Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 02 Jun 2015
No summary available.
TUESDAY, 2 JUNE 2015
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:08.
The House Chairperson Ms A T Didiza took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS – see col 000.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): Hon members, on behalf of the Speaker, we would like to welcome our guests in the gallery, in particular the delegation from the parliament of Georgia, honourable Tedo Japaridze, member of parliament in Georgia and the ambassador of Georgia to the Republic of South Africa, honourable Beka Dvali. [Applause.] We welcome you to the Republic of South Africa and our Parliament. We also want to welcome the Secretary of Parliament and his staff. [Applause.] But without hon members we would not have a lively debate, so I welcome you too.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam House Chair, I’m sorry to interrupt, but I think it’s going to disrupt the hon Speaker’s speech to the House today. There is a strange noise coming from that pillar there. It’s like a drilling sound, as if someone is trying to knock through the wall. I don’t think it’s a jamming device, but it’s making it ... there is goes ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): Thank you very much, hon Steenhuisen. Indeed, I will ask the Speaker to take a moment while we ask the technical team to see what the problem is. [Interjections.]
Debate on Vote No 2 – Parliament:
The SPEAKER: Chair, hon members, distinguished guests in the gallery, ladies and gentlemen, we have completed the first year of the fifth Parliament, which has been vibrant, robust and, most importantly, a learning experience for all of us, to harness, direct and benefit from.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the people’s Freedom Charter, which laid the foundation for our Constitution and the values that guide all of us as South Africans. Today those values guide the work of this Parliament.
Parliament, our people’s Parliament, is the embodiment of what is possible when a nation decides to unite and choose a future of hope and progress. Indeed, it is in Parliament where our Constitution, the cornerstone of our democracy, was crafted. It is here where hundreds of laws have been passed to improve the lives and the living conditions of millions of our people. It is in Parliament that oversight of government is consistently exercised. It is here, that in all our diversity as a people we have an opportunity to influence policy and its implementation. This is an opportunity that on its own amounts to a substantive achievement. It is a victory we should acknowledge, as it did not exist in South Africa before democracy.
No democracy can endure and flourish if the mass of our people remain in poverty, without land, without tangible prospects for a better life. Systemic challenges which continue to persist, necessitate that we confront the fundamental, structural and distributional inconsistencies that impact on poverty, inequality and unemployment. Our ongoing task continues to be to accelerate progress, deepen democracy and translate political emancipation into economic inclusion and wellbeing for all our people. These immense challenges require parliamentary action on a broader level and on an ongoing basis.
In going forward, we recognise that there’s an urgency to do things differently and more effectively in order for us to realise all the ideals of the Freedom Charter and the Bill of Rights in our Constitution. This calls for collective action. More than ever before, it requires of us to work with a broad range of partners. To be effective, our responses must be global, national and local. They must be rooted in our pact with our people.
According to the National Development Plan, NDP, which was adopted by the fourth Parliament, “South Africa must translate political emancipation into economic wellbeing for all in order to accelerate progress, deepen democracy and build a more inclusive society”. The NDP encapsulates our aspirations over the long term to eradicate poverty, increase employment and reduce inequality in our society. It has elevated the task of building a capable and developmental state to a higher priority. It is our role as Parliament to ensure that the ideals in the Constitution and the vision of the NDP are translated into accelerated action.
On the strategic plan, our vision for the fifth Parliament is that of “an activist and responsive people’s Parliament that improves the quality of life of our people and ensures enduring equality in our society”. In providing orientation for our work in the fifth Parliament and along the development path of the NDP, we have been influenced, amongst others, by the injunctions of the Constitution, the quest for Parliament to serve the people by supporting the members and the desire to fulfil the needs of our people. This has helped to define the role of Parliament in the developmental state and in this phase of our transition as follows: deepening democracy; improving the quality of life of our people; and building a united and democratic South Africa and a democratic World order.
This orientation has informed the fifth Parliament’s strategy and objectives that are aimed at ensuring that we accelerate the pace of development by passing enabling laws, exercising effective oversight of the plans of government, facilitating meaningful participation of the public in the legislative processes and ensuring that the world supports the realisation of our objectives.
The pathway towards a developmental parliament requires profound change. The Strategic Plan for 2014 to 2019 charts a results-based approach for the fifth Parliament, over the coming years. In this regard, six strategic objectives have been adopted which give priority to the following areas: enhanced oversight and accountability over the work of the executive to ensure implementation of the objectives of Medium-Term Strategic Framework, MTSF, of 2014 to 2019 through, amongst others, a more nuanced role for Parliament in co-operative governance; effective and responsive public participation; enhanced international parliamentary engagement and co-operation; consolidation and implementation of integrated processes to fulfil our constitutional responsibility; and the building of a capable and productive parliamentary service that delivers effective support to members in order to efficiently fulfil their constitutional mandate.
The objectives that I have outlined have been carefully considered to enable a process of re-engineering of the parliamentary administration in order to gather the necessary skills sets; provide the appropriate leadership; contribute towards effective policy making, monitoring and evaluation; and to facilitate the implementation of the National Development Plan by exercising effective and rigorous oversight. Notably, the competencies and skills sets required for us to realise our objectives, include deepening our approach of integrated planning or the cluster approach and enhancing our modalities on monitoring and evaluation across the board in our parliamentary processes. In this regard, the administration is expected to align their annual performance plans accordingly. Taken together, these measures will see Parliament performing its role in leading the rigorous oversight of key government policies through our oversight and accountability mechanisms.
On Rules and procedures, 20 years ago, at the dawn of democracy, we deliberated on the Rules we inherited from the old order and started to make some changes. It was during the fourth Parliament that a comprehensive review of the Rules was embarked upon. As the process of reviewing the Rules is complex and requires thorough deliberation, the process was not completed. The fifth Parliament has put more vigour into this exercise. Consequently, the subcommittee on the review of Rules has been hard at work, meticulously working their way through the fifteen chapters of the Rule book. They have now considered the whole Rule book and have only outstanding matters to attend to before the Rules are circulated to political parties for final comment. Thereafter, a meeting of the Rules committee will be scheduled. It is hoped that new Rules will be in place by the third quarter of this year.
I would like to encourage members to take advantage of the processes under way to contribute towards the review of the Rules of the National Assembly so as to ensure that our Rules are in keeping with our changing circumstances, but nevertheless, continue to ensure that the rights and privileges of individual members, as well as the rights of the House as a collective to discharge its constitutional mandate, are protected.
I wish to reiterate that the Rules are in place to maintain order and foster decorum. The presiding officers have the important duty of not only maintaining order during sittings, but also ensuring that the House is at all times able to conduct itself in a manner that allows it to fulfil its constitutional mandate. As presiding officers, we are, however, also reliant on the co-operation of leaders and Whips of parties to assist us by providing leadership and guidance with regard to the conduct of their members in the House.
On legislation, the Constitution enjoins us to pass laws. We have, over the last 20 years, passed key laws that we must ensure are implemented and reviewed where applicable. An important task that we must undertake during this term is to conduct an assessment of the impact of the legislation that we have passed since the dawn of democracy. Where gaps are identified, these must be brought to the attention of the executive. Parliament, in line with its oversight imperatives, will need to ensure that the necessary interventions are made. Linked to this, we continue to improve our legislative drafting capacity as Parliament, to ensure that both committees and members receive the necessary support when Bills have to be drafted or amended. Honourable Members, we will continue to update you in this regard.
On committees, the principle underpinning Parliament’s oversight function is to ensure that policy is implemented in accordance with the legislative intent and upholds and responds to our people’s aspirations. In this regard, committees are the primary vehicles of legislative work and oversight over the executive. Importantly, it is through the work of committees that public participation also takes place.
Hon members would agree that the effectiveness of committees is reliant on the ability of members to engage the executive and any other organ of state systematically and rigorously. In this regard, as an institution we will display a sharper focus on oversight, which is specifically directed towards government planning, resourcing and implementation of the objectives of the National Development Plan, NDP, over the medium and long term.
To add substantive value, there is clearly a need to refine the oversight and accountability model as we continue to implement it, implement the public-participation model and explore a legislative model for Parliament to ensure that we demonstrate improved efficiency and efficacy. This is with the ultimate goal being a Parliament that is empowered and capacitated to deal with the acute effects of poverty, unemployment and inequality that continue to persist.
This new approach also requires fundamental changes in Parliament’s institutional arrangements related to the functioning of Parliament and the annual programme by, amongst other things, undertaking the following measures: a mandatory committee oversight programme at least once per month when the House is not sitting; the introduction of several focus weeks in plenary and committees on agreed-upon and focused topics – in this process we will also afford civil society the necessary space to engage within the parliamentary precinct on the identified topics; and the introduction of mini plenary debates. We have a phenomenon called Extended Public Committees, which we normally use to expedite the processing of Budget Votes. Mini plenaries would be debates on specific topics in which we conduct the debates without speakers’ lists. We would be conducting the debates more like ordinary meetings, so that people can talk naturally and spontaneously and therefore in a manner that probably is ... [Interjections.]
Regarding the Budget and the Parliamentary Budget Office, PBO, one of the most important roles we are assigned as Parliament is that of the national Budget Review. For legislatures to become more meaningful platforms of injecting the interest and concerns of their constituents into the policy-making process, they must have sufficiently sophisticated and resourceful structures to engage and scrutinise the executive and state bureaucracies.
Through the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act of 2009, we are empowered to amend the Budget. In this regard, committees are required to assess annually the performance of each national department and to submit budgetary review and recommendation reports, the BRRRs, to the National Assembly after the adoption of the Budget but prior to the adoption of the report on the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement. As these BRRRs may include recommendations on the future use of resources, they form one critical part of Parliament’s engagement with the Budget, that is the Main Appropriation the following year.
The Budget is an important tool to drive radical change during this the second phase of our democracy. [Applause.] There is a need therefore to strengthen this critical area of work, as notable gaps have been identified which must be addressed. Going forward, we will engage the Minister in charge of the National Treasury on the introduction of a more synchronised budget cycle which integrates the present parallel budget processes.
Members will know that section 15 of the Money Bills Act also makes provision for the establishment of a Parliamentary Budget Office. The Parliamentary Budget Office is increasingly expanding its value and reach. In last year’s parliamentary Budget Vote debate hon members requested that the PBO be substantively capacitated. In this regard, the PBO has increased its technical staff complement which has enabled the office to broaden its technical analytical services to committees, and this enables members to scrutinise executive action and engage the executive and state bureaucracies.
As we align our oversight responsibilities, the executive authority of Parliament has since instructed the Parliamentary Budget Office to assume a central role in oversight of the NDP through the provision of technical analytical work to committees to ensure that Parliament makes substantive interventions in the implementation of the National Development Plan.
I now come to the legislative sector. The Constitution enjoins us to work co-operatively with the different spheres of government. In my address to the House last year, I asked that Parliament specifically explore and redefine its role with respect to co-operative governance, as the existing system can be improved. Thus, in the Fifth Parliament, we will see more emphasis on stronger and meaningful intergovernmental planning and engagement with the different spheres of government.
In light of the tenuous situation in some municipalities, we must use the instruments of the Intergovernmental Relations Act to engender calm and stability, and ensure a sharper focus on service delivery so that we can all work single-mindedly to achieve the strategic goals of the NDP.
For the fifth parliamentary term, we have undertaken to further consolidate and deepen the legislative sector’s collaboration and focus, in particular the implementation of the NDP.
We will continue to meet regularly with the provincial speakers and other important stakeholders within the Speakers’ Forum to promote co-operation and to develop best practices and benchmarks for the legislative sector.
In these unfolding processes, we need to pay attention to the legislative sector as a separate arm of government and to matters pertaining to the work of presiding officers.
Our partnership with the European Union continues to grow. With the continued assistance of the European Union, the legislative sector will broaden its work through international relationships with, amongst others, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the CPA; the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the IPU; the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum, the SADC Parliamentary Forum; the Southern Africa Development Community Organisation of Public Accounts Committees, the SADC-Opac; and the Society-of-Clerks-at-the-Table Africa Region, SoCATT.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate 57 Members of Parliament and provincial legislatures who have successfully completed the programme in leadership and the postgraduate diploma in governance and public leadership. [Applause.] These members will be graduating next month on 2 July.
In support of Parliament’s oversight role, our Constitution created institutions supporting democracy, or ISDs. To facilitate this critical work, Parliament established the Office of Institutions Supporting Democracy, the OISD, which falls under the Office of the Speaker.
In February this year, a very constructive meeting took place between us, as presiding officers, and the heads of the institutions supporting democracy. This was after we had invited them as a collective to first identify the crosscutting issues of concern that they wished to prioritise for discussion. It emerged from this fruitful discussion that two important issues called for our attention. The first is the processing of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of Chapter 9 and Associated Institutions – what we normally refer to as the “Kader Asmal Report”. The first steps towards facilitating this will soon start being taken.
We also agreed with the ISDs that their special reports – usually compiled after extensive research and sometimes also public hearings – are meant to complement the work of Parliament in the oversight that it does. These reports deserve more focused attention and discussions, and have been initiated with the House Chairperson of Committees to find ways to do greater justice to them.
On international relations, Parliament’s international relations must address both crosscutting development themes as well as implementation modalities. Like the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, we have been preoccupied with the Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs. When we attended the last IPU conference in Vietnam, we adopted what is called the Hanoi Declaration, which commits us as parliaments of the world to indeed implementing the SDGs. Further, in keeping with our government’s foreign policy, the Fifth Parliament will focus substantively on the consolidation of the African Agenda, including Agenda 2063 and the SADC Master Plan.
In this regard, we will continue growing our substantive engagements and participation with key regional, continental and international structures, including the Pan-African Parliament, the SADC Parliamentary Forum and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
In July this year the South African Parliament will host the 37th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum under the theme “Industrialisation and SADC Regional Integration”. This will take place in Durban. We will also join the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in hosting an international conference on nationality and statelessness towards the end of the year. This conference is especially relevant to us, given the calamity that befell our country recently.
We will also give considerable attention to the revitalisation of the Parliamentary Group on International Relations, the PGIR. The PGIR is a multiparty, strategic structure that is responsible for, amongst other things, providing policy direction on international relations matters.
As new issues have emerged during this term, it has also become necessary to review our relations with our media to enable them to better understand the work of Parliament and thus better inform our people. In this regard, numerous meetings and workshops have been held between us and stakeholders, such as the SA National Editors’ Forum, the Parliamentary Gallery Association and senior journalists, to engage on a range of matters to foster constructive relationships with the media, which has a role to play as much as we have a role to play. We will continue to do everything possible for our people to access the work of Parliament. The use of all media is critical if we are to reach our people where they are and in their preferred languages.
As I reported to the House in the past financial year, the executive authority has undertaken that the Fifth Parliament must complete the work that was started in the Third Parliament to address the growing need for adequate infrastructure, also known as the “Space Utilisation Project”.
This Parliament was designed to accommodate a tricameral Parliament and the not the needs of an inclusive government such as ours. As members are aware, the current environment in terms of space is not adequate. The shortage of office space, parking and meeting venues and other facilities, such as members’ accommodation, have had negative logistical and financial effects over the past 21 years.
This directly affects Parliament’s capacity to increase public participation in terms of the public’s involvement in parliamentary processes. Currently, we do not have adequate venues and facilities to support these responsibilities.
In our endeavour to ensure the timely implementation ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): If you could round up, hon Speaker.
The SPEAKER: Thank you. In our endeavour to ensure the timely implementation of the Space Utilisation Project, this project will be managed by the Accounting Officer of Parliament and the Department of Public Works.
Hon members, the next section is about budget allocations, which you will see. It’s a pity I can’t give myself an extra minute, as I normally do to all the hon members ... [Laughter.] [Applause.] ... on the left.
I wish to thank the presiding officers, the Deputy Speaker, the House Chairpersons, the Secretary to Parliament, the Secretary of the National Assembly and all the staff in the relevant offices for all their hard work. Hon members, I commend this Budget to the House. Thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): Thank you, hon Speaker. Hon members, at the beginning of the session I indicated we would track where the noise was coming from in that pillar. We were advised that the contractors were working on the ground floor, and we have asked them to stop so that we can allow the processes of the Chamber to continue unhindered.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Chair, I am happy I am not the hon Speaker, because the Speaker does not have to say things that are not nice. Hon members, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. As the Leader of the Opposition, normally, says, ...
... bagaetsho dumelang [Setshego.] [I greet you all. [Laughter.]]
