Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised Hansard
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 04 Sep 2018
No summary available.
TUESDAY, 04 SEPTEMBER 2018
PROCEEDING OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 14:02
The House Chairperson: Committees, Oversight, Co-operative Government and Intergovernmental Relations took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
Mr F ESSACK: Chairperson, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House, I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House –
notes that the NCOP, has just returned from the Free State with the Taking of Parliament to the People Programme at an astronomical cost to the South African taxpayers;
further notes that the week-long programme included visits to various health clinics and hospitals throughout the province;
observes that there remains strong evidence of poor planning, fruitless and wasteful expenditure coupled with ongoing irregular expenditure;
realises that synergy is nonexistent between the Departments of Health and, of course, the Departments of Social Services within the province;
warns that the Integrated Development Plan, IDP, remains a tick box exercise with little or no consistency between provincial and local government;
concedes that local councillors, mayors and the MEC for the Department of Health, were hard to find and difficult to engage with;
recognises that the public report back meetings further highlighted the dismal failures, with little or no
improvements in the province, concerning health and social services to our people;
debates the ICU condition of the Department of Health in the Free State Province; and
regrets that the Makue’s group was left there because, quite frankly, it was worthless for the DA to be in that group. I so move.
Ms L L ZWANE: Chairperson, I hereby give notice that in the next sitting day of the Council I shall move:
That the Council -
debates the reliable and safe scholar transport system for learners who study in cities and areas outside their places of residence;
further notes that learners across many townships in South Africa use public transport such as trains, taxis and buses to travel to schools located in cities, resulting in some of
them being late, robbed and even kidnapped on their way to and from school. I so move!
Mr E MAKUE: Chairperson, I hereby give notice that in the next sitting day of the Council, I shall move:
That the Council -
debates the surge of illicit sale of expired and fake consumable goods to communities across the country;
notes that expired and fake consumable goods are said to be manufactured by operators of small informal shops and sold to unsuspecting and vulnerable consumers in various parts of the country;
regrets that this is done in particular to Working-class communities who find themselves in townships, villages and cities. I so move!
THE PELTING OF THE VEHICLE OF THE EFF LEADER, JULIUS MALEMA
Ms P C SAMKA: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the House –
notes reports that the vehicle of EFF leader Julius Malema was pelted with rocks and beer bottles at the party’s Gauteng People’s Assembly in the Vaal on Saturday;
further notes that the ugly confrontation was as a result of continued allegations of gatekeeping and manipulation of internal party processes to favour candidates that are said to be handpicked by the EFF leader; and
takes this opportunity to condemn the utter violence against party members, including defenceless women.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
ILLEGAL REMOVAL OF THE EXECUTIVE MAYOR OF NELSON MANDELA BAY, ATHOL
Mr L V MAGWEBU: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the House –
notes that on Monday, 27 August 2018, the Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Athol Trollip was illegally removed from his position through an illegal sitting of the council;
further notes that after this illegal removal, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, COGTA, Dr Zweli Mkhize sent a delegation to Port Elizabeth to establish the facts surrounding the removal of Executive Mayor Athol Trollip;
also notes that those who conducted the coup d’état refused to meet with the task team sent by the COGTA Minister;
further notes that this refusal must be viewed for what it is as a tacit acknowledgement of the wrong doing on their part; and
condemns any illegal removal of public representatives as unconstitutional.
THE DEATH OF FIVE SCHOOL LEARNERS ON D2940 ROAD IN KAMDLADLA IN NKOMAZI IN MPUMALANGA
Ms M L MOSHODI: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the House –
notes with utmost concern and sadness the death of five school learners on D2940 Road in KaMdladla in Nkomazi in Mpumalanga last Friday;
further notes that the horrible accident occurred when a minibus taxi collided head-on with a bus; and
takes this opportunity to make an appeal to all drivers transporting learners to drive with utmost caution and a
greater sense of responsibility to curb the death of learners in our roads.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
THE NATIONAL TEACHERS UNION, NATU TURNS 100
Mr M KHAWULA: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the House -
notes that the National Teachers Union, NATU, which was established in 1918 as the Natal African Teachers Union then is turning 100 years this year;
also notes that ever since its establishment NATU has always put its mandate to ensure the quality education of the African child and the improvement of the conditions of service for the teaching fraternity;
congratulates NATU on this milestone as they hold their national conference in Empangeni until tomorrow;
congratulates all the past presidents of NATU all these years, including the likes of: Prof Z K Matthews; Mr Xaba; Prof A J Thembela; Dr Shezi; and The outgoing President, Mr
S. L Ngcobo, who has led NATU for 18-years from the year 2000; and
wishes the incoming President with his incoming National Executive Committee the best as they take NATU forward to greater heights of another 100-years in the service of the Nation.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
Mr F ESSACK: Chairperson, through you I just wanted to check if could find out from hon Khawula if it was befitting for hon Buthelezi to wear a R90 000 outfits donated on his birthday.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr.A J Nyambi): Hon Essack, you are out of order. Sorry, hon Mthethwa, hon Khawula I hope you are not going to
deal with the statement that is out of order. I have already ruled that it is out of order.
Mr M KHAWULA: Chairperson, beside being out of order, he is and is un African on what he is saying. He must stop doing those things.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr.A J Nyambi): Hon members, hon Essack, can you please refrain from doing anything that will compromise the decorum of the House? You are totally out of order.
THE RHEIMNETALL DENEL WEAPONRY FACTORY EXPLOSION
Mr J M MTHETHWA: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the House –
notes with utmost concern the death of eight people in an explosion at the Rheimnetall Denel weaponry factory on the outskirts of Cape Town yesterday, 3 September 2018;
further notes that the explosion also destroyed the entire Rheimnetall Denel Munitions building causing further damage to surrounding walls;
takes this opportunity to extend its heartfelt condolences to the diseased and congratulates the City of Cape’s Fire and Rescue Service for their prompt and swift reaction to the explosion and ensuring that surrounding communities are safe; and
calls on an urgent investigation to determine the root causes of the explosion.
THE INTERVENTION TO KEEP THE FUEL PRICE INCREASE
Mr D M MONAKEDI: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the House -
notes and welcomes the intervention by the Department of Energy to keep the fuel price increase expected this coming Wednesday low;
also notes that this intervention takes the fuel increase to 4,9 cents per litre instead of the expected 23 cents to 25 cents per litre;
further notes that despite the fact that these increases are caused mainly by international factors and that there is no quick fix to the high fuel prices, it hit hard on the cost of living and the economy of the country; and
therefore, appeals for a sustainable solution to the increases for the benefit of our people.
Ms L C DLAMINI: Chair, I move on behalf of the African National Congress without notice:
That the Council –
notes that the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, announced that the outbreak on Listeriosis is over as there had been no new reports from June;
further notes that more than 700 cases were recorded which the World Health organisation said was the largest ever recorded outbreak of the diseases;
also notes that the source of the disease outbreak was identified as polony and products from enterprises foods factory in Polokwane and Limpopo; and
therefore call on all involved in making and distributing the affected product to take precautionary measures to ensure that we do not suffer another outbreak.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: House Chair, I
am rising on a point of order that there is an established
convention in the Council that motions that deal with natural disasters, or outbreaks of diseases and even the loss of life are motions that normally unites the Council. So, it should be a well considered view that should a Member of Parliament rise to object such motions. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): No, it is a valid point but there is nothing I can do as I am presiding. If there is an objection I will record it as such but at an appropriate forum it has to be addressed as you are raising it. However, there is nothing I can do here. If there is an objection I ... [Inaudible.] It is a valid point that the hon Chief Whip is raising, at an appropriate forum we have to attend to it.
KIMBERLEY MAYOR RESIGNS
Mr W F FABER: Chairperson, I move on behalf of the Democratic Alliance without noce:
That this Council –
notes the resignation of the Sol Plaaitjie Mayor, Mr Matika, that it is a victory for the people of Kimberley;
further notes that Matika from long ago lost the confidence of not only the residence of Kimberley but also majority of Sol Plaaitjie councillors;
notes that by his mismanagement of municipal funds he manipulated municipal businesses in favour of his friends;
further notes that he abused resources to sustain his luxury lifestyle;
also notes that all these were done on an unwarranted cost to residents and at the expense of service delivery and the local economy;
notes that the incidence is a wake up call to the failing ANC;
further notes that the governments of the day are voted in power by the people;
acknowledges that the people should not be taken for granted;
also notes that the DA will continue to probe at Matika’s scandals including the purchase of his luxury BMW, his municipal funded accommodation and luxury furniture as well;
notes his hand in awarding certain tenders and kickbacks;
further notes that justice must still be allowed to take its course; and
acknowledge that those who aided Matika must also be held accountable;
notes that the DA hopes that a change in leadership will at least allow basic services to resume in certain sidelined areas; and
acknowledges that it is only a change under a DA-led government that will lead to economic growth, jobs and prosperity for the people of Kimberley.
PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA AT BEIJING
Mr C J DE BEER: Chairperson, I move on behalf of the African National Congress without notice:
That the Council -
notes and welcomes the sentiment by His Excellency, President Ramaphosa, in his address at the Forum on China-Africa Co- operation, FOCAC, summit in Beijing yesterday to champion Africa’s call for fair trade between the continent and the world’s second largest economy;
further notes with appreciation the pledge by the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s of an additional $60 billion investment into Africa over the next three years which will in turn benefit Africa and enhance the win win co-operation;
also notes that the economic co-operation between China and Africa extends beyond the Chinese and African people and it promotes the aspirations to build a shared future for all mankind through leadership, vision and partnership; and
commend the initiatives for foreign investment to South Africa for its sustainable economic development.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE FAIL
Mr O S TERBLANCHE: Chairperson, I move on behalf of the Democratic Alliance without notice:
That this Council -
(1) notes unsuccessful attempts by the ANC and its alliance partners to drive a vote of no confidence to the Tshwane City Council to unseat the democratically elected local coalition
government and to put the corrupt ANC-led coalition in power back again.
