled the House. Now the Deputy
President told this House that Moody’s did not refer to the Reserve Bank in its review. I have that document here and I have quoted from it and it does refer to the Reserve Bank. The Deputy President told an outright lie!
The SPEAKER: Hon Maynier, I wish to ask you to desist from pursuing this matter and I repeat that I do not intend having us go round and round on the same spot. [Interjections.] Shall we move and pursue the issue outside the sitting. [Interjections.] I am not allowing you, hon Maynier.
Mr D J MAYNIER: The Deputy President told an outright lie to this House! [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon Maynier, please take your seat. Please take your seat! Please take your seat now.
Mr D J MAYNIER: He is clearly not on top of his brain ... [Inaudible.] ... he has not done his homework and he has not understand the question; it was an outright lie.
The SPEAKER: We now come to Question 8, hon members, which has been asked by the hon Swart.
Mr P D N MALOYI: Madam Speaker, point of order, the member says the Deputy President told a lie in the House. [Interjections.] [Applause.] We would want him to withdraw that part that says the Deputy President told a lie. Secondly, Madam Speaker, once you have made a ruling members are not supposed to contest your ruling in the House. [Interjections.] Members of the DA are continuously disrupting the House and contesting your rulings. [Interjections.]
Mr D J MAYNIER: Madam Speaker, I’ll be delighted if you made a ruling because ...
The SPEAKER: The ruling is that we are not proceeding on the matter of a supplementary question as put by hon Maynier and we will pursue the concerns outside this session. That is my ruling. We now have to come question 8 asked by hon Swart.
Mr H P CHAUKE: Speaker? My apologies, Deputy President. My apologies, Deputy President.
The SPEAKER: Excuse me, hon Deputy President. Can you take your seat? Yes, hon Chauke?
Mr H P CHAUKE: Hon Speaker, we definitely have to address the shouting and the lies that DA members are making on that side. [Interjections.] Now, it’s really unparliamentary for a member of the DA to shout. [Interjections.] We only find this behaviour happening in Parliament when we have opened the bar early. [Interjections.] Therefore, I’m saying that it’s unparliamentary that this group that sits in the bar comes to scream in the House. It has to come to an end. It has to come to an end, Speaker. We cannot allow it. That Marks Building bar must be closed.
The SPEAKER: I would like to refer the issue of the bar to the Whips.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, I’d like to ask how he knows who was in the bar. He must have been there himself.
The SPEAKER: Hon members, leave the bar out of the House. Can we now have the Deputy President address the question asked by hon Swart?
Mr T RAWULA: Speaker? Thank you, Speaker. We can’t entertain gossip, but the point I want to raise is that there is an
authority that has been quoted by the Deputy President in responding to the question. There is an authority ... same authority ... that has been quoted by hon Maynier. Now in the
The SPEAKER: Hon member, we have moved on from that question.
Mr T RAWULA: No, the point I’m raising is if the Deputy President is not going to counter that authority with the authority that he referred to, then it means that it must be recorded in this House that he has lied, because if he cannot counter it then it means ...
The SPEAKER: Hon member, please ...
Mr T RAWULA: So why must we listen to lies here?
The SPEAKER: ... I have moved us from that question.
Mr T RAWULA: So what are you going to say? Do you agree that he is lying?
The SPEAKER: We have now moved to Question 8 and I ask you to sit down.
Mr T RAWULA: Oh, are you not going to give a ruling?
The SPEAKER: Hon Deputy President?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, in the state of the nation address, the President highlighted some of the steps that had been undertaken at the time to address governance failures in state-owned companies, SOCs. Amongst others, he mentioned the following:
Firstly, action has been taken at Eskom to strengthen governance, root out corruption and ensure that work to restore its financial position is implemented as a matter of priority; and
Secondly, the commission of inquiry into state capture headed by the Deputy Chief Justice is expected to commence its work soon. This will ensure that the extent and nature of state capture is established, that confidence in public institutions is restored and that those responsible for any wrongdoing are identified.
As part of the state of the nation address’ implementation process, the following steps have been taken:
Firstly, in respect of Eskom, a new board has been appointed, as well as an acting chief executive officer, CEO, and chief financial officer, CFO, to strengthen governance; and
Secondly, diciplianry action has been taken against, at least, eight senior managers to start the process of rooting out corruption and to stabilise the financial situation in Eskom;
As action in terms of these interventions was intensifying, we have had some of these individuals opting to resign from their positions before discplinary hearings could even sit to determine their guilt.
The process of appointing a full-time CEO and CFO is almost complete. The issues pertaining to coal supplies to some of the power stations is receiving attention as we speak.
All boards of SOCs are in the process of being reviewed and strengthened. At Denel, changes have been effected with the announcement of a new interim board. So too is the case with the Passenger Rail Agency of SA, Prasa.
Boards of SOCs have been directed to focus on addressing all governance failures that have impacted negatively on their performance.
In addition, boards will prioritise the recovery of stolen funds and undertake a review of all contracts to identify those that may have been improperly awarded.
Where there are criminal offences, charges must be brought against those individuals through the relevant authorities to ensure that those involved are brought to book.
The instances of maladministration and corruption at SOCs identified by reports from the office of the Public Protector, including parliamentary inquiries, have assisted a great deal in highlighting the extent of the problem, and the executive is taking these matters seriously.
In instances where forensic and criminal investigations have already been conducted, steps have been taken to ensure that individuals identified by these investigations at both board and executive levels are removed from their positions through due process, including suspensions and the institution of disciplinary hearings.