Former President, our icon, Nelson Mandela, stated at the opening of Parliament in 1997 that:
The major restructuring of Parliament represented by these changes epitomises the maturing of our democracy. Of no less significance is the process that led to the adoption of the Constitution: including mass involvement on the one hand, and the meticulous approach of the Constitutional Court on the other.
Co-operative governance and a new patriotism also meant a loyal opposition: an opposition that opposes, but remains loyal to the Constitution; an opposition that takes part in the major national programmes to reconstruct, to develop, to reconcile, to improve South Africa’s standing in the world, to enhance business confidence, to put shoulders to the wheel in the fight against crime: in brief an opposition that takes full part in the efforts to build a better life for all. We are encouraged that all parties in this Chamber have committed themselves to this national consensus.
Since the beginning of the parliamentary term of 2009 and the beginning of this term, this Parliament has been focused on deepening the practise of an activist Parliament and activist legislatures. The need to ensure that these legislatures are people-centred and people-driven are situated in our capacity to lead a common national agenda and to mobilise all of the society to take part in this implementation.
Our biggest worry though is when we want that popularity of the people to be reflected in us, as individuals. This policy was guided by the need to transform Parliament by developing more efficient political structures and by ensuring that all Members of Parliament are more effectively involved in and empowered by the transformation process.
When President Mandela stated in the last sitting of the First Parliament in 1999 that in order to achieve the transformation that we are seeking, the hundreds of laws passed in this legislature since 1994:
... have been no trivial laws or mere adjustments to an existing body of statutes. They have created a framework for the revolutionary transformation of society and of government itself, so that the legacy of our past can be undone and put right. It was here that the possibility was created of improving the lives and working conditions of millions.
Look at the work of the committees that have scrutinised legislation and improved it, posed difficult questions to the executive and given the public insight and oversight of government as never before, this is a record in which we can take pride.
It is the ANC with its proven longevity of always wanting a society rid of inequality through its consistent policies, its consistent prioritisation of the vulnerable in our society, its consistent consultation and interaction with the people on the ground. That consistency is what we take pride in. [Applause.]
The opposition cannot claim the same consistency, because some of them, when they fail in party battles, form other parties to contest and or oppose the victors so that they can come to Parliament. In their haste to form parties and oppose their adversaries, they ignore the Constitution which prescribes that members come to Parliament via party lists rather than as individuals. As they campaign, they urge society to believe that the Constitution is not safe in the hands of the ANC. When they arrive here, the first call they make is that the Constitution must be changed so that the ANC must kill all smaller parties via the first post-election system.
Now, South Africans, surely, trust the ANC for its defence of the Constitution. [Applause.] The same people begged the ANC to support a law to allow for floor-crossing. When they saw the depletion of their ranks due to that law, they whined and moaned so bitterly, that we had to abandon that law. No more unprincipled experiments should ever be allowed through this Parliament. We must focus on the will of the people through the majority mandate exercised through the ballot box. [Applause.]
One analyst very astutely pointed out that, depending on the political situation, the political opposition may take robust, co-optive or co-operative forms. Unlike the other two forms, robust opposition reflects deep-seated ideological and policy disagreements.
As with the DA, we are yet to determine their ideology or their clear articulation of policies as an alternative to those of the ANC. One could also emphasise that the leading opposition party and those populists who agitate for change in a destructive manner, lack the ideological and political space to occupy when it comes to specific policy approaches.
The former DA leader, the hon Helen Zille, pleaded ignorance when the party voted for the Employment Equity Amendment Bill. This, so that they are careful not to upset their conservative base, the former Nats whose support they desperately need, they also wanted to cajole the black South Africans who give them legitimacy in trying to appease the market forces they have come to rely on.
Their idea of being an opposition is exhibiting antigovernment behaviour, which is not a problem, however, how it chooses to do this is a problem. The reliance on the courts to contest critical issues in this legislature is undoubtedly as a result of a lack of or absence of the ideological need to engage with us in the content and substance of the debate. [Applause.] Let me count how many times you have been to court because you were defeated in a debate in this House. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): Order, hon members.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: In December 2012, the Constitutional Court dismissed the application by eight opposition parties to the Court, aimed at urgently forcing Parliament to debate a motion of no confidence in the President before 7 December 2012. The Court said “go back to the House, we cannot tell Parliament what to do”.
The judgement of the Western Cape High Court to dismiss an application by the hon Kgosi Mosioua Lekota to reverse a decision of the hon Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Nomaindia Mfeketo, to expel him from the House following his unparliamentary statements on 29 May 2012. You see, you want freedom of speech, but you do not want to obey the rules that govern freedom of speech.
In 2013, the DA went to court three times to challenge matters before this Parliament. The Constitutional Court dismissed with costs the DAs application for the Court to instruct Parliament on how it should decide its programmes. The party then went to court again, this time to ask the judiciary to force a parliamentary committee to include the DA’s demands into the draft Electoral Amendment Bill. The Court said, “go back to the House and convince your peers there”.
In 2014, the opposition relentlessly insisted, and even walked out in protest, that reports of the Public Protector are binding and enforceable and Parliament may not question them. The judgement of the High Court today proved otherwise and ruled that this view is legally flawed and without substance. [Applause.] I must emphasise that this does not diminish the importance of the Public Protector’s Office or the reports from that Office. [Interjections.]
Most recently, there is a small two-person party, Agang, whose abortive motion of no confidence against the President further diminishes Parliament’s role in getting on with addressing the serious challenges facing the people. Parliament is constitutionally entitled to determine its own Rules and conventions regarding the management of its internal affairs. The court, as an independent arm of the state, may not unnecessarily interfere in the internal arrangements, proceedings and processes of Parliament, also an independent arm of the state in terms of the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers. But if one has to question why would opposition parties seek refuge at the courts instead of engaging and providing convincing arguments, one could say it is because they suffer from ...
Mr A M MATLHOKO: Hon Chair, on a point order: The Chief Whip forgot to mention all the cases.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): That is not a point of order, hon Chief Whip you may proceed.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: But if you were to ask a question, why opposition parties run to courts every time, instead of engaging us ... [Interjections.] You are wasting my time. What did you say? What did you say? [Interjections.] One of the members said “f*ck you”. [Interjections.] One of them.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): Order, hon Chief Whip, please proceed.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: The point I am pursuing is that when the comrades from the EFF arrived here and the hon Speaker said: ...
... andiyontanga yakho ungathethi nokuba kukanjani kum. [... we are not of the same age, you cannot talk with me anyhow.]
We agreed with them when they said we were elected the same way as you.
Ngoko ke, akukho mntu omdala nomncinci apha. [Therefore there no one who is old and young here.]
But the point here is that, when you are here in Parliament, you should engage politically. Do not disrespect, insult or call each other names. We have to debate. Just like now. In this Parliament, this lack of transformatory thought or commitment to transforming society is merely paid lip service to by those who are not ready to relinquish the privileges of economic power.
The ushering in of democracy has opened up “the space for community-based and other nongovernmental organisations dealing with generic and single-issue campaigns to flourish”. The opposition has used this space to garner some support, but here again; this is partly due to “tendencies towards mechanical opportunism in relation to government or towards an exclusive focus on narrow self-interest”. Surely transformation must mean what the Freedom Charter calls for, when it states that “the people shall share in the country’s wealth. The national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people”.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): Order hon members, you have the opportunity to participate in debate during your or your representatives from your parties’ speaking time. Let us allow the speaker at the podium to air his views.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Let me now turn to the reviewal of the Rules of Parliament. And in this case I am not going to deal with what the committee has already reported on. I am going to premise this in the context of why we review the Rules. The fluidity of the modern world and the emphasis on ensuring speedy service delivery to our people, it had become necessary to embark upon a review of the rules of the Legislature. Since the first democratic Parliament between 1994 and 1999, there has not been any significant review of the National Assembly Rules. Thus, the fourth Parliament mandated the subcommittee on Rules to review the NA Rules in the middle of 2012 to conduct a “comprehensive review of the NA Rules”. The Rules Committee stated that there are a number of drivers of the proposed review of the Rules. There is, for example, a need to determine how the Assembly wants to give expression to being an African Parliament and a people’s Parliament. I fully agree from where I stand with the comrades from the EFF when they say they will not be copycats of the colonial masters. But, I disagree with them when they interpret that to mean that you can say anything to anybody, anyhow, even outside the Rules. I think, even though you differ, you must respect the person you are differing with. [Applause.] The significance of this exercise is to further enhance the oversight and legislative function of this Parliament and to respond to the ongoing needs of our people and our responsibilities towards them.
Let me then move to the policy priorities of Parliament. As we near the conclusion of the review at the revision of the NA Rules, the setting of policy priorities for the fifth democratic Parliament takes place within the context of the constitutional role that Parliament fulfils the prevailing challenges facing South Africa and the backdrop of an evolving world.
The main priorities identified in the fifth Parliament, encompasses strengthening oversight and accountability. I think in this matter, we should take a common resolve all of us, in pursuance of the common national agenda that the former President talked about, that there should be no relenting on the strengthening of oversight and accountability. We must enhance the public involvement, even with that oversight and accountability. We must deepen the engagement in international fora. You see here, the point is that we have international agreements coming here, international conventions, only for us to rubber stamp them. We should not allow this. Government through its own negotiations with other countries must involve this Parliament, so that we do not have a situation where, after the agreement had already been signed, it is brought here, because once we change it, the other Parliament must also change it and that is very necessary. [Interjections.] We must also strengthen the co-operative government and legislative capacity, because all laws that pass through this House must be implementable, they must stand the constitutional muster and they should not come back here for us to review or correct them. That is why we must not necessarily be lawyers, but be able to know and understand a flawed piece of legislation. To enhance the strategies to achieve these we must enhance the capacity-building programmes of members. Members should not be told by technicians how to write their reports; how to read a report; how to interpret the law, they must be able to understand that themselves. We must increase the timeliness, quality and overall value of information provided to members. Remember that we have committees that conduct research for members. The timeliness of the value of information given to them is very important. We must also improve the usage and management of limited space and facilities. We must provide greater efficiency in both the processes and resources of Parliament. We must harness the strengths and opportunities within the legislative sector.
These priorities and strategies are not new. We have, for the better part of our first decade of democracy, focussed on passing legislation and oversight. And accountability entered centre stage during the first and second decades of our democracy. As we enter the third decade of democracy, the responsibilities of our ... [Time expired.] The ANC supports the Budget Vote of Parliament, thank you.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: House Chairperson, Madam Speaker, it is indeed an honour to speak today in this very important debate.
Given the important events that have taken place since the beginning of the Fifth Parliament, this budget debate is probably the most vital. This is so especially because, for the first time since the first democratic Parliament, Parliament itself is once again the crucible of the national debate. More people than ever before tune in to watch the proceedings of the National Assembly. Channel 408 is now vying for attention with firm favourites like Sevende Laan, Generations, Muvhango and others.
More people are again seeing Parliament as a locus of democratic expression. More people than ever before are looking to Parliament to debate and discuss solutions to the greatest issues of our time.
That is why now, more than ever, we should be looking at ways to make Parliament more relevant. We have made some positive steps in this regard and I believe that the introduction of rotating members’ motions has been one of these. Now, for the first time, members are able to bring to the House debates which impact directly on their constituents, that are topical in nature, and which stir debate around the key challenges that face our nation and its citizens. This creates both relevance and interest. Together we must look at new ways to do this.
One of the basic tenets of a functioning and effective Parliament is ensuring freedom of speech. It is the duty of every single member of this House to protect and defend freedom of speech in Parliament. It is for this reason that the events of the last year cannot go without comment in this debate.
The issue of the signal jammer was a blatant violation of section 16 of our Bill of Rights which guarantees freedom of expression, as well as section 59(1)(b) of the Constitution. It frankly beggars belief that, in a constitutional democracy, we are still haunted by an executive so hell bent on control of information to such a degree, that they would implement such a regressive and draconian measure to control the flow of information. They then tried to cover it up with the most tawdry and farcical Star Wars fantasies of drone threats in this House. This must never happen again, Madam Speaker. We look to you for that assurance.
The events in the House on the evening of the state of the nation address last year were shocking and unprecedented. Not once since the advent of our democracy, had the security services who report to the executive been allowed onto the floor of this House.
This is separation of powers. This is Democracy 101. Nothing could justify the brute force and violence displayed against Members of this House, including women, who were beaten, kicked and stood on. A whole party was removed, even though the majority of those members had not even been ordered out of the House. How do we ever again in this House have a debate in good conscience about violence against women and others, when we set this example of brutality in this hallowed Chamber? [Applause.]
We need to work harder. The presiding officers in particular need to pay more attention to freedom of speech in the House. Statements can never be declared unparliamentary simple because they are not to the liking of the executive or presiding officer.
The presiding officers have a duty, especially the Speaker, to protect the rights of all members of this House, including minority parties. The DA has on several occasions highlighted the unsuitability of the dual roles performed by the Speaker as chairperson of her party, and we continue to believe that this is unsuitable, and actively compromises the Speaker’s ability to be impartial. [Interjections.]
The Chief Whip spoke about a number of the court cases that we have had. The difference between us and you in court is that we keep winning and you keep losing! [Applause.] The Lekota judgement, the De Lille judgement and the Mazibuko judgement have again this year been reconfirmed in the courts with the judgements handed out by Justice Bozalek around freedom of speech in this House and how members cannot be robbed of it, and hon Cloete’s judgement into how the “white shirts” cannot be used.
I am very glad that the Chief Whip focused on the opposition because it gives me the opening then to speak about the President and his executive.
I must now turn to the conduct of the President, his attitude and approach to this Parliament, its functioning and his responsibility to it.
His performance in the House last week was nothing short of a national disgrace. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
President Zuma, behaves as though this House is accountable to him, when, in fact, it is the other way around. It took massive pressure from the opposition and public outrage just to get the President, to fulfil his simple constitutional obligation to answer Questions in this House once per term as he is required to do. He virtually had to be dragged here kicking and screaming to fulfil this obligation.
Colleagues and members, the truth is that President Zuma is a one man wrecking ball of the institutions of our democracy. [Interjections.] These have been well documented: the National Prosecuting Authority; the Hawks; the Independent Electoral Commission, the South African Revenue Services and the Public Protector.
President Zuma, through manipulation, manoeuvre and malevolence has built a house of cards around him, purposed and designed to specifically serve his own narrow interests, and protect him from ever being accountable to the people of this House and the people of South Africa.
He has shown in word and deed that he will do anything, violate any principle, double-cross any ruling, betray any oath including trampling the Constitution he swore to uphold, in order to save his own skin.
My colleague, hon Cardo, last week referred to the President as emperor without clothes. After last week’s performance he showed that President Zuma has in fact become the jester in his own court. What else could explain away his petty and childish mockery of members of this House?
Barely a week ago, the President stood at this very Podium and in a sneering tone mimicked “Nkaaaandla; Nkaaaandla; Nkaaaandla.” [Interjections.] Look, it was a very welcome relief from his usual line which is “angazi, angazi, angazi.” [Applause.] But he did nothing but undermine his credibility and authority and trivialise the issue. [Interjections.]
The President criticised Members of this Parliament for not being able to pronounce certain words properly. Well, here are some words President Zuma struggles to even say, let alone pronounce properly: accountability, transparency ...
HON MEMBERS: Yes!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: ... responsibility, ...
HON MEMBERS: Yes!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: ... ethics, ...
HON MEMBERS: Yes!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: ... I am guilty, ...
HON MEMBERS: Yes!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Here is the money, South Africa. I’m paying it back. [Interjections.]
Perhaps the most cynical move and with the grossed disrespect to this House and its work, President Zuma and his Cabinet cohorts clearly withheld Minister Nathi Nhleko’s report as well as the Marikana report so that they could not be utilised by the opposition in the President’s debate.
Therefore, I have news for President Zuma today, wherever he may be.
An HON MEMBER: He’s in his pool!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: He will not wreck Parliament and he will not tack it to his totem pole of raided and broken institutions. He can try his best to subjugate that side of the House. He can deploy as many automatons as he wants.
Gwede Mantashe, the Lord of Luthuli House, can bully and threaten as many ANC MPs into the worst kind of subjugation, where they betray their own instincts and values in the service and ego of one man.
But, this side of the House, that gets bigger after every single election ... [Interjections.] [Applause.] ... as that side shrinks evermore, will never surrender the hard-won freedoms of our Bill of Rights.
