Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised Hansard
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 11 Sep 2018
No summary available.
TUESDAY, 11 SEPTEMBER 2018
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 14:03.
The Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: There is a saying in Afrikaans ...
Hulle sê onkruid vergaan nie.
Hon members, in accordance with Council Rule 247(1), there will be no notices of motion or motions without notice. Before I proceed, I would like to welcome the President of the Republic of South Africa. Welcome, sir. It is a pleasure to Chair this Question Session.
Welcome to the premiers. Welcome to the speakers of the different legislations. Welcome to all other special delegates. We shall now
proceed with questions, as printed in the Question Paper. The President will take the questions from the podium.
QUESTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Chairperson, hon premiers and Speakers from our legislatures and hon members, the Youth Employment Service initiative was conceptualised as a partnership between the private sector and the government but also included labour and civil society.
It was, as many of you will have noticed, launched in March this year. In the end, the initiative aims to provide work experience for young people on a scale that will be significant and lasting enough to have an impact on employment. As we all know, many of our young people are unemployed, and we could have up to 38% or 39% of young people unemployed. They bear the heaviest brunt of unemployment in our economy. This initiative was initiated so that it can respond to the challenge of unemployment that young people face.
However, more than that, it aims to provide skills and capabilities to young people. It is one of the ways through which the social partners, being business, government, communities and labour, are working to provide what one would call pathways and opportunities for young people to get into the world of work. Participating young people will be placed in corporate companies. They will also be placed in a number of community hubs that are being created as micro enterprises in various parts of our country. In other words, owners of micro enterprises will be able to access these young people and provide them with employment for a year, but, in the course of time, they will also be able to gain some skills.
This initiative complements a number of other initiatives put out there, such as the Public Service Graduate Recruitment Scheme, which was launched recently to attract the best graduates into the Public Service. This is ongoing, and this is also in response to the question that young people who are graduates have raised, saying that they go to universities and technical and vocational education and training colleges and get qualifications but, in the end, don’t find employment. So, we are responding to this. At the same time, we have also called upon the private sector to employ young graduates into their ranks.
The private sector, which in this regard is part of the YES initiative, will ensure placements occur within all sectors of our economy. Big businesses will also facilitate the placement of young people in small and medium enterprises within their supply chain.
What we have done then, through this initiative, is to have the corporate sector set up a not-for-profit entity to manage the day- to-day co-ordination of the YES initiative. A website has already been put up, and young people are already interacting with it. This platform will allow young people to register for placement opportunities. Over the past few months, the YES initiative and the relevant government departments have been putting together what we would call the administrative mechanisms and regulatory mechanisms. A YES hub was launched in Tembisa in Gauteng recently, offering training on Microsoft, financial literacy, hospitality, as well as demonstrations on urban farming.
This initiative is determined to demonstrate the power of collective action in tackling youth unemployment. We are hoping, as we have said, that it will gather momentum. We are still taking baby steps with this initiative. More and more, as we put together all the necessary regulatory mechanisms, we will be able to see many more companies participating. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Dr H E MATEME: Chairperson, through you to the President: Assuming that this pool of participants is all inclusive of women, people with disabilities, and that it also bridges the urban-rural divide, do we have a mechanism that will monitor and make sure that all these participants are absorbed by the economy at the end of their exposure – that nobody will fall through the cracks? Do we have such a mechanism? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Chairperson, the mechanism that we have in the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation will be able to do that because it is a monitoring mechanism that looks at what we do in government. It also evaluates whether we are making an impact or not. At the same time, we are setting up in the Presidency itself an execution unit that will make sure the various initiatives that we put in place are implemented. That will, if you like, be more of an oversight type of mechanism that will make sure that we look very closely and look at the granular particulars of the implementation of all these things. So, we will be able to follow up on all these matters and look at the impact with regard to young women, women, and people with disabilities and also look at the regional spread of the initiatives that we are putting in place so that urban and rural are well balanced, and rural is not disadvantaged, as it is sometimes disadvantaged in all this.
So, I am certain that, as the machinery and the mechanism really get under way, we will be able to gain some traction. As with everything else that is starting, there will be some teething problems – challenges, rather, I should call them – with our processes. Those are being cleaned up. We are going to start seeing more and more traction achieved through this. Thank you very much.
Mr C HATTINGH: Chairperson, I think the President needs some water. [Laughter.] Hon President, following your pronouncement of the New Dawn earlier this year, you predicted growth of 3%. This was reinforced by your commitment to deal with corruption and to clean up maladministration in state-owned enterprises, SOEs. We saw board changes and management shakeups in some of them. However, we have had a contraction of 2,2% in economic growth for the first quarter, subsequently adjusted to 2,6%, followed now by another
0,7% contraction, formally putting South Africa in a technical recession. Mr President, you announced that 330 000 positions will be made available through the Youth Employment Service in South Africa this year, with another 500 000 positions that could be a reality by 2019.
In light of the above – the recession – would you like to adjust your announcements about youth employment to more realistic targets
in line with the challenges we are facing, or do you have a way out of this mess?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Chairperson, the implementation of the Youth Employment Service is not yet a mess. There is no question of asking whether we are going to get out of this mess. It is really just beginning. It is in the beginning stage, and we are hoping that, as it is properly implemented, we will be able to gain traction, as I was saying, and, in the end, be able to bring in those numbers. In the end, it will depend, of course, on the ability of corporates to open up spaces. Our main campaign now is to get as many corporates as possible to participate in this.
I had wanted a higher figure, but it was the corporate companies who said we should be moderate so that if we do achieve we overachieve. The number is realistic, and they still believe it can be achieved. It is largely private sector driven. The other thing is that it is largely also private sector managed. What we do as government is put in place the regulatory mechanisms, so we stand behind this. We initiated it together. They have been driving it. They have set up the machinery, and now, through the nonprofit entity that has been set up, they are now going out to bring in as many participants as possible.
They are the ones who initially said they want to set it up in a township. They wanted to go set it up in Tembisa, and we were rather pleased with that. Of course, we want it to be rolled out in the rural areas as well where the unemployment rate is significantly high, as well. We would like to see greater participation. So, it is not yet time to say it should be adjusted. I think we should continue to have hope that this project will succeed. In fact, I would even say we should continue not only to invest hope in it but to encourage corporates and various other participants to be part of this. We need to work together to egg everyone on to be part of it because that is the one project that gives quite a lot of hope.
The other one is the actual real creation of jobs – where we need to have investment, where the demand process needs to grow. Factories can then make goods that our people can buy. So, that is a process, and we must wish all this very well rather than approach it from a very negative and critical point of view. I invite you to be hopeful, to wish this well, and to do your best to make it work.
Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The PREMIER OF THE NORTH WEST (Mr T J Mokgoro): Chair, I am trying to press here. It is on. Yes.
The contribution of young people is well known, and I suppose, Mr President ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Premier, please hold on.
The PREMIER OF THE NORTH WEST (Mr T J Mokgoro): ... a focus and substantive focus ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Premier, please hold on. Hon members, this is Premier Mokgoro’s maiden day in this House. He is protected.
The PREMIER OF THE NORTH WEST (Mr T J Mokgoro): Thank you, Chairperson. [Interjections.] [Laughter.] I take it then, as the unitary state we are, this laudable intervention is also finding its way to other spheres of government, to the provincial and the local, and that the participation would certainly go to that extent so that we realise the attraction that the hon President envisages. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon President, do you wish to make a comment? No, hon Julius. Please take your seat. [Interjections.] No, hon Julius! Take your seat.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Chairperson, I want to stress that, yes, we are a unitary state, and we always seek to do everything the government initiates to be done on a national level, rather than in a way where one or a few provinces are favoured at the expense or at the exclusion of others.