The President will establish an SOC council and will announce its mandate in due course. That will help strengthen the work of our SOCs.
This is work in progress. Progressively, relevant Ministers will be taking action to strengthen governance, accountability, transparency and improve the performance and financial stability of our SOCs, as indicated below. The dependence by SOCs on the fiscus must be totally removed, sooner rather than later. In fact, commercially-owned SOCs should be paying dividends to government. We undertake to keep hon members briefed as this programme of reform unfolds in these SOCs. Thank you very much.
Mrs C DUDLEY: Hon Deputy President, I will be responding on behalf of my colleague, hon Steve Swart, who sends his apologies. I have noted your response, but I’m going to read from his response.
It’s encouraging that various criminal investigations are ongoing against board directors and management of state-owned enterprises, SOEs, arising from the allegations of state capture.
We are also pleased that the Hawks and Asset Forfeiture Unit, AFU, have made progress in this regard, with the AFU obtaining preservation orders running into millions of rand.
What is lacking however is the enforcement of sanctions against board directors and management in terms of both the Public Finance Management Act as well as the Companies Act. Sadly, time after time board members and management are replaced after running the SOE into the ground and are then redeployed to other SOEs.
The ACDP believes that, besides holding those board members criminally and civilly liable for losses sustained by those SOEs, serious consideration should now be given to having those directors declared delinquent directors in terms of section 162 of the Companies Act. This will prevent directors that have failed to fulfil their fiduciary duties to SOEs from ever being able to serve as directors again.
He asks if you would support these suggestions. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Well, it goes without saying that if you are a board member, and certain things happen under your watch, obviously somewhere you must take responsibility. It’s not
enough to just vacate your role as board member. You must, at a certain point, account for certain things that happened under your watch. So, I support that. Thank you.
Mr N SINGH: Thank you, hon Deputy President for your response. Before you assumed office as Deputy President, this ANC-led government had undertaken to issue a board appointment framework for SOEs. This announcement was widely welcomed at the time because we find that there are certain members — the chosen ones
— that are appointed to a plethora of boards and they really can’t do justice to those boards. It becomes an income- generating option for them.
I would like to know if there is going to be a timeframe that you can give us, on when this board appointment framework is going to be completed, so that we can regularise the appointment of members to the boards of SOEs. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: We have been assured by the Minister that they are in the process of developing those guidelines that will help us to select board members and set the criteria, in a way to try to strengthen the functioning of those SOCs.
Of course, beyond that, we are talking of a council that will be above those boards to look at their operations on a daily basis; to look at whether board members are doing their work as required; or to see whether they do attend meetings of the boards as required, because some board members don’t attend.
Mrs H O MKHALIPHI: Deputy President, you are the Leader of Government Business in Parliament but when you were the Premier of Mpumalanga the Guptas looted the coal mines in eMalahleni, which was Optimum Mine and Bapsfontein Mine, under your watch, yet you didn’t do anything.
The very same Guptas who were looting these mines, and who were doing it together with Duduzane Zuma, arranged a Gupta jet for you to go to Russia. You declared that in the legislature of Mpumalanga.
Now, as the Deputy President, how are you going to take the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma to task, because they are running away? What is your intervention? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: As a country, I think we have institutions that are qualified and that are responsible to hold those that
are at odds with the law, accountable. So, it’s not the Deputy President that must go after people to arrest them. We have people that will look ... [Applause.] ... at the veracity of the cases that are before them. In fact, the Department of Mineral Resources ... That is a national function. As provinces we don’t issue licences. We don’t determine who must get a mining licence. [Interjections.] Now, the investigations which we are talking about that are looking into state capture and all the wrongdoings in these companies of government will determine exactly what went wrong. [Interjections.]
Now, gradually, people that have been found to have violated certain things in the course of doing their work have been suspended. Some have been taken to disciplinary hearings and some have resigned. This process will continue. [Interjections.]
So, I’m confident that no-one will escape this process. So rest assured, hon member, whether I’ve been given a lift to hospital does not mean that the Guptas, if they’ve done something wrong, should not be brought to book. They will. If they have done something wrong, they will.
I used to say that if you come across an accident and you find people trapped in a car, and you are just passing by, your duty
as a citizen is to help those people by taking them to hospital. These people don’t owe you anything for taking them to hospital. You were just helping them as a citizen. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mrs E N NTLANGWINI: On a point of order, Speaker.
The SPEAKER: What’s the point of order, hon member?
Mrs E N NTLANGWINI: Since the Deputy President has made a good example of an accident, can he please give us the address of the Guptas and Duduzane, as to where they are? Please give us the address. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: No, hon member, that’s not a point of order. Please let hon Mazzone ask her follow-up question.
Mrs E N NTLANGWINI: If he is a good citizen he must give us the address.
Mrs N W A MAZZONE: Deputy President, given that you are the Leader of Government Business, it is therefore incumbent upon you to make sure that certain legal processes happen. One of those legal processes pertains to the Eskom inquiry where
Parliament issues an edictal citation on the High Court of South Africa, because we have tried to serve summonses on the Gupta brothers and Duduzane Zuma but they don’t appear to be in the country. So we need somewhere to serve the summonses on them so that the Speaker can then issue a warrant of arrest should they fail to appear before Parliament.
Also, Dudu Myeni received a summons, duly served by the sheriff, at her home in Richards Bay, yet she refused to appear before our committee. She is thus in contempt of Parliament. It is therefore incumbent on the Speaker to issue a warrant of arrest.