We will not let the executive encroach a single inch further, in their desire to control this institution of Parliament. We will not yield in the face of the mightiest unleashing of the state security apparatus against us in this House.
More importantly, we will never, ever turn our back on the Constitution that we stood on this floor and swore to uphold and defend. [Applause.]
The President of the Republic of South Africa may have destroyed and cowed every other institution that has got in his way, but we say here loudly and clearly to him today: You will not destroy Parliament. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N F SHIVHAMBU: Hon Chair, yesterday, on 1 June 2015, the SA Revenue Service, Sars, brought the court case against the future president of South Africa, commissar and commander-in-chief Julius Malema. [Interjections.] They wanted to use the Insolvency Act to sequestrate him with their so many options that can be utilised from the Tax Administration Act to achieve what they thought they wanted to achieve.
The court excellently demonstrated and illustrated to them that there is no necessity to use the Insolvency Act because, once you use the Insolvency Act and sequestrate a Member of Parliament, a credible leader, a future president of this country, you are going to make him incapable to occupy office, to generate income which will need parts of it as taxation in the future.
What are you in pursuit of if you want to sequestrate a leader of a political party, other than politics? It is then that the representatives of Sars withdrew the case because they knew that they were in pursuit of a narrow political programme. And why were they doing that? They wanted to make sure that the commander-in-chief of the EFF is no longer a Member of Parliament, because once you are sequestrated, you can never be a Member of Parliament.
They wanted to prevent him from coming here in Parliament to speak on behalf of the workers. They wanted to prevent him from coming here and hold Executive accountable - to say to the President of the ANC, Mr Zuma, that he must pay back the money. They wanted to prevent him from stating the obvious fact that the ANC-led government killed and massacred workers in Marikana for demanding their salaries. They wanted to prevent him from advocating for massive industrial expansion which is protected here in South Africa and the entire African continent.
And why is such the case? It is because this Parliament has been turned into a rubberstamp of the Executive. In most instances, whatever comes here from the Executive is just rubberstamped. It has now even gone further from being a rubberstamp to becoming a replacement of institutions supporting democracy.
How do you explain the fact that, after the Public Protector has finalised the report and given remedial action, Parliament engages in the same activity, recommends a different action and deploys a Minister of Police to show some bioscope and say that Mr Zuma, the President of the ANC must not pay back the money. How do you explain that? Is this how we come to as South Africa? We need to deal with those issues differently.
The founding values of South Africa’s democracy, amongst other things, speak about a multiparty system of democracy. Meaning that all of us who are here representing political parties carry the obligation and right to make sure that we protect this system, we protect this Parliament.
But the attitude and approach of the ruling party does not encapsulate and understand the meaning of multiparty system of democracy. It does not respect the rule of law; it does not respect the Constitution. That is why, out of the total number of cases that the Chief Whip of the Majority Party mentioned here – cases faced by Parliament - Parliament lost 80% of them. As a matter of fact, on many occasions Parliament has lost cases against Members of Parliament whom is supposed to protect.
It is this Parliament which has rejected that we should utilise a secret ballot to remove a President who was voted by a secret ballot. It is this Parliament which has refused and rejected a motion by the EFF that a commission of enquiry should be established to investigate and determine the remuneration and conditions of mineworkers in South Africa. It is this Parliament which has replaced the functions of the Public Protector, and you cannot leave it like that.
The most sinful thing that happens about this Parliament, it is its inability to pass proper legislation as it relates to businesses and the corporate sector, even when there are passed not yet implemented. We will give example with the Minister of Mineral Resources. There is a Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act which says that all multinational corporations and companies that export minerals should report to you about all the exports. They are not doing so and you are not doing anything about it.
There is an Act which has been returned to Parliament by the President, the legal office here in Parliament said there is nothing wrong with that Act, but it is still not law. What do you make of this parliament? Twelve months later, there is a simple legislation that has to be passed in order to guide on what is to be done with our mineral resources, but nothing is being done.
I am rushing to what has to change with regards to Parliament. I think we need to implement a functional proportional representation system with regards to Presiding Officers. Because all of us have been elected, we must be allowed to be House Chairs as well and preside over the sittings of this House. [Interjections.] But also we must be allowed to chair committees. I think we must have a proportional system that says we must chair committees. [Interjections.]
By virtue of being a ruling party does not make you possess knowledge of anything you are dealing with. I can be a far much better chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance than the current Chair - is a matter of fact. And many other useful Members of Parliament can contribute to the development of this Parliament.
But also the parliamentary oversight authority should be functional and must deal with issues that relate to this House, including the appointment of researchers and people who support the committees, because now, all those people who are appointed are a product of the deployment policy of the ANC.
The last issue, House Chairperson, this Parliament should rectify the revised protocol of the Pan-African Parliament. You never spoke about the Pan-African Parliament in your international relations perspective. It is one of the most important instruments because once we pass legislation here, we can canvas it with the entire continent in terms of what we need to do. Because, if we think we can act in silos outside of what is happening continentally we are going to lose direction. Unless all these things have been dealt with, the EFF will never support the Budget Vote of Parliament. So we don’t support it. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr A M MPONSTHANE: Hon House Chairperson, this House, like any other Parliament around the world, has its fair share of challenges and must therefore be capable of adapting, evolving and rising to face adequately and respond to any such circumstances appropriately whilst, of course, maintaining the highest standards of practice, dignity and decorum.
Issues presently such as no decorum in the House, nonsensical filibustering and numerous court challenges, seem to be the order of the day. But this must be seen in context, particularly court challenges because with the advent of democracy the principle of legislative supremacy was replaced by constitutional supremacy.
I am totally amazed, sometimes, when I hear the argument which says that our courts have become opposition to the ANC. That argument seems to bring us back to the times of apartheid because at that time no court of law could testify against any law passed by Parliament. Parliament was supreme. That has changed completely. It is a constitutional right for anybody to take whatever law which is passed by Parliament to court. The issue is not whether one losses or wins, but it is a constitutional right for anybody to do so. That argument must just stop.
In this vein, we fully support the current process underway to amend the Rules of the National Assembly and bring them in line with the Constitution, the ongoing proceedings of the Subcommittee on Rules and the Rules Committee itself. Here, we must of course remember the victory that our late member, Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini scored on behalf of the party and of this House when it came to the Private Members’ Bills.
The Office of the Speaker, the Secretary to Parliament and the National Assembly, NA, Table staff must all be commended for their tireless efforts in maintaining the smooth functioning and integrity of this House. We welcome the Speaker’s open door consultative policy with parties as this greatly assists in creating a working parliamentary environment.
Great emphasis must however be placed on the role, efficacy and capacity of parliamentary support staff to attend to members and their various support requests. On this note, we ask that careful consideration be given to parliamentary information technology, IT, services and its current technicians’ contracts which come to an end on 10 June.
With regard to parliamentary refurbishment and expansion, we would like further details as to the intended dates, costs and plans of the same. We currently find some committee rooms to be too small to accommodate portfolio committees, stakeholders and media. This must be in our agenda to rectify in terms of fostering a greater participatory democracy. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr M S MABIKA: Hon Chairperson, members and distinguished guests, Parliament is the engine room of governance in South Africa and as such it should be accorded the highest priority when allocating public funds. The NFP notes that R1,56 billion allocation for 2015-16, represents a nominal increase of 3,95% which is below the inflation rate, but in effect represents a reduction of 0,86% in real terms over a 2014-15 budget.
The budget represented for 2015-16 is somewhat vague on what the allocation for the various programmes are to be spent and we are left to assume that the spending patterns will be similar to those reported for 2014-15.
It is noticeable that the 2014-15 report indicates that the bulk of expenditure in virtually all programmes, have been for employee remuneration. We acknowledge that the functioning of Parliament is entirely reliant on the services provided by its employees, hence our concern with the real reduction of 1,5% in the allocation for Programme 1 and the real reduction of 2,05% for Programme 2. The reduction may well have a negative effect on the morale of Parliament’s employees and reduce the capacity of Parliament to attract and employ people of high calibre to fulfil the very important work that is being done here.
In addition of particular concern to the NFP, is the real reduction of 1,93% in the allocation for Programme 3. We believe that this reduction might impact negatively on the proposed roll-out of Parliament democracy offices to the remaining six provinces where such offices have not been established yet.
Public participation in the functioning of Parliament is utmost important if we truly wish to claim that our democracy is grass-rooted based. It is not enough for citizens to go to the voting polls once every fifth year and then claim that there is democracy. No, democracy is much more than merely making a cross on the ballot paper after every fifth year. Real democracy means that the people shall govern, and not only through their elected representatives, but also through a mechanism which will afford them a direct voice in Parliament. To this effect the Parliament democracy offices are suppose to facilitate direct participation and we are concern that the reduction on the allocation for Programme 3 will have an adverse effect in creating the platform for our people to participate in the functioning of Parliament directly. [Time expired.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Chair, hon Speaker, Members of the Cabinet, hon Members of the National Assembly, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, from the beginning our struggle for national liberation has been shaped and influenced by the revolutionary principles and traditions of internationalism and solidarity. Our struggle for national liberation therefore, has always assumed an international character.
Our point of departure therefore is the analysis of both domestic and international balance of forces, a barometer to help us understand the character of the world and the environment we find ourselves in at any given historical period. And that can only be achieved through parliamentary relations internationally. South Africa’s democratic dispensation in 1994 was a result of the balancing of forces by the whole world. South Africa conducts a foreign policy that promotes international justice, equality, respect for human rights, respect for international law, democracy, peaceful coexistence among nations, regional integration and African unity and progress.
South Africa does not see values and interests as mutually exclusive, but mutually reinforcing. Consequently in pursuing foreign policy South Africa does not sacrifice its values which seek to substantiate the realisation of a better life for South Africans as well as the citizens of the world.
The South African foreign policy is an expression of domestic public policy that projects the democratic values of the country. These values are entrenched in the provisions of the 1996 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Hence, there is a need for the activists Parliament to ensure that the people that Parliament represents at the national level are also represented at international level and takes into account the challenges such as, the need for an egalitarian world, democratisation of the structures of global governance, consolidation of the African development agenda, development of the South, strengthening North-South relations for the better and safer South Africa and the world.
Parliament - in pursuit of its role in international relations, co-operation and participation, and as guided by South Africa’s foreign policy - actively participates in various regional, continental and international forums to promote the African Agenda and to achieve the aspirations of Agenda 2063. These forums include the African, Caribbean, Pacific-European Union Forum on the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Pan-African Parliament and the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum, SADC-PF and also Brazil Russia, India, China, South Africa, Brics, parliamentary forum.
Talking of Brics, let us be reminded that this year, in South Africa, is called the year of China. And strategically we know that China is an investor in resources that enjoys favourable trade balance and we share a similar global vision as we work towards closer strategic co-operation that takes into account the structure of bilateral economic ties, domestic diversity and overlapping interests.
Hon members let us remember that the strength of the European Union, EU, the African Union, AU, and the United Nations, UN, is essentially reflective of the strength of the member countries of these multinational institutions and South Africa’s participation in these platforms can only achieve unified goals based on the commitment of all the national states involved.
Agenda 2063 is about the Africa we want to build in the future. Its aspirations reflect a collective desire to uplift the continent from underdevelopment and instability. With Agenda 2063, the AU, is rallying all Africans to continue to march toward the rebirth of the African continent and the diaspora in all aspects. As the Speaker has already informed us, we will be hosting the African Union in July, and the SADC Parliamentary Forum again will be hosted by this Parliament this year. In hosting these events, we must ensure that the values we espouse are truly reflective of our desire to see a continent that is able to fully achieve its potential.
The National Development Plan, NDP, gives impetus to our international participation, and have clearly defined strategic objectives. We must be disciplined in what we do as a Parliament and secure the interests of our country in all platforms of political engagement. Chapter 7 of the National Development Plan makes it clear that South Africa must establish strategic partnerships among individual partners based on strategic and political priorities.
There should be parliamentary bilateral relations to build relations of purpose by supporting the South African policy and strategic positions in order to encourage the notion of speaking in one voice on issues of common interest that stand to benefit the continent and the developing countries. The strategic parliamentary bilateral and multilateral relations must also help to contribute towards the economic development of the continent and assist in sharing the country’s experience as a budding model of democratic developmental state.
As we conduct our international relations, we must bring our democratic values to the fore. In addition, we must work with our partners around the world to ensure that the sustainable development goals find expression in our deliberations at all international platforms including the Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, CPA. This task we can only do if the sustainable development goals are intertwined with our own aspirations and interests as a country. As you all know there can be no democracy and sustainable development under conditions of instability and lack of peace.
In promoting and strengthening peace and security on the African continent, our Parliament participates in the election observation in the region. We need the resources to adequately prepare our members who are attending international conferences. We must ensure that the delegations representing Parliament in these international forums are mandated to promote our national interest which is premised on the ruling party’s steadfast pursuit of a better life for all. The proposed budget of international relations in Parliament reflects a focus on ensuring that Parliament achieves its priorities regarding parliamentary diplomacy.
In conclusion, I wish to remind hon members that the international system is dynamic and it will be of vital importance that Parliament is able to adequately adapt to these changes. We must be strategic in our international participation and remember that parliamentary international relations give us an opportunity to implement the vision of the Freedom Charter. When we together adopted the Freedom Charter, we did not say we want to reform apartheid, but we said we want to abolish it in its entirety.
As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter this year we must urge all the patriotic forces of our country with the task of observing this year with courage and determination. Let us remember that as the ANC we have emerged as the undisputed voice of the majority of our people, hence we say let us march on. Hon Steenhuisen and the leader of the EFF, the majority of this country said, siya raga, siya qhuba. [We are moving forward.] I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N L S KWANKWA: Madam Speaker, I think we have a crisis here. I can’t imagine a House Chair telling another House Chair that she’s run out of time. Maybe we should get the opposition to preside over such debates! [Laughter.]
Madam speaker, hon members, House Chair ...
... namhlanje ndizobukelwa ngumama wam. Undiyalile ke ukuba ndingathethi unobenani ekhona kuba uya kundingomba. Yinyhweba enkulu ke kum leyo. Nankuya ehleli phaya egalari, nguSaliwa. [Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[... today my mother is here to listen to me. She asked me not to speak nonsense in her presents because she will punish me. I’m grateful for that. There she is in the gallery. She is Saliwa. [Applause.]]
A race to the bottom is currently under way in our Parliament. Today in this House, we engage and deal with our nation’s challenges, less according to national interests and the need to create a better life for all, and more according to cheap political point scoring and vote maximisation at all costs and mostly according to the primitive doctrine that might is right.
Naturally, this approach causes us to miss countless opportunities to use our people’s boardroom as an important space in the public sphere for debates and contestation of ideas. Instead, we, more often than not, allow debates to descend into an orgy of insults and counter-insults, put bluntly, into an orgy of nonsense that our nation can ill afford. We have to arrest this problem if we are to bequeath to our progeny a vibrant Parliament that is a voice of the people, and not one that is thick with the wreckage of failure.
I recently attended a conference in Malawi on illicit flows, transfer pricing and tax evasion. While attending this conference, delegates had an opportunity to attend a sitting of the Malawian Parliament. I discovered the following.
Parliaments of Malawi and Kenya always endeavour to give as much speaking time as they can, sometimes even more time, to the opposition than they do the ruling parties. The rationale behind this principle is their belief that the opposition must have its say, while the ruling party will ultimately have its way, obviously through the use of its majority during voting time in times of disagreements. This does not by any means imply that ruling parties are not given enough time to articulate their policies and programmes. What it does mean is that opposition parties are given ample time to articulate their alternative policy proposals and to scrutinise as well as constructively criticise the work of government.
As a result, our counterparts were shocked to hear that Africa’s model democracy, South Africa, gives opposition parties three minutes speaking time during public debates. They called it a joke. [Interjections.] We have to do something about our speaking time in order to ensure or to give us an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to debates, which would enhance the decorum of the House.
Lastly, I believe there is a scope for our Parliament to partner with sister parliaments on the continent in the campaign against illicit financial flows, transfer pricing, tax evasion and other problems that confront and face the African continent.
The UDM supports Budget Vote 2. Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon Kwankwa. I gave you an additional 10 seconds!
Dr P W A MULDER: Hon Chairperson, today we are talking about Parliament and I think that the fundamental point of departure is the acceptance that Parliament does not belong to any specific party, and can never belong to the majority party, as many members on my right side seem to think. It belongs to all the people in South Africa. If you look at the provisions of the Constitution, that is quite clear.