FREE STATE WATER CRISIS
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Hon Chairperson, I move on behalf of the Democratic Alliance without notice:
That the Council -
notes the horrifying state of water affairs in the Free State which is affecting the health sector, elderly and learners especially in the Kopanong District;
calls on the ANC government to not compromise service delivery as water is a basic human need; and
finally notes that the DA will hold the Kopanong Municipality accountable to effect this basic need.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
DA MAYOR VOTE
Ms E PRINS: Chairperson, I move on behalf of the African National Congress without notice:
That the Council –
notes that the DA Knysna mayor, Mark Willemse, is refusing to resign as instructed by the DA after he voted with his conscience in support of the ANC motion to remove the previous DA mayor;
further notes that Mayor Willemse and councillor mayors of the DA voted with their conscience in favour of a motion of
no confidence against DA mayor, Ellenor Bospice, which led to them being found guilty for misconduct by their party;
also notes that Willemse refused to resign from his position on two previous occasions following his appointment and said he remain committed to the task and would seek legal advice following the DA’s disciplinary outcome; and
therefore call on the DA to stop their hypocratic actions of wanting to dismiss these councillors for voting with their conscience whilst not so long ago they made calls to ANC members to vote with their conscience or they will face the wrath of the community of Knysna.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon members,allow me to take this opportunity to welcome ... [Interjections.] Ja, you are not the only one, hon Dr Moteme, hon Essack and the three remaining hands but the time for motions is up. So, you are not the only one. Hon members, I will now take this opportunity to welcome the ministers, special delegates to the very important debate. Hon members, we come
to the subject for discussion as printed in the Order Paper. Allow me to take this opportunity to invite the hon Motshekga, the Minister of Basic education. [Applause.]
DEBATE ON INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY: LITERACY IN A DIGITAL WORLD: TAKING MEASURES TO LEVERAGE THE ECONOMIC POTENTIAL OF THE 4TH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
(Subject for Discussion)
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Hon Chairperson, let me also acknowledge my colleague from the province, Ntate Kgetjepe, hon members of the NCOP, officials from the department and also your guests in the gallery. From the outset, let me add my word in recognising and celebrating our centenarians, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Mama Nontsikelelo Sisulu. I fully agree with President Barack Obama when he said, and I quote:
Mandela indeed was a giant of history who moved a nation towards justice and in the process moved billions around the world.
Yes, we can say that Madiba was amongst the last great liberators of the 20th century. Madiba and Sisulu were brave, kind spirited courageous, principled and magnificent leaders. They knew that public power was held in trust for the benefit of the people not for personal gain. Madiba and Mama Sisulu were exemplars of absolute probity, benevolence and selflessness in the true sense. If all of us could embrace a core values that characterised their lives South Africa is on its way towards too renewal as a democratic nation.
Chairperson and members, we must agree to continue to draw lessons and inspirations from the lives of ethical leadership like the two leaders. I’m here today to share my views on the 2018 International Literacy Day on 8 September, under the theme: “Literacy in a digital world: Taking measures to leverage the economic potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution”. I would also want to encourage all of us here as leaders to also encourage, in all our spaces and lives, the importance of reading. To recognise at this week is also a Book Week Day and want to encourage all of us to encourage reading by being readers ourselves.
We have statistics in the department which have very unfortunate picture of us as South Africans in general. We were comparing...
it’s not even ourselves who did the research; it was a comparison between successful reading nations like Russia, which is a leading nation in literacy and ourselves with Morocco and other countries. It revealed that Russians as people 35% of them read, 65% of them are advance readers - people who read really thoroughly. It revealed that ourselves, not our children, as South Africans only 15% of us read. Those that can read don’t read, and only 5% of us are advance readers. Again, I think all of us as leaders have to take it to a point ourselves to encourage the culture of reading within the nation so that even our children can learn from us the importance of reading.
It would however be remit of me if I do not start by emphasising the absolute need to improve the quality of learning and teaching outcomes across our system. This is an imperative, if we have to tackle the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment; and stimulate our economic growth and development; and help ourselves to leapfrog towards a just, equitable, nonracial, nonsexist and prosperous South Africa that we are yearning for. We must ensure that more learners reach the basic levels of literacy and numeracy in the Foundation Phase. This again we are saying in the sector that is where it starts and most of the time that’s where
it ends. This is an overriding determinant of how successful learners will be in their 12 years of their long walk to matric; and largely determines whether learners will cope with schooling at all, or run the risk of dropping out and add to the huge numbers of young people not employed, not in education and not in training – the so- called not in employment, education or training, NEET, group. We must make early grade learning and teaching our topmost priority.
On the 4th Industrial Revolution that I have been asked to reflect on we need to approach the International Literacy Day on 8 September 2018, by reminding this august House that we stand on the brink of a very disruptive technological revolution and trends that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope and complexity, this technological transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold; but one thing is clear, the response to it must be integrated involving all stakeholders from the public and private sectors, to the academia and civil society.
Globally, countries are being turned to respond to the opportunities and risks presented by the 4th Industrial Revolution. Advanced
technologies, such as automation: Artificial intelligence, robotics, nontechnology, three-dimensional, 3D, printing and autonomous vehicles will demand nonroutine, interpersonal, analytical, and social skills such as persuasion as well as emotional and social intelligence. I can see that some people who really have challenges with emotional intelligence, so these are the people that we have to target and really help as we move forward. Furthermore, creative and critical thinking, communication, media literacy, and ethics will be demanded.
The advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution has also led to the expansion of the definition of literacy beyond just reading and writing. Educational institutions are now expected to meet learners’ needs through the integration of 21st century skills – referred to as the 5 Cs. These 5 Cs are the critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, and computational thinking. These 5 Cs underpin new forms of literacy in the digital world which, amongst other, include digital literacy; media literacy; visual literacy; data literacy; and game literacy. It also includes health and financial literacy, civic and ethic literacy and news literacy - again, an encoding and computational literacy and foundational literacy.
The emergence of new literacy, I’ve just mentioned, which are maybe made possible by digital technology developments calls for the urgency to modernise our education and training sector from basic education to higher education and training. At the basic education level, the modernisation of the classroom has become a phenomenon of the global society. Teaching approaches are beginning to change in all countries, especially leading countries in education, such as Finland and Singapore. South Africa cannot and should not be left out. The progress we are seeing in Gauteng and the Western Cape, in the modernisation of the classroom, with the Eastern Cape and the Free State following suit, is encouraging to say the least. The alignment of content and teaching methodology to real life situations, in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution, are therefore highly imperative.
I would like to reiterate that the new literacy are underpinned by digital technology development hence government is making a concerted effort to ensure that her schools have access to information and communications technology, ICTs. Government has already finalised detailed plans with key stakeholders using the Operation Phakisa methodology to enable the successful use of ICTs
in education. The basic education sector is positioning itself to address the argument that by 2030, over 800 000 million young people across the globe will not have skills needed to keep up with knowledge-base technology driven economy. The basic education sector also notes that by 2030, two billion jobs in the world, half of all current jobs will disappear due to automation.
Therefore, the Department of Basic Education is preparing learners for the 4th Industrial Revolution through a three-pronged approach, which consists of the revision of the curriculum design, including: Play-based learning methodology for the Foundation Phase, computer application technology, information technology, and the three- streams curriculum and the provision of ICT resources in our schools, including connectivity and devices through Operation Phakisa. Since the launch of Operation Phakisa, we have made some great strides including much better collaboration and harmonisation, horizontally and vertically through the basic education sector and across government.
The details on sector alignment and collaboration are strategic partners, the digitisation of textbooks and workbooks, the provision of ICTs and the progress made in the drafting of the ICT strategy to
ensure cross sectoral alignment can all be found on the Department of Basic Education site on request. Therefore, critical for us is the integration of ICTs into all the levels of the education and training system in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning, by digitally transforming the basic education sector. All stakeholders are aligning and delivering a consistent solution to all schools to ensure that no school is left behind because of its geopolitical location. We want a learner in Lusikisiki, for instance, to have the same access to ICTs as a learner in Johannesburg or a learner in Cape Town. For without this, such learners would be unable to cope with the demands of the 21st century and the 4th Industrial Revolution.
We definitely agree with President Ramaphosa during his inaugural state of the nation address that our prosperity as a nation is dependent on our ability to take full advantage of the rapid technological change. We therefore encourage sustainable and focus partnerships with the owners and developers, the innovators and creators of ICT infrastructure to ensure that the basic education sector does indeed take full advantage of the rapid technological revolution. The critical question is how we collaboratively prepare the sector for the 4th Industrial Revolution.
It is exciting to know that the Telkom Foundation through its vision of connected schools and supplementary teaching programmes shares government commitment to quality education for all. Government has positioned education as a key lever for socioeconomic development through the National Development Plan, NDP. The NDP clearly articulates the importance of creating an ICT capable society and the importance of ICTs in improving quality education as well as leveraging on science and technology to solve some of the biggest challenges in education such as delivering educational materials to remote villages. The NDP further highlights the need for an efficient information infrastructure with stronger and cost effective broadband and telecommunication networks in order to promote economic growth and greater inclusion.
The urgency of ICT implementation in education is reflected in our adoption of the big fast results methodology termed Operation Phakisa. It is a Malaysian methodology used to accelerate service delivery. Through Operation Phakisa we planned to integrate e- innovation, e-governance and e-administration in order to increase efficiency through the use of ICTs in our education system.
In conclusion, I wish to conclude by saying that we are cautious in the way we are embracing technology, to ensure that any transformation in the education sector is not dictated to by technology; otherwise it will be like a cart pulling the horse, or the tail wagging the dog. Technology cannot be an end in itself, but should rather be informed by sound educational needs. In order to achieve the educational goals of the NDP, our Action Plan 2019, and the e-Education White Paper government through Operation Phakisa aims to expedite the provision ICT infrastructure to our schools.
The basic education sector is making substantial progress in delivering ICT resources to schools. This can be attributed to a number of government and nongovernmental initiatives such as University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, USAO, initiative, the ICT and teacher resource centres which have been provided by different business partners, and also the development of the digital content initiatives which again is being initiated by individuals outside government, in government and also in nongovernmental organisations.
The number of schools with connectivity, end-user devices, digital educational resources and teachers’ training ICT skills have significantly increased due to the commitment of government and our
partners as I’ve mentioned before, Vodacom Foundation or MTN Foundation, Intel and HP, all have always been in the forefront in the battle to bridge the digital device by providing connectivity, especially for teacher training and also for giving us teaching tools. The private sector, thus far, has also played a significant role in the development of the Department of Basic Education cloud solution that aims to provide teachers, learners and parents with access to quality digital content and educational resource.
What we wish to stress here today is that we will provide our learners with the skills of the future, when and only when the private and public sector academia and civil society substantially co-operate with each other. The International Literacy Day on 8 September 2018, with its theme “Literacy in a digital world, taking measures to leverage the economic potential of the Industrial Revolution” must be a daily campaign and the deliberate project for all South Africans. Our children from early childhood development to primary and secondary schooling, to technically and vocational education, to higher education and training, and to life long learning must be prepared to leverage the economic potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution. If as a country we fail to do this, we will ever be behind on all socio, cultural, economic, political and
developmental aspects of life. I thank you very much, Chair. [Applause.]
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Chairperson, can we just adjust ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Don’t worry about the time, you can continue, I’m following it.
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Hon Chair, Prof Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairperson of the World Economic Forum said in 2016:
We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. In its scale, scope and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive involving all stakeholders of them global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, now I will call it the 4 IR, is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres. The exponential pace at which changes and disruptions are taking place is impacting on systems, production, management and governance.