Can you please confirm to this House whether or not you are in the process of issuing an edictal citation and whether or not the warrant of arrest of Dudu Myeni has gone out? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Well, I realise that there is confusion about my role as Leader of Government Business here. I’m a Leader of Government Business as it relates to the work of the executive in this Parliament. I’m a Leader of Government Business as it relates to the work of the executive in this Parliament. I’m not a leader of government business in the executive.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: What’s your duty as a citizen? Don’t you ... [Inaudible.]
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Now, I’m sure that this question will finally have an answer. There is no-one who will escape our laws. They will not escape our laws. We have institutions that will pursue these individuals and will find them. [Interjections.]
Wherever they are, there should be a way of sensitising those countries that they are in that these people have certain things to answer in South Africa. There must be a way of getting them back to answer. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Madella, youth unemployment is a challenge for the country. It imposes serious costs on our democracy. This calls for better ways to harness the energy of young people, their creativity and their flare so that they can fully participate in our economy. Some of the interventions that government together with social partners has undertaken is coming up with Youth Employment Accord. This is a pillar of our efforts to get youth into labour markets and into our economy.
The accord establishes commitments in key areas such as
education and training, work exposure and employment, as well as promotion of youth entrepreneurship and co-operatives. With regards to our commitment on education and training, TVET colleges enrolments have been pleased by 6% since 2013. This contributes in producing that our economy need right now, as well as in terms of skills for the future to respond to the growth of the economy and the changes in its structure.
In addition to the increase in the enrolment, there has been significant efforts alignment of TVET curricula with industry needs. The signing of Memorandum of Understanding between RCL Food and Milling and Ehlanzeni TVET College as well as between Sasol and Gert Sibande TVET College in 2016 and 17 are steps in the right direction. We would also like to see more companies that are in and around TVET colleges support the Adopt-a-TVET College initiative that has been started by the Human Resource Development Council. The number of student graduating from universities has also increased by 6% with an upward trend in the number of science engineering and technology graduates. This is encouraging as we prepare young people for the fourth industrial revolution and the economy of the future.
Another notable improvement is with regard to Sector Education and Training Authorities, Setas, which have prioritise work
placements. As a results 40 000 TVET learners and 30 000 student of University of Technology were successfully placed between 2013 and 2016. In terms of work exposure and employment, we have had 18% increases in the number of young people employed on contract position in national government departments. The number of permanent jobs taken by youth at provincial level has also increased by 9%. The Department of Labour offers public employment services through its labour centres. This includes work registration, employment counselling and employment placement. To date, about 60% of workers registered and 75% who underwent counselling and found employment through these centres are young people. The other area of work which continues to make a meaningful contribution is the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP. Job opportunities have been created for almost
2 million young people through this EPWP since 2013.and a further 1 500 thousand young have been recruited through other supporting programmes. We will be thinking of ways that EPWP impact can be further enhanced and more meaningful work experience can be provided. For example, unemployed graduate with a background in public administration could be employed in our public schools as administrative assistance so that we can give them relevant work experience while allowing teachers to focus on teaching and less on administration.
The social partners agreed that certain sectors, especially new industries, should be youth-focused sectors. This includes youth targets set-aside in the green economy, the infrastructure sector and the business process services sector. If we look at the public infrastructure in areas such water and sanitation and the higher education built programme we find that youth make up the majority of the employed in a third of all these projects.
Further agreements on solar water heater installation are to be concluded with certain municipalities. The Industrial Development Corporation, IDC, has approved more than
R3,5 billion for youth enterprises since the signing of the Accord. He also said that over R898 million was disbursed by Small Enterprises Finance Agency, Sefa, for youth owned enterprises, supporting a total of 44 140 Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises, SMMEs. The national empowerment fund has disbursed over 160 million to youth businesses and the Gauteng provincial government has set aside 10% of its procurement budget for youth owned enterprises. These numbers give a sense of the scope of our support for youth businesses and youth entrepreneurship.
We continue to look at ways in which development finance institutions, the private sector business incubators and other
stakeholders can work more effectively to support youth owned businesses in the whole process from first inspiration to full commercialisation. Mentoring can be enhanced; the cost of borrowing can be reduced and we will explore the youth orientation of the black industrialist programme.
The youth job creation initiative launched in 2012, has placed over 35 000 learners and successfully provided learnerships and internships. The youth employment service initiative is also a positive initiative aimed at creating 1 million paid internships for young people over the next three years. We will continue to work with private sector to find further ways to address the youth jobs crisis. Social partners must place more emphasis on co-ordinated and sector specific intervention.
In order to address the challenges around co-ordination of youth employment and empowerment programmes, we have developed an implementation framework that, among others, includes the establishment of a joint implementation committee to drive the implementation of Youth Employment Accord. It also seeks to identify new areas of collaborations with social partners in order to develop youth development programmes that are sector specific. Thank you, hon Speaker.