This project, having started in the Tembisa township in Gauteng, is a project that will be spread throughout. In these days of the Internet of Things and connectivity, a portal, as I said, has been set up. Young people who are tech savvy, more than many of us, are able to get great access. As we speak now, we already have had
65 000 young people register their interest in securing work opportunities. We already have 32 companies that have shown their willingness to provide up to 25 000 work opportunities to young people. It is still at its nascent type of level. We are going to, in my view, see more and more participation.
The 65 000 young people are spread throughout the country. So, the physical location is not really going to be a barrier in terms of where the location of the offices is. It is the spread of the corporates throughout the length and the breadth of the country that we want to deepen so that even companies that are in the deepest rural areas of our country and are doing business there should be
able to provide an offering that young people can have available to them.
We should be seen as pioneers – pioneers in this type of process because we are not aware of any other country doing this. I remember years ago when former US President Obama spoke in his state of the union address and raised precisely this issue, inviting companies to participate in providing job opportunities to young people. I don’t recall them having gone to the extent that we have gone, of setting up a more formal process of getting companies to set up this type of mechanism and bringing in young people.
So sometimes, yes, these announcements are made. We have sought to set up a process, maybe too organised, but it is best to do so to ensure we don’t exclude anyone, particularly when it comes to the regional or the provincial spread of this type of initiative. Thank you.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Chair, my question to the President is that previously we have experienced initiatives to curb youth unemployment in South Africa, such as the National Rural Youth Service Corps, Narysec, and the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP, and now you have introduced the YES initiative. I just want to
check the following with you: Prior to you initiating the YES initiative, have you ever, as a government, measured the progress made by the previous programmes aimed at youth employment? What was the outcome? Your answer to me will then tell me how you plan to move forward to improve what you have failed to do through the previous initiatives. Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Chair, yes, we have sought to evaluate various youth employment programmes like Narysec and the EPWP as it relates to young people. That work is under way. I have asked and called for it, so it is going to be made available.
Those were largely government initiated; they were being driven by government. In this case, we have decided that we want to work with the private sector, with our social partners. That is why we also involved labour and communities to be part of it. To a large extent, all those social partners have gone a long way in enriching the final product we have because, as often happens, not everyone has great wisdom in putting together initiatives on their own. It is when they work with others that they are able to gain greater wisdom. This is precisely what has happened with the YES initiative. Social partners were involved, and we have allowed the private sector to be the key driver because we see them as being the
provider of jobs. Jobs will usually be provided and created by the private sector, so we have enabled that process to get under way. We have been underpinning this whole process as the regulator, as well as coming up with the enabling mechanisms needed to make this process work.
We will do the evaluation, but we will also keep making the evaluation as we go on, as this process is implemented. As I said, we are pioneers in this. As pioneers, sometimes, you do get things very right, and sometimes you miss some steps. However, we are determined to do as well as we can to get this under way because it offers one of the better ways of getting young people in employment.
The other one started by private sector some years ago was the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, which brings in young people. It is still ongoing. They have been fairly successful in getting young people prepared for job situations. This one going to be getting young people into actual jobs and getting them well trained and well prepared, albeit for that limited period of the contract.
Beyond that, those young people will be in pole position when it comes to getting either permanent jobs in that place where they will get the training for the full year or, indeed, other related types of companies and industries.
So, it gives young people a great opportunity. Rather than having them sit at home and do nothing, this gives them a pathway through which they can be economically active and participate in the growth of our economy. Thank you very much.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Chairperson, in relation to the issue of lifestyles, I have directed the Director-General in the Presidency to lead the process of establishing the nature, form and scale of lifestyle audits of members of the executive and those who occupy positions of responsibility at that important high level.
Now, asking the director-general to do so has been informed by the fact that as a secretary of Cabinet, he is the repository office of getting all the declarations from the members of the executive.
A Technical Team has been established consisting of the Presidency, Auditor-General, South African Police Service, South African Revenue Service, State Security Agency, Anti-Corruption Task Team, Office of the Public Service Commission and Financial Intelligence Centre. So, all these entities are participating in that task team that the director-general has set up on my direction.
Various options are currently being considered for the implementation of this audit process, with a view to developing a sustainable model that will be consistent with the Bill of Rights and relevant legislation.
The Technical Task Team is expected to provide a set of recommendations on how we craft this and put it well together so that it becomes an effective process that will have the teeth and the necessary impact that we want it to have.
This will enable me to further apply my mind and will provide an opportunity for further consultation before a final decision is reached on the nature, form and scale of the proposed lifestyle audits. The lifestyle audits will further strengthen our system of financial declarations for the executive and public servants.
Currently, members of the executive make declarations annually to Parliament and to the Secretary of Cabinet, while senior officials and officials in supply chain management make annual submissions to the Public Service Commission.
The lifestyle audits would be in addition to the work done by various law enforcement agencies, which continually monitor the
lifestyles of those who are either suspected of engaging in act of corruption, fraud and other criminal activities.
The Asset Forfeiture Unit, for example, continues to seize the proceeds of crime. The Financial Intelligence Centre follows illegal financial flows. The Anti-Corruption Task Team reported that in the last financial year, 345 people were arrested for corruption and corruption-related offences and 250 were convicted.
These achievements demonstrate that government is hard at work, but we are even going to be harder at work to try and clean up processes that are going to reposition our government in relation to dealing with maleficent and wrong doing in government.
One of the reasons why we thought we wanted to have a more thorough process was that we didn’t want to just go with the process that will have holes that would easily be circumvented; we wanted a process in which we would include all these entities or agencies.
And I am satisfied that we are on the right path in relation to having a very robust system of lifestyle audit; and it’s possible that we may well be the first in the world to craft a system that is going to involve so many entities. We hope that it will be really solid and robust enough to deal with the challenges that we face.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Thank you, Chairperson. Thank you for the response, Mr President, but frankly, I don’t buy it. I am sorry to say that but I don’t buy it, because there are already officials who are subjected to lifestyle audits. So, when it comes to politicians and your Cabinet, you want to do extra work. This is another ploy of government to postpone the inevitable. There is nothing wrong with using the same principles of conducting lifestyle audits for officials and your Cabinet.
I can’t understand, you have promised already seven months ago, during the Sona debate, I asked you to conduct lifestyle audits and you committed to subject all Cabinet members to lifestyle audits.
Now, again we asked the question to the Deputy President a few months ago; and he said I give you a report from the President, I have just called him on my way here today and the President said they will conduct the lifestyle audits.
Now, to this end, in his reply to the DA’s oral question in the National Assembly recently, the Deputy President, David Mabuza confirmed that he is willing to be submitted to a lifestyle audit. This is particularly important because in a reply to a DA question in this House last week, about whether the Deputy President ever met
Ruslan Goring on board of the Gupta-owned aircraft from Johannesburg to Moscow on 26 October 2015.
Your Deputy President said that he can’t recall who was on the flight with him may be his eyes were closed. He was on high pain medication – his own high pain medication and that he has no relationship with Russians or the Guptas. Not only does the passenger manifest reveal that Ruslan Goring, a senior Russian government official tasked with negotiating mining deals between Russia and foreign governments ... [Interjections.] he travelled with the Deputy President. So, my question is ... [Interjections.] Yes.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Julius, your time is up!
Mr J W W JULIUS: My question is, will you commit the Deputy President ... [Interjections.] to a lifestyle audit? Will you ask him for a lifestyle audit, President?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Julius your time is long up; and I told you that your time is up. Order, members
Hon President, you have two options, you may comeback to the part where the hon member started off staying with the supplementary – in the first part of his follow-up question. The second part is that you may choose to go to whether or not it is relevant for the Deputy President and his answer in this House. That is entirely in your hands sir.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Chairperson, I have said that we will have a lifestyle audit process, and that we are not going to turn away from. That is going to happen. Each time I come to this House, members of this House seem to be in extreme hurry and they get very excited about when things are happening. When I tell them that it is going to happen, they always say when? And when it does finally happen I don’t see them coming up with flowers and showering me with flowers and say, you finally have done it. [Laughter.]