I would like to start off with section 1 of the Constitution. Members should remember that that section of the Constitution is entrenched with a 75% majority. This section gives the underlying values of our Constitution and says quite clearly at section 1(d) that our state is based on “universal adult suffrage, a national common voters’ roll, regular elections and a multi party system of democratic government.”
But for what purpose? Towards what end? Why do we have those things? We have those things to ensure accountability, responsiveness and openness.
Now, immediately, the question should be whether parliament does succeed in that test. Do we play our role to secure accountability?
The hon Speaker in her speech today referred to accountability on a number of occasions. But Parliament has failed. We have failed the test of accountability. There is no doubt in my mind about that. We saw what happened in the previous ad hoc committee of this Parliament. Later today we are going to set up another one. Or we are going to try and set up another one, and the end result will be exactly the same. We will once again fail in terms of accountability.
Is any institution or any person out there supposed to take Parliament seriously, in terms of accountability, after the way we handled the whole Nkandla affair? No, nobody should take us seriously. Why should they?
Parliament passed the buck. We asked the executive to investigate itself. Don’t we understand the basis or the basics of the whole question and notion of Parliament in terms of accountability. We didn’t do our jobs. Parliament didn’t do so.
The hon Chief Whip of the Opposition said that we will not allow the President to destroy Parliament. I agree with that. But the President would not have to do that, because the loyal cadres of the ANC are doing that on his behalf. [Interjections.] They are doing it on his behalf!
Parliament has all the powers in terms of the Constitution to keep the executive to account. Are you doing that? No, you are taking instructions from Luthuli House. You vote in terms of what your instructions are, and that’s the way you operate under all circumstances. [Interjections.] That’s quite tragic.
Speaker, I just want to refer to one thing. Parliament does not belong to the ruling party. We know of the question of the e-toll saga. The whole e-toll thing ... On 20 May when the hon Deputy President announced the so-called new scheme for e-tolls, a statement was issued from Parliament on behalf of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, welcoming the e-toll announcement. That’s not true, the Transport committee did not meet. They didn’t discuss the Deputy President’s announcement. But a statement went out in the name of Parliament, welcoming the e-toll announcement.
Parliament does not belong to the ANC, it belongs to all the people. You are failing the people out there. [Time expired.]
Ms L M MASEKO: House Chairperson, hon Speaker and hon members, this debate takes place in an important month on the calendar of the ANC. It takes place at the beginning of children’s week; let us protect and take care of our children. It takes place a day after the launch of Youth Month by the Minister in the Presidency under the theme Youth taking South Africa forward. It will be celebrated on 16 June. It will also take place on 26 June when we will celebrate 60 years of the Freedom Charter which is the foundation of our Constitution. The Freedom Charter states that:
We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:
that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people;
that our people have been robbed of their birthright to land, liberty and peace by a form of government founded on injustice and inequality;
that our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities;
that only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birthright without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief;
And therefore, we, the people of South Africa, black and white together equals, countrymen and brothers adopt this Freedom Charter;
And we pledge ourselves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.
After that preamble, the Freedom Charter declares that, “The People Shall Govern!”
Every man and woman shall have the right to vote for and to stand as a candidate for all bodies which make laws;
All people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country;
The rights of the people shall be the same, regardless of race, colour or sex;
All bodies of minority rule, advisory boards, councils and authorities shall be replaced by democratic organs of self-government.
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, has its foundation built on the principles and ethos of the Freedom Charter, with the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution. Although it ensures these rights, section 36 cautions that there are limitations to these rights and in exercising them we may not infringe on the rights of others. This is what is expected of us as representatives of the people. It is our responsibility to educate the people we represent of their rights and what it is that they can do to ensure that the democratic Parliament that they have voted us to is a real tribune of the people, and is indeed a people’s Parliament that progressively realizes the Freedom Charter’s call that, “The People Shall Govern!”
Parliament’s Budget Vote No 2, led by the able Speaker hon Baleka Mbete, makes it possible to ensure and realize this important objective. This Parliament has evolved through several phases since 1994 to be where it is today and those who have been there from the beginning appreciate these phases as they were hard earned. Parliament has undergone changes and transformation in pursuit of its constitutional obligations within an evolving democratic state. At the centre of these changes and this transformation was the desire of Members of Parliament to build a democratic state that is nonracial, nonsexist, united and prosperous. The sterling work done by these pioneers of democratic parliamentary practice can be summarized and categorized into four main periods, namely 1994 to 1999; 1999 to 2004; 2004 to 2009; and 2009 to 2014.
The first phase entailed laying the foundation. The period from 1994 to 1999 was primarily focused on laying the foundation for a robust and democratic Parliament:
Firstly, the achievement of this period was the writing of the House Rules with a view of regulating the conduct of members in the House, as well as to manage the business of Parliament;
Secondly, Parliament established a committee system that would drive the core mandate of lawmaking, oversight and public participation; and
Thirdly, Parliament started to involve citizens of the Republic in order to solicit their views on matters under the committees’ consideration, thereby achieving the institutional arrangements as the constitutional provisions.
The second phase entailed installing the tenets of a robust and democratic Parliament. This period, from 1999 to 2004, was a period of examining and developing oversight methodology for Parliament whilst improving public participation. The period was also characterised by the call to increase the involvement of our citizens in the work of all committees of Parliament. This period was therefore aimed at installing the tenets of a robust and democratic Parliament.
The end of the first and second periods concluded the era of laying the foundation and installing the institutional arrangements for an effective Parliament.
The third phase entailed consolidating oversight and accountability. This period, from 2004 to 2009, was focused on consolidating the gains of the previous two periods and moving towards defining the posture of Parliament within the evolving democratic state. Parliament was ready to position itself as a tribune of the people. Its achievements included, but were not limited to the following: Firstly, it implemented House Rules that were focused on ensuring that all organs of the executive – departments and government agencies – are accountable to Parliament.
Secondly, the Rules further promoted robust debates in the House amongst Members of Parliament whilst ensuring that privileges and ethics of parliamentary practice are upheld.
Thirdly, it passed laws that were designed to improve the lives of the people of South Africa as well as to entrench democracy.
Fourthly, it pioneered strategic oversight work on issues of women, children and people with disabilities by establishing the Office on the Status of Women, amongst others.
Fifthly, it established a Speakers Forum as part of a formal legislative sector of South Africa, cochaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces. This was to ensure the sharing of best practices on parliamentary business, and contribute towards deepening democracy and improving accountability at national and provincial levels.
Sixthly, it mobilised civil society organisations to define the parameters of public participation. This was because, whilst the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa recognizes the need for public participation, there is no agreed universal definition of what public participation means. At the very least, the Constitutional Court has held that:
Public participation in a lawmaking process is an opportunity for the people who are likely to be affected by the proposed legislation, to make representation either orally or in writing.
Finally, this Parliament positioned the Office of the Speaker to assume overall responsibility for the strategic leadership of Parliament.
The fourth phase entailed building an activist and transformative Parliament, from 2009 to 2014. The priority in this term was to build an activist and transformative Parliament whilst deepening democracy. While Parliament had not defined for itself the meaning of an activist and a transformative Parliament, it however espoused characteristics that are normally associated with such concepts. In that regard, the characteristics of an activist and transformative Parliament can be summarized in the following statement:
Parliament needs to inspire public confidence by operating in a manner that places the people at the centre of its business, vigorously advocating and promoting public interest in a nonpartisan way. In this way, Parliament would become a true tribune of the people.
Some of the programmes adopted to implement this were:
Firstly, implementing the oversight work of Parliament in such a way that it increases the accountability of the executive and leads to improved services to the citizens of the Republic;
Secondly, revising the House Rules in order to make them more effective so that they can improve accountability by Ministers, Deputy Minister and accounting officers to Parliament;
Thirdly, improving public policy processes through meaningful oversight and public participation; and
Finally, building a strong and effective committee system through which the core mandate of Parliament can be driven and delivered, amongst others.
Though just scratching the surface, I thought I should mention these processes to bring to the attention of hon members the amount of work that has been done over years to bring Parliament to where it is today, with some hybrid mechanisms that have ensured that, for instance, the Sector Oversight Model adopted by the Speakers Forum in the last term is second to none, including in old democracies that today want to learn from us as to how we got it together. This is also to confirm that this Parliament is indeed in charge.
This Budget Vote debate has indeed shined the light on one of the important establishments of our constitutional democracy – Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. Our people have been afforded an opportunity to understand the work that Parliament does and how it affects their lives.
In his discussion of Institutions of representative and accountable government, in the context of Parliament and Democracy in the 21st Century, David Beetham in 2006 makes as observation that:
Within the traditional separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary, Parliament as the freely elected body holds a central place in any democracy. It is the institution through which the will of the people is expressed and through which popular self-government is realized in practice.
Further, Beetham denotes Parliaments as, “agents of the people” which “represent the people in dealings with the other branches of government." Thus at all times, Parliament must and should be seen as actively engaging in those activities which increases the confidence of our people in institutions of democracy, and in democracy itself.
Parliament, as Beetham observed, “is the institution through which the will of the people is expressed.” In order to facilitate the realization of this broad mandate, which is at the centre of democracy and the existence of Parliaments, mechanisms, processes and procedures should be put in place to allow for effective public participation and involvement. In this regard, the SA Legislative Sector, Sals, makes a distinction between the two concepts, as it were. In accordance with the Sal’s Public Participation Framework which has been adopted by the Speakers Forum, Parliament through the able House Chairperson responsible for committees, hon Frolick, is working on the final mechanisms of its implementation. It defines public participation as:
The process by which Parliament and provincial legislatures consult with the people and interested or affected individuals, organisations and government entities before making a decision.
On the other hand, public involvement is a process wherein the people of South Africa exercise their collective and individual initiatives to promote their interests in decision-making and oversight.
It is abundantly clear that both these concepts are about the people and their interests in decision-making. This specific understanding of both concepts which sets the context within which Parliament discharges its mandate of lawmaking, oversight over the executive and public participation, gives practical meaning to the clarion call of the Freedom Charter that, “The People Shall Govern!”
As Parliament, we are required to ensure that the laws that we pass are in line with the developmental interests and aspirations of our people. In the passing of these laws, we should ensure that the voices of the people at whose behest we serve take precedence and are correctly viewed as the most reliable source of critique and counsel. Thus, it is important that we hold public hearings across the country and in far-flung areas of our country to solicit the views of the people we represent. Parliament has been doing this over years and we need to strengthen the process by ensuring that the times during which these public hearings are conducted are conducive and friendly to all sectors of our communities. New and innovative means through which we solicit people’s views should be explored in order to ascertain that in our public participation endeavours we reach as many people as possible to ensure representation of our diverse communities.
As I said before, this Parliament is in charge and in touch with its people. Over years, Parliament and its provincial legislatures hosted several sector Parliaments, namely the Women's Parliament; Youth Parliament; Children’s Parliament; Religious Parliament; Parliament for the Aged; Workers Parliament; Parliament for People with Disabilities; and Parliament for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex persons. These efforts were to ensure the inclusion and participation of vast sectors of our communities in order to listen to their views and concerns. Ways must be found for the recommendations of these sector Parliaments to be on the agendas of most committees for deliberations and recommendations to the House. Members of the executive must address and respond to these issues and report back to the said sectors, as their views are our vision.
Since Parliament is not at the forefront of service delivery, its main focus should be on constructively engaging government to ensure that it delivers on its mandate. It is in the interest of democracy and the welfare of our people that in our exercise of oversight we are complimentary as opposed to being unjustifiably adversarial and destructive. The people at whose behest we serve look to this Parliament to ensure that their plights are noticed and their socioeconomic conditions are improved.
Without any sense of equivocation, one can indicate that the Fifth Parliament has effectively discharged its mandate over the past year since its inauguration, and promises to carry forward the work that is necessary to improve people’s lives and the conditions that many in our communities still find themselves in.
Parliament has allocated a sizable amount of money and resources for the establishment of parliamentary constituency offices by Members of Parliament. The money must be accounted for by respective parties to ensure that they are utilized for what they are intended. The Speaker, in her previous life as the Speaker of this National Assembly, initiated the establishment of parliamentary democracy offices in the Northern Cape, Limpopo and North West. Parliament is currently assessing their optimal functionality for the full roll-out throughout the country. These offices must serve as extension offices of Parliament and issues raised by communities must find their way into Parliament and its committees. It is also interesting to note that another initiative of the Speaker – again in her previous life as the Speaker of the National Assembly – is competing with soap operas in terms of its viewership. It clearly shows that Parliament continues to ensure that indeed, “The People Shall Govern”, and that viewership of Channel 408 is surpassing that of some of the soap operas that are known.
The Interparliamentary Union, IPU, conducted a study on Parliaments and Democracy in the 20th Century: A guide to good practice 2006, and raised the contemporary challenge of Parliaments at the time as follows:
The paradox of our times is that we hail the victory of democracy while lamenting the fact that in many countries, Parliament, the central institution of democracy, is facing a crisis of legitimacy.
The study categorized the crisis of legitimacy by referring to the domination of the agenda of Parliaments by the executive branch. International co-operation and globalisation has led to decision-making and lacks democratic control and the people question whether the current political processes are able to produce Parliaments that can really represent their interests in all their diversity.
In line with the IPU study that I have referred to, this Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, under the leadership of Speaker Baleka Mbete and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Thandi Modise, continues to work hard: Firstly, to be more inclusive in its composition and manner of working, especially in relation to women, and minority and marginal communities.
Secondly, to be more effective public communicators, through opening more of its work to the media – Channel 408 – and through the development of its own websites and broadcasting channels.
Thirdly, to experiment with new ways of engaging with the public, including civil society, and enabling them to contribute to legislative processes.
Fourthly, to recover public confidence with regard to the integrity of parliamentarians through an enforceable code of conduct and reforms.
Fifthly, to streamline the legislative process without limiting the proper scrutiny of Bills.
Finally, to exercise more effective oversight of the executive, including in the increasingly important field of international policy.
So, as we celebrate 21 years of our democratic breakthrough from apartheid colonialism, declared by the world as a heresy and a crime against humanity, we must reflect on the progress made to date and the challenges that still persist. We mark our 21 years of democracy noting that the 21st century has witnessed a marked paradox. We resonate the outcome statement of the 2005 UN World Summit which declared that, “Democracy is a universal value which does not belong to any country or region."
Parliament is the central institution of democracy. It embodies the will of the people in government, and carries all their expectations that democracy will be truly responsive to their needs and help solve the most pressing problems that confront them in their daily lives.
As the elected body that represents society in all its diversity, Parliament has a unique responsibility of reconciling the conflicting interests and expectations of different groups and communities through the democratic means of dialogue and compromise.
As the key legislative organ, Parliament has the task of adapting society's laws to its rapidly changing needs and circumstances. As the body entrusted with the oversight of government, Parliament is responsible for ensuring that government is fully accountable to the people.
As we consider Vote No 2 today, we have witnessed numerous efforts by Parliament to engage more effectively with the public and to improve the way it functions; to become more genuinely representative of its citizens; to be more accessible and accountable to them; to be more open and transparent in its procedures; and to be more effective in its key tasks of legislation, oversight over the executive and public participation.
We can say with confidence that we have indeed built a people’s Parliament; a true tribune of the people. The ANC supports Vote No 2. I thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, business will now be suspended for 10 minutes, for a comfort break.
Mr M S MBATHA: Chair?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Yes hon member? I’m busy addressing the House.
Mr M S MBATHA: I want to say something.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Why are you rising?
Mr M S MBATHA: Thank you very much, Chair. Wouldn’t it be better if we were just thanked officially, rather than by just whizzy-whizzy thanking us? The hon member was just supposed to say, thank you to the EFF.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Do you want royalties, hon member?
Mr M S MBATHA: Yes.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Sorry, but there are no royalties at stake here. Hon members, business will now be suspended for 10 minutes. The bells will be rung five minutes before the resumption of business.
Business suspended at 16:09.
The House resumed at 16:24
Ms J D KILLIAN: Chairperson, let me commence by saying happy birthday to hon Thoko Didiza, our House Chairperson. Today is her birthday and I think we should all clap hands for her. We can sing later on. [Applause.] With distinct and clearly defined responsibilities, the National Assembly, as the House elected by the people, has a unique constitutional mandate to represent the people by electing the President, by providing a national forum for public debate, by passing legislation and by overseeing executive action.