Mr A F MADELLA: Hon Speaker, thank you Deputy President for your comprehensive reply. Clearly, your reply indicates the seriousness through which the ANC-led government is taking youth matters and particular youth economic advancement. Deputy President, the ANC welcomes the recent launch of the youth
employment services on 27 March 2018 by President Ramaphosa. We believe that this herald a new dawn in youth employment initiatives. This initiative aims to give practical expression to a key objective of the Youth Accord namely to address youth unemployment, but hon Deputy President, what has been the challenges to date that hampered the kind of progress in the implementation of the Youth Employment Accord that we would have love to have seen and how are they being resolved? Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Like I have said the youth employment accord was a very good step in the right direction and I have noted that probably our failure is in the co-ordination of all the social partners in the implementation of the accord. This is one part that we seek to strengthen, to strengthen our co- ordination efforts and to look at other avenues that can help us to create employment. In this current report that I am giving, in the main, the employment that has been created was only in
the public sector. Now, we are starting to see more and more initiative in the private sector that is why we welcome the yes initiative. What is missing in the yes initiative is that what will happen after that one year of these young people having gained the experience. We have left that question with the co- ordinators to ensure that progressively when these young people leave that employment, at least they have got a paper that they can prove that they have done certain responsibilities and skill so that they can be employable in future. Therefore, yes the weakness was co-ordination which we seek to strengthen now.
Question 9 (cont):
Mr X NGWEZI: Speaker, hon Deputy President, in your response you mention that South Africa is beginning to see the increasing number of engineering graduates. And I agree with you. One other problem is that it is very difficult for people who have completed their studies to get internships and also the in service trainings when they are a required for them to graduate at a university.
My question is, what is being done to ensure that such student do not stagnate in their career paths due to lack of opportunity to acquire such practical training? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Speaker, probably we should go back to our education system. In our minds here I get it that we are sending our young people to school, prepare them to find employment elsewhere. We are not preparing these young people to be employers themselves. We must shift ... because these are young people who have got knowledge and who can use their knowledge to start their own businesses so that they can employ other people.
One initiative that we must strengthen is to try and support the small, medium and micro enterprise, smmes. Every successful economy hinges and rest on small and medium enterprises that appoint one or two people, ten people or twenty people. In that way, the economy strengthens. We are not really discouraging professionals from seeking work, but we are also encouraging professionals to be employers themselves. So, our education system must diversify, must prepare young people for the world of work, must also prepare young people to starts their own businesses. That should be the attitude. Thank you.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Deputy Speaker, Deputy President, thank you for agreeing to give us the addresses of the “Guptas” and Duduzane Zuma, since you are such a good citizen. The government of Jacob Zuma who is your close friend by the way, introduced an
employment tax incentive which meant to provide about a thousand rand subsidy to companies that employed young people.
To date, we do not know how the incentive helped to ensure that young people are getting employed. What lessons have you learned from the employment tax incentives initiatives and how you will use those lessons to inform how your Youth Employment Accord is structured? Thank you so much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy President, to be honest really, I haven’t interrogated that programme, the success and failures of that programme. Probably, I will be prepared to come back when I have assessed that programme whether are we getting the returns that we are expected to get by giving those companies those incentives so, that we get out young people employed. I have not assessed that programme. Thank you.
Mr M J CARDO: Deputy Speaker, does the Deputy President agree with the Statistician-General Pali Lehohla‘s remarks that under the ANC-led government since 1994 in comparison to the whites, coloured and Indian compatriots, “black youths have lost out in acquiring skills which is the crux of youth unemployment and a sign of regression”. If so, why has the ANC-led government allowed this regression to take place and why has the
implementation of the Youth Employment Accord failed to turn it around?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, can I get the question exactly?
Mr M J CARDO: Sure, I will ask it again Deputy Speaker. Does the Deputy President agree with the former Statistician-General Pali Lehohla’s remarks that under the ANC-led government since 1994 in comparison to the whites, coloured and Indian compatriots “black youths have lost out in acquiring skills which is the crux of youth unemployment and a sign of regression”. If so, why has the ANC-led government allowed this regression to take place and why has the implementation of the Youth’s Employment Accord failed to turn the regression around?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy President, well, I will agree with that accession and probably explain why I agree. Because, this is a country with a past. This is a country that is emerging from the shackles.
Where I come from, where I grew up – I am aware that there are young people that never had an opportunity to go to school. I am also aware that there are young people who dropped out of school
because of various factors. And therefore, you have got a pool of young people that never set their foot in school, a pool of young people that dropped for various reasons. The biggest reason that made young people to drop out of school was poverty.
The ANC-led government then introduced the feeding scheme to allow children to have food. You would be surprised that through the introduction of these “feeding scheme” in schools that has encouraged young people to go to school because that is where they will get a meal. Some of the children managed to complete their schooling because they were motivated by the meal that they are getting.
I said in the earlier Question that the percentage of young people that are qualifying in science technology is increasing. That is a step in the right direction.
The number of those young people who are completing matric is increasing instead of decreasing. It is the right step in the in the right direction. What the problem now is that we have got young people that have passed matric and that are not able to access higher education, that are in the middle, that have not passed matric very well. Some of these pupils are going to our Technical Vocational Education and Training, tvet, colleges. But
the problems still exist that means we must broaden our skills base. Don’t look at only tvet colleges, don’t look at only technologies, create another level where you can train young people, give them skills. Ensure that you give the skills to those that have dropped out.
This should be the focus of government because these children will never be forced into formal schooling again. They are old enough some of them to go back to school. All they need is a skill to go back to school. This is the situation that we are confronted with. It is not only getting these people into employment but it is to getting these people to acquire a skill.
I am not very sure whether I have tried to answer your question. I thought I have tried to answer your question.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, hon members, it seems to me that this question is based on the underlying assumption that members of the executive are, somehow, reluctant to appear before the National Assembly to deal with their parliamentary responsibilities.
At the outset, it is important to deal with any perception that suggests that members of the executive are not fulfilling their expected responsibilities and meeting their obligations in this House. As a matter of course, Parliament must hold all of us accountable on a range of matters pertaining to the work of government. As a voice of the ordinary people, Parliament must be respected to ensure that the work of the executive is subjected to scrutiny and that the necessary accountability measures are taken.