Now, as I was saying, we are definitely going to have these lifestyle audits and we are going to ensure that it does in the end, become an effective lifestyle audit which is robust. We should also be grateful that we are actually bringing together these various agencies – agencies of really high-class that are able to serve the people of our country. The auditor-general, the financial intelligent centre, and all those; those are important agencies
whose help the director-general and Secretary of the Cabinet has solicited with my active support because we want to have a real good robust system.
This is the type that will also be spread throughout the country. So, allow us space and time to be able to finalise this. In fact, you want the timeframe, I can tell you that we are going to have this by the end of October; we should be able to have a really robust system of lifestyle audit. So, we are going to be able to put it forward.
Now, I am not able to answer for the Deputy President. All I can say is that everybody is going to be subjected to a lifestyle audit; from the President right throughout to members of the executive. I will be subjected to a lifestyle audit and so will everyone else who serves on the Cabinet. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr M KHAWULA: Thank you, hon Chairperson. Mr President, last time you were here I referred to you as the President and you denied it, but today I can boldly say Mr President. [Laughter.]
Mr President, it is too soon to be asking for flowers ... [Laughter.] when the lifestyle audit kicks in what will government
do – legally; to ensure that it bites. It can have teeth but if the teeth are blunt it cannot bite. So, that it doesn’t become the usual the country has seen commissions and enquiries into anomalies in the country which have never done any major shakeup or have not taken any reasonable step to the culprits, it has happened with Nkandla, with SABC, SOEs and the list is endless. How will this one be made to bite?
Recently, the SIU issued a concern that plus-minus 686 mostly corruption cases referred to the NPA are gathering dust with nothing being done to prosecute the culprits since 2014; and you are mentioning the same agencies who are putting together this, what will be different sir?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Chair, some of the accounts that we are getting to hear about of how some of our agencies have been weakened and how some of them have diverted themselves from doing their work is a matter of concern. It concerns us that where there has been wrongdoing, where there has been criminality some of those agencies that are meant to act on maleficent and wrongdoing have not done so. We are concerned about that and we are taking steps to make sure that we correct that lack of action that some of them have demonstrated.
Going forward, we are going to make sure that where there is maleficent and or wrongdoing there should be action. I have often said that we need to be a country where there is accountability – where there is consequent management, where if anyone gets involved in actions of wrongdoing they must know themselves that they have to be answerable.
This should almost be an automatic type of reaction by leaders particularly that if you have missed a step deliberately –if you have done something that has harmed the Republic you should know that you should be answerable and there should be consequence management.
That is the type of ethos, culture and value systems that we want to inculcate in South Africa. There has been too much neglect of following up on wrongdoing. People often do things that are wrong and they are least concerned whether there will be any consequence or not. Now that has to come to an end. We are a country that should follow the rule of the law, a country that is governed by a Constitution, one of the best if not the best in the world.
Therefore, need to leave up to our constitutional architecture, where we have said that everyone shall be equal before the law and
every one will be treated fairly with equity, but that there should be justice.
If anyone perpetrates injustice against the people of South Africa they should be followed through and there should be consequences. So, we will make sure that even where there are violations of our lifestyle audits, we will want to make sure that there is follow through, hence the participation of all these agencies. These agencies are agencies that have shown in the past in the main that they have teeth. They have got honourable people who are serve in them and we expect them to follow through.
So, I would say that, going forward, let us have confidence and faith that we are putting things right in the Republic of South Africa and that there is going to be rule of law application and the right things will be done, in the name of our people. Thank you.
Mr L B GAEHLER: Chairperson, hon President, history will judge you wrong if you would only deal with your executive and yourself on the lifestyle audit.
UMONGAMELI WERIPHABLIKHI: Andikakuva.
Mnu L B GAEHLER: Ndimde wena. 14:2:16.70
History will judge you wrong if you would only deal with yourselves and your executive. We have seen that once people are elected to a higher office where they are in control of tenders and government monies; their lifestyle changes; now the question would then be whether the President would subject mayors and municipal officials to the lifestyle audits, if so, what are the relevant details and timeframes?
Mnu L B GAEHLER: Undivile Mhlekazi?
UMONGAMELI WERIPHABLIKHI: Ndikuve kakuhle.
Through this lifestyle audit process, we will be initiating – if you like - a lifestyle audit revolution. We would not like it to end just with the executive. What is pleasing is that out of their own volition the SAPS management has already embraced this notion of lifestyle audit and they have said they would like their high echelons of the police to subject themselves to the lifestyle audit.
Hopefully, once this robust system that we are putting in place has been properly completed and bedded down we will stand out as a good example which would then be followed through. We would want this to be adopted, implemented throughout the leadership structures of government throughout the country and there should be no exception.
Ngoko ke Mhlekazi wam sithi bonke abantu abaza kufumana iziniki- maxabiso kufuneka ukuba bangene nabo kule nkqubo yophicotho lwendlela abaphila ngayo. Enkosi.
Ms L C DLAMINI: Sihlalo, angibonge kuMengameli Welive, sibonge-ke nesincumo lositsetse, sikhombisa kutsi unesibindzi kangakanani.
Lokutsi nje ubuke kutsi letimali lesitiholako tiyalingana yini naletintfo lesinato, kubalulekile kakhulu loko.
From our side, we will be looking forward towards the end of this financial year because you pronounce this year. It will be pre- mature of us to expect you to report in bits and pieces. Your performance report will be next year. We will be looking forward as
to how far have you gone in terms of implementing. My follow-up question says ...
... kukhona umkhuba lokulaba langenako kulomonakalo wekutsi bangawasebentisi emabito abo kodvwa basebentise labanye bantfu. Kungabe loluphenyotincwadzi lwekuphila (lifestyle audit) lutawukhona yini kutsi ikwati kutsekeletela labantfu kulaba labangubona babasebentisa kutsi babhalise letintfo tabo tekonakala?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Sihlalo, sitawenta kutsi lentsambo yeluphenyotincwadzi lwekuphila ikwati kutsi ibalandzele khona kutekutsi nome umuntfu abetsi wetama kufihla sicu sakhe, kodvwa imlandzele ize ifike kulowo mgodzi latifihle kuwo.
So, it will be quite comprehensive, that is why we are also engaging entities like the financial intelligent centre who are able to keep track of movements of money and cash in various entities and bank accounts. So, we are expecting that their contribution to this process will also be very meaningful. What I would say is that once
this lifestyle audit takes place there won’t be any place to hide. People will be found if they are involved in wrongdoing.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Chairperson, since the State of the Nation Address in February, government has taken a number of decisive steps to address the severe financial, operational and governance as well as structural challenges that are facing our state-owned enterprises, SOEs.
We have worked to strengthen governance by changing the Boards of various state-owned enterprises but also restructuring the Board appointment process that affects our state-owned enterprises. This, we have done to ensure that people with expertise, experience and integrity are appointed.
The appointment of new Boards at strategic SOEs like Eskom, Transnet and Denel has done much to improve confidence and create conditions for operational and financial recovery for those SOEs.
Several of these Boards have undertaken measures to uncover corrupt activities and to hold those responsible accountable.
We are changing the way that SOEs have been working by ensuring that Board members are not directly involved – themselves – in procurement responsibilities, and strengthening audit processes by working with the Auditor-General as an external auditor. In some of these SOEs, in the past, we often found that Board members, themselves, who are by definition supposed to be non-executive, did get involved in the awarding of tenders. And this, we are changing because it is not the right thing to do.