As a body representing the people, the NA has to ensure that public policy reflects and meets the needs of the people and we should hold all executive organs of state in the national sphere accountable. This includes our oversight obligation to ensure that government policy is properly implemented and delivered to the people.
After more than 300 years of oppression, dispossession and humiliation at the hand of our former colonial masters, followed by 40 years of then institutionalised and brutally imposed apartheid, South Africa finally became a democracy in 1994 - the last on the African continent to obtain its freedom.
In 1994, the majority of South Africans, who had been excluded for generation upon generation, were finally able to begin to restore their dignity, by electing the National Assembly to form a government of their choice. They voted for fundamental transformation of our country. They voted for a better life.
In 1994, South Africans pledged to take hands to build a united country that belongs to all who live in it, black and white. Political parties across the political spectrum committed themselves to working for reconciliation, nation-building and reconstruction and development, all of that, to eradicate the historic legacy.
Our peaceful transition from the apartheid state to an inclusive, nonracial democracy received international acclaim and is often used as a model for conflict resolution in other parts of the world.
The Constitution paved the way for the dismantling of the apartheid state and the establishment of an inclusive society founded on the values of human dignity, human rights, freedom, nonracialism, nonsexism and the rule of law.
However, looking back, it is clear that in the wake of high expectations, the task of dismantling the apartheid state and its governing apparatus was probably underestimated. The sheer magnitude of the process to institutionalise an inclusive democratic order with accompanying administrative capacity was perhaps not fully appreciated at the time.
After the 1994 election, the two Houses of Parliament and legislatures were established. Interim representative local government structures were established in 1995. Apart from removing rafts of apartheid laws from the statute book, the First Parliament had to enact laws to establish the other key constitutional structures – the Constitutional Court, an independent judiciary and Chapter 9 institutions.
A credible, independent Reserve Bank was established and an efficient tax administration was put in place. A new highly transparent budget process was also developed. In fact, already in 2010, our country ranked first in the transparent Open Budget Index and we ranked a close second, behind New Zealand in 2012. The USA was ranked seventh on both occasions.
The transparent budgeting process together with the Public Finance Management Act passed in 1999, placed South Africa amongst leading nations of the world when it comes to financial transparency and accountability of its executive organs of state.
Parliament had to simultaneously address the needs of all marginalised South Africans, particularly the poorest of the poor. Several pro-poor programmes were introduced and access to services was expanded. Let me list a few.
The child support grant system was expanded and beneficiaries increased from 22 000 in 1994 to more than 11 million today.
Housing subsidies were rolled out, resulting in an increase in households living in formal dwellings from 5,8 million in 1994 to more than 11,5 million today.
Households with access to potable water increase from 61,7% to 96%.
The percentage of HIV-infected persons with access to antiretroviral drugs increased from 13,9% in 2005 to 75,2% in 2013.
The percentage of qualified teachers increased from 64% in 1994 to more than 98% today. The percentage of learners enrolled in no-fee schools increased from 0,4% in 2002 to 65,4% in 2014. The percentage of learners enrolled in secondary schools increased from 51% in 1994 to more than 80% today.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme started in 1991 as the Tertiary Education Fund for South Africa, Tefsa, with R21 million. It now has R9 billion to offer loans and bursaries to deserving poor students, to enter post school education institutions.
Yes, to some, these successes may be of academic interest. Those who have it all can never imagine how much these interventions to provide poverty relief and to restore dignity to millions of South Africans meant.
Credible research data provides an objective assessment of our performance, as a Parliament, over the first 20 years; urban legends and drummed-up anecdotal hysteria do not. The facts prove that remarkable progress has indeed been made. This is an uncomfortable truth that our colleagues on the left would desperately want to wish away, because ... [Interjections.] ... any positive remark about the government is bad news for the opposition with for their crafted “allesverloren” [All is lost.] narrative. [Interjections.]
All of the above achievements would not have been possible without an activist Parliament with members who are committed to their constitutional oversight responsibility. [Interjections.] And, by the way, this includes those members of the opposition who approach their oversight work with diligent professionalism and integrity.
International research indicates that in industrialised countries, the increasing complexity of public finances resulted in a declining role for most parliaments in budget policy-making. On the other hand, developing and transition countries are moving towards greater budgetary activism. This put South African in the same space as all of those countries.
The enactment of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act and the establishment of a Parliamentary Budget Office gave our Parliament a powerful tool, which is linked to a profound responsibility.
A study conducted under the auspices of the International Budget Project found that where a parliament and its committees do not have sufficient time for budget analysis, their ability to influence budget amendments is minimised. Similarly, where parliaments do not have access to independent research expertise, committees cannot conduct detailed budget analysis or adjust budgets.
In order to give effect to the provisions of the Act and to strengthen our budget oversight role, we need adequate time from the budget introduction to its adoption, with or without amendments. We need additional technical support and independent research for committees to analyse the budget assumptions.
Although we are in our infancy as far as budget review and adjustments are concerned, we are at least, one of the few parliaments in the world that broke out of the Westminster mould of merely rubberstamping executive draft budgets.
An extensive study of 88 national parliaments by the IPU and the World Bank Institute, including South Africa, provides notable insights into comparative international oversight practice. According to the study, parliamentary work in modern parliaments is conducted in committees rather than in plenaries. In fact, it describes the basic function of parliamentary committees as and I quote, “to prepare for deliberation in the full Chamber”. This is a subtle reminder for those who think Parliament is about grandstanding in plenaries and committees are for those who do not have any other interests. [Interjections.]
The fact is that our Assembly and its committee system, combined with other oversight mechanisms in plenaries rank amongst the best.
Over the years, portfolio committees of this House have established good oversight practices. They scrutinise departmental annual reports and strategic plans to ensure alignment with government objectives. They also conduct oversight visits to service delivery points, which is an important mechanism to monitor, expose and correct poor or unresponsive service delivery by departments.
The Auditor-General and our Public Accounts Committee, or the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, as it is known, must be recognised for their contribution to improved public financial management. This rigorous oversight compelled departments to improve their financial controls. Between the 2000 and 2012 financial years, negative audit opinions on public accounts showed a dramatic decline from 48% to 15%. Obviously this progress does not fit into the all-is-lost narrative and is also notably ignored by the public media.
Financial oversight could be further improved though through a closer relationship between Scopa and portfolio committees. Procedures should be developed to monitor and ensure implementation of Scopa recommendations by portfolio committees.
Let us move from committee oversight to other oversight tools. The same IPU study reveals that we are one of only 44 out of the 88 parliaments surveyed that provide for supplementary questions on answers to oral questions. We are also one of only 25 parliaments that provide for follow-up questions from other members, other than the member who posed the original question. Lastly, while our members may submit up to 12 questions per month to the executive, in Germany’s Bundestag, a member is restricted to only four questions per month. We are not doing badly on oversight, at all.
This brings me to the Rules review process itself. Although the Subcommittee on Review of the Rules is working hard to incorporate best international practice into our Rules, the parliamentary practice and orderly conduct in the House will ultimately depend on its members, their respect for the Constitution, our rules and yes, also their self-respect.
This is a place where we, as representatives, should engage in a battle of ideas on how best to serve the needs of the people who elected us to office. However, like in any form of civilised engagement, there are rules. When a participant or player breaks a rule in soccer or rugby and is red carded in the process, they don’t argue, they walk. [Interjections.]
Unfortunately, in the face of severe contestation for political relevance, some members in this House resort to unbecoming antics to secure a few seconds of media airspace. [Interjections.] Yes, it is the role and the right of the opposition to promote their all-is-lost narrative, but this should be done within the Rules of the House.
In closing, allow me to quote from the Western Cape High Court ruling in the Primedia case where a learned judge said, and I quote:
Parliament is and remains an institution of state of the highest constitutional importance. Parliament is constitutionally entitled to ensure its functioning and to protect its own dignity.
Yes, Chairperson, this is not a town hall meeting or village protest gathering; this is the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, ... [Applause.] ... and it is the duty of all of us here, regardless of our political affiliation or persuasion and regardless of the robustness of the discourse, to protect the dignity of the institution. I thank you.
Ms E N LOUW: Chairperson, on a point of order: We now see why the ANC is getting everything wrong here. It is because they think this is a soccer match.
THE HOUSE CHAIRPRESON (Mr C T FROLICK): No, that is not a point of order, hon member. You should know better.
Ms D CARTER: Chairperson, in the Estimates of National Expenditure, ENE, Parliament seeks funds from South African citizens to fulfil its obligations under the Constitution, namely, to represent the people; to ensure government by the people under the Constitution; to provide a national forum for public consideration of issues; to pass legislation; and to scrutinise, oversee and hold the executive to account.
In the ENE, Parliament notes that, in response to Chapter 13 of the National Development Plan, NDP, a capable state committed to democracy must ensure that the legislature plays a critical role in ensuring that the executive is held to account; policies are subject to debate; government faces questions about problematic policies or actions that have led to negative outcomes; the legislature provides a forum for rigorous debate and champions citizens’ concerns; and the legislature scrutinises legislation properly.
Parliament has had 21 years to strengthen its oversight function, to ensure that it holds the executive to account and to improve public participation. Yet, against the above, Parliament is not only regressing, it is failing – failing as an institution and failing the nation it is expected to serve.
To its dismay, the nation has seen mayhem in Parliament, and a loss of decorum. Party loyalty has often trumped attempts to hold any of the executive accountable, let alone the Number One Executive. Corrupted patronage has rooted a fawning attitude to the President from ruling party members. Signal jamming and the sight of police forcibly removing Members of Parliament was a low point that will forever blot the reputation of this Parliament.
The fact that opposition parties have sought to move a motion of no confidence in the Speaker and have had to go to court on the matter is a disgrace. Speakers should have a commanding presence. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case in our Parliament. At a future date, under different circumstances, today’s ruling party will sing a different song if a national chairperson of another party were to become the Speaker of this House. We are faced with a horrible precedent, wilfully intended to subvert the function and the status of Parliament.
While Cabinet approved budget reductions of R27,4 million this year, it would not have mattered one iota had Cabinet actually reduced Parliament’s budget by 50%. What taxpayer would want to fund a Parliament as dysfunctional and partisan as this one?
As I am running out of time, I must address the hon Kilian. We might ask the questions, but are they even answered? Our state is collapsing, our government is collapsing, the Fifth Parliament is collapsing, and our Madam Speaker is conflicted and failing this Parliament, our state and our people. [Interjections.] I thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs C DUDLEY: Chairperson, the ADCP notes that Parliament’s 2015-16 budget has increased but it is not based on real Rand change or inflation. Resulting budget reductions will, it seems, mainly affect compensation of employees. With all the union activity and disruptions last year, this decision could cost us, in the long run. The ACDP does, however, support Parliament’s shift in focus from drafting legislation to conducting oversight of all organs of state, including provincial and local spheres of government.
Something that should be concerning members more than it is is the attack on the Parmed Medical Scheme. The Parliamentary and Provincial Medical Aid Scheme Act was first enacted in 1975 but was amended in 1996 by this democratic Parliament. It is a closed fund with a restricted membership, and applies to judges, members of the executive and members of the national legislature.
The state must ensure that members of these entities have adequate access to medical assistance so that they can perform their duties to the best of their ability, which is a condition of service. Optional membership would create uncertainty as to the number of members, making the scheme less viable and unstable. It is also important for members of the executive, the judiciary and Parliament not to belong to privately owned schemes, so that no allegations can be made of a conflict of interest in matters relating to medical schemes or health.
With the Parmed AGM soon, I am reminded of the demands on sitting Members of Parliament in terms of Parliament, constituencies and party work, leaving little time to give the necessary attention to these matters. Inclusion of ex-members with valuable experience is very important.
On the subject of ex-members, Madam Speaker, what has become of the matter regarding flights approved by the Parliamentary Oversight Authority, POA? The media had a field day reporting on the cost to the public. However, it is our understanding that the task team that reviewed the travel policy did not envisage any increased budget but a more equitable situation between former Members of Parliament, presently entitled to four single tickets per year, and former Ministers and Deputy Ministers, presently entitled to 78 single tickets per year. This is a matter of spreading and not increasing the budget.
Former Members of Parliament and Ministers are a valuable resource that should not be lost to communities and the work of nation-building. As the idealism of the young and less experienced enters Parliament, the realism of maturity and experience is needed in society to bring a balance. [Interjections.]
Communities have also been disadvantaged when their Members of Parliament do not return to Parliament, as ex-members are no longer Commissioners of Oaths. This, of course, can be easily remedied through a simple amendment to the Act of Parliament.
I am running out of time, but the ACDP supports this budget. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L M NTSHAYISA: Hon Chairperson, hon members, Parliament is an important institution, one of the three powers of government, and has to be a people’s representation. It is through this important institution that the interests of the people are to be realised and their voices heard. It should be a People’s Parliament, indeed.
This Fifth Parliament must continue with its transformation agenda so as to heal the divisions of the past and establish a democratic society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. It is through this arm of the government that the will of the people will be done. The Fifth Parliament has a responsibility of overseeing the implementation of the National Development Plan, as published in August 2012.
There should be a good relationship between Parliament and the people. 2015, the year of the Freedom Charter and the Fifth Parliament, should see people taking centre stage in governance. The people shall govern, as stated in the Freedom Charter. Indeed, the people must govern. [Interjections.]
The budget allocation to this Parliament is quite satisfactory – a little bit – and the Estimated National Expenditure is in line with the priorities that have been put forward. Still faced with the three challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty, this budget still has to improve the lives of the people. Transfers, of course, have to be made to provinces and municipalities. We are aware of the financial crisis of 2008-09 that had an indelible impact on South Africa and other countries.
While playing its oversight role, Parliament should make it a point that more resources are spent in investment than in consumption. It is the duty of this Fifth Parliament to see that there is co-operation among the three spheres of government – legislative, judicial and executive. In accordance with the Public Finance Management Act of 1999, the Speaker of the National Assembly and Chairperson of the NCOP have powers vested in them by the National Treasury to control and supervise the functions of the National Treasury in their respective institutions.
In alignment with the NDP, this Fifth Parliament has to oversee the creation of employment, skills development for the previously disadvantaged, creation of quality education, access to affordable quality health care, food security, and the protection of the poor, children and the disabled.
The AIC supports the budget. Thank you very much. [Time expired.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): Hon Chairperson, hon Speaker, Cabinet members, hon Members of Parliament and distinguished guests: Tough times never last, but tough people do!
It was a harsh summer, the summer of ’82. For many, it was as if the clocks had rolled back to the thirties and the time of the Great Depression. Company upon company declared bankruptcy. Unemployment soared. The ‘severe and prolonged recession’ as it was dubbed by the media, sent ripples of depression across America.
Politicians used the depressed state of the country to their advantage. It provided a great opportunity to highlight the failures, shortcomings and faults of the opposite political party. Democrats found in it an opportunity to blame the Republican administration which was in charge. Predictably, the Republicans, in turn, blamed the ‘Democratic administration that created the problem,’ which the Republicans had inherited.
Everybody was fixing the blame - nobody was fixing the problem! The problems persisted. They grew. The recession ran rampant across the country until nearly everyone was affected by it. No one was immune.
I have quoted extensively from Rev Dr Robert H Schuller, in his book titled, Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do! It was deliberate because in the past months, since the commencement of our fifth democratic Parliament, an impression might have been created that: ‘In what we do or say, this Parliament is nonfunctional; that we are in a state of paralysis and failure; and that maybe we have tried to fix but nothing seems to work.’
I would be the first to say that this fifth Parliament has been functional, hard at work and true to its mandate. This fifth Parliament has ensured that it makes laws, undertakes its oversight work, engaged communities and scrutinised the work of the executive in the portfolio committees.
Similarly, through questions that have been posed to the executive, it has ensured that the executive accounts. Through statements and motions that we have aired as members here, the views of the electorate have been hear. In our discussions on national, regional and international issues, we have engaged in critical debates to move South Africa forward.
Yes, at times we may not agree with one another on the approaches we employ, but we have executed our mandate. It may be that at times we get easily exhausted, think we have done everything that needs to be done and become desponded. Rev Dr Schuller reminds us in this book that, “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: You haven’t.” As South Africans we can attest to what Rev Dr Schuller says in this book.