The executive takes this responsibility very seriously. That is why we respond to questions. That is why I am standing here, today. Questions that are sent to the executive must be answered and members of the executive do appear before this House to do their duties.
This does not suggest that there are no concerns from hon members. Where concerns have been raised, we are committed to ensuring that corrective measures are implemented to maximise the participation of all the executive members in the House.
We have taken practical measures to deal with the problem of nonattendance of parliamentary programmes by members of the executive. Among other key measures, we have streamlined
communication to ensure that, where Ministers are unable to attend, this should be communicated to presiding officers well in advance, so that alternative arrangements can be made.
We have introduced a roster on the attendance of parliamentary sessions by members of the executive. We intend appointing three members of the executive to assist with the monitoring of attendance of parliamentary sessions by our hon Ministers. We are introducing monitoring and tracking mechanisms to ensure that members of the executive respond timeously to parliamentary questions. In this regard, we send proactive reminders to ensure that Ministers deal with outstanding questions, on time. It is therefore expected that there will be great improvement, in the future.
As we implement these improvement measures, it is also worth pointing out that it is incumbent upon Parliament to enforce its constitutionally defined role and powers. The expectation from the side of the executive is that this should be respected, in line with the obligation placed on each and every one of us to promote and protect the vision of our Constitution.
Ultimately, we all want the relationship between Parliament and the executive to be harmonious. We want it to be focused on the
agenda of advancing the interests of the electorate in a manner that is interdependent and reinforcing. Our energies must be focused on producing concrete outcomes that place the interest and development of the people at the centre. That should be our preoccupation. Thank you very much.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Deputy Speaker, let me begin by thanking the Deputy President for his response. We, from this side of the House, would certainly welcome any intervention to improve the attendance – which, we must admit, since the new dawn of this new administration, has not been what it should be. We have even had a situation where only a single member of the executive was present in the House to respond to members’ statements.
However, I am very glad that the Deputy President has agreed with me – and I’m sure he will continue to agree with me – that executive responsibility and accountability is an essential tool for our democratic health, as a nation; and that the Constitution of the Republic, in sections 55(2) and 92, provides very clear and peremptory clauses to ensure that this House must hold the executive accountable. In turn, the executive has obligations placed on it to ensure that it accounts to this
House and provides full and regular reports concerning matters under their control.
I was therefore most disturbed to learn of the fact that the EFF proposed to effect an amendment to the Rules of the National Assembly, in order to significantly reduce the number of times that you, the Deputy President, account to this House, from once a month when we are sitting to once every three months. [Interjections.] This will significantly reduce the opportunity of exercising oversight and accountability of you, hon Deputy President, as the Leader of Government Business, as well.
I would therefore like to ask you, Deputy President: Are you in favour of, in fact, reducing your accountability responsibilities in this House; and whether you have met any member of the EFF to discuss this rather bizarre request? [Interjections.]
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order before the Deputy President responds: I think the member should withdraw that question. It is disingenuous. He should rather pose it to us, as the EFF. That is not a matter that ... He should withdraw that question and come and ask us. He’s being
opportunistic. We will remove the mayor in Nelson Mandela Bay. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, hon member. Hon members, members have a right to ask any question.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Deputy Speaker, they tried that in Nelson Mandela Bay and it didn’t work! [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, hon members!
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: I think it’s very opportunistic of the hon John Steenhuisen to raise this matter, because it is a matter for the Chief Whips’ Forum. We debated this matter this morning – and he was there - in that forum. So, for him to bring this matter up here is displaying opportunism, on his part.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, you are making a political statement. That is not a point of order. [Interjections.] No, that is not a point of order.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: The hon Steenhuisen must just remember I am convener of Gauteng. So, we still have Johannesburg and Tshwane. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No. [Interjections.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: To quote my colleague, Ms Mazzone, bring it on! [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no. Deputy President, please respond. [Interjections.] Hon members, be quiet. Hold on, it’s not election time yet! [Interjections.] Please, quiet. Quiet! [Interjections.] Go ahead, Deputy President. There is some zeal here.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, I hear that you are asking for my opinion. I am aware that you are still discussing the matter where you are discussing it. I would also like to hear the views of that meeting in which you are discussing this matter.
Here is my opinion. You must understand that the members of the executive are responsible, in between sessions, of running the affairs of the country. As much as they must come and account to
this Parliament, Parliament must be considerate. They must also have the opportunity to do their work and service the people. [Applause.] That is very important. Today, while we were in Cabinet, I was looking at issues that will require ... for instance, the Minister of Health, in the North West. I then realised that I hadn’t realised the lives of Ministers were so difficult. [Interjections.]
HON MEMBERS: Oh! Shame!
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: It is a very difficult life. That is why we have introduced a roster so that certain Ministers should be in the House while others are allowed to do work.
An HON MEMBER: What about you?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Well, you can have me as many times as you want! I am here, with you. I am not going to run away. [Interjections.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Every three months? Do you support that?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Well, I’m not part of your meeting but I am saying if you want me, I am available anytime. I won’t run away from you. [Applause.] [Interjections.] I have tried to answer your question. You are very disruptive. Every time I try to answer you, you are talking.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Deputy Speaker, the Deputy President didn’t answer the aspect of the question on whether he has met anybody from the EFF to discuss this proposal. [Interjections.] It was a direct question.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no. Hon ...