In April 2018, we authorised the Special Investigating Unit, SIU, to probe allegations of malfeasance, fraud and corruption in Eskom as well as in Transnet. We will soon be able to make announcements about the progress in SIU investigations and civil recoveries that can be immediately pursued against wrongdoers.
Government continues to support investigations by law-enforcement agencies, the National Treasury and the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture into the affairs of SOEs as well as government departments. All these efforts will culminate in the referral of all relevant matters for criminal prosecution and civil recoveries. By undertaking these measures, we are essentially improving the capacity of SOEs to make the contribution that we all expect they will make in the development of our country.
Several SOEs are critical to the functioning of the economy – as we have often said – and therefore they make a direct contribution to growth, employment creation and transformation.
We cannot restore our economy to health unless we restore SOEs. We are working to ensure that they support black industrialists through dedicated funding and transparent procurement processes.
State-owned enterprises are encouraged to source supplementary funding for development initiatives through options such as public- private partnerships, government incentive programmes, international donor funding and empowerment dividend, which is where the shareholder allows the entity to retain dividends to specifically finance a developmental agenda or mandate.
The Private Sector Participation Framework, which was approved by government in 2016, aims to accelerate the delivery of infrastructure programmes that are key for enabling economic growth through leveraged financing with the private sector.
Government is committed to cost the SOEs’ developmental mandates more explicitly with the financing that can be set out more clearly in shareholder compacts.
The commercial and developmental mandates of SOEs are being aligned to the imperative for accelerated and inclusive growth and the reduction of poverty and unemployment in our country. So, it is quite important, therefore, that our SOEs play a critical role in the life of our economy. And it is for this reason that we focus a great deal of attention on straightening them out; and this has to be the case because they are state-owned and much of their funding, particularly those that have been in distress, has either been provided the fiscus or underwritten by the fiscus. So, it is important that we take a great deal of interest and responsibility for the way that they function. Thank you, hon Chair.
Ms E PRINS: Hon Chairperson, thank you hon President for your response. The ANC acknowledges with gratitude the Minister and government commitments and dedicated stratedy and efforts to deal effectively with SOEs in order to rebuild SOEs to become an integral part of the bigger plan to build the economy of the country.
My question, whether in light of the recent Eskom strike, government has engaged Eskom and other state-owned enterprises to develop effective dispute resolutions, mechanisms and harmonious labour relations to avoid industrial disputes and strikes that might
undermine government’s plan to rebuild state-owned enterprises? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Prins, the answer is yes. We have had to go back to the drawing board and have a deep discussion with the Eskom management and Board in relation to how they can best harmonize labour relations and their dealings and relationship with unions so that in the future we should avoid the types of industrial action that ensued at Eskom. The discussions are broad and deep, and we will encourage them to have further discussions with the unions. Because out of the process that we have been through, there are many lessons to be learned; and we need to pay attention to some of the errors, mistakes and lapses that we experienced along the way.
So, all parties have to go back to the drawing board and extract important lessons. But the aim, as you correctly say hon Prins, should be how we can have a more harmonious type of relationship or equation in state-owned enterprises between employers and employees as well as the Board supporting all that. Thank you very much.
Moh N P KONI: Mme Modise, ke bona monyenyo wa gago, le nna ke ntse ke go gopotse jaaka le wena o ntse o ngkopotse. [Setshego.]
Hon President, state-owned companies should be central to the growth of any economy, especially a developing economy like ours. But this can only happen if there’s leadership with vision and good governance. Unfortunately, the new Minister, Pravin Gordhan, has none of this and has his own agenda. Since hon Pravin Gordhan took over as the Minister of Public Enterprises, he has embarked on a reign of terror at SOEs. We have been informed that hon Pravin bullies and intimidates Board members and employees at SOEs; the ANC members in this House know that’s why they’re quiet. In his racist decision, making an attitude, this has been supported by others who have come forward to complain and it is clear that this is a pattern in the Minister’s behaviour.
So, my question is if so many people are saying the same thing, have you as the President of the Republic - at any given point - followed up on these allegations? And if you have not, now that I have informed you or made you aware, what are you going to do about it?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I thought she was smiling at me. [Laughter.]
Hon Chairperson, Ministers are appointed because they have abilities to execute a number of tasks. They are put in various positions because we trust them and have confidence in them to be able to execute those tasks. And it is possible – at times – as they execute those tasks, they have to take difficult decisions; difficult decisions that may not sit well with people who have to interface with them. Now, the types of allegations that you are putting forward, I have not heard of and as you – yourself – correctly say you’re now telling me, I had not heard of that. But what I can say is I do not have Ministers in the Cabinet who execute their tasks and underpin it with unsavoury type of behaviour such as racism.
Ministers are not supposed to underpin their various tasks and actions by displaying any form of racism, sexism, tribalism or anything.
I have known Minister Pravin Gordhan for many years, and I have known him to be a type of person who gets really focused in the execution of his tasks and it is possible that as he does his work people may feel that they are adversely affected by some of the decisions and actions that he take; and that in the end, is a matter which one should know that it can happen and if it is happening unfairly you have the defence to be able to say “this is not fair” and raise the issue so that the matter can be looked into. But, to
make it clear, none of the Ministers in the Cabinet underpin whatever actions that they take with a tinge of racism, sexism, tribalism or whatever. So, I will reject that completely because when they were appointed they took an oath to be faithful to the Republic and also to execute their tasks in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
But having heard what you’re saying in this house, one will take note. However, what I do know is that Minister Gordhan needs to be applauded for a number of the actions he is taking; he does need to be applauded for that. You can also join in the applause, thank you very much. [Applause.]
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Mr President, in May you stated that state capture was bigger than ever anticipated and you had no knowledge regarding the extend was before the guptaleaks came out. It is impossible that you didn’t know about the extent of the state capture, especially since the DA has been bringing it to your attention every time you appeared before Parliament when you were the Deputy President. You were in charge of SOEs when state capture flourished, while we repeatedly brought it to your attention and you did nothing to stop it to happen. Now, we have no other choice than to believe that you could mislead the people again to protect yourself and the corrupt
members of the ANC. If the Zondo Commission calls you to appear before it to answer questions regarding state capture, will you do so in your personal capacity as well as the in your capacity as the President of the country as well as in your capacity as the President of the ANC?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Chair, the issue of state capture is a matter that has affected all of us in the country and what is being revealed in the Zondo Commission is coming across to a number of people as both as a price and a shock, as the details are now being revealed in their particulars. And some of the things that were not really apparent in press reports are now being put forward and in doing so, we are all keeping attention on what is been said and so far, what I would say is we should continue to hear the evidence and analyse it.
As far as I’m concerned, if the Zondo Commission asks me to appear before it, I have no difficulty, I have no opposition, I will go with a great deal of pleasure to go before it if it says “President, come and appear” because it is important that the people of South Africa get to know what was happening in the state; and to the extent that anyone of us has a story to tell, has something to put forward to the Zondo Commission. We should never hide, we should go
forward; in fact, as you cite the ANC part of it, it was the ANC that asked that a commission be set up, it was the ANC. [Applause.] As President of the ANC I can never dissociate myself and runaway from a commission we said we want to see set up; so, we will be able, without any form of interference and influence on that commission because – in any way it is not in our make up to even seek to interfere – when the Zondo Commission seeks our participation we will be more than happy to go to the commission. It is a public commission; the people of South Africa deserve to know what is happening because the state as it is, is not a fifth dom of an individual, of a particular party, the state belongs to the people of South Africa and we will be answerable to the people of South Africa. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr F ESSACK: Hon Chairperson, thank you for the opportunity, I was wondering am I in or am I out, great.
Mr President, this is the easy one. Recently the hon Minister of Finance, hon Nene, said in this House that “state-owned companies have been hampered by state capture, which in simple English would be referred to as fraud and corruption. And that various government initiatives that are currently underway aimed at rebuilding the
capacity of state-owned companies to then live up to their mandates”.