Recently, with the attacks that we have experienced meted our on foreign nationals, as South Africans, true in our spirit of solidarity, we worked tirelessly to deal with the challenge. We have never been known to shy away from difficult questions that our country faces. At every given time we have dealt with the challenge we face, no matter the time it takes to resolve. Our own liberation struggle took us time but we triumphed at the end.
In 1955, in the midst of repression, it was South Africans from all walks of life that stood together in defiance of the then regime to declare their vision of a new South Africa: A South Africa in which people shall govern; a South Africa we have inherited. [Applause.]
It was women who, in 1956, dared the then regime and said ‘no’ to pass laws. It was the youth of 1976 and those who followed them, who said, ‘Forward Ever; Backward Never!’ It was the religious community through the Kairos document who dared to challenge the state and took a stand with the poor and the oppressed. It was the women of the Black Sash who left their comfort zones and stood with the oppressed.
It was this bravery which made it possible that, even in the early nineties when we negotiated a democratic transition from our apartheid past, we were never shy to face our problems. It was with this conviction of finding new possibilities that we were able, through the Constituent Assembly, to draft a democratic institution in a manner which allowed for participation of the majority of South Africans. This is a tradition we have continued with!
Yes, it had been this motivation, drawn from the Freedom Charter that, “The people shall govern,” that made it possible that the foundations of a people’s Parliament were laid in the early years of our democratic transition.
It was the wisdom of women in the nineties, led amongst others by our Speaker, hon Baleka Mbethe, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and others in this House and elsewhere who, in the 1990s, brought women from all political persuasions and different backgrounds to contribute to the constitution-making process of our country. They ensured that indeed, our Constitution asserts that we are equal to any other citizen and that women’s rights are human rights. [Applause.]
These and many other examples yet to be narrated speak of the South African that worked tirelessly to resolve whatever the challenge. I am therefore convinced that under your leadership, Speaker, this Parliament will make its contribution in making South Africa a better place for its citizens. Five years later, we all will look back and say: We have done it!
In executing our work in the Speaker’s office and through her leadership and guidance, we have understood that in order to giver meaning to the mandate of Parliament and to ensure that members of Parliament undertake their work as representatives of the people, an enabling environment must be created through necessary support and administrative systems to discharge their responsibilities.
We have put in place mechanisms that will build the capacity of members to do their work. Through the learning and development policy, we have ensured that Members of Parliament are supported to improve their academic qualification, which in turn will ensure building capacity of our members as we do our work, and similarly contribute in improving the human resources that our country needs.
I must say, hon members: We are not only going to end in Parliament. At times some of us, through the democratic process, may not come back to Parliament, but with those skills, we can employ them in improving our society in the various spaces where we may be working or deployed.
We have and continue to provide custom-based training that support members in their work. In 2014, the hon Speaker had referred to it. We ran training on the Budget Review and Recommendations Report, BRRR, to ensure that we capacitate our members. We refreshed the memories of the old ones who were here before; so that indeed, as they examine the work of the different departments, they can do so meaningfully.
We have also supported portfolio committees’ training programmes that are specific in the work that they do. We have had sector-specific programmes that are delivered in partnership with some of our higher education institutes to familiarise members with the work of the legislature. I must say, hon Speaker, we are proud as you have said that we will graduate some of the members who have gone through this programme.
We then had to do a bit of marketing – I am proud to say that- to ensure that members understand what this legislative sector programme is: The Graduate Certificate in Governance and Leadership; and the Postgraduate Diploma in Governance. To date, we have got 73 members who have enrolled.
We would like to remind you that this Friday, 5 June 2015, we will have an orientation programme organised for you members. Working with the House Chairperson for Committees, we will endeavour to ensure that chairpersons of different portfolio committees structure plans for their committee training, but also share that training where there are crosscutting issues.
An interesting issue that we had had to deal with is to look at how we support members in other areas of their work by providing space, both in terms of office and accommodation. However, as the Speaker has indicated, we are the first to admit that this is not enough. As hon Minister of Finance said here, we need to do more with less.
We have tried to ensure that each member does have an office and at least have a roof over their head. The issue of security on the parliamentary villages continue to be a challenge. This is a matter that we endeavour to engage Public Works department together with the SA Police Service so that members can indeed be secure.
We will also ensure, through your office, Speaker, that as the Commission for Remuneration of Public Office Bearers does its work in reviewing the circumstance or rather the conditions of services and salaries of parliamentarians, we engage with the legislative sector so that this work can indeed be done. There are many other issues that I would have liked to say in what we have undertaken as the Office of the Speaker on internal arrangement.
However, I want to say working with you, united in our diversity, we will ensure that we draw on the inspiration of those who went before us. We owe our gratitude to the veterans and stalwarts like Mme Ruth Mompati, Cedrick Mayson and others, who together with their generation were convinced that tough times never last, but tough people do! [Time expired. [Applause.]
Mr L R MBINDA: Hon Chair, hon members, the PAC supports this budget. The objectives as stipulated in the vision of Parliament are conducive for a society that can mature in its culture.
Furthermore, the intent as put in this strategic plan of the Fifth Parliament is noble. If Parliament can achieve those objectives and focus on the strategy intent as it is put on paper, it would be laudable.
Nevertheless, as the PAC we are already seeing signs that are contrary to the spirit of the strategic plan 2014 to 2019. We see Parliament as being unable to do its oversight and accountability function. The presiding officers of Parliament seem to be hell bent on protecting the executive rather than making them account to our people, except hon Didiza, of course.
We were highly surprised by the behaviour of the presiding officers in and around the discussion of the Nkandla saga. The presiding officers seem to sweep the issue “under the carpet” rather than putting a platform for it to be dissected by Parliament.
The presiding officers of Parliament were even willing to collapse democracy in favour of the interest of one man, and we ask ourselves: How can one individual’s interest collapse an institution of this magnitude? How can security apparatus, which are part of the executive, be allowed to cajole the debates in the Assembly? In that, we are talking about the jamming devices and the “boxing” that we saw being dealt on parliamentarians in the opening of this Parliament.
In the enhancement of public involvement, the PAC is of the view that greater efforts must be made to get our people to participate in a legislative manner. The legislative process remains very elitist and very foreign to our people because we have decided to continue with European protocol.
We do not understand whose witchdoctor is walking in front of the President during the opening procession of Parliament. What muthi does that stick that he is carrying with him possess? [Interjections.]. It is important that we quickly rid ourselves of all these protocols that bewitched us not listen to the will of our people.
Parliament must strengthen its work to unite Africa in line with its strategic objectives of deepening engagement in international fora. The PAC means complementary endeavours must start taking legislative functions rather than continuing being an advisory and talk shop. The PAC looks forward to support the strengthening of this Parliament. Thank you, hon Chair - and you must learn to stop howling. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Siyabulela baba, siyabulela! [We thank you baba.]
Mr N T GODI: House Chairperson, comrades and hon members, hon Speaker, the APC stands to support this Budget Vote. [Applause.] We are satisfied that Parliament has for years been able to account properly for its expenditure management.
We also want congratulate the Secretary to Parliament, wish him well and hope there will be continuous improvement in the services and support rendered to members and committees. Parliament, as an important arm of the state, must continue to enhance its capacity and focus to serve as a repository of our people’s wishes and interests.
This House is constitutionally mandated to oversee the executive, ensuring that government policies and public resources are used to improve the lives of our people. The National Development Plan calls for the building of a capable state.
Parliament, through its oversight committees, must play its role and contribute to building that capable state. The state of public administration screams for improvement, insufficient qualified officials, leadership instability in departments, poor management of public funds, etc.
Our oversight work must be alive to these challenges. But reality is that there is a lot of room and need for improvement in the quality of our portfolio committees’ work. Our work methodology is insufficient and less effective
Departments and other public institutions get away with murder as we continue to work in silos. There is no utilisation of information and insights generated by such transversal committees like the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, the Standing Committee on Appropriations and the Public Accounts Committee.
Madam Speaker, there is need for Parliament to increase the financial support for parties. The current funding levels are simply not enough. [Interjections.] In the Fourth Parliament, there was an agreement in a meeting of parties with the then Deputy President led by Chief Whip that there is need for a review of party funding, which got nowhere.
Lastly, we would like to thank and appreciate the parliamentary staff who serves us with courtesy and diligence. Thank you. [Applause.] Your services are greatly appreciated by the APC. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Chairperson, hon Speaker, members of the executive, Members of Parliament and ladies and gentlemen, in his state of the nation address to Parliament on 25 May 1994, President Mandela, in referring to a poem by the well-known Afrikaans poet Ingrid Jonker, he said, and I quote:
In this glorious vision, she instructs that our endeavours must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child.
And then very importantly, President Mandela concluded by saying, “It is in these things that we must achieve to give meaning to our presence in this Chamber.”
These visionary words are especially appropriate as we conduct our business and deliberate on important matters affecting our people in this Chamber. These matters deal with the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
The strategic priorities of the Fifth Parliament that the hon Speaker earlier referred to, and that have a direct bearing on the committees are strengthening oversight and accountability and enhancing public involvement and participation.
However, the business of Parliament can only be effectively conducted when we take a long-term view on what needs to be done and plan accordingly.
Working with the programme Whips of both Houses of Parliament, a detailed parliamentary programme was developed for the period 01 April this year until 31 March 2016. Planning for the entire financial year is thus possible, and creates greater certainty in the parliamentary programme which should enhance the co-ordination between the National Assembly, the NCOP as well as the executive.
As a result, question days to the President, the Deputy President and the executive have been identified, and all the importantly days of the parliamentary calendar have been finalised.
Parliament exercises its oversight mandate primarily through committees, which are correctly referred to as the engine rooms of Parliament. It is in these committees where the hard work is done, through the law-making process, public hearings, oversight visits, scrutiny of legislative proposals, scrutiny of international agreements and so forth. It is thus correct for this critical instrument to be continuously assessed and improved upon to assist Members of Parliament in their work.
Speakers in this debate have once again reflected on a range of matters that influence the functioning of Parliament and challenges that the institution faces. These range from insufficient and inappropriate space for committees to conduct their work, and insufficient time on the parliamentary programme for committee meetings.
The following steps are being implemented to make committees and Parliament function better. From now onwards, we will follow a clustered approach to committee work and oversight. This will lead to the implementation of the social services, economic governance and peace and stability clusters in all our work. All strategic plans of committees of both Houses have now been aligned to the concrete goals and objectives of the National Development Plan.
Further, the realignment of committee support with the one-stop shop facility that supports every committee and cluster is being implemented. The team support for committees will consist of a committee secretary assistants, researcher and content advisors, with a content advisor in each team assuming the responsibility of co-ordinating the teams at committee and cluster levels. These teams will be directly accountable to the committee chairperson they support and at a cluster level to the cluster conveners.
It is also envisaged that the parliamentary media officers will be attached to each of the clusters to enhance communication on work done in committees and the public. Joint committee meetings, oversight activities and study tours with the NCOP will also be implemented. Efforts to eliminate unnecessary duplication of ministerial briefings on section 76 legislation, which may potentially shorten the legislative cycle to four weeks with the NCOP, will be implemented.
Furthermore, joint provincial and local government oversight weeks will also be implemented during the next term when we return after the constituency period.
There are also joint activities that will take place on climate change and the new sustainable development goals. We are further considering having joint policy debates and budget votes debates with the NCOP on areas of joint responsibility. This will eliminate a situation where you have a Minister appearing today in the National Assembly to conduct a Budget Vote, and a few days later in the NCOP as well.
Joint reports on activities can form the basis for joint debates between the two Houses.
During the last month, I have been engaging with all the committee chairpersons on one-on-one basis to refine the annual programmes and their budget requests. However, it is clear that committees will require additional resources to do their work effectively. [Applause.]
While budgets have been cut back, we also need to focus on measures to reduce spending and costs in the committees. Three committee rooms in Parliament are equipped with video-conferencing facilities and the latest technology will allow video-conferencing between committees, ministries departmental officials and entities that report to it.
To save costs, committees will be expected to make use of these facilities to engage departmental officials and entities, instead of expecting them week by week to make the long journey between Pretoria and Cape Town. Madam Speaker, this can potentially save a lot of time and also make engagements with all the stakeholders, as I have mentioned, more meaningful while substantially reducing travelling costs for Parliament and the different departmental officials.
In terms of catering for committee meetings, this is one of the areas where costs must be reduced with immediate effect. Catering for meetings has become too excessive. The wastage that occurs can no longer be justified, and literally eats away at our budgets. [Applause.] Chairpersons, together with the committee section, have been requested to cut back on spending and to ensure that the bare minimum is catered for.
Furthermore, we do have situations where we also have wasteful and fruitless expenditure by Members of Parliament. This happens when members commit themselves to oversight activities and other activities such as public hearings outside Parliament, but at the last minute, they simply don’t turn up. This has become more regular in the last few months.
From now on, the names of these members will be forwarded to the Chief Whips of their parties, together with the amount of money that the institution lost or is penalised with for no-shows. [Applause.]
The phased implementation of the space utilisation project is now long overdue and the need for committee rooms cannot be further emphasised. The cost of conducting a meeting outside of Parliament averages R60 000 for a two-hour meeting and, in just three months last year, we spent more than half a million rand due to insufficient meeting rooms in Parliament.
The Speaker’s forum of the Fourth Parliament adopted the public participation framework that contained the minimum standards for public participation by Parliament and the provincial legislatures. The joint political task team has started its work towards the finalisation of the parliamentary public participation model and is due to complete its work by November this year.
A series of interactions are planned with Members of Parliament to ensure that the final product responds to the needs of the institution, its members and the public, whilst being consistent with the Constitution.
In terms of ICT, our Parliament, as a member of the IPU, is involved with the global centre for ICT and the International Telecommunications Union. The rapid advancement of ICT and its widespread adoption presents a unique opportunity for Parliament. To be more effective and efficient in how we manage our internal activities, political processes and engagement with our citizens, effective use of ICT has the potential to enhance the participatory in representative capacity of members in the discharge of their duties and to strengthen participator democracy.
There can be little doubt that ICT is now an essential and integral component towards any organisation wanting to realise its goals. We can proudly say that the South African Parliament is one of the leading parliaments in the world in the development and application of new technology. The Parliament of South Africa, through the implementation of its strategy, has successfully implemented a number of solutions to support members in doing their work. I won’t go into detail, but just to refer to an important one that will be rolled out in August this year.
It will entail phase 1 of the development of the Parliament mobile application for members dubbed My Parliament, which is an application and is being completed so that it will enable members to be presented only with the information from their respective committees, respective Houses, as well as a personalised parliamentary calendar of entries. This will include committee meetings, minutes from committee meetings, the ATC and so forth. The App is currently in its final testing phase.
Furthermore, electronic newspapers, periodicals and other journals have also been made available through the pressreader application for members.
Parliament further provides access to fast, secure, reliable and state-of-the-art electronic communication network and infrastructure. The result of which, is an audio and video of high definition quality to our broadcast partners and on the YouTube channel. Members of the public are able to follow proceedings and participate in Parliament via video screening, the parliamentary YouTube as well as parliament social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
In order to realise the mission set for the fifth parliamentary term, the following key ICT initiatives have been envisaged for this financial year. One of the solutions that we will be implementing is to offer Wi-Fi access to all Members of Parliament from their respective parliamentary villages. And also to expand the My Parliament mobile application to phase 2, where members will be able to track House resolutions, questions asked to the executive as well as responses received.
Members will further be able to do their flight bookings via this application and will no longer have to wait lengthy periods of time to get confirmations for flight bookings. [Applause.]
Due to the prevailing economic conditions and competing priorities, Parliament and other arms of state have been requested to do more with fewer resources. It is incumbent on all of us to make optimal use of the ICT equipment given to us, to reduce costs and improve our efficiency.
In this year, we should focus our efforts of reducing our printing and travelling costs by accessing information online and using audio and video technology to facilitate meetings and conferences. [Applause.] This has the potential to reduce the printing budget of Parliament by at least R15 million.
The Speaker has referred to the budget office and the office this year will focus, as they did previously, on reports on the national budget an medium term budget policy statement, economic and fiscal briefs, research reports, and other requests from committees.
I will fail in my duty if I do not respond to some of the issues that have been raised in terms of ICT specifically. Firstly, the hon Mpontshane raised the issue of contracts coming to an end. Now, hon member, the contracts that will expire are still part of the establishment of the Fifth Parliament. Additional staff was brought into Parliament to assist members and to familiarise themselves with the equipment that is there. This function of support to members will now be provided by the IT team. However, we will keep a very close eye on the capacity that is required because at times there is a certain employee here in Parliament, that I think everyone basically knows – called Sally Smith, and then sometimes I hope I can clone Sally Smith to have more Sally Smiths, but we will monitor the space and see that we do not negatively impact on the support that members will require.