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: You know, Deputy Speaker, he was supposed to ask us in the Chief Whips’ Forum. Why does he keep asking this boring question? He’s got nothing to do. He’s got nothing to ask here! So, he must stop using the EFF’s name. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Mkhaliphi, you are out of order. [Interjections.] No, no. Both of you are out of order. You are just up on your hind legs and you speak without being allowed to speak. [Interjections.] Please, just be in order. [Interjections.]
Wesikhulu babu Mhlongo awusukume ubuze umbuzo wakho.
Mr S P MHLONGO: Deputy President, a few weeks ago, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, reported that the Department of Water and Sanitation was bankrupt as a result of mismanagement by the former Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane, who looted the department during her tenure as Minister, there.
As the Leader of Government Business, committed to rooting out corruption and mismanagement, do you think it is proper for Ms Nomvula Mokonyane to continue as a Cabinet member with the whole cloud of maladministration hanging over her head? Would you please give us a signal, Deputy President? [Laughter.] [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, I would really strongly discourage members from coming with allegations because I can’t help you when you bring allegations. The only way I can help you is that, if you know of any wrongdoing by any of the Ministers, please report it to the relevant authorities. [Interjections.]
Now, it’s not a place where we can discuss allegations and say we are going to do this or that, because we are alleging. I don’t know. [Interjections.] So, the best way is that, if there is anything you know that Minister Mokonyane has done, please report it to the relevant authorities. Thank you.
Mr S P MHLONGO: Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: Scopa has been seized with this matter. It is public knowledge. It is not an allegation, at all. So, the Deputy President must not try to mislead the House. It is not an allegation, at all. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, hon members. Deputy President, please proceed.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t want to mislead the House, but if Scopa is seized with the matter, then I’m sure Scopa will have a way of dealing with the matter, because the matter is before it, and Scopa is not just a committee that will hear a matter which then ends there. As a committee of this Parliament, Scopa can propose sanctions. Parliament is a body that has authority to impose sanctions. So, don’t pass the buck. Thank you very much.
Question 10 (cont):
Mr N SINGH: Deputy President, one ... [interjection.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: There’s a little shelf in your desk, just keep it there for now [Laughter.] and we’ll direct it to the Deputy President’s office if you so wish. Go ahead, hon Singh.
Mr N SINGH: Deputy Speaker, one welcomes the initiatives that the hon Deputy President spoke about: tracking, making sure that Ministers answer questions and having a roster.
But, hon Deputy President, the accountability of the executive to Parliament and the public at large extends beyond just standing up here and answering questions, whether they are oral or written questions. And in this regard I want to refer to correspondence that we, as Members of Parliament, write to Ministers; and I can tell hon Deputy President, it leaves a lot to be desired when you don’t even get an acknowledgement of your correspondence, let alone an appropriate response.
To this end hon Deputy President, there is what is called PLOs, not Palestinian Liberation Organization [Laughter.] not Parliamentary ... Political Officers but Parliamentary Liaison Officers. They are highly paid people who are meant to bridge
the gap between the Member of Parliament and the department and the executive. Will you, hon Deputy President, look into the efficacy of PLOs so that we can get appropriate responses from the executive? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, we are going to communicate that to the members of the executive and all Ministers in writing the concerns that you are raising; but, of course, to try and track if there is a correspondence written to the Minister of Higher Education and training, maybe you can cite us, our office, so that we can remind the Minister, “Minister, you have received this letter, have you responded to this letter?” In that way we are trying to assist one another.
I am aware that Ministers are all over Pretoria, Cape Town and so on; so it is my responsibility as the leader of government business to remind members of certain responsibilities that they must execute in the House. Instead of blaming one another let’s try and resolve the problem. Thank you.
Mr P D N MALOYI: Deputy President, the expectation from members of this House – which is of course legitimate - is that Ministers should appear at parliamentary committees every morning; they should be in the House every afternoon to answer
questions and respond to statements; and at times just to sit, listen and take notes.
Equally, we expect departments to ensure that those officials that are assigned the responsibility of the day to day running, they operate effectively. We expect Ministers to be in different parts of the country to attend to service delivery needs of our people; we expect Ministers to be in different parts of the world to attend to their international obligations and I am happy that today you have outlined as to what systems are you putting in place to ensure that Ministers do attend to ... [Time expired.] can you attend to communication as well, between the executive and the legislature? Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much for the comment. We will attend to the communication. We are going to try and show that the work of Parliament does not suffer and also ensure that the work of the executive does not suffer, but all of us will complement one another. So, we will have a discussion with the presiding officers so that the House must proceed to do its work and discharge its responsibilities and government must also proceed to do and discharge its responsibility. Thank you
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, the broad framework for building strong partnership lies in the National Development Plan, NDP, and Vision 2030. The social contract envisaged here, will help propel South Africa on to a higher developmental trajectory, as well as build more cohesive and equitable society.
During his inaugural state of the nation address, the President outlined our overall vision on partnerships and social dialogues, of achieving our goals of building a more inclusive economy that will help to create decent work opportunities on a scale that will have an impact on poverty, inequality and unemployment.
Our implementation plan entails a number of elements, and I wish to share a few of these with this House. Firstly, the President recently announced the appointment of the investment envoys which will be able to take the positive sentiments towards South Africa, encouraging the investors to invest in our economy and by bringing their money into our fixed investment, building factories, investing in mines and promoting infrastructure development. The envoys will work closely with our local and foreign investors.