Connectivity, processing power, storage capacity and access to knowledge combined with technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet of things, automated vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, material science, energy storage and quantum computing are all shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The shift from simple digitisation, the 3rd IR to innovation based combinations of technologies which is the 4th IR, is forcing companies to re-examine the way they do business. Changes in customer expectations, product enhancement, collaborative innovation and organisational forms, will force business leaders and senior executives to understand their changing environment, challenge the assumptions of their operating teams, and continuously innovate.
Governments have to preserve the interest of the consumer and the public; support innovation and technological developments and will only be able to fulfil these roles by embracing agile governance while collaborating closely with civil society. The 4th IR is also changing us as people. Our understanding of privacy, ownership, consumption patterns, time we spend working or leisuring, how we develop our careers, cultivate our skills, meet people and nurture relationships.
One of the two biggest risks of the 4th IR is safety of information. Government and businesses have to invest in better data as well as the protection of data. South Africa is known for our lack of cyber security as proven by various hacking attacks on departments such as SA Police Service. Political will and investment in expert knowledge to ensure that the Cyber Safe Hub of SA is functional and will be a great start to support individuals and small and medium businesses to protect their privacy and data.
Other risks include the lack or mismatch of skills, which will escalate, if not being addressed immediately through new and innovative ideas and leadership; and job losses due to automation and robotics. Government and businesses have to determine what
skills set will be most favourable. One way of addressing the mismatch between jobs and skills is continuous up-training through accessible online programmes for employees to acquire fresh skills.
Government, educational institutions, employers and unions need to refine a solution together to ensure a ladder of opportunities for continuous uptraining as a tool to ensure jobs in future. Hon.
Chair, literature indicates that many jobs will be automated, some will not exist and new ones will open. An example is that of a loan officers, which according to literature has 98% chance to become automated versus that of an elementary school teacher whose chance is only 0,4%.
Hon. Chair, that brings me to the real thread of the 4th IR in South Africa, the crisis that our basic education system sets for our youth to be allowed to take advantage of the opportunities of the 4th IR. Without a firm base of reading, maths and science, learners will not become fully versed in the kind of knowledge and skills that the 4th IR requires.
Kids’ future is basically undercut by the time they reach high school. This is why we have to have progression policies that push
kids who haven’t passed Grade 10 and Grade 11 forward and have matric catch up programmes. Those are the symptoms of the problem. The problem itself is in the early grades. We need quality teachers, safe classrooms and better funding to reduce overcrowding.
The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, Pirls, results of 2016 released by the Department of Basic Education indicated that eight in 10 children cannot read for meaning. It should be clear that reading is essential to be able to compete in any job market.
We need a concerted effort and political will to bring a total change to basic education in South Africa. Hon Chair, according to Prof Klaus Schwab, the Fourth Industrial Revolution needs, and I quote:
We need leaders who are emotionally intelligent and able to model and champion co-operative working. They’ll coach, rather than command; they’ll be driven by empathy, not ego. The digital revolution needs a different, more human kind of leadership.
Fellow South Africans, the DA provides this kind of leadership that will bring total change to align literacy in South Africa with the needs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. I thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Hon House Chairperson, thank you very much for this opportunity. One poet Publius Ovidius Naso, normally known as Ovid once said and I quote, “There is nothing that is constant in the universe. All ebbs and flows and every shape that is born, bears in its womb a seed of change.”
According to Malcolm X, those that survive this change is those who always have appropriate education that he defines as the passport to the future, and the future that is for those who comprehend that a tomorrow belongs to those who prepares for it today.
It is therefore appropriate and more befitting today that the NCOP chose the theme, “Literacy in a digital world, taking measures to leverage the economic potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. This theme seeks to call on us not to celebrate the International Literacy Day for the sake of it, but with an eye to apply for this Malcolm X passport to the future by preparing thoroughly for it today.
The three previous revolutions from the advent of iron, coal, textile and steam engines, to the age of science and mass production of the late 1800s and the early 1900s, to the rise of digital technology of the early 20th century, brought about fundamental changes in the world around us.
The first and the second revolution made the people more richer and more urbanised. In as much as we know that it also brought about challenges of health as urbanisation require more reliable different forms of sanitation. We also know that it brought about lifestyle diseases, heart, high blood pressure, sugar diabetes and so on. All these require a new knowledge and skills to resolve them.
The Third Industrial Revolution brought about electricity, chemicals, steel and telecommunications. This seems to have provided a needed solution to the problems brought about by the First and the Second Industrial Revolutions. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is set to be a major industrial era of the other three. It is characterised by fusion of technologies that blurs lines between physical, digital and biological spheres and bound to bring about major disruptions in the lives of the people.
What is it that we can learn from the lessons of the past revolutions? What we have learned out of the lessons of the past revolutions is that education is indeed, very key and is the passport to tomorrow and what Albert Einstein says and I quote, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” That would actually liberate him from the challenges of the time that he is living on.
We want to learn from the previous experiences of what the others did. We can actually draw some lessons from what Che Guevara did and what Lenin said to the young people of his own country, that a youth must amongst others build their country with their own work, develop the new technical cadres to speed up development in the coming years and form brigades to eradicate illiteracy in order to defend a revolution.
Vladimir Lenin said that the fundamental task of the youth should be to learn not by roots, but by practical drawing experiences from the past. Che Guevara goes on to say and I quote, “The duty of the society is not simply to create shiny factories, but factories are
being built for human beings in totality and man must be transformed in conjunction with the advances in production.”
The task that confronts us is to teach the younger generation to create society not through slogans, but restoration of industry and agriculture. We must mobilise them to conduct literacy programmes amongst peasants and all in the society and in the industries. We must, because at the time we are speaking to this, he was referring to the Second Industrial Revolution and he said and I quote, “We must teach them how electricity must industrialise the society and how electricity must be used to revolutionise agriculture.” He went on and said, and I quote, “We must link teaching, training and education to participation in the common struggle of all people.
Mobilise and unite the entire young generation and set example and discipline in the struggle.”
What is the meaning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to us? The lessons that we have learned is that we cannot separate industrial revolution from the challenges of the society. We cannot separate society and its thought and how it affects and be affected by the thought and the nature in which they coexist. We cannot separate the work of science, research and discovery, from societal and natural
influences. Equally so, we cannot separate societal living challenges faced by all its members from education and skills development.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is underpinned by scientific imperatives and we need to understand it as such, that it draws its existence from a scientific connotation that says that the body continues in a state of rest and constant motion, unless it is affected by an external force as Newton says, meaning that the quest of the body for a maximum rest, for leisure, for comfort continues to inspire society to look for solutions that ease the daily labour, while causing a lot of disruption in them.
Therefore we cannot be separated from human development and innovation. What we need to do is to be in our continuous search for solutions to matters that seek to disrupt our lives, now and the future.
So, as South Africa, the National Development Plan, NDP, outlines what it is that we need to do on the scientific and technology side. As part of response to these matters, Cabinet has established an Interministerial Committee, IMC, and this IMC works with our state-
owned entities, SOEs, and they have identified things that we actually have to set in motion that are going to respond to this industrial revolution. And has also set a programme to interact with industry, to look at the future of work and to determine; what are the new imperatives that would be required into the future.
While looking at these linkages are done with the Human Resource Development Council to identify those areas that the new industry will require. That is the reason why when you look at basic education and at the work that is done at the tertiary level, we see the roll-out of continuous network to schools and we see Deputy Ministers working around with different departments, doing public literacy on Initial Test of Competence, ITC.
Hon Chair, I want to point out to you that 18 to 20 Deputies at any given time are found in two days of the month going into different communities and conscientise communities around what is coming ahead of them and the need to identify areas of work that young people must be channelled to look at all times.
Chairperson, Marx and Lenin say, society, nature and thought coexist and are in a continuous process of change. They continuously
influence each other. So, therefore, as we prepare ourselves for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is welcomed that the NCOP has taken this subject of the Fourth Industrial Revolution linking learning into the future, learning now and also mass learning by our people to prepare themselves for the future that is coming.
If you want to avoid disruptions into the future, it is important that you must embrace this change as part of the change that is inherently within ourselves and that continuously call on us to innovate more and more, look for solutions for tomorrow and with the experiences of the past, as we look and as we prepare ourselves for the future. Thank you, very much. [Applause.]
Ms L L ZWANE: Chairperson, hon members of this august House, special delegates from the provinces, guests in the gallery, I am thankful for this opportunity to be a participant in this very important debate.
In the words of the former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan:
Literacy is a key lever of change and a practical tool of empowerment on each of the three main pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social development and environmental protection.
The advancements in ICT have ushered in the fourth industrial revolution in which learners have to play their part. New technologies like robotics, virtual reality, cloud technology, drones that are able to work for a long time without the need for refuelling, artificial intelligence, and the Internet have emerged.
We are living in an era in which it is already almost impossible to operate without Wi-Fi or the Internet.
The use of technology has inevitably blurred the lines between the physical, digital and biological aspects of life and this has had a significant effect on the daily lives of learners. However, in most disadvantaged schools, teachers are still stuck in the old methods of facilitating learning.
In order to educate for the fourth industrial revolution and for the future, there is a need to embrace the technologies associated with
them. Therefore, teachers should acquire the necessary skills and competencies and adapt to the use of current, new technologies.
It is nonetheless pleasing to note that in some of the ECD centres that we have visited, teachers are beginning to use teaching aids like tablets to introduce the young ones to the use of technology. They are able to do some practical work on the tablet itself. I remember that one of my grandchildren was baking a cake on the tablet, putting it into an oven, taking it out and actually serving it on the table using the tablet.
So, this is meant to say that we are living in an era in which we cannot survive unless we are all techno-savvy, and our children need to acquire this modern equipment.
If we are to train our learners to be entrepreneurs in big business in the industries that they have to open and run as entrepreneurs, and be employees or be employers, they need to be trained in the technologies that are relevant to that kind of aspect of life, now, before it is too late, because if it is not taken care of now, they will be rendered irrelevant by the environment itself. That is not what we want for our children.
This is why one should actually commend the Department of Basic Education for the introduction of the three-stream model in which these issues under the vocational stream will be taken care of and the methodology of teaching will actually be improved through the use the technologies that are going to advance our quality of education.
In its literal and narrow sense, literacy is defined as the ability to read and write. It is the basis of the development of human consciousness, human knowledge and understanding. The key to literacy is reading development, a progression of skills that begins with the ability to understand spoken words and decode written words, and which culminates in the deep understanding of text.
Good reading and writing skills are essential for effective communication but, most importantly, they also form the basis of a child’s continuing education and therefore need to be mastered in the very first few years of the child’s development.