Secondly, mention was also made of the Mineral Resources Bill that has been returned to Parliament by the President. There are two areas of concern that the President raised. One is of a substantive matter, and the second one is more of a procedural nature. The Rules of Parliament are very specific in terms of dealing with Bills that are returned to Parliament and they confine us to the areas that have been raised.
However, as far as the procedural issues are concerned and they deal with public participation, they can potentially open up the entire Bill and we are interacting with the legal team to ensure that we deal with this matter according to the Constitution and expeditiously.
Thirdly, the UDM has raised the issue around time allocation and the hon members will recall that not so long ago, the smaller parties in the House had one minute to participate in the debate, it has subsequently increased to three minutes, and in other debates, even up to five minutes. It is a matter that however can be further discussed in the Chief Whips’ forum.
In conclusion, Parliament employs a range of highly competent citizens who are experts in their different fields. You will find them, young people, very well qualified, in the secretariat, the table staff, the budget office, committee section, researchers and content advisors. Without their support and dedication, it would not have been possible for us to execute our mandate.
Madam Speaker, Parliament is functioning; our Parliament is held in very high regard, both inside and outside of our borders. This is no coincidence. What else would you expect with the number of icons that have graced these benches? Some of them are Nelson Mandela, Frennie Ginwala and others. Madam Speaker, you thus stand on the shoulders of giants. We are unshaken and steadfast in our support for you to take this Parliament to even greater heights. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M WATERS: Chairperson, the hon Chief Whip of the Majority Party quoted former President Mandela who said, we need an opposition that is committed to the Constitution. Well, my message to the Chief Whip of the Majority Party is that we need a government that is equally committed to the Constitution, as well. [Applause.]
The hon Chief Whip also complained about the fact that we go to court a lot in order to exercise our rights and to hold the government to account. Well, every time the Constitution is trampled upon, we will use every means available to hold you to account and to stop you from trampling on the Constitution just like the National Party did. [Applause.]
Talking about Nats, these days hon Killian changes her political colours more than a chameleon does! [Laughter.] She talked about the past. Remember, hon Killian, you were on the wrong side of history in the past. History will judge you, going forward. When we look back, we will see that you are today again on the wrong side of history. [Applause.]
Hon Boroto – I know you are in the Chair – you talked about The Year of China. I don’t know if they are aware of it, but China has just cancelled all its flights to our country. I don’t know what kind of a year we are going to have with China.
The parliamentary budget for the current financial year is just over R2 billion, and is bigger than 14 other Budgets Votes, including that of the departments of Public Enterprises, Economic Development, Mineral Resources, Small Business Development, Communications and 9 others.
I wonder if anyone can anyone guess how many minutes were spent scrutinising the parliamentary Vote – where MPs could ask questions and interrogate the budget. Zero minutes. For R2 billion!
This, hon members, is a serious indictment on how our very own institution is run. How can it be that the very people who this institution should be working for are totally sidelined in how the budget is spent?
In fact, the failure to have a proper committee which oversees the functioning of Parliament is giving the Speaker of the NA and the Chair of the NCOP a blank cheque.
Examples of how money is being wasted are lavish workshops at venues such as the Taj Hotel, the intention to spend R8 million on gym facilities - which were not budgeted for in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, and a proposed R1,4 billion upgrade to the parliamentary precinct. We have heard a lot about that today.
Why do we need an upgrade to the parliamentary precinct? Parliament has not expanded. We still have 400 members, like we had 21 years ago. What has expanded is the size of the Cabinet. We have the biggest Cabinet in the world! What that means is that we have more portfolio committees. So now we have to spend R1,4 billion to accommodate a bloated Cabinet.
As the signator to Parliament’s budget, the Speaker has neglected to inform the opposition of all these spends, as well as other financial developments, via the Parliamentary Oversight Authority. The Parliamentary Oversight Authority should meet at least once per month. It is Parliament’s oversight committee. At best, it meets once per quarter. With a budget of R2 billion, it should be functioning like a normal portfolio committee.
As Members of Parliament we simply do not have free access to information, documents, explanations or motivations stemming from the presiding officers, the Secretary to Parliament or the Auditor-General. There is no legislative imperative for the Secretary or Presiding Officers to accommodate the views of members on how Parliament’s operations are resourced and MPs are disempowered from carrying out effective oversight of public money and preventing potential corrupt activities.
We have repeatedly written to the Speaker and the Secretary’s office requesting itemised breakdowns, cost-benefit analyses and justifications for some of Parliament’s questionable purchases.
However, we have not received a single response to date.
The Financial Management of Parliament Act, Act 10 of 2009 – that’s from six years ago – dictates that quarterly financial reports should be tabled before Parliament and published in the ATC. To date, not one of those reports have been tabled or published. It is a shame, Speaker. [Interjections.]
Parliament’s core functions are represented in two programs, namely Legislation and Oversight and also Public and International Participation. These make up a mere 25% of the budget.
When one compares that figure to that of Administration where we spend another 25% on employees’ salaries, we can see that Parliament’s bureaucracy is becoming bloated in all the wrong places. I say in the wrong places because many of the staff here do work very hard, but they are not being supported enough. The criticism that Luthuli House is placing pressure on Parliament for certain connected people to be appointed, is gaining ever increasing traction.
A particular failure in the current financial year on Parliament’s part has been the number of oversight visits undertaken by committees. In the last financial year, a total of 60 oversight visits were conducted. In this coming financial year only 35 are planned and projected. Not a very activist Parliament, I would say!
Written Questions to Ministers is one of Parliament’s most important oversight mechanisms to obtain information on critical issues facing the country and scrutinise executive action. The executive continues to allow questions to lapse or provides incomplete or incoherent replies with impunity. Oral Question sessions are few and far between - only four have taken place this year - and on those occasions, Ministers from critical portfolios provide apologies for their absence instead of explanations for their department’s shortcomings. In several instances, neither the Minister nor the Deputy Minister attended the session, leaving a different Minister to reply to the follow-up questions in the House, essentially rendering the opportunity for accountability null and void.
When the ANC overhauled the Question Time in this House in 2000 – a move strongly opposed by the DA - it claimed that a system of rotation for Oral Questions, requiring Ministers to be present only when their cluster of portfolios is dealt with, would ensure full executive presence on each occasion. That was the commitment. It has not happened.
Omission of crucial information and attempts to withhold so-called “classified” information and documents are all tactics which are increasingly being used by Ministers and even by the Office of the President in replies to some parliamentary Questions.
So far, we have had four Oral Question days for five different clusters this year, meaning that one cluster has not even had the opportunity to be held accountable, and we are already in June.
Compounding the problem of accountability is that the Deputy President’s Question Time often erodes Ministers’ Question Time, leaving only one hour for Ministers to be held accountable. The DA will be pushing for the Deputy President’s and Ministers’ Question Time to be separated through a review of the Rules of Parliament.
What is equally outrageous is the number of ordinary sitting days Parliament has actually had since the beginning of the year. I wonder if anyone can guess how many times we have sat in this Chamber for ordinary business. Let me put you out of your misery. Eleven. [Interjections.] Eleven. That’s all we’ve had, and four of those days – as I’ve mentioned – were for Oral Questions. So we have actually had seven days on which members could table Members’ Statements and, through debate, deal with current issues affecting the electorate and deal with legislation.
And can any guess how many Joint Sittings have we had this year? Seven — equal to the amount of ordinary sittings we have had. The Guide to Procedure on page 105 clearly states that Joint Sittings are “for occasional important joint debates”. I emphasise the word “occasional”.
Chair, Joint debates have become the rule and not the exception. They are reducing Parliament to a ceremonial Chamber where the business of the people is sent to the back burner.
Committee programmes are still highly dysfunctional and characterised by infrequent Ministerial and departmental appearances, costly last-minute cancellations – hon Frolick, that’s another way we can save money, through programmed committee meetings not being cancelled at the last minute - and even some members of the opposition being subjected to bullying and intimidation.
If recent rumours are to be believed, there are now secret ANC management committee meetings in which the schedules and agendas of every portfolio committee are decided upon behind closed doors, out of the view of the media, and with the deliberate exclusion of the Official Opposition.
Portfolio agendas and schedules must be agreed upon in the full portfolio committee meeting and with the involvement of all parties concerned. Hon Speaker, these secret meetings must stop immediately.
The continued whimsical, secretive and at times chaotic approach to the administration of Parliament has compromised this institution’s credibility, operations and ability to hold the executive to account.
As the hon Chief Whip of the Opposition has said, we are not going to allow this President to wreck this institution. It is time that all MPs stood up and defended the institution of Parliament because, if this institution fails, so does democracy. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms C C SEPTEMBER: Chairperson, Madam Speaker, hon members and South Africa at large, I rise on behalf of the ANC in support of Budget Vote 2 and indeed in support of [Interjections.] strategic plan as outlined by yourself here today Madam Speaker.
True to our responsiveness as the ANC took the mandate the people of South Africa gave us in 1994, our preoccupation, immediately, became the realisation of the Freedom Charter, the implementation of the Reconstruction and Development Programme and of course we came here ready to govern. We wasted absolutely no time in this Parliament in ushering a new dispensation through the adoption of South Africa’s new Constitution. It was the ANC that made sure that we had a Constituent Assembly. We gave true meaning to reflect our policy of nonracialism, nonsexism and class representation in this Parliament. As the ANC, we never saw the need to hire anyone to reflect our race and our gender representivity.
Testimony to the earliest opportunity to realise the noble decisions of the Freedom Charter, what better way of realising it in the preamble of the Constitution and I quote indeed: “We the people of South Africa recognise the injustices of our past; honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity”.
We inherited a Parliament that, certainly, in its character was not people orientated. Indeed, it was not gender sensitive and of course it was not sensitive even to the disabled people. It never connected with the people, its facilities catered for certain people and extremely unfriendly towards woman. It was even said that in 1994, in this Parliament, the electronic system rejected the names of the Members of Parliament as it was only used to the names of Botha and Smuts.
As the ANC-led majority we changed all of that. We brought in hon Nelson Mandela, hon Albertina Sisulu, hon Frene Ginwala, hon Baleka Mbete, hon Reg September, hon Ruth Mompati, hon Ahmed Kathrada, hon Joe Slovo, hon Chris Dlamini and, amongst many others, hon Sister Bernard Ncube. We owe our gratitude to them. They are our leaders who did not rest to ensure a sound foundation and freedom of speech to this democratic Parliament. We have changed this Parliament from a place or an institution that excluded people to one that is more orientate to activism.
Many writings abound by the post 1994 Parliament and this confirms the changes that we have made overtime. We changed it from being a part-time Parliament, a scenically rubberstamped organ to fulfil activists’ place of work and of course it remains in session for the whole year. Well done Madam Speaker.
What better way of expressing the activist Parliament centred for all to see through the emblem that so proudly shines over us and sometimes is very sad to see what sometimes happens in Parliament. Let us remind everyone that the sun that is on our emblem says that we heal the divisions of the past and we improve the quality of life of South Africans; that the protea that we have the leaves depicts the building of the foundation of democracy and openness; and of course the drum that calls all of us into Parliament. Indeed, our Constitution is the foundation of democracy and openness that depicts the values, the social justice and human rights. Indeed Parliament is an organ of people’s power. We are meant to reach people through Parliament to advance our national democratic goals.
Much has been said in this Budget Vote debate this afternoon. The Chief Whip of the DA, hon Steenhuisen, we were looking forward to another quote that you were going to give to us from Alexander Herzen, a Russian writer and thinker known as the father of the Russian socialism; alas we didn’t have it again today. However, we were looking forward to this quote, but more than that it does not mean that if you say one thing over and over, is becomes the order of the day. Let’s deal with these cases.
The case of what you call the police trampling on and complaining about the fact that there are trampling of powers here, please be reminded that the court look at the technicality and at the definition of disturbance in that it is very wide and of course the matter has been sent to the Constitutional Court and, of course, if you are so happy and you are gloating about it, why are the hon members of the DA, appealing?
Indeed on the Prime Media case and the jamming case we remind you that the case was lost from the beginning. The interdict that was asked for was never ever granted indeed. We heard what the outcome of the rest of the case was. In addition, in some of the other cases in relation to the economic freedom front the final case must still be heard in the Constitutional Court and there has been no decision, with regard to fairness and discipline.
Indeed, let’s not talk about the motion of no confidence; every attempt that was made was dead in the water. On the matter of the Speaker which was very shameless, again the court sent Agang SA packing. Shame. I am sure you were so disorganised and so embarrassing ... [Inaudible] and the people.
Ms H O MAXON: Chairperson, on a point of order: I am just checking if we have a new party in the House called economic freedom front.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, I don’t know about that party - if you are asking me.
Ms C C SEPTEMBER: Hon Steenhuisen, it is not hangaz it is angazi. [Interjections.] Hon Shivambu!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order! Hon members!
Ms C C SEPTEMBER: Hon Shivambu, please be reminded that the role and function of the institute and us allegedly trampling on the powers, the court judgement saying that section 11 is unconstitutional must stand. The Constitutional Court must still confirm this. Parliament has a duty to fulfil its mandate. When you are unable to pursuit the ANC of your views, this cannot be construed as Parliament being a rubberstamp, bring your convincing arguments and let’s debate.
I think lets not celebrate too quickly on the SA Revenue Services matter. On the issue of wanting to chair the committees; the question that must be asked here is who wants to change the Constitution because the Constitution expressly provides that Parliament must make its own internal arrangement and it must do so with due regard to representivity consistency with democracy. That representivity you cannot fight and be resentful to the majority of the 62% of the ANC – come here and try and change it. That 62% was provided for through democracy in this country. To change that outcome in Parliament... [Interjections. [Inaudible.] is against the rules and might be unconstitutional. So, no, you cannot be the Speaker and no, you cannot be the chair of the finance committee.
We must congratulate the FF Plus for they are supporting the Constitution – well done. I am not sure if you actually did vote against the Constitution, I might be wrong. However, let’s celebrate the fact that you are supporting the Constitution. How is it possible that we failed the test of accountability when members decided to walk out of committees in this House barked outside in and then not bring the persuasive argument to the table. We should encourage you to bring persuasive argument and debate. I am not sure what is wrong if we implement decisions of Luthuli House? What is wrong with that? We, by the way, do have a mandate that brought us here. That mandate ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order! Hon members! Hon members! Don’t drown the speaker. Let’s listen to the speaker’s input. Order! Hon members! You can’t shout like that in the House. Please!
Ms C C SEPTEMBER: ... of course, we came into this Parliament with a mandate hon Chair, and that mandate is our manifesto. Hon Carter, empty vessel drifting into the sand, narrative, lost, lost, really didn’t put you in good stead.
There was a very interesting article that was written in a paper called the Thought Leader ... [Interjection.]
Ms E N LOUW: On a point of order Chairperson: I just want to check with you if it is Parliamentary to call another member an empty vessel. I will never allow another person to call another one like that. That is why I am rising.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, I didn’t hear her referring to a member of this House.
Ms E N LOUW: She did. She did say so.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): No, hon member, you cannot call a member of this House an empty vessel but I listened to the context into which she said that and I don’t think it was referred to any member. Thank you very much. Continue hon member. Order! Hon members!
Ms E N LOUW: Hon Chairperson, I think there is the time that you have to consult with the Table staff. That is what you have to do in this instance because you didn’t hear, and she did say so.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Louw, alright, hon Louw, as I have said, I heard it in the context that she said it but I will allow myself to consult on this issue and find out exactly. That’s alright, I will report. Thank you
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: On a point of order: In terms of proper presiding from there, is that you must check with the member if she indeed said what we said she did say.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Shivambu!
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Let me finish, let me finish. You must stop this thing of ... [Interjections.] [Inaudible.] responses. You are going to mislead this House. Check with her if she confirms she must withdraw such kind of utterances she has spoken a lot of confusion here and we left her. So, please check with her and then you will be able to give guidance after that. She has been speaking confusion after confusion, so please ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Shivambu that is not a point of order. Hon Shivambu! Hon Shivambu! Don’t continue! No, no. Don’t teach me how ... I think we gave you time to debate. Sit down hon member! Hon member you are consuming our time. Hon Shivambu, I think I made a ruling on that matter. I don’t know why you have to continue with it. No, no, no. Continue hon September! Hon Maxon!