Secondly, to fund infrastructure development and speed up implementation, we have made changes to boards of some our state-owned companies, SOEs, to restore market confidence and improve governance, drawing on expertise available within the wider business communities. In the coming year, the country will spend more than a quarter trillion rand to bring new schools, healthcare facilities, water infrastructure, energy, transport, education facilities and housing, to name but a few.
To obtain more from these high levels of investment, we need greater co-ordination within the state as well as within our social partners. The Minister of Economic Development and the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Council, has commenced discussion with key financial institutions, banks and insurance companies to unlock financial resources which can be channelled to projects that can yield high social and economic returns.
Thirdly, to boost local production, we are working with manufacturers and we are engaging both state-owned companies and private sector retailers, to boost local procurement. The discussion will be focusing on ways to increase the opportunities for all South African-based manufacturing and agricultural operations, which includes small businesses, black- owned and youth-owned enterprises.
Consumers and trade unions can be key to the success of these initiatives, as we shift from importing all that we need into becoming a nation of manufacturers; a nation of farmers and a nation of miners. Fourthly, to address the high levels of economic inclusion, we are pursuing measures to open up sectors for small businesses and black South Africans will be assisted in this case.
Together, small and medium businesses support more than 60% of all employment in South Africa. So, it is important to support small and medium businesses. Small businesses, especially businesses belonging to blacks must be given every opportunity to succeed. One of the initiatives to this end, are proposed changes to the Competition Act to address high levels of economic concentration.
Fifthly, to build inclusivity, the government announced a range of initiatives during the state of the nation address debate, including greater level of industrial funding, progress with implementation of basic wage floor in the country, through a national minimum wage, consideration of greater worker participation in the company, governance arrangement and improved payment of small businesses suppliers within 30 days.
The President will in due course be providing further details on the broader accord to underpin economic recovery and shift the economy into a new growth path that is characterised by high levels of growth, but as important, a different more inclusive model of growth. Fortunately for South Africa, social dialogue it’s embedded in our psyche and our nation.
There is also an enabling institutional infrastructure to deepen dialogue on matters of national priority. Let us also recall that in his state of the nation address, the President called on the nation to mobilise and build partnership for jobs, investment and youth employment, optimising the partnerships between government and all sectors of society.
These partnerships will culminate into various summits where the role and contribution of each of the social partners will be articulated in details. Steps have been taken to lay the groundwork for the job summits, and the President will be engaging with leaders of business; leaders of labour and the community to concretise plans for that job summit before the end of the month. Details on the job summit will be announced in due course. Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker.
Ms S R VAN SCHALKWYK: Thank you, hon Deputy President, for your response. Hon Deputy President, we know however that, even though government has great plans, in practise, some employers, especially in the private sector are just ignoring this, and therefore, are not implementing them.
As leader of government business, hon Deputy President, do you have strategies in place to ensure monitoring the implementation of these plans to realise transformation, especially in the private sector? I ask this question because, as we know, in order to effectively address unemployment, poverty and inequality, real transformation in our society and our workplaces must indeed take place. I thank you.
Question 11 (cont):
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, as someone who is deputising the President and assisting the President in achieving these plans, I will always be available to assist in ensuring that our plans are realised.
Of course, my duty as the Leader of Government Business is a bit far from what is expected here – to get our economy working, to get the required investment, to get the private sector and civil society working, to get all of us to realise these plans. I am
going to be part of a team. The entire executive works together to ensure that we realise these objectives we have set for ourselves. Thank you.
Mr S C MOTAU: Deputy Speaker, through you to the Deputy President: I am glad you referred to the National Development Plan, NDP. It is at the heart of all of this. The big challenge here is this: Year in and year out since this document was accepted here, we hear your colleagues standing at that podium making these promises that you make today. Disappointingly, however, whatever your government has promised to do or has done in this regard has failed to do the job. Now, if you doubt what I am saying, let’s look at this. Economic growth remains very weak. Some call it anaemic. Jobs continue to be lost, with unemployment currently at more than 9 million desperate job seekers and counting, and more than 17 million poor people dependent on social grants to survive.
The question is this: How will your plans get the country to the 5% annual economic growth envisaged by the NDP, given the rampant corruption, fraud, and looting infesting government departments, state-owned enterprises and other state entities?
We have learned that theft is the biggest problem for the SAA. How are you going to deal with this?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, firstly, maybe the criticism by the hon member is probably fair. As government, we need to find a co-ordinated way to ensure that the National Development Plan is implemented without failure. We should put mechanisms in place that will help us measure our performance. At times, if our performance is not good enough, there should be ways of improving those areas where we think we are not performing. So, we take that criticism.
Of course, you should be happy that the sentiment and the mood in the country are good enough for all us to go back to work. Investor confidence is back again. So, it is not all lost. We can correct some of the failures that we have observed and acknowledged and improve on those failures. I am still confident that, as a country, if we work together with all our social partners – government, the private sector, and civil society – we can realise the aspirations of the National Development Plan, all of us.
Now, let us capitalise on the environment that is conducive now. That is why you saw the President, and I repeat this: The step taken by the President to go out and ask investors to come and invest in the country is very important. Now we should prepare ourselves to welcome those investors so that we can turn around
our economy. We can make South Africa a better place. As long as we have a high unemployment rate, as long as the poverty and inequality rates are high, we are not going to realise what we set ourselves to realise in the NDP. So, it is important to deal with certain aspects in our economy that are holding us back, in order to try and achieve what we have set ourselves to achieve.