Today, some of us find it difficult to read properly because that is not the kind of training that we were given at the level of ECD. And
it will go with you right through your life if the foundation was not strong enough, which is why I am happy when the Minister of Basic Education said there are ongoing training programmes to capacitate the teachers to be able to assist the learners to be able to read and write. The programmes that have been introduced again by the Department of Basic Education ... where there has been a campaign that seeks to ensure that all equipment is procured to assist the earners and the teachers to be able to improve in the skills of reading and in the love of reading.
Because reading is not reading only for the sake of reading, but there has to be that love to read so that the learners can grow to be avid readers.
There were other programmes also that were meant to address the issue of illiteracy, like Kha Ri Gude. Much as I know that Kha Ri Gude is actually tapering to the end, it played a critical role in ensuring that those of us who never got an opportunity to be literate, to be able to count, to be able to write ... as adults they now have an opportunity.
This reading issue is not an issue only of the little ones, the learners; it is an issue for all of us. We need to develop the habits of being avid readers because a lot of information you now get in the gadgets that you are giving – in our tablets, our computers and our cellphones. You need to be able to research and get whatever information you want and therefore it is of critical importance that we are all techno-savvy.
I know that some of us know only how to receive a call and make a call or read a message or read WhatsApp. All these other icons in the cellphone ... if I were to run a test here and now to demonstrate that we know very little about the cellphone, even as adults, and that is not going to assist us ... We are living in an era of technology and we must strive ... We must make an effort to ensure that we have a fuller understanding of the technological gadgets.
The ECD practitioners at Level 4 ... it would be my submission that when they get their qualification, the system should be ensuring that they are able to use the technological gadgets. A certificate should be issued only on condition that a teacher does not only know content– that is my personal submission – but that they also know
how to use the gadgets because they would be expected to use these gadgets as their teaching aids when they go to train, especially at the level of ECD.
In fact, all levels are important, but we seek to build a good foundation at the level of ECD.
The parents at home will have to know technology because they are expected to assist the young ones with homework.
Now, if you don’t know how to research, how to use your cellphone to assist your child, how are you going to go about adding to the quality of the education of your own child? So parents also, not only teachers, need to be techno-savvy.
We also commend the Department of Basic Education for those 1 000 mobile, portable libraries. We know that it is not in each and every area where we can be able to build a library as of now because of resource constraints, but those 1 000 portable libraries are going to assist a great deal in ensuring that there is reading.
Also, the department of education is distributing digital content to
27 schools – three per province – and these schools will be
monitored by the department as to whether they are able and coping to use the ICT resources that they have been given. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr M KHAWULA: Hon House Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, literacy in a digital world in the context of the continent of Africa is a very complicated and, in some instances, abstract phenomenon. Scholars of the fourth industrial revolution maintain that there are both economic spin-offs and risks to economies as the world enters the fourth industrial revolution. Most of such risks will be hitting unskilled labour around the world very hard, will be hitting the poorest of the poor around the world hard, and will be hitting third economies around the world hard. Africa – being host to almost each and every one of these sectors – will be the biggest victim.
Artificial intelligence is bringing with it exciting opportunities where nothing becomes waste. Robots will be used in industries where manufacturing will be done with speed and precision, much more efficient and faster than a human-controlled machine. Energy will be sourced and distributed with less reliance on coal and its hazardous
environmental effects. Distribution will make it convenient even for the most remote of rural areas to benefit.
Radical changes in operations will take place in mining industries, reducing the risk of losing human lives to disasters. Radical changes will take place in construction, making production much more efficient, qualitative and time saving. Automation will be able to detect faults in systems and effect remedial actions without or with very minimal human involvement.
In many so-called First World countries, such changes have already taken place. When the Select Committee on Social Services visited Singapore on a study tour in August 2017, members were taken on a tour of a public-private hospital. In that hospital, an automated trolley is able to move on its own, load plates of food in the kitchen, move to the lift and deliver such to all the patients in the wards without any human assistance.
In some countries already, trains are automated and self-operational instead of being driven by a human.
Some countries are already piloting self-driving vehicles. Medical equipment can already operate on the human body effect a curative measure without human involvement. Schools and classrooms have become chalkless and paperless.
There is so much more.
But what about Africa, and South Africa, in particular? We are still struggling with trying to be 100% with delivery of stationery to schools at the beginning of an academic year. Almost all schools still rely on chalkboards and chalk. Learners in remote rural areas, in informal settlements and in townships have to grow up without knowing what a computer looks like, let alone being able to operate one. Almost half of our teachers in the country are computer illiterate. Internet access in many parts of the country is still a pipe dream because of poor connectivity.
Hence, South Africa and its sister countries on the continent are far from being ready to meet the challenges created by the introduction of artificial intelligence in the world.
Our schools and universities are far from producing the human resources that are capacitated and ready for artificial intelligence. The few that are able to do so can only be accessed by the chosen few who are already advantaged. As a result, the gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged, between the capacitated and the incapacitated, between the haves and the have- nots, is getting wider and wider in this country.
Another bitter truth is that, indeed, when artificial intelligence kicks in, a lot of unskilled labourers will become redundant and obsolete.
With such high numbers of unemployed masses already in our country, the thought of having more people subjected to further situations of joblessness is even more scaring.
South Africa is just far from being ready to meet the challenge of the world of artificial intelligence. I thank you.
Mr M I KGETJEPE (LIMPOPO: MEC- EDUCATION): House Chairperson, hon Minister of Basic Education, Deputy Minister, hon members, ladies and gentleman, we are indeed delighted to be present amidst you this
afternoon in celebrating and debating International Literacy Day in a manner that will remind us of the significance of the ability to read and write. This debate is taking place in a week when the country is observing and celebrating the National Book Week, an important week that calls on all of us to reflect on how much we have done in inculcating the culture of reading in communities. Our people have to be literate for the good cause of humanity. The debate should and must inspire us collectively towards the critical direction of total literacy in our communities through effective advocacy, co-operation and support of government programmes. When we debate International Literacy Day and literacy in a digital world, it is difficult not to mention the profound words of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize winner and the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, the late Kofi Annan, who once stated that:
Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a basic tool for daily life in modern society. It is a wall against poverty and a building block of development. Literacy is a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right. Literacy is, finally, the road to
human progress and the means through which, every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.
From these wise words of one of our celebrated sons of Africa, we clearly understand that literacy has far greater strength in contributing for the wellbeing and happiness of a society. It is essentially a must-have instrument of empowerment that can improve one’s health, income and one’s relationship with the world. It is one that can improve and ensure sustainable development, peace, and democracy in our communities. We are not just celebrating the day but we are celebrating progress in our fight and quest to eradicate illiteracy in schools, families, workplaces and in our communities at large. Our current learners in schools and those who have completed their Adult Basic Education Training, programmes in our province are a living testimony of the progress we are making.
It is of course a concern for us that some of our learners in South Africa and Limpopo in particular, especially in primary schools, do have challenges in terms of the expected level of reading when standardised tests are administered, the barrier being the ability to read with comprehension. This state of affairs says to us we must work harder and collaboratively to address the situation as
Mahatma Ghandi said, “Illiteracy is a sin and shame and must be eradicated.” Together with the Department of Basic Education we are working on a programme of the introduction of electronic equipment in our schools. This investment will ensure that we provide training to even our educators to be able to use these gadgets and introduce our learners to them.
We are making sure that the majority of our children in the province have access to Early Childhood Development centres especially our primary schools, currently 2 325 have Early Childhood Development classes, that is 95%, in this budget year and we are making sure that we are at 100% in the next one. The department is strengthening the usage of libraries in our schools and we are working with Room to Read in the district of Sekhukhune. This programme is benefitting
75 primary schools. We are ensuring that we empower our principals and teachers in terms of the National Guidelines for School Library and Information Services to which we are assisting the schools to establish libraries and continue to train and maintain them. Together with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture we are equipping 87 community libraries with ICT infrastructure. Of course we are continuing to distribute books to those libraries. We are also working in partnership with the Molteno Institute to distribute
books for Grade 1 to 3 and we are training educators in terms of storytelling, something that will trigger the interest of learners in reading. The significance of the ability to read and write is something that cannot be taken lightly because literacy has far greater strength in contributing to the wellbeing and happiness of society. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution very much upon us, we have to raise literacy levels in disadvantaged communities by supporting children to develop good language skills before starting schools by providing the right support to primary schools, supporting parents and guardians to help with their children’s reading and by celebrating the enjoyment of reading in our own communities.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution which is characterised by new technologies, new powers, and new responsibilities should see us working with families, communities and our schools to change the pattern of intergenerational illiteracy and in the process highlight the importance of reading in building a fairer society. Issues of literacy are very serious because these days various sectors use high-tech machines that require the abilities to read and write for successful operations. We are saying the fortunate lot must reach out to the unfortunate and equip them with this powerful weapon of
literacy. Our appeal to all stakeholders in the sector is to reinforce their commitment to the eradication of illiteracy so that our people can be empowered enough to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is here to transform how we look at the world, our thinking and our approach. We have an opportunity to make use of literacy to work for safer environment, career progression, liberation of society and happier communities. We have a responsibility to attend to the call of our society as an opportunity to benefit those less fortunate than us. Our campaigns such as the Drop All and Read will not be a success as expected if our community’s literacy levels are not attended to and we must get our nation to read. Indeed Kofi Annan was on point, when he said, “Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope” Let us build those bridges for our people. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr R MACKENZIE (WESTERN CAPE: CHAIRPERSON- STANDING COMMITTEE
CULTURAL AFFAIRS & SPORT): House Chairperson, before I start, I would like to welcome Ms Parker, author and director of Social Movement. She is one of the four writers in social development and social development does not mean social development, here we are talking about social media. In one of the recent articles she wrote and I quote, “Our generation needs to unpack the role technology is
going to play in uplifting and accelerating social and economic growth. It should not be a cool act or a nice interesting idea - its existential to our existence going forward.”
House Chairperson, we all know that we are living in a technological driven world and children are growing up in a radically different world than we did. A world that is fast moving and rapidly changing.
House Chairperson, if you recall when you and I were in school the internet and cell phone were distant future. We live in a world where information and communications technology, ICT, have made it possible for more people to gain access and generate information as well as share ideas with ease and in a world where ICT is playing a greater role in the way that we do business than ever before. We urgently need to consider how our education system is aligned with the world of work and the ...
We need to consider if we are prepared for the fourth industrial revolution. As new technologies are used more and more in teaching and learning, as well as in the home and throughout our social life, our learners need to develop more than just IT skills. They need a broad digital awareness of the wider context in which technologies
operate to wrap around these skills in order that they can participate in this increasingly digital world. Quite simply, our children need to become ‘digitally literate’.
We need to emulate countries like Singapore, the United States and Sweden. We need to invest more in our education system so it can prepare our pupils with the appropriate set of skills and the knowledge-base to excel in this digital era and catch up with the rest of the world.