So, my question is very easy, and that is there are no or very limited criminal consequences currently for those, in many instances high ranking political office bearers implicated in state capture; and there are no reports from politically connected people of the recovery or repatriation of the billions siphoned off, SOEs and government department. Thank you, Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, he did make a statement. Earlier on another member could not get to a question, made a statement and he was [Inaudible.] I’m allowing this one too. [Interjections.] No.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Chair, it was indeed a statement but I’m happy to respond to what I think the question was. [Laughter.] And I think the question was what action is being taken against those who have either been fingered and what actions are taking to recover the monies that have disappeared?
What I can say is that, yes, there are a quite number of individuals who’ve been cited, who’ve been fingered, and processes of
investigating all that is underway. And as I indicated, we have had problems, we must admit. We have had problems where some of our agencies have actually been very slow and they’ve neglected to take action, they’ve been tardy in taking action; in some cases they’ve been really brilliant, they’ve been outstanding. We therefore have a combination of where great work has been done and in some cases tardy work has been done. We now want to clean all that up so that we live up to the expectations of our people, which is, deal with corruption wherever it happens and those who are accountable should be accountable.
Regarding bringing back the money, we are definitely on the trail of bringing back the money because that money belongs to the people of South Africa; and we will find it and we will bring it back. That, we will do. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Chairperson and members, there is increasing consensus among many people in our country, as well as IN organisations – both within South Africa and internationally as well
– that accelerated land reform is essential for inclusive growth and development of our economy.
There is broad support for government’s position that the measures required to effect land reform must be guided by the Constitution, and must affirm the rule of law. In other words, there is great support right across ... almost unanimous support, that whatever we do in relation to addressing this issue of land, must be done in terms of our Constitution and must also be done in terms of the rule of law.
As we do so, we must also, in the process, enhance the property rights of all South Africans – underline, all South Africans – and not just a few. Clearly, in implementing this, we must ensure that we do not undermine the economy, agricultural output or food security.
That makes up the equation that the majority of South Africans agree with.
So it should be taken as a given that this process that we have embarked upon should be an orderly process. It should be a process that is underpinned by the rule of law.
We have no reason to believe that any country would impose sanctions on South Africa for any actions that we take that are constitutional, lawful and consistent with international law.
I discussed the issue of land reform with the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, during her working visit to South Africa on 28 August. She welcomed the way in which we are approaching the land issue, and understood that land reform could, in the end, unlock further investment opportunities, as long as it remained legal and transparent and was the product of a democratic process – a democratic process in which we are currently involved.
No communication was received by my office from the government of the United States of America regarding the expropriation of land without compensation.
However, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation did meet with the charge d’affaires of the United States embassy on
23 August 2018 regarding comments made on Twitter by US President Donald Trump. The charge d’affaires was urged to convey to the government of the United States of America South Africa’s deep concern and to point out that the people of South Africa of all
races are working together through Parliament and other formations and legal platforms to find a solution to this historic challenge.
South Africa remains ready and willing to engage with any country or international organisation on its approach to land reform.
Just a day or two ago, our Minister of International Relations and Co-operation had a meeting with the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Didier Reynders. In their discussion, Mr Reynders said that he understood the issue of land and that it had to be addressed. He also said that it is a complex problem that affects many other countries in the world.
So there was a keenness on his part to say that, I understand and you have to deal with this matter and address it. Thank you.
Ms T J MOKWELE: Thank you, Mr President, for your reply. You have indeed engaged with foreign leadership. You are adamant about shaping or taking the initiative in respect of expropriation of land without compensation.
However, now we are still faced with the anarchy ... with the arrogance within the country by the likes of the right-wingers by
the name of AfriForum and its partners, continually spreading propaganda that white farmers are being murdered in South Africa and that this initiative by government and Parliament to amend the Constitution will indeed affect the economy of the country.
My question to you, Mr President, is, what are you, as the President, going to do to make sure that this spread of propaganda
... this spread of lies that is in fact by its very nature affecting the economy ... how are you going to address it to make sure that it comes to a stop?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Chair, what we have to do collectively is to make sure that we really become true to the path that we have chosen. The path we have chosen is to address this issue of land reform, utilising the structures and forums that are currently dealing with it.
The most formal one is the parliamentary one, where debates and discussions are taking place. I think this is where we should concentrate our attention because through this we are able to disprove the fallacy and the untruths of organisations that are trying to spread false stories about South Africa and what we are doing ... and spreading fake news.
Now those are currently being discredited themselves. As the truth becomes a reality and as many well-thinking people who do their own analyses see the processes that we are involved in and how we are doing it, they become convinced that we have engaged on a path that is going to lead to a collective earned and owned by all of us.
There is no democratic structure in which a discussion can take place other than Parliament. Of course, it is complemented and supplemented by various other structures. The discussions that we have been having throughout the country and indeed our political parties are also involved in these discussions ... those too complement the work that is being done.
As the matter is being ventilated more and more broadly, it is sinking into the consciences of people who are well-thinking, and who can now see that, yes indeed, this is a historic problem and challenge we have to address.
This was clearly confirmed in my discussions with Prime Minister May. Indeed, many people are saying, you have to do this. You have to do it. But then again, a number of them are saying, as you do it, make sure that, yes indeed, you do transform, you do develop, but you do ensure that there is stability.
So that is what we are going to keep to. We are going to ensure there is stability and we are going to then prove that those who are spreading lies about our country, who are teaming up to go all over the world, will be telling falsehoods. We will be able to counter that by telling the truth as it is. And the truth is precisely what Parliament is involved in, which is the really fantastic, wonderful debate that is ensuing.
Let us also remember that when we drafted the Constitution there were those who ran off and went to other countries to go and scream and shout and complain that rights are going to be violated. But, in the end, their efforts came to nought because we had embarked on a journey, like now. We have embarked on a journey that is going to lead us to a fantastic destination. Collectively, we are going to find a solution to this problem.
So that is where we are headed. If you are concerned, I would say, don’t be concerned. [Interjections.] Just relax. This process will end up very well. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr C F B SMIT: Mr President, the Land Bank has agreements with its investors with built-in protection against expropriation. This means
that it will have to repay R9 billion immediately. If it is unable, it will cost the entire R41 billion portfolio.
We cannot afford to have the Land Bank go bust, as that will have a knock-on effect on various other state-owned entities, SOEs, and banks upon which our economy depends.
How will you, as the President, find this R9 billion to ensure that the Land Bank does not go bust?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon member, I would like to say that, in the course of this debate, this wonderful debate that’s underway, we are obviously getting a number of inputs from banks and from various organisations. Let me say that those are the inputs that we should listen to, heed, and take note of. If those inputs are going to result in instability, we should see how best we address them. If they are going to lead us into a chaotic situation, we should address them because there is no joy and no fun in going ahead and falling into a ditch or a precipice when you see it.
So, we have heard about those concerns and we are engaging with various financial institutions. They have wonderfully said that they
want to engage with all of us so that we have discussions on how best these types of challenges can be addressed.
Now, we will obviously want to come up with solutions on how we address these. The solutions can vary from saying, yes, you go ahead, or you halt, you come up with alternatives, you try to guard yourself against the downside and all manner of options.
So we are going to explore every option.
What I can assure you is that we are going to spend a great deal of time and a great deal of energy exploring various options. I would
... if you sat on my Cabinet, I would have said, don’t bring me problems; bring me solutions. [Interjections.]
So I say, bring me a solution. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr O J SEFAKO: Mr President, land reform is an emotive and historic national question. While embarking on the process of expropriation of land without compensation, what plan do we have in place to prevent land grabs and a land rush?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Chair, I have said consistently that South Africa is a country in which there is the rule of law. There will not be any scope or space that would allow land grabs or land rushes, as you say, where anyone can just wake up in the morning and go and do what they like and say, this is my piece of estate; I’m taking over. That is not going to be allowed.