Yes, we are going to fight corruption. We are standing firm and saying no to corruption. It is the right thing. You have seen government taking practical steps. These steps are going to be pursued – not only corruption at a national level but corruption at the provincial and local levels. We must not only focus on the public sector. We are also condemning corrupt practices in the private sector which are called by different names.
Corruption is corruption. You cannot call corruption collusion. It is corruption. [Applause.] So, we must pursue corruption wherever it rears its head if we want to be fair and take the country forward. [Interjections.] Thank you very much.
Mr J A ESTERHUIZEN: Deputy Speaker, through you to the Deputy President: Everyone would like to know government’s strategic plans, as it seems that with every new year, we have new economic and development plans. Won’t you agree, though, Mr Deputy President, that the core issue here is that the
expenditure of this government and its state-owned entities is totally out of control? That is why they cannot provide the services required to lift our people out of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Work closely with the private sector, you said in a previous answer. Work very closely, I would say. State- owned entities are already indebted to the private sector to the sum of R1,3 trillion. As Leader of Government Business, and to make a real impact on the eradication of poverty, inequality and unemployment, should you not rather be concerned with the increased borrowing that, in return, reduces the funds for social and economic spending? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, I wouldn’t say the expenditure in the state-owned companies, SOCs, is getting out of hand. [Interjections.] It is not getting out of hand. What we have noted is that it is money that has been stolen. I don’t call that “expenditure”. Expenditure is money that is utilised based on an agreed plan.
We have not used our resources correctly in order to get certain desired outcomes, especially in our SOCs. That is what we are currently trying to deal with – to just get these state-owned enterprises, SOEs, back into business and doing what they are meant for. We are probably not going to opt for privatising
these SOCs. [Interjections.] There is no proven case that privatising will be the solution. [Interjections.] What we encourage is addressing the weaknesses and putting in place a new plan that will seek to address unemployment, that will seek to address poverty, and that will seek to address inequalities.
With all of its efforts, government is trying to address the burden of poverty. We are mindful of the fact that the number of people dependent on social grants is rising. That list is growing, which is indicative of the impact of poverty. We must at some stage take these off social grants so that they can gainfully find employment, work, and contribute positively to our economy. So, yes, all of the things that we have set for ourselves are achievable, as long as we focus and ensure that we utilise our meagre resources sparingly and correctly.
In this case, as a country, we must be fair. As much as we criticise government for wrongdoings and not achieving certain things, the private sector also must be equally criticised where it is not doing right. So, we must balance that. Thank you.
Mr M N PAULSEN: Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: I want to bring this to your attention before we move too far along. I rise in terms of Rule 85, which states the following:
No member may impute improper motives to any other member, or cast personal reflections upon a member’s integrity or dignity, or verbally abuse a member in any other way.
Earlier, when the hon Mkhaliphi stood up, you said you cannot just jump up on your hind legs. [Interjections.] [Laughter.] Now, it is not a joke, really.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Are you calling me a dog?
Mr M N PAULSEN: I am really disappointed in the ANC caucus that feels this is a laughing matter because you are telling a female Member of Parliament that she is an animal, that she is jumping up on her hind legs like a dog. This is a human being, and you are impugning on the dignity of a woman, a female. You know, it is no surprise they say men are trash. [Interjections.] We cannot refer to a woman like that and say she is jumping up on her hind legs. Deputy Speaker, I respectfully request that you withdraw.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, I said that to both the hon Steenhuisen and the hon Mkhaliphi. They did the same thing. I withdraw. I will not put any conditions. I withdraw. It is fine. Go ahead, hon Deputy President.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: When you withdraw, you just have to go out. [Laughter.] [Interjections.] You withdraw. Go out.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, take your seat.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Mam’ Thoko, go and Chair. You must go, chief. You called me a dog here. You called me a dog. You must go out, chief. [Interjections.] Go!
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, just take your seat and behave. Go ahead, Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I am done with that follow-up question.
Mr S C MNCWABE: Deputy Speaker, our question was around the jobs summit that the President spoke about in his state of the nation address this year, but after the initial response by the Deputy President, we feel that he has covered our question. We are indeed covered. Thank you. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Deputy President, the next question is put to you by the hon Ntshayisa.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, the hon Ntshayisa is not available, owing to some very urgent business at home, so we therefore request that this question is stood over.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Chief Whip, if members are ready, I guess we can proceed, but if there is a proposal ... do you agree that it is stood over? [Interjections.] No, he is not here, but the question is already asked. It is the House’s question. So, there is a feeling that ...
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, our Rules say we entertain questions with members in attendance. Now, this member has asked that, because he would not be in the House owing to serious matters at home, the question stands over. He is a Whip. He has spoken to the Chief Whip on this matter.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Alright. In that case, we cannot debate this. I assume that we agree it stands over. Hon members, before we proceed, I would like to make the following announcement. It is important that we listen to the announcement. It relates to your transport back to the villages. If you are planning study groups, don’t. Cancel them and go straight to the transport that is arranged. There are only two buses – one at 18:00 and one at
19:15. There will be no other transport, so if you plan to complain that you were left behind, know that I will protect those who would have left you behind. Please, this is an arrangement because of the current environment. Let’s be organised and do things properly. [Interjections.]
There is one at 17:15. The last one is at 18:00. Those are the only two times. Hon members, anything else related to the transport will be communicated to you on the buses.
Mr A R MCLOUGHLIN: Deputy Speaker, just on a point of clarity, please would you confirm those times? Is it 19:15, or is it 17:15?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is 17:15 and 18:00. That is a 21st century man there! Hon members, that concludes the business of the day. The House is adjourned.
The House adjourned at 16:57.