Chairperson, while most of South Africa struggles with the fourth industrial revolution, here in the Western Cape, under the leadership of Helen Zille, we embrace it. We do so because we understand the economic dividends we will gain from equipping our pupils and the youth with digital knowledge. We understand that it is of vital importance that we compete at the highest and most advance level in order to claim our rightful place amongst a league of elite states.
Chairperson, every day we are witnessing a revolution in how our learners acquire knowledge and skills. So, in order to ensure that our children are being equipped adequately to take up their place in
the outside world when they leave school, e-learning has been identified as a game-changer by the Western Cape government. E- learning has been a priority for the Western Cape Education Department for over a decade but we embarked on an exciting journey to accelerate it and make e-learning a reality in all Western Cape schools.
To achieve this, the Western Cape education department fast -tracked the provision of education technology at the schools. This fast- track is obviously subject to the severe budget constraints we are facing, as well all know that we are in recession, but we are doing it as fast as we possibly can.
The e-learning game changer is designed to make a major contribution towards improving the quality of teaching and learning in the province and entrenching the skills people need to participate in our technology-driven economy. This is why we have put major resources behind our e-learning game changers, which is one of three game changers focused on providing young people with the opportunities they need to succeed later in life. The other two are our After School and Apprenticeship game changers.
Improving digital infrastructure at our schools is a key focus under this game changer. By the end of this term of office, 350 schools will have a local area network connecting every instruction room to the internet. By the end of March next year, almost 900 schools will have connectivity coverage at selected points in a school. We will also have installed over 6 400 smart classrooms, and upgraded technology in 910 ICT labs at schools. This is an increase of just over 2 400 smart classrooms and 705 labs over the past two years. We have also delivered 28 800 learner devices since 2016.
Focusing on e-learning and digital literacy and participation is considered important because it is imperative that we furnish our learners with the ability to be technologically competent and ask relevant, appropriate and critical questions of an increasingly saturated technology world.
E-Learning will enhance quality education by increasing access to quality ICT in disadvantaged communities, providing support for struggling learners, contributing toward teachers’ training and professional development, and improving management and administration at all schools. It will also provide learners with
the skills to participate in our increasingly technology-based economy.
Job creation and economic growth are a top priority for the Western Cape Government. Lack of practical experience is however, one of the main barriers to job market entry for young people. Training learners in valuable skills is just one way we can open the door of economy to them.
As a developing country and a relatively young democracy, South Africa desperately needs skills to help our country grow economically and generally improve the lives of all our citizens. South Africa needs to be self-sufficient and economically competitive and to achieve that our learners need to be adequately prepared for the digital world.
By promoting the digital literacy development of learners through e- learning, teachers are able to contribute to enhancing their potential for participation in a digital world. This means enhancing young people’s ability to use ICT in ways that strengthen their skills, knowledge and understanding and that heighten their
capacities for social, cultural, civic and economic participation in everyday life.
We know that we are living in a rapidly changing world. We know that many of today’s jobs will be automated soon or simply won’t exist. I was at McDonald’s the other day and they have an electronic ordering system. You walked in, select your burger and swipe your card. We are going to be obsolete as human beings in 20 years’ time.
We also know that people do not generally have one career for a lifetime and that many of today’s jobs are already automated.
Preparing a child for a digital world that does not exist is a difficult task for any teacher. We therefore need to ensure that learners have the critical skills needed to survive and succeed in any world.
Learners must be able to adapt, survive and flourish in a rapidly changing world. The skills they need include what is termed the four ‘Cs’, namely: Creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.
A Hanover Research analysis also identifies a second tier of important skills; flexibility and adaptability, global and cultural awareness, information literacy and leadership. These are the skills that are regarded as essential for a person to be able to be economically active in the 21st century.
Ultimately, we need to create a ladder of opportunity that young people need to become productive and employable adults with brighter futures, so that we break the cycle of poverty in many of our communities. As a start, we can achieve this by ensuring that they are ‘digitally literate’.
As the Western Cape Government, we have made massive strides in ensuring that our learners are digitally literate as well as having the basic skills that are needed to adapt, survive and flourish in a rapidly changing world. Whether we like it or not, the fourth industrial revolution is here and it is here to stay. The Western Province is ready! Are the other provinces? I thank you.
Ms L HLONGWANE-MADLALA (KwaZulu-Natal): Hon Chairperson, we are so privileged this afternoon to have been given this opportunity to input in this discourse about “literacy in the digital world: taking
measures to leverage the economic potential of the 4th industrial revolution”.
Hon Minister, I am happy to inform you that the Education Portfolio Committee of KwaZulu-Natal has already asked for the funding of the
... [Inaudible.] As you have alluded, it is imperative that we get our society and our schools ready.
So, at the beginning of next year, when we ...[Inaudible.] ... that our famous January functionality programme, we shall be distributing readers as well.
The ANC, at its 54th conference in December last year, made observations around the need to invest in the digital economy as it has the potential to create new jobs in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It further noted the need to link innovation and entrepreneurship with higher education and training to assist students who are innovative in science and technology, but also encouraged that science literacy programmes should include a focus on village and township communities, and the creation of Wi-Fi spots in rural areas.
The current scenario, in our education, science and technology system demonstrates a fragmented system, which does not closely articulate with each other, hence the grey area when it comes to the implementation of such resolutions. It is our view that, as the department of education prepares its organisation to respond to this disruption, we have to retrain, empower and equip teachers to be more relevant to the changes on the digital front.
In KwaZulu-Natal, we have noted the slow spend in the Mathematics, Science, and Technology grant, and also on the training and development of teachers and, as such, this is a matter of concern.
As we celebrate International Literacy Day on 8 September, we must get more and more youngsters interested in science and technology, as other hon members have said. Although, as you have indicated, hon Minister, the definition of literacy has changed over time, due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution we need to review the language policy. Most Black children who write exams at Matric level are usually four grades behind, because they only catch up and understand English in Grade 2. Though this is not a subject for today’s debate, it becomes very fundamental if we are to change our gains in both the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study,
Pirls, and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, Timss.
In a study run by Via Afrika, fewer than 35% of South Africa’s teachers had been trained in basic digital and ICT skills in 2011. Accordingly, Marelize Malan, a senior lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, in the department of accountancy, indicated that even lecturers themselves have limited knowledge of the current learner management system, the Blackboard. This revelation challenges the Department of Basic Education as well as the Department of Higher Education and Training to consider ways of bridging the gap between teachers and lecturers, for them to be conversant with the digital world.
We are of the view that, when we introduce changes in curriculum, we must also prepare a new breed of teachers, called the “Gem of teachers” by the Singaporeans, in the digital literacy as well, so that they we are able to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Modern life skills encompass an intricate system of knowledge, skills, abilities, and motivational factors that must be developed
according to the needs of their specific domains. The populations where digital literacy is most important are ICT users, e-business professionals, and ICT professionals.
Although we bear witness to the increased budget over a period of time, KwaZulu-Natal is still way behind in terms of digital literacy. KwaZulu-Natal like all other provinces in South Africa still faces a number of structural problems which mean that many do not have access to computers or the internet, placing learners at a distinct disadvantage when compared to their peers.
In our study tour to Singapore last year, we learnt that the machinery that makes things happen is accountable politicians who are more than willing to work for their countries, like Madiba, Mama Nontsikelelo Sisulu, whom we celebrate for their contribution to this country.
Similarly, we learnt that competent and committed administrators, as well as vigilant civic organisations are very central to the success of any country which seeks to transform itself from a small economy to a big economy. That time is upon us now.
The National Development Plan, Vision 2030 states that science, technology and innovation must play an increasing role in skills development, job creation and economic growth. We need a strong, and capable state to deal with these changes in the digital world, and hence our view that we need to strengthen leadership at our schools, especially in our strategic departments, education, science and technology, and communications, to drive the changes in this area.
South Africa needs multipliers in both the education, science and technology fraternities to see the improved response on issues of digital literacy. We need more people who are going to make work environment pleasant and conducive for administrators to work optimally and advance the cause for which this Parliament exists.
The UNESCO director-general, Irina Bokova, when she opened the International Conference On International Literacy Day last year in Paris headquarters, has this to say:
To be truly empowering, new technologies must stand on two pillars: inclusivity and bridging of gaps.
Equally, Ms Sarah Anyang, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology from the African Union commission, alluded to the fact that, while we consider digital means, we must also consider nondigital means that also enhance our living.
In order for South Africa to satisfy these assertions, we need to strengthen our research and development capacities to inform government at all times.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution bestows a renewed dimension to government departments, public and private institutions to work together and strengthen intergovernmental relations, to ensure that we walk shoulder to shoulder in addressing our literacy standards in a digital world.
As the Minister has alluded, earlier, the education sector has positioned itself to respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are however observing a gap in the preparation of the Grade R practitioner and the classroom, so that children are able to catch up with this disruption at a very early age.
We also think that a focus must be paid to our learners with special educational needs, Lsen, schools, because those children too, hon Minister, deserve the best. We would like to know the thoughts of the Department of Basic Education are in this regard.
In closing, Prof Klaus Schwab, said:
The resulting shifts and disruptions mean that we live in a time of great promise and great peril. The world has the potential to connect billions more people to digital networks, dramatically improve the efficiency of organisations and even manage assets in ways that can help regenerate the natural environment, potentially undoing the damage of previous industrial revolutions.
However, Schwab also has grave concerns that organisations might be unable to adapt, governments could fail to employ and regulate new technologies to capture their benefits, shifting power will create important new security concerns, inequality may grow, and societies fragment.
Therefore, in endeavouring to enter and be sustained in the global economy space, we must heed the call by the director-general of Unesco, Ms Bokova, who talks about inclusivity and bridging gaps. We think that more dialogues with our people and preparation of our organisational systems are imperative to prepare everyone in South Africa so that people are not threatened about their jobs.
We even need to assist the people on the street ... just ordinary lay people. As other members have said, this has nothing to do more with schools, but it has everything to do with all of us. We all need to be clear of what the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings for us and what picture it paints for the economic development and growth of South Africa. Thank you,
Mr F ESSACK: Hon Chairperson, hon members and fellow South Africans, I think it is time that we got this debate on the go, let’s put some life into this debate. Simply put hon “Motjhekga” Motshekga, if you pay attention, it would be totally naïve for this government and for all of us Minister to believe that our children are anywhere near ready for the impending Fourth Industrial Revolution. Take note hon Cathy Dlamini. The fact of the matter is that the Department of
Basic Education has dismally failed in preparing our school children for a consistently evolving world.
Seventy eight percent of our children in Grade 4 cannot read in any language while Minister “Motjhekga” Motshekga lauded the 2016 trends in International Maths and Science studies due to it showing ...
Ms L C DLAMINI: I rise on a point of order, we don’t have Minister Motjeka.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Continue hon Essack.