What is pleasing, hon member, is that this approach is being accepted and embraced by the majority of South Africans. The majority of South Africans are South Africans who are peace-loving, who want to see land order, and who want to see justice as well.
With that, we will be able to rely on the majority of our people in the country as well as our various structures and agencies to defend the right decisions that will be taken, and defend the Constitution of our country.
So those who would want to take measures that lead to self-help and land grabs are going to be in serious trouble because it will not be allowed by the majority of people in our country. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M M CHABANGU: Mr President, you have covered most of what I was going to say ...
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you. [Laughter.]
Mr M M CHABANGU: ... but let me ask you what the state’s action is going to be regarding the preaching of lies by white farmers that black people cannot till the land. This is going to affect food security negatively.
Lastly, Mr President – and this is brotherly advice – I leave you with a quote from Shakespeare: “Beware the Ides of March.” [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Mr President, I don’t know what the warning is all about, but you are free to respond.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you. To those who say that black people cannot till the land and cannot farm, I would like to recommend a wonderful book called The Seed is Mine. The book tells the story of a sharecropper, Kas Maine, who, many years ago, used to farm on a white person’s farm in the Northwest area. He farmed it for close on to 40 years, and had developed a very keen farming
expertise. In the end, though, he was frustrated by the fact that, when he died, he would not have owned the land. His complaint was that he farmed as a sharecropper, the seed was his, the cattle, the oxen that pulled the plough were his, and the ploughshares were his but, in the end, the land was not his. He executed his farming activities with great excellence.
Throughout the country, you will find that black people are very capable cattle farmers. They are very capable grain farmers. Where they have not really been able to execute great expertise is because they have not been given land or have not had access to land in areas where, for instance, certain crops of certain produce grow.
The capability of black people in farming runs in their blood. It runs throughout their history. Their own experience ...
If you look at who has been working the farms ... [Interjections.]
... It is black people who have been working on the farms. All that we need to do, in the end, is to unlock that energy and capability and give our people the right, the space and the opportunity to farm and produce food for our country. That is what our government is all about. Hence the issue of land is so important. Thank you. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Chair, it is not unusual for state-owned entities to raise funding in the market for things like capital investment or operating costs. They do so in accordance with standard commercial arrangements and conventions.
Eskom recently entered into a loan agreement with the China Development Bank for $2,5 billion – approximately R33 billion, which will be used to fund the construction of Kusile Power Station. This is the third tranche of a $5 billion facility that was approved by the Ministers of Finance and Public Enterprises in 2015.
The facility has a grace period of five years and thereafter the principal amount is repayable by Eskom in 20 instalments over a period of 10 years. There are no specific conditions for this loan.
Eskom has indicated it will not be able to make the loan agreement public since it contains information that may put Eskom at a disadvantage when negotiating in the market. Quiet often, I found that to be the case when I was in business, a number of agreements that are struck at a commercial level are often confidential between the transacting parties. The confidentiality is also governed by the
clauses in the agreement itself, that the agreement must remain confidential.
The interest rate that has been charged is competitive when one looks at the global market. The loan is government guaranteed under the existing Government Guarantee Framework Agreement. Among other things, this means that no Eskom assets have been used as security for the loan and the China Development Bank is not entitled to any direct or indirect ownership of Eskom assets.
Transnet recently secured a R4 billion loan from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and not from the China Development Bank.
The loan came with terms and conditions that are standard for this type of loan. The funds will be used to finance the general operating activities and certain capital expenditure of Transnet. Transnet will be responsible for paying the interest and repaying the capital.
The facility is a five-year; it is rand denominated and there is a quarterly amortisation of the loan on a floating and competitive interest rate. I thank you.
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: Hon Chair, Mr President, yesterday, the DA submitted a request in line with the Promotion of Access to Information Act, PAIA, to the terms and conditions of this loan to be made public after we wrote to you on 24 August 2018. We requested that you table the full unredacted R33 billion loan agreements that Eskom recently signed with the Chinese Development Bank, CDB, with all its material terms and conditions before 14 days in this Parliament. You have to do so or reply. You gave some information now. Therefore, the DA submitted a PAIA application to Eskom itself for the terms and conditions to be made public. It is vital ...
We know your government is not selling our country to the highest bidder. The reason for this is that an African Confidential report published last week, shows that the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited, Zesco, is already in talks about a takeover form a Chinese company.
The long-term outcome could be effective Chinese ownership of an essential part of the economy and the potential biggest loss of national sovereignty since independence.
The Chinese debt trap diplomacy has already trapped the Zambia power utility and will no doubt be as ruthless on South Africa’s power
utility. If Eskom defaults on the R33 billion loan from the CDB, Mr President, can you assure the people of South Africa that no state assets, not only Eskom, will be surrendered to the Chinese Development Bank?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Chairperson, maybe it will be a little bit of education, I just want the hon member to be aware that our state-owned enterprises in executing their businesses, as indeed many other companies in South Africa, do go out to borrow from a whole number of entities. For starters, and I experience this a lot, when you enter some of these agreements, because they are very sensitive, there are market issues, commercial issues and confidentiality clauses that need to be taken care of. If this is just generally known and disclosed even to competitors or other lenders, it could put you in a difficult position.
Now, what we are not in the habit of doing as the South African government is to hand over the assets of our country to other nations and entities outside of our country. We are very jealous of our assets and will not hand over South Africa to any other country or entity. I can assure you that. [Applause.] In the end, Eskom has entered into a number of agreements, as I have said before, loan agreements with the African Development Bank, World Bank and IMF. In
doing so, we have always sought to protect our sovereignty, sought to protect our right to our assets and have never been reckless where we can end up in a situation where our assets are finally taken over by others, where there is any form for closure on the debt that could have been entered into.
We are not going to do that. I can assure you. You have already launched your PAIA application and good luck with that. As for us, we are saying we are extremely careful. This government has been in office for almost 25 years. In 25 years, we have not sold South Africa not even to the highest bidder. We have not sold the soul of South Africa to the highest bidder. Those that may have tried, they will completely fail in the end. So, you can trust us when it comes to that. Thank you very much.
Mr J W W JULIUS: Hon Chairperson, Mr President, I can guarantee you now that no country, especially China, will never do something for free. We have a problem in this country of corruption. We are still busy sorting it out as you said earlier. We cannot afford secrecy. Honestly, the South African public out there do not trust the ANC government at this stage and you know it for a fact.
Corruption is the order of the day and you already acknowledged it. Now, Mr President, when these things happen in the country ... I am sorry ANC members, your corruption will stop. The President said you will go to jail. Most of you will go to jail. Mr President, with all this secrecy, the public out there is already making up its own mind. I heard someone saying to me that this is the ANC election money, now. That is where the money will come from for the election in 2019 because you don’t have money and you are again selling the state.
Can you guarantee South Africa today that the ANC will not benefit a cent from these deals that you have made in China? Thank you, Chair.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I don’t know whether that question really deserves an answer because apart from anything else, it is quiet insulting, to be quiet honest. As we go out to try to advance the interest of our country, there are people like, hon Julius, who say that I am doing it because I want to benefit either myself or the party. It truly doesn’t deserve an answer. Thank you very much, hon Chair. [Applause.]
Ms D B NGWENYA: Hon Chair ...
... ndi masiari Muphuresidennde!
MUPHURESIDENNDE WA RIPHABULIKI: Ndi masiari avhuḓ i.
Vho D B NGWENYA: Aa.