Ms H O MAXON: I know that you don’t want to take any advice from the EFF, but it is just a friendly advice. Check with her, implement correct ruling.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you. Sit down hon member! I am not going to change my ruling and I am not going to advice. I think I have ...
Ms E N LOUW: On a point of order: On this debate, precisely, because we are debating Parliament’s functions and what is happening in Parliament. You need to check, you need to check correctly. I will not sit down; I will not be commanded by the ANC. So, you need to check ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto)): Hon Louw! Hon Louw! Please! Please sit down. You raised a point of order and I responded and you nodded and sat down. What is this now? Please allow me to go into what I said I will do. Allow the debate to continue, please! I am not taking any other point of order on this matter because I have made a ruling unless is a new matter.
Ms H O MAXON: On a point of order: It is another matter. Yes, it is a new matter. I just want to check with you Chair is it because the hon member on the podium is an ANC member – that is why you are over protecting her.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): It is the same matter that you are raising and I am not even going to say I heard that.
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: But Chairperson! [Inaudible.] [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Shivambu, I did not recognise you. Hon Shivambu, I did not recognise you! [Interjections.]
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Don’t abuse us. Do not abuse us, I was giving you simple advice and you are not taking it [Interjections.] what is your problem? But we are giving you advice on how you must ... [Inaudible.] [Interjections.] Why are you not taking advice?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I don’t need your advice. [Interjections.] I am going to keep quiet and you can talk until you finish but I am not going to respond to your ... [Interjections.]
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Let me talk, let me talk then. We are giving you proper advice that if members have made reckless statements you must check with them if they have done that and then they must withdraw if they admitted to have done such reckless remarks. This lady who was speaking there has been speaking a lot of confusion.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): There is no lady in this House.
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: You said you are going to keep quiet, keep quiet I am talking now. [Interjections.] Then, check with her [Interjections.] if what she did is allowed ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): ... [Inaudible.] ... I am not going into a debate with you.
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: ... and then you instruct her to withdraw. You can’t call people empty vessels here. We can call you outside because there are a lot of empty vessels from the ANC; we can call you that outside but not inside the House. So, please, assist us to move forward with that question.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): As I have said, and I insist, I have made my ruling. Thank you very much. Continue hon September.
Ms C C SEPTEMBER: I thought it quite appropriate to inform this House that there was a very interesting article that was written in a paper called the Thought Leader and what was put in there was extremely revealing. Let me quote from it, I didn’t say this; I am quoting what was written there. It said: “By treating the EFF like a petulant toddler that just wants to get its way all the time and wear what it wants to the pre-school, we are going to give the EFF ammunition to use against us should the party get things right in this Parliament” I end with this quote, extremely revealing. I thank you.
The SPEAKER: Madam Chairperson, I wish to start by thanking all the parties who supported this Budget Vote. [Applause.] My sincere gratitude to the hon members for their valuable inputs and for the constructive spirit in which the debate was largely conducted. I assure you that the issues you have raised will be duly considered. There are of course a few matters to which I would like to respond.
Hon Steenhuisen, the ad hoc committee will be established shortly to deal with the report of the Minister of Police; lets engage in this committee. [Interjections.] Let me reiterate that the signal jamming incident, as I have said previously, was regrettable and should never happen again. [Interjections.]
Hon Mulder, it is unfortunate that members assert that Parliament is weak or has failed, when they are part of it. Parliament comprises all of us. [Interjections.] The fact that some of us do not agree with what the executive provides as answers to enquiries and questions does not equate to Parliament not being able to perform its role.
Yes, hon Mabika, the parliamentary democracy offices are doing a good job in the three provinces where they exist, and we still have to pursue what had been agreed on and that is that the Parliamentary Oversight Authority, POA, and the Whips must go there and be more informed on how we need to pursue the roll-out.
I agree with the hon Sizani and hon Shivambu, that we must play a stronger role with regard to oversight of international treaties and conventions. Yes, hon Shivambu and hon Mbinda, we must continue to support the work of the Pan-African Parliament and the African Union. What this House does, at the start of a term, is to elect five members, two of which we must make sure are from the opposition as required by the protocol of the Pan-African Parliament. But, we tend then to forget; we live it to the five of them - this includes hon Shivambu - to just pursue the work on their own and never make reference back to this Parliament and for us to give support that is necessary to our delegation. [Interjections.] I hope though House Chairperson Boroto has dealt with the matter extensively.
Hon Kwankwa, I have continued with the practice established in the Fourth Parliament to afford parties an extra minute, but the more I feel under attack from hon members is the more I feel I shouldn’t perhaps give this extra minute if people are not even appreciating it. [Interjections.]
A minute is a very long time by the way ... [Interjections.] ... so, if in addition to the fact that the time has been increased from one minute to three minutes, we still get attacked as presiding officers for giving an extra minute, ... [Interjections.] I don’t want to agree with the calls to reduce the time but I really want to say that people must appreciate what they are given.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Speaker, will you sit for just a minute, please. Hon Mulder?
Mr P C MULDER: Hon Chairperson, is the hon Speaker prepared to answer a question? [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: I’m only left with two minutes, so I can’t; I also suffer under the Rules of Parliament. [Interjections.] Hon Mabika, I agree that Parliament needs more funding; actually I didn’t get to the section about underfunding in my speech. It is an issue that perhaps we should pursue in the POA. We will engage it in the discussions also with the Minister of Finance on the proportional allocation of Parliament’s Budget.
Hon Godi, we have to take a closer look at the funding of political parties, which you have raised, and the optimal functioning of constituency offices. Hon Waters, ... [Interjections.] ... Deputy Chief Whip of the Opposition, ... [Interjections.] ... with regard to the assertion that there is no oversight of the budget of Parliament, may I remind hon members that all political parties in this House are represented on the multiparty budget forum which considers the parliamentary budget before it is submitted to the Parliamentary Oversight Authority for further debate and approval. [Interjections.]
I would like to extend my deep appreciation and acknowledgement to the President who has supported our work. [Interjections.] [Applause.] I would also like to extend a big thanks to the Deputy President who is the Leader of Government Business ... [Applause.] ... whose easy access and approach to his work has contributed to us managing the interactions with the executive well.
I concur that the needs of our children need special focus in Parliament. We must not forget that today’s children are the future adults and leaders of tomorrow.
In closing, to borrow from the African Union anthem, I quote: “Let us all unite and celebrate together. The victories won for our liberation. Let us dedicate ourselves to rise together. To defend our liberties and unity.” I still have 20 seconds. I thank you.
Establishment of an ad hoc committee
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY: House Chairperson, I move the draft resolution printed in my name in the Order Paper as follows:
That the House establishes an ad hoc committee, the committee to –
- consider the report by the Minister of Police tabled on 28 May 2015, in reply to recommendations ... [Interjections.] ... you see, House Chair, this time I have no time limit. The people who shout at me just for reading this motion, which they have before them, are not immune from response. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Please, hon members, the Chief Whip is tabling the motion. If you don’t want to listen, please just be quiet and let the others listen to the motion. Continue, hon Chief whip.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY Party: ... recommendations in the Report of Ad Hoc Committee to Consider the Report by the President regarding Security upgrades at the Nkandla Private Residence of the President, as adopted by the National Assembly on 13 November 2014;
- consist of 14 voting members, as follows: African National Congress 8; Democratic Alliance 3, Economic Freedom Fighters 1, and others parties2;
- further consist of 16 nonvoting members, as follows: African National Congress 5, Democratic Alliance 2, Economic Freedom Fighters 1, and other parties 8 designated by the remainder of the other parties;
- exercise those powers in Rule 138 and the rules applicable to committees and subcommittees, generally that may assist it in carrying out its functions; and
- submit a report to the House with its findings and recommendations, where applicable, by 7 August 2015.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, hon Chief Whip. I now put the motion ... [Interjections.]
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: House Chairperson, I would like to move an amendment to the resolution - if that is possible. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I am advised that we have to put the motion first.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: No, no, no, we have got to put the amendment first. Otherwise, how do we agree on the motion? Please assist here. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Leader of the Opposition!
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Yes, Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I am advised that we go through this process and if you want to make declarations or amendments you will be allowed.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: No, no, no! [Interjections.] How could we pass the motion? We need to put an amendment to the motion and vote on that! Agree, I am asking for certain amendment to be put in place so that the House could agree between the two!
Mr N F SHIVHAMBO: But you must recognise us, Madam. I am rising on a point of order. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Yes, but we still have a speaker on the floor, please.
Mr N F SHIVHAMBO: Please, recognise me after that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I heard what you are saying, and I am still seeking advice here. [Interjections.]
HON MEMBERS: WOO!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you very much, hon member. I think it is the last time that I come to you, and don’t say, woo! Because we have to understand that we are working with processes of Parliament here. Now, in accordance with the rule – hon Mbatha, I can’t take that! [Interjections.] Would you please stand up? Hon Mmusi, please sit down; and hon Mbatha stand. [Interjections.] Hon Mbatha, the gestures that you are doing are derogatory.
Mr M S MBATHA: Which ones?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): And please don’t do that. [Interjections.]
Mr M S MBATHA: Which ones!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I am speaking and you know what you have been doing, I was looking at you. Please don’t do that! Sit down. [Interjections.] [Laughter.]
Hon Members, hon Maimane, the reason that you are bringing the question is because you can either agree or object. And you will be allowed to either declare or bring a motion of amendment.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: No!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): No, no, no! Let me say this, if you want to object you will be allowed and if you want to declare you will be allowed. If you would want to bring in an amendment later you will be allowed.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Sorry, Madam Chair. Let me clarify this; I welcome your decision and say that is fine if I want to object I can object, if I want to declare I can declare; but that is not what I am doing. We have a motion before us if I wanted to ask that we amend the date of the motion so that that the House can say the report must come at such and such a date; I must do that prior to it being tabled in the House.
Now, I am asking that the amendment be tabled with the motion so that we can agree on that first, before we can vote on the entire motion. So, can I request that I table the amendment to the motion on the table, otherwise what are we voting on? [Interjections.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam House Chair, thank you very much. You asked the Chief Whip of the Opposition in whose name the motion in the Order Paper to table the amendment. The hon Chief Whip has tabled the amendment by reading it out. Now that the motion is before the House after it has been tabled, the hon Maimane is moving an amendment to that resolution.
Mr N F SHIVHAMBO: Thank you very much, Chairperson. May be because the interpretation of the rules might be sophisticated to the extend that you don’t understand it. Let me give you an example of what happened when there was a motion of no confidence on the Speaker. Before we could do the Ayes and No procedure, the Chief whip of the Majority Party stood up to amend the motion altogether; to say that here is an amended motion and the House voted on that before we could vote; and we voted first on the amended motion; and then we went back to the original motion which was voted on again.
It is not only on that motion it is on many other motions that had come into this House. That is the procedure that is followed; that once a motion has been tabled you allow for amendments, we decide on that and then we go back to the original motion. So let us allow amended motion to be tabled and then we can check if we agree on that then we move on.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, hon member. Hon Surty you are the last one and then I will tell you how we are going to go about this.
Mr E SURTY: Hon Chair, it is really about understanding the fundamentals of parliamentary procedure, and I say that with the greatest respect and humility. A motion has been read out by the Chief Whip and it has to be put to the House ... [Interjections.] ... you know this boorish and belligerent behaviour on the part of certain members really undermines the integrity of this House and its esteem.
Chair, once the motion has been put, the opposition can then object to the motion or they can propose an amendment to the motion. That is procedure and convention; and indeed the objections of the hon Leader of the Opposition and the hon members is in legal powers because they love going to court it would be certainly vexatious ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon members, I am going to deal with it this way: I am going to allow the Leader of the Opposition to put the amendment and then after that we will vote on both the first motion and the amended motion.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hon Chair, we are putting the amendment and we can’t just vote on the amendment separately. Thank you for the opportunity to be able to table it. Because, like all South Africans I take great exception to the insult that says a swimming pool is a fire pool. [Interjections.] So, without us here in Parliament trying to insult the people of South Africa, I want to propose this amendment ... [Interjections.] ... no. I can wait.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Maimane, please put the amendment. [Interjections.] Order! Order, hon members at the back there!
Mr M A MATLHOKO: House Chair, please attend to that corner of the ANC.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, hon Matlhoko. Hon members, let us give the Leader of the Opposition an opportunity to read the amended motion.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: So, noting the draft resolution by the Chief Whip that the House establishes an ad hoc committee, we want to replace section (1) which says that we need to consider the report by the Public Protector, Secure in comfort, because we believe that the Public Protector is supreme in this particular result and that it must be read together ... [Interjections.] ... with the report tabled by the Minister of Police on 28 May 2015 in reply to the recommendations in the Report of Ad Hoc Committee to Consider the Report by the President Regarding Security Upgrade at the Nkandla Private Residence of the President, as adopted by the National Assembly on 13 November 2014.
Then, I request hon Chairperson that we insert the following – and this is absolutely crucial if we are going to proceed with this ad hoc committee nje: That we summon the President of the Republic, the Public Protector, the Minister of Police and the Minister of Public Works to appear before the said committee. [Applause.]
Everyone has spoken except the President of the Republic – he must come! Ultimately, that we amend the original section (5) to become section (6) as follows that this report – because the people of South Africa want the President to pay soon – that they must submit the report with its findings and recommendations, where applicable, within 30 days. I so move. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, hon Mmusi. Can we have the signed copy of the amended motion. [Interjections.] Order, hon members! The signed amended motion by the opposition is here and has been signed.
Question put: That the amendment as moved by the Leader of the Opposition be agreed to.
The House Divided.
AYES - 104: America, D; Atkinson, P G; Bagraim, M; Baker, T E; Balindlela, Z B N; Basson, L J; Bergman, D; Bhanga, B M; Bozzoli, B; Brauteseth, T J; Breytenbach, G; Buthelezi, M G; Cardo, M J; Carter, D; Chance, R W T; Davis, G R; De Freitas, M S F; De Kock, K; Dlamini, M M; Dreyer, A M; Esau, S; Esterhuizen, J A; Figg, M J; Figlan, A M; Filtane, M L W; Gana, S M; Groenewald, P J; Grootboom, G A; Hadebe, T Z; Hlengwa, M; Horn, W; Hunsinger, C H H; Jafta, S M; Jongbloed, Z; Kalyan, S V; Khubisa, N M; Kohler, D; Kopane, S P; Krumbock, G R; Lees, R A; Lekota, M G P; Lorimer, J R B; Lotriet, A; Louw, E N; Mabika, M S; Mackay, G; Mackenzie, C; Macpherson, D W; Madisha, W M; Maimane, M A; Majola, T R; Malatsi, M S; Marais, E J; Matlhoko, A M; Matsepe, C D; Maxon, H O; Maynier, D J; Mazzone, N W A; Mbatha, M S; Mbhele, Z N; Mbinda, L R; Mcloughlin, A R; Mhlongo, T W; Mileham, K J; Mncwango, M A; Mokgalapa, S; Motau, S C; Mpontshane, A M; Msimang, C T; Mubu, K S; Mulder, C P; Mulder, P W A; Ndlozi, M Q; Nkomo, S J; Ntshayisa, L M; Plouamma, M A; Rabotapi, M W; Redelinghuys, M H; Robinson, D; Ross, D C; Selfe, J; Shelembe, M L; Shinn, M R; Shivambu, N F; Sithole, K P; Stander, T; Steenhuisen, J H; Steenkamp, J; Steyn, A; Stubbe, D J; Swart, S N; Tarabella Marchesi, N I; Terblanche, J F; Twala, D L; Van Dalen, P; Van Damme, P T; Van Der Merwe, L L; Van Dyk, V; Volmink, H C; Vos, J; Walters, T C R; Waters, M; Whitfield, A G; Wilson, ER.
NOES – 192: Abrahams, B L; Adams, F; Adams, P E; Bam-Mugwanya, V; Bapela, K O; Basson, J V; Bekwa, S D; Beukman, F; Bhengu, P; Bhengu, F; Bhengu, N R; Bilankulu, N K; Bogopane-Zulu, H I; Bongo, B T; Booi, M S; Boshielo, S P; Capa, R N; Capa, N; Carrim, Y I; Cele, M A; Chikunga, L S; Chiloane, T D; Chueu, M P; Coleman