Mr F ESSACK: While Minister “Motjhekga” Motshekga lauded the 2016 trends in International Maths and Science studies due to it showing that South Africa was the most improved education system in the world, that version on the part of the Minister, now becomes hollow when one considers the exact same study ranked South Africa 47 out of 48 in Grade 4 Mathematics, 37 out of 38 for Grade 8 Mathematics. Yes hon Minister, stone last for Grade 8 in Science. Furthermore, South Africa scored last out of 50 countries in progress in International Reading and Literacy Study that measured the reading skills of Grade 4 learners across the world hon Dlamini.
With such devastating reading results of our young school learners, how then can we expect them to be ready for a new Industrial Revolution? The reality is, and remains that our learners, particularly Grade 4 learners are not even ready for nor are taking part in the Third Industrial Revolution, let alone the Fourth Industrial Revolution that we talk so much about here today.
Many schools across our nation still lack the basic access of technology for learners, such as computers and tablets. If our children cannot even read, my fellow colleagues, I must then ask how they will be able to actively engage with such technology. Simple, if they are excluded from working with such technology, how will then can they be ready for the forthcoming technological revolution. How is a subject such as history - oh, I love this one, hon Minister please digest this for an immediate reference – still prioritised over basic computer subjects? Perhaps some of you might not understand what I’m getting at but you can talk to me after this.
Let us face the truth hon Chairperson, with such low literacy levels of Grade 4 learners, there is little to no hope for our students to catch up to the rest of the rest of the world and take part in this new age.
Owing to the ever increasing backlog, our young learners will be left outside of this technological revolution only to look in from a distance with contempt for the government that did not provide a sufficient education system when they were at their most vulnerable point. Digest this. No matter what study or statistics Minister Motshekga praises as a success for our education system, if our children are already being excluded in the Third Revolution, I say again, this exercise has been and remains an art of failure, shame on you in the Department of Basic Education. It is about time that the national government took responsibility for their failures. We need a government that works to put children in schools and to keep them there until they successfully complete the Learning Outcomes of the various Grades. We need a government that actually provides the learning environment so desperately needed to ensure our learners can progress to the Further Education and Training, FET, phase and subsequently graduate with a Bachelors pass and enter the tertiary education field.
It will be in our universities and colleges that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be most prevalent of all learning environments. We do not need a government that view our students as
numbers to push through to increase pass rates. We honestly and sincerely need a government that looks to increase the quality of our education; we honestly do not need a reactive government. Hon Makue, we need a proactive government in South Africa. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr E R MAKUE: House Chairperson, our delegates from the provincial legislatures, our Members of the NCOP my paper will indeed, link on to the point raised by the hon Essack, about a pro-active government; because I will tell you about the ANC policy and the programme in addressing illiteracy and the new concept approach.
The ANC in its 1994 Policy Framework for Education and Training noted that the education and training system under the ANC government must be developed in an integrated way in order to develop an education and training system which, is characterised by the learning of a broad range of knowledge, skills and competencies.
In order for education and training to contribute significantly towards development, socially and economically, individuals have to
be empowered to partake actively in society, in democratic processes as well as in the economy.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Makue, sorry can you take your seat, let me take hon Labuschagne. Hon Labuschagne, why are you standing? [Interjections.]
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Hon Chair, on a point of order, I would like to know if the speaker would take a question.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Makue, are you ready to take a question from hon Labuschagne?
Mr E MAKUE: The chance is anytime left after I have spoken on education I will take it.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Makue, are you ready to take a question?
Mr E MAKUE: Not now, Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Okay, hon Labuschagne he is not ready. Continue hon Makue.
Mr E MAKUE: Chairperson, if we are talking about the democratic processes and the economy it means that the education and training system has to address, amongst other things, the need to continually upgrade skills in line with the rapidly changing and dynamic national and international economy.
Literacy plays a pivotal role in ensuring that learners who exit the schooling environment and enter the workplace are adequately equipped to deal with the structural mismatch between labour demand and supply.
This is emphasized in this government’s National Development Plan that is supported by the DA, which looks at improving literacy, numeracy, mathematics and science outcomes as adequately elaborated upon by our delegate from KwaZulu-Natal, ANC.
As part of a strategy to enhance the quality of education in the early childhood period, the ANC envisioned the need to focus on enriching and transforming the first years of schooling by placing greater emphasis on fundamental processes of literacy and numeracy
and the development of strategies and resources to enrich reading opportunities for children from homes where little reading takes place. Just look at the crisis we that we are having in the number of children that are in ECD centres, and you will know what this ANC government is doing.
Access to literacy in the education system is my next part, Chair. As we celebrate International Literacy Day, under the theme “Literacy and skills development”, it is worthwhile to reflect on the efforts and gains made by the ANC-led government in exploring effective linkages between literacy and skills in the country.
While we acknowledge the challenges that still persist in our education system, we must equally look to the collective ways in which these challenges can be addressed. It is indeed correct that almost four in five Grade 4 pupils fall below the lowest internationally recognised level of reading literacy, and South Africa is last of 50 countries according to the 2016 report released by the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study.
However, look at what is happening; the person who is leading this progress in International Reading Literacy Study said the following:
“Being able to read is the key to academic and future success.” This is what Celeste Combrinck said, as the acting director at the University of Pretoria Centre for Evaluation and Assessment.
The hon Zwane has in her address also emphasized the importance of literacy at the primary level of education. It is further saying Chairperson, “If you can’t read, your opportunities in school or after school will be limited,” which is why reading should start at a very young age.
It is with this in mind that the ANC remains committed to early years of schooling as a target for major overhaul, as it is worth noting that the early years determine whether or not a child becomes a successful learner in and out of school. Thus, various initiatives have been put in place to ensure the upskilling of children takes place at an early childhood level.
There has been implementation of important quality enhancement initiatives in the Early Childhood Development phase. One of these is of the new full colour Grade R workbooks, in line with the books distributed annually for Grade 1 learners.
Furthermore, there has been an establishment of initiatives such as the Read to Lead Campaign, which was officially launched on 22 July 2015 and is continuing until 2019. I hope that we had a campaign as well that says “Learn to listen”, and not just learn to read.
The focus of the campaign is to improve the reading abilities of all South African children whilst the main aim of the campaign is to ensure that all learners are able to demonstrate age appropriate levels of reading by 2019.
Chairperson, there is a Community Based Organisation, CBO in the constituency where I’m serving that is called “readers are leaders”; and this Community Based Organisation is assisting primary schools children to read. The need for a new pedagogic approach to illiteracy... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Sorry hon Makue! Sorry hon Makue. Take your seat. Let me take hon Essack. Hon Essack, why are you standing?
Mr F ESSACK: Hon Chairperson, on a point of order, I just want to check through you if this hon member at the podium will take a simple question?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Makue, are you ready to take a question from hon Essack?
Mr E MAKUE: Not if it is a simple one Chair, not now. I will take a complicated one if I have time.
Mr F ESSACK: [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): No, hon Essack take your seat. Take your seat! Can you continue hon Makue? He is not ready to take your question.
Mr E MAKUE: Chair, I want to talk to you about the pedagogic approach to illiteracy and it refers particularly to the own of Freire approach and any other sources. Fundamental lessons can be drawn from pedagogues such as Paulo Freire, whose approach has contributed to community education and practice worldwide, as a Brazilian educator. For students to understand and be able to apply
participatory people-centred approaches in community practice, it is evident that teaching methodology should be student-centred, experiential and participatory in nature?
What the above does not mean, is what he has coined the Banking Concept of Education, it doesn’t mean that we must come here and regurgitate. We must think through what we have learnt.
Freire notes that the banking concept of education entails the educators depositing information into their students. Depositing information hinders the intellectual growth of students by turning them into receptors and collectors of information that have no real connection to their real lives.
According to Freire, if for animals, orientation in the world means adaptation to the world, for man it means humanizing the world by transforming it.
Transformation in the literacy space, with a Freirean approach, would require that we postulate that true education is a liberating and active educational process, which allows people to become intellectually and genuinely engaged with the learning material and
also takes responsibility for understanding the material. Chairperson, this includes people experiencing challenges with our eyed sight. I am absolutely gobsmacked when I look at hon Lewis Nzimande a member of this House and how he uses technology, because he is able to read, even though his sight is challenged.
Freire’s principles outlined below are relevant for training programmes in general and literacy development for enabled skills development in particular. Because of time constraints I won’t go through the whole of them, Chairperson, I just say where we are coming from as the generation of 1976, when Cosas was established and we developed the slogan “Each One Teach One”.
Chairperson, in conclusion, if learning to read and write is to constitute an act of knowing, the learners must assume from the beginning the role of creative subjects. It is not a matter of memorizing and preparing given syllables, words, and phrases, but rather of reflecting critically on the process of reading and writing itself, and on the profound significance of language.
In Gauteng we have the Innovation Hubs in at least three parts of our country. We have the Innovation Hubs that is going to be
launched within the next week in KwaZulu-Natal. We have a situation in Gauteng where many of our learners in the secondary school are using I-Pads.
We know we need to say to our hon members from the Western Cape that while McDonald’s have the robots, we will make those robots, and we will still eat those Burgers. [Laughter.]
We must reiterate without fear of contradiction that the ANC is indeed, the only political organization which boasts tangible and workable, not rhetoric progressive policies to redress the past injustices within the realm of literacy.
We don’t come here to criticize, we come here to say what it is that we are doing to change the lives of our people in order to realise a united South Africa.
As the ANC, as a learning organization, ours will be to ensure that we draw inspiration from the works of Paulo Freire and the successes he has had in transforming the education and literacy levels for the betterment of the people of Brazil - end of the world. I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Chair, let me thank you very much and thank the NCOP for bringing this critical debate and as a society, we need to start engaging around the issues so that we can prepare our society for what we think is going to be a major disruption. Chair, from the input, it is quite clear that we have agreed in the main. Others are just politicking, you know if you are in the opposition you have to sound different, but I think we are agreeing that the industrial revolution is upon us. So, there is no point in heckling and also, there is this howling man at the back. I don’t know who this man is but he doesn’t look well, but that is not my issue here. Chair, let me respond to the few that I can but I would really want to thank members. We have been taking copious notes. I think it is a useful debate and we should be taking that debate everywhere we are. This is a very important issue.
Bab’uKhawula akusizi ukungabaza nje.
We have no choice; we can’t swim against the tide. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us and we have to prepare ourselves
for it. I take solace from the fact that, for instance, during the era of telephones we were the least connected with cellphones. We equalised with the world. My optimistic view is that technology would even help us to be the equaliser. We won’t need to deliver books that you are worried about. They will just have books. So, some of the things that you are now worried about that are challenges, I think with the information communications technology, ICT, we will be able to even bridge those differences. So, it is important for us to be positive about what the opportunities are. As you correctly say, we will also work out how we ensure that we protect our communities from the negative effects of such a disruption, and mainly your soft skills which would be a major problem when this disruption unfolds. It is important that we are also very sensitive to the fact that it is not going to be all 100% happiness, but there are going to be challenges that we will have to deal with. However, what we cannot afford to do is to swim against the tide. It is upon us.