Ms D B NGWENYA: Mr President, since democracy, South Africa has received loans from many countries and institutions including the Chinese. This objection that we find now in this House from the DA about the Chinese loans clearly shows who their masters are. Had it been the World Bank, the IMF, Britain or the US, this question would never be asked. That is not the point hon President, the point is that South Africa still has to secure loans because it does not have the tools and funds needed to invest in its SOEs. That is a sad reality.
What is needed is a state-owned bank and central bank with a developmental mandate. The EFF has tabled two Bills to make both of these a reality. What is your government’s position on a state-owned
bank and a nationalised Reserve Bank as proposed in Private Member’s Bills that we have tabled? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: The issue of a state bank has been in discussion for a very long time. It has been a resolution of the governing party over a number of conferences. The issue of the nationalisation of the central bank has also been a current issue discussed at the conference of the governing party.
So, those positions are out there in the open and are matters that obviously have to be debated even here. Now that Bills have been put forward, those Bills will obviously be chatted through the processes of Parliament to see where they go.
Now in the end, clearly, the ANC in entering the discussion will be looking at it, not to grab headlines and sloganeering. The ANC will be entering the discussion because it is a responsible political party that seeks to develop the economy of our country. We will do so responsibly whilst others wants to grab headlines and the neon lights. We will be doing it to put effect to the decisions that were taken by the ANC conference. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr M RAYI: Hon Chairperson ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES: Order! Hon
Madoda Sambatha, do not agree to be distracted by hon Mokwele. You are protected, hon Rayi.
Mr M RAYI: Hon President, I am also not going to ask ideologically anti-China questions like our colleagues from the DA. Like hon Ngwenya said that loans have been secured from other countries but the DA has never even asked the conditions of those investment loans. Now, because it is China, they even want to go to court about these issues.
My progressive question is that: How will the R33 billion investment loans to Eskom assist or benefit the current efforts to ensure electricity security to meet the demands of the South African economy while also assisting electricity security throughout the SADC region?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Chairperson, it is true and comes as a real surprise to us. I guess it is driven by the prejudice that the DA has against China. It is driven by the notion that they have that China is out to colonise Africa. We refute that because China has become the second largest economy in the world. One of these years, they will become the largest economy in the world. It is an
economy that has 1,3 billion people and a huge number of them being consumers of one product or another. We trade with them. They are the only country with such a size of an economy that says to us, we want to balance the trade between you and us. We want you to sell goods that are value-added to us so that we no longer buy raw material from you.
We find that quiet encouraging having a partner like that and also a partner that is currently well endowed with financial resources, is able through its various state-owned enterprises and banks to offer loans that come at competitive rates and loans that come at no more sort of difficult conditions to us. Those are the type of people we find a lot easier to deal with. At the same time, we do get loans from a number of other entities around the world. For those, we are never asked a single question, as you correctly say.
Having said that, the R33 billion that will flow in will go towards developing Kusile and boost our capability with regards to increasing the capacity of our grid. We will also be able to continue, yes, exporting electricity to nearby countries. Zimbabwe continues to import electricity from us and we want to bolster our electricity grid so that as our economy grows and continues to grow into the future, we find ourselves well positioned.
South Africa remains the most industrialised country on the continent. Therefore, having capability in relation to energy is in tandem with the size of an economy that we have. We are going to continue utilising the financial muscle that we can get from those who are willing to give us loans to bolster that.
All of the money will go towards Kusile and to strengthen Eskom at the same time. Thank you, hon Chair.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Chairperson, as indicated in the earlier reply, the Department of International Relations and Co- operation met with the Charge d’Affaires of the United States regarding comments made on Twitter, and as I have already said, the Minister was also in communication with her counterpart, Secretary of State, Mr Michael Pompeo, in this regard. The department handed over an Aide Memoire to the United States Embassy, which said:
South Africa is following a consultative process in addressing the issue of land and agrarian reform; and that it will not allow land grabs and anarchy in the process of finding a solution to the land issue. The current process of engagement and consultation with all stakeholders is meant to find solutions that are in the best
interest of the country ... Government has consistently indicated that this process will be undertaken within the confines of the Constitution ...
So, South Africa has to keep on educating those who are interested in our affairs and explaining things to them. That is our task as a government and as a nation. For those who may not understand our history, who may not understand the processes that we have to go through, we take the time and the trouble to explain all these things to them and it is for this reason that we respond as we do, not only to the Americans but to whomsoever has a question about this.
Let’s face it, what we are going through has evoked quite a lot of interest and questions in the minds of many people around the world, as it did when we were going through our own process of bringing an end to the nightmare of apartheid. We had to keep on engaging with foreign governments, foreign people, and explain to them what we were doing. Some of them took the trouble to travel to our country to see exactly what we are doing. So, we have to do this. It is part of our job description. Thank you, hon Chair.
Mr E MAKUE: Hon Chairperson, the President has answered point one and part three of the original question. So, I would want to concentrate on part two. But before I do that, I just want to say that we note with appreciation the discussions with the US Secretary of State and also the point that our President is making about working through Parliament. The reality of globalisation is demanding on us to improve diplomatic co-operation and to enhance our constitutional democracy. My question therefore would be, “What is South Africa’s plans with regard to countries that may be in disagreement with policies of our democratic government and democratic processes?” So, it is that diplomatic field that we need to traverse? While we are there I want to say that we should remember what happened in the New York Twin Towers - the World Trade Centre, this day in 2001. The images are still vivid in our minds.
Almost 3 000 people were killed and we want to assure the victims of that particular atrocity that we as South Africans are thinking about them today. Thank you, Chair.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Chairperson, obviously there may be people, not only in various other countries in the world, but also in our own country, who may not be in full agreement with what could be the outcome of the process that we are involved in. Our view is that we need to continue engaging them. We should never stop
engaging even those who are our detractors, those who do not agree with us. We should try and find ways of showing them why we have to do what we have to do and what it means for us and our own development and also healing the wounds of the past. This is something that we believe that as a government we should continue doing and in this regard we have informed our ambassadors and high commissioners around the world to continue engaging with various countries on the globe, to explain to them precisely what we are going through.
The Minister engaged with ambassadors and high commissioners and various representatives we have and explain clear policy position that we have and the processes that we are going through so that they are better able and better armed to be able to propagate our message. It is a process which we communicate and there may be areas of weakness here and there but our responsibility is to communicate as consistently and as effectively as we possibly can so that the message can sink into the minds of those who may not agree with us, or who are our detractors.
We think we are making progress. We are gaining quite a bit of traction. I have seen it with a number of people who were very aggressive against this whole process but when they begin to hear
the history of land dispossession in this country and how the majority of the population were relegated to 13% of the land by the colonisers and the apartheid rulers of our country and that they held onto themselves 87% of the land - holdings in our country, everybody gets a shock and they wonder how could this have been allowed. Why did this happen? How could so many people who constitute more than 90% of the population be relegated into a little patch of 13%. When you explain that; when people begin to realise how important this is in the lives of the majority of our people, then their eyes are open and their minds are better clarified.
So, that is the process that we are involved in and we are spreading the message through out. Even the heartiest opponents have now come to say and agree that it’s got to be done and it’s got to be addressed. Many people are saying that it’s got to be addressed now. We are also saying that if we don’t address land reform now, it means that we are embracing instability. We are basically saying that there must be instability in South Africa. Nobody wants instability; so therefore, it is forcing all of us to begin the process of addressing this land issue.
We are on to something that is really wonderful in our country where we are in conversation with each other over the land issue. Some of the fears are still high but some are disappearing. Hopes are high amongst our people, correctly so because they want the assets that were dispossessed from them; the assets that they were deprived of acquiring over the years - they want those assets in their hands so that they can better utilise them to grow our economy and to look after their own households.