Akusizi ukungabaza uthi mhlawumbe kuzoba nenkinga. Izoba khona inkinga ngempela kodwa kufuneka siyile lapho.
I want to thank my colleague Ntate Kgetjepe for also emphasising the points we made around the work that we are doing as a sector and also concede that if we have to... what the provinces have said that there are provinces which are ahead – we have Gauteng and Western Cape for instance, leading. The Western Cape has actually being very good in terms of ICT for learners with special needs and basically, in education this competition is not much, it is about our children. It is about the future of our country. I may decide to come and stay here in the Western Cape; so, I do want to find the bright future in the Western Cape. You might end up in Gauteng. You might want to.
These children are the national asset, they don’t belong to anybody. They belong to this country. So, it’s in our interest to see all of them driving wherever they are - outside our own political difficulties. As a result, Gauteng and Western Cape are almost at the same level and should work very closely with each and learn from each other. Eastern Cape and the Free State are quite following closely and it is our responsibility to make sure that no child is left behind. All of them are national assets, it doesn’t matter who is ruling. All of them are national assets and all of them should be given equal opportunities.
Member Labuschagne, I am sure it is part of politics. I mean, how do you say third chance? Who doesn’t need a second chance in life? Who
doesn’t need a second chance in life? We have evidence that some people are late bloomers. So, when they recover, either from their delinquency or even from some other challenges they have and are being given a second chance, they have proven to succeed - they have succeeded. Let us also not politicise our children’s future and say no one deserves a second chance. They deserve a second chance. Let us not ravish it. [Applause] There are successes around it. Let us not ravish it.
Member of Provincial Legislature Hlongwa Madlala, that is why even here there are children that were given a second chance. I said and I am saying it again, I couldn’t be bothered whether it’s Gauteng or anywhere and maybe it is because I am a national Minister. My take is that they are South African children. So, it doesn’t matter who is governing where. This pettiness about where the successes are - I just think is a problem when you think about our children.
Lungu elihloniphekile Hlongwa ngiyabonga ...
... you sounded like a real ANC cadre.
Uyabona ukuthi kuyazwakala ukuthi uyayizwa into oyikhulumayo futhi kucacile.
I would really be commenting, but I agree with you that this language issue we have to discuss it, as a country. I don’t think I have time to even explain the fact that, yes, indeed, we have done research and there are lots of issues about language in classrooms. As educationists, we will all say we want our languages to be taught in the classroom, but parents prefer their children to be taught in a language which they think has a currency – which is English. There are all these issues that we have to engage on as a country and help each other, but I agree and support what you are saying.
Hhayi ke lungu elihloniphekile Essack ...
... I think patriotism is a real problem for a denialist like you in this democratic dispensation. As a Third World country, we are
amongst the last countries to be liberated in this continent following a very cruel system. When we say 48 out of 49, why don’t you ask yourself where is the 100 because there are 192 countries in the world. We were the only three countries, third country like us going to a contestation with Russia. To really come and feel proud that you think we are number last in the world - then you have a problem - we are not. [Laughter.] We were competing with First World countries. We have benchmarked ourselves against the best systems.
That’s how proud and brave we are as this government. Very few governments in this continent went for those tests. [Applause.] So we are the brave country, led by brave leaders, which come from heroes like Mandela.
Sizalwa ngamaqhawe thina.
We fight, we fight our way. So don’t worry about 40. If you want yourself to be down on the dumps, it’s yours alone ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Minister, sorry. Let me take hon Faber. You can take your seat, hon Minister. Hon Faber, why are you standing?
Mr W F FABER: Chair, as the Minister has said that she doesn’t know the man, he is a man that was in her committee for five years. [Interjection.] But ... [Inaudible.] Chairperson, I would like to ask the Minister a question if she would answer me on that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon Faber, ... order members! Hon Faber, firstly, you should refrain from debating with the Minister at the podium, whether it’s a Minister or hon member - you do not do that. Secondly, hon Minister are you ready to take a question? Take your seat.
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: No, Chair, he is going to scream. He was screaming here. I am really not ready for that –for the screams. He is going to be screaming here.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A J Nyambi): She is not ready for the question. Take your seat. Continue hon Minister and conclude.
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: As I conclude, Chair, again, I really want to thank you most sincerely and the NCOP for this debate. I would really appreciate that even members, when they go to committee meetings, should raise awareness and get this debate going. I would also appreciate the issues that members were raising which I don’t have time to talk about. It’s a debate about history. It’s about us, it’s about identities. It’s about our children knowing that they are not monkeys or k-words and we need to have a theory, even in our schools which is going to assert us as South Africans, Africans and people. We are going to do it. We have to correct our minds, literature and the narrative, the negative stories which have been told about us, as people of this country. We are going to do it, it doesn’t mean that we undermine maths, but we also take ourselves seriously and we are going to clarify things.
Chair, I really want to thank you for the debate and thank members for engaging with us. We really appreciate the points that were made by different members. I thank you, Chair. [Applause.]
ESTABLISHMENT OF SOUTH AFRICAN TB CAUCUS
(Statement by Minister of Health)
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon House Chairperson, hon members of the NCOP, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Allow me to express my sincere gratitude to you, hon House Chairperson, for having allowed me an opportunity to hold this debate. In fact, we must recognise that the hard work of the leadership of the ruling party, which worked hard to revive interest in the issues that seize us as leaders.
The issue that has given reason for this debate is of great importance beyond our provincial boundaries, country borders, ideologies and party politics. I am speaking about a disease that we all grew up knowing - a disease called Tuberculosis, TB.
House Chairperson, when I was granted a similar opportunity to address both Houses of Parliament in November 2015, I informed hon members that TB has been with us for centuries, although the bacillus was only identified on the 24 March 1882, by Robert Koch, that’s why up to this day, March 24 is World TB Day.
Over the past 200 years, TB killed more people than Smallpox, Malaria, Bubonic plague, Cholera, Influenza, Ebola and HIV/Aids itself, all of them combined! The surprising thing is that despite, all of this evidence; the need to end TB has not result in much urgency among health activists, scientists, politicians and even many world leaders.
As a fight back strategy by the World Health Organisation, WHO, to push back this onslaught against TB, an organisation called Stop TB Partnership was formed around 2000. The organisation has now been transferred from the WHO to United Nations Operations, UNOPS. It has an international board which controls its activities. Its function is to co-ordinate the fight against TB. I have been a member of this international board since 2009. My membership stem from the fact that South Africa is regarded as high-burden country for TB.
In 2009, all members of this board spent the whole week in Washington on a retreat. The aim of the retreat was to establish why is TB a great killer of people globally. We know by now that it affects 10 million in the world and kills 1,5 million people globally. It is the number one biggest killer of all infectious disease but largely remains below the radar screen.
In this retreat, we even invited experts in marketing to come and help us arrive at the right conclusion as to why is it like that but we could not arrive at any convincing answer. Even the warning by our icon, Tata Nelson Mandela, did not seem to do the trick. As you all know Tata Madiba is himself is a TB survivor.
In 2004, at the International AIDS Society Conference, which was held in Bangkok, Thailand, this is what Tata Madiba had to said:
The world has made defeating AIDS a top priority. This is a blessing but TB remains ignored. Today, we are calling on the world to recognise that we cannot fight Aids unless we do much more to fight TB as well.
Perhaps our complacency is because TB has been with us for centuries and maybe together with the knowledge that TB is treatable. It is also possible that it is because whilst anyone can contract TB, it is largely a disease of the poor because it is a socioeconomic disease. This complacency has resulted in our current epidemic, which we must reverse with the same sense of urgency that we have shown when we were fighting HIV and recently, Ebola.
On August 15, the Sowetan led with an article headlined “Panic over missing TB patients.” In this article, they accuse the public health sector of losing 130 000 patients who were initiated on treatment and never returned to continue with their treatment. Whilst I was concerned about this misinformation ... it was misinformation because the loss to follow up treatment in our country is only 6% or around 17 000 people not the 130 000 people as the newspaper was claiming.
I thought maybe even with this overexaggeration, it might help. I thought maybe it will prompt people into action when the see the headline even if it was misleading. Unfortunately, that was not to be. The article just made a small bleep on the radar screen, disappeared immediately and was forgotten.
Whilst the Sowetan suggested that the public sector is failing TB patients, let me reassure you, hon members, that South Africa is regarded by the world as a global leader in the fight against TB. We were the first country to roll out the latest TB diagnostic machines called Genexpert. We have it in all our laboratories now. We have the largest number of people in the world, who are on the drug
called isoniazid – a pill given to HIV positive people, who do not yet have TB but because we know that they are vulnerable to TB, we give them this drug. More than one million South Africans are already using it.
We are a country that introduced new TB drugs such as bedaquiline. Currently, we have the largest number of people in the whole world, who are on bedaquiline. Those people who have been following issues will remember that people with multidrug resistant TB, MDR-TB, were getting an injection called Gentamicin or Kanamycin, whereby they had to have that injection everyday for 18 months. You can imagine what that does to you – your bum being poked everyday for 18 months. In addition, you loose your hearing. We have removed that injection and now give patients bedaquiline, which is very expensive, it costs
$900 per treatment but we have been able to work with international organisation, Jansen, and reduced the price to $400.
The World Health Organisation has established the global TB elimination target of 10 people per 100 000. In other words, they are saying, if in the whole world only 10 people for every 100 00 have TB, then that will be okay. Where are we now? We are at 250 for every 100 000. Just calculate backwards so as to see when are we
going to arrive at 10. So, this is a very serious world crisis. In our country, you know we are higher than that because TB is a menace in most of sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2013, I was elected the international Chairperson of the Stop TB Partnership Board that I mentioned earlier. In this capacity, I was invited to participate in a high-level meeting of heads of state to debate the new global security threat called Antimicrobial Resistance, AMR. The AMR is a new phenomenon whereby microbes – the things we call germs no agree to be killed easily by the drugs that have been using over the ages, they refuse to die and it is a fact. This issue was taken to United Nations because it is scaring all of us.
According to information at my disposal, one-third of organisms that are refusing to die are TB organisms, which is what we call MDR-TB or Extreme Drug Resistant TB.
So, I raised this issue in my capacity as Chair of Stop TB Partnership to UN and said that if TB accounts for one-third of AMR, how we would win the battle against AMR if TB is ignored even by UN. So, I made the suggested in that platform that we call a meeting of
heads of state as we have done with HIV/Aids, Ebola and AMR itself. I was lucky that the UN agreed that heads of state must be called to the UN during the United Nations General Assembly to debate TB. This debate is going to take place on 26 September and our President is going to participate. It is good news.
Hon members, let me tell you a little bit about the genesis of Global TB Caucus, which we are asking you to join. There is a structure called International Union against TB and Lung Diseases. Every year, they hold an annual conference. In 2014 they held a conference in Barcelona, Spain. The Executive Director of the Union, Dr Jose Luiz Castro, emphasised the need to engage parliamentarians in the global efforts to fight TB.
He says parliamentarians can play a crucial role in our fight against TB because by virtue of their positions, they make decisions on health legislation and they approve budgets of government departments, both of which are critical in the fight against TB.
I attended the Barcelona conference as I was invited in my capacity as the international Chair of Stop TB Partnership. Also present at the conference was the hon Nick Herbert, a Member of Parliament of
the United Kingdom, who co-chairs the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on global war against TB. So, this TB problem is even in Europe, it is not only a problem of our developing countries, like in Africa.
In the Barcelona conference, there were seven MPs from France, India, Kenya and Tanzania, myself and hon Nick Herbert. We decided at this conference to launch the Global TB Caucus and I was requested to co-chair the caucus with the hon Nick Herbert. The vision of the global caucus of parliamentarians is a world free of TB.
I cannot conclude my contribution to the debate without saying a little about this high-level meeting. It is not just a meeting which will just occur. In preparation of this meeting, the WHO and the Russian Federation hosted the first ministerial TB conference, last year. Eighty Ministers around the world attended this conference.
The deputy secretary-general of the UN attended, the director- general of WHO attended, the executive director of United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids, UNAIDS, attended.
This meeting was opened officially by the President of the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin. In that conference, which had
2 000 delegates apart from the 80 Ministers, a declaration was taken that when we arrive at UN, we must ask heads of state, Presidents and Prime Ministers five things, which we call Five asks. Due to time constraints, I will only mention one of them. The one is that they must help us around the world make resources available to trace the 4 million missing people. What do we mean by 4 million people missing people? It is calculated that there are 10 million people who have TB in the world but only 6 million are known, they have been found and are on treatment. Four million are out there and infecting other people. We know that one person with TB can infect
15 others in their life time.
Every country has its share of the 4 million. In South Africa, our share is 160 000 and we need to look for. We believe heads of state must make a global plan for that to happen.
In conclusion, I have South Africans who are already leading this battle. Members of Parliament, this evening, when we form the Global TB Caucus, you will join them. I have people which we call ambassadors, who have agreed to join this battle. They are prominent
South Africans, who want everybody to know what TB is. Usually, we don’t disclose people’s diagnosis in public but they gave me permission to say what I am going to say to you in order to motivate you.
Firstly, Prince Nhlanaganiso Zulu, the son of his Majesty, King Zwelitheni, he actually has one lung because the other had to be removed because of TB.
Secondly, Ms Gerry Elsdon, a former beauty queen, a business woman who had extra pulmonary TB, usually many people in my language believe that TB is a lung disease. TB can affect any part of the body. It can go to the liver, to the testis, to the brain and spinal cord and break it which leads to sitting on a wheelchair, can also go to your eyes and that’s what we call pulmonary TB. With regard to this ambassador, Gerry Elsdon, it went to her womb and she doesn’t have children because of that.
Thirdly, Mr Thabo Pelesane, a municipal worker in Matlosana, who is also a vibrant community leader.
Fourthly, the reigning queen, Miss South Africa today, a medical student and a TB survivor. She got it from patients.
Lastly, Dr Thato Mosidi, Dr Dalene and Arnie Von Delft, who are actually married, they contacted TB while practising medical doctors
– trying to save the lives of our people.
In the Western Cape, if you go to Brooklyn clinic, you will understand me; you will find lots of nurses there, who have contracted MDR-TB. We had to lock them in there for 18 months because we must isolate them. You can see from their faces that they are very depressed.
So, when we say TB is a global health threat, we mean it. We also emphasise that in the fight against TB, Members of Parliament must drop their party political caps and enter this battle to save the world against TB. Thank you very much.
Ms T G MPAMBO-SIBHUKWANA: Thank you Chair for this opportunity. Hon Minister, it is imperative for the leaders of our country to acknowledge that tuberculosis is a number one killer in South Africa. While the DA supports the formation of this very crucial
caucus, there are few issues that we need to address today for the establishment of this caucus. Minister, tuberculosis is well known to always target poverty-stricken communities where social ills are constantly high. I wish to outline that last week, during the National Council of Provinces recent visit to the Free State, one of the districts that was of significance during this oversight was Kopanong Local Municipality. The Diamant Hospital which has just closed today has shortages of water along with rancid smell throughout the corridor which affects people with TB. This is really troubling considering that TB patients constantly get thirsty and therefore need water, which is a basic need.
Hon Minister, water alone is a vital substance needed for basic health care. How can patients of TB and other illnesses recover without access to such basic needs? If we are being asked to take the formation of this TB Caucus seriously, how can we do so if the ANC government has not provided sufficient health care to the troubled district of our nation? Think seriously about people that are being affected. The DA will not hesitate in holding this national government as well as the Department of Health to account should this initiative not return satisfactory results for the people of South Africa, especially for TB patients who would have
access to basic health care and services that would help them return to a healthier state and therefore continue with their lives.
Minister, we do support this initiative but take this matter into consideration. Thank you.
Mr M KHAWULA: Hon Chairperson and hon Minister, I rise on behalf of IFP to give our unequivocal support to the establishment of the SA Chapter of the Global TB Caucus. Over the years one has come to notice how passionate the Minister has been about measures to cure TB. Tuberculosis has mistakenly become one of the most deadly killers in our communities. It has mistakenly become so because if correct measures are put in place to fight it, the extent of fatalities can be drastically reduced.
On behalf of the IFP, I subscribe to the measures to create awareness in our communities, and also commit the rank and file of our leadership, beside just parliamentarians, to the active programmes to fight TB. Whilst on the subject, one has to urge government to get about balancing distribution of resources to both our urban and rural communities in the country. The skewed mentality that resources are better located only when they are in urban areas must be diminished. Anyway, the principles of Batho Pele are also
about the access of our people to resources, irrespective of where they may be in the country.
There is a TB Santa Hospital in Hibberdene under Umzumbe Local Municipality which has assisted communities of the lower South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal for years in fighting TB. The hospital was there long before 1994. Government has recently taken a decision to close the hospital and relocate it. Whilst admitting that the hospital was old, one would have thought that a better decision would have been to renew and renovate the hospital, but leave it where it is in Umzumbe in order for it to be of assistance to the rural communities of the South of KwaZulu-Natal.
Hon Minister, as one of our champions on this issue, I hope that you will make it one of your priorities to have this hospital continue to service the rural communities of KwaZulu-Natal to be in a better condition. I wish all the ambassadors of TB fight everything of the best and success in the fight against this disease. I thank you.
Ms T J MOKWELE: We welcome South Africa decision to join the Global TB Caucus but we want our joining to have a meaningful impact in the fight against TB in this country. South Africa has some of the
highest level of TB infections and deaths in the world. In 2015 it was estimated that there were 454 000 people who were infected with TB in South Africa. With TB being the leading cause of death in the country, it kills about 124 000 people in 2016, including those living with HIV and Aids. We have less than 1% of the world’s population, but in 2016 South Africa accounted 7,3% of all TB deaths worldwide.
The high TB infection rates and deaths are because of our collapsing public health care system. Patients are not able to access medication, with a 2015 survey finding that 25% of health care facilities experienced shortage of ARVs and TB medicines and those diagnosed with TB often do not go for follow-ups. There is a clear link between people not going for follow-ups, shortage in medicine and poor service delivery by provincial departments of health that is evident in North West and Free State. That is why North West only has a follow-up rate of 47% and Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality has a follow-up rate of about 18%, both the lowest in the country.
If we as Parliament are committed to fighting TB, which is killing so many of our people, then we must hold the executive accountable
for failing to provide health care services to our people. Only once we start doing this and see results will our joining of the Global TB Caucus have a significant and meaningful impact. Thank you.
Ms L C DLAMINI: Hon Chair, my greetings to the Minister and hon members. I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the ambassadors and say to them, thank you very much for joining us as Parliament and as government in our fight against TB.
As the ANC, we welcome the statement of the Minister of Heath, hon Motsoaledi, regarding the establishment of the SA Chapter of the Global TB Caucus. While TB is preventable and curable, it remains the leading cause of death in South Africa. Our country has the third highest burden of the TB disease in the world, after India and China, with an estimated incidence of 450 000 cases of active TB. We have seen an increase of about 400% over the last 15 years, making TB the leading cause of death, especially among black males.
As the ANC, we are particularly pleased with the establishment of the Global TB Caucus because it will enhance our national efforts to raise awareness and profile the TB epidemic as one of the leading causes of death in our country. The caucus will also support our
national efforts to accelerate the elimination of TB by 2030 in line with the targets set by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. As the ANC Members of Parliament, MPs, we will be part of the campaign. We do invite other parties to join us instead of shouting outside. We invite them to be part of the caucus. There is no time to complain or lament. You are invited to participate fully in this campaign.
As we establish the SA Chapter of Global TB Caucus we must always bear in mind the story told to the world by the World Health Organisation last year that the world's biggest killer and the greatest cause of ill health and suffering across the globe remains extreme poverty. Poverty is the main reason why babies are not vaccinated, why clean water and sanitation are not provided, why curative drugs and other treatments are unavailable and why mothers die in childbirth. It is the underlying cause of reduced life expectancy, handicap, disability and starvation. Poverty is a major contributor to mental illness, stress, suicide, family disintegration and substance abuse. Every year in the developing world about 15 million children under five years die, most of them from causes which could be prevented for just a few US dollars. The ANC supports the move. I thank you. [Applause.]
SA CHAPTER OF THE GLOBAL TB CAUCUS EXTENDS TO PARLIAMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: House Chair, I
That the Council –
notes that TB is the leading cause of death in South Africa, and that there is a need for a SA Chapter of the Global TB Caucus, intended to raise awareness and profile the TB epidemic and support efforts to accelerate the elimination of the disease by 2030 in line with targets set by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals;
further notes that the SA Chapter of the Global TB Caucus would provide a platform to Members of Parliament and members
of legislatures to champion the response to TB in the country and in their constituencies, and drive political action to end the disease;
acknowledges that membership of the SA TB Caucus will be on a nonpartisan basis, open to any parliamentarian and or legislator in South Africa and is undertaken on a completely voluntary basis; and
resolves, with the concurrence of the NCOP, to establish the SA Chapter of the Global TB Caucus, co-ordinated by a body which will be constituted in consultation with the Chief Whips of all parties and also the provincial legislatures.
IN FAVOUR: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape.
Motion accordingly agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
The Council adjourned at 16:45.