In my view it is a simple and straightforward process and it should not bring about headaches to the heads of people. The wonderful thing, if I may say so, is that a number of solutions are being brought to the fore. Many people are coming up with solutions, wonderful solutions which we should not reject out of hand. These are solutions we should bring on board because everything that is a good suggestion in terms of dealing with the land question will be good in the end for our people. We must make sure that it is our people who are going to benefit, and that for me is the most important part. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
Mr M KHAWULA: Thank you hon Chairperson, through you to the hon President, in the previous question, I was really enjoying the who is who in the zoo atmosphere. Hon President, the international
mentality of juxtaposing Zimbabwe-style land grabs to South African land reform initiatives is something that immediately comes to the fore whenever the question of land in Africa is debated. What I would like to know is, “What is government doing in clarifying those because whether we like it or not, they get associated?” I think the public will also be interested in knowing if there is any relationship between the current state of our economy and the current state of our currency with the ongoing land reform issues.
Thank you, sir.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you hon Chairperson. Yes, there are some who have a tendency of trying to compare our process of land reform with what has happened in other countries and they hold that up and say, “Look at how disastrous it has been in countries such as Venezuela, Zimbabwe and all that.” What I often say is that not that we are exceptional, and one is not trying to say that there is any form of exceptionalism about us, but we have always found a way of resolving problems. Some problems which people would have regarded as being intractable - completely difficult problems, we have often found ways of resolving them. We had apartheid in this country. The ANC was formed in 1912 and for 82 years, the ANC was involved in a titanic struggle to bring about the end of the nightmare of apartheid, but it was initially formed to bring the
land back to its original people - that was what the ANC was formed for. [Applause.] Overtime, as the apartheid system became really brutal, we then focussed also on human rights. We said that we want our human rights to be secured and it became a complete wholesome strategic objective of our struggle, but at the real core of it, the issue of land ... [Interjections.]
... a ko thole ke bue hle ke a o kopa. [Inter... Thola hanyane. [Ditsheho.]
So, in the end, the strategic objective broadened and through that we knew that we had a real fight on our hands and we were fighting against a well-armed adversary who wanted to liquidate and obliterate the ANC from the face of South Africa. In the end, they failed to do so. What we then had ... [Interjections.] ... “Yebo” [Yes] ... What we then had was a negotiation - a negotiation that led to a sea change of the political architecture of our country. I often tell people that we as South Africans, without being exceptional, we will do things our way – our South African way, and you don’t have to compare us with what happened in other countries. I will start from 1776. In 1776 there was the American Revolution
and they were not able to reach an agreement on changing the political architecture of their country and they slaughtered one another - thousands of people died but it resulted in a sea change of the political architecture. We did it differently.
In 1789, there was another revolution in France where they were advocating for liberty, freedom and equality. They slaughtered one another. It resulted in a sea change. In 1917, there was the Russian Revolution that also led to a sea change of the political architecture of that country. In 1949, in China, there was another revolution that led to the deaths on many people. Now, if you look at all these epic revolutions that led to sea change in the way countries lived and were run, we are the exceptional one. We were able, through negotiations and discussions, to come up with a solution that resulted in a sea change of how South Africa lived and was governed. And in that regard, we can really count ourselves as being greatly fortunate that we did not in the end lose so many lives but we found each other. Similarly, on this issue, we are going to find a South African solution – a wonderful solution that will lead us to an end that would be completely wholesome for all of us. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Mokwele, can I protect you against yourself? [Laughter.] Hon Faber? [Interjections.]
Mr W F FABER: Hon Chair, we have various bilateral trade agreements with international investors. This thing is not working. [Laughter.] Nothing is wrong with my eyes; I am sorry to say that. We have various bilateral trade agreements with international investors which include built-in protection clauses which will nullify these agreements in the event of expropriation without compensation. We are currently approaching many of these same countries and organisations seeking further loans and investments, but basically we fail to honour current deals while at the same time we are approaching these parties for further loans. You are a businessman Mr President, would you invest ... [Interjections.] ... Can I please speak ... thank you, Chair. You are a businessman Mr President and I would like to know if you would invest further in a country which was currently trying to go back on agreements you already had in place. Thank you, Mr President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you, hon Chair. The people that we deal with - the people that we are talking with are able to sit down with us, eyeball us, and look us straight in the eye as we exchange views with them. And we inform them that this country is
ruled by law - by a Constitution, and that it has an independent judiciary and has outstanding financial services architecture and has one of the best infrastructure roll out or landscape on the continent, and that it has great opportunities for any would-be investor.
People look at the jewel that South Africa is when it comes to investment. For instance, those who would be attending the investment conference summit that we are going to organise are going to be given an investment book that would demonstrate to them various opportunities that are there in this country. As we inform them precisely about what the regulatory framework is and what those opportunities are, they take the view. They take the view that they are going to invest or not. We have many other companies, some international and many local, that are saying that they have billions of rands to invest further in this country. Now, if you ask these companies and other European ones why they are continuing to invest in South Africa, they will tell you they have confidence in the country. I recently attended a launch where one of the German manufacturing companies was investing no less than R6 billion in South Africa, once again. That shows confidence. I would say that rather than talk our country down, let us talk about the positives in our country. [Applause.] That is what is important. It is those
who say they love South Africa who should then not go out and talk it down. They should not go and shout on the rooftops of the Empire State Building and all that. We are saying to them that they should love their country as they love themselves because South Africans love this country and they want to see this country winning. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Ms N GQIBA (Eastern Cape): Hon Chairperson of the Council, I rise in appreciation of the responses from the hon President as well as the clarion call that we should work together as a collective in the matters of land. The reason I am rising is only to let people know that if we can understand historically, there was no land in the Dromedaries - if only we can understand that. There was no land in the Reijger. There was no land in the Haarlem. If we can move away from that, then we can throw away the pride and sit together and resolve the issues of land.
Secondly, I want to appreciate the giant strides from my hon President - the commitment and the effort to change the lives of the people for the better. We are witnessing your engagement with a number of countries seeking investors to come back home. We are witnessing you do that. It is only the blind who do not see that. My
prayer is ... how I wish the living God can protect you, Mr President. Thank you. [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I don’t know how you will respond to an intercession to God. [Interjections.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I do. [Interjections.] I do by saying
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order members. Order! Order! You are protected, Mr President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you hon Chair, I do. Just possibly by also sharing a process that we have been involved in as South Africa - being part of countries in Africa that travelled to Beijing for the Forum on China–Africa Co-operation, Focac, Summit where we as South Africa had the opportunity in a number of forms to be able to play a leadership role in that summit. This is a summit that brought together 50 countries on our African continent where we were able to engage, not only with China, but with one another - one another in the most wonderful way. And if anything else, it also advanced our interest and our standing in relation to other countries and we did so with great humility, with great deference to
other countries and we had wonderful engagements on a bilateral level with a whole range of countries. The warmth and the level of acceptance that South Africa has on the African continent is continuing to grow and as we look at our participation, also in the Africa free trade area, it is wonderful to see how we are respected and how we are accepted. So, we can say that your faces as South Africans were faces that were splashed all over and so well received in the Focac Summit. So, South Africa’s flag flew very high and together we were flying the African flag with a whole number of countries working together. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you very much, Mr President. We thank you for spending time with us, taking questions in the House.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you. Am I dismissed? [Interjections.] [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you hon members, please take your seats. Please take your seats! Hon Sefako, take your seat! Hon members, I have already thanked the President for availing himself to take questions, but before we conclude our business for the day, I wish to remind hon members that the President and the presiding officers of Parliament will be launching a series of books in the
Old Assembly at 5:30. I have been informed that you have been occupied and these are part ... no, this is not a party “what what”. I don’t announce party “what whats”. You are all invited to the book launch; it is part of the legacy programme of Parliament. Hon members, please remain standing while the procession leaves the House.
The Council adjourned at 16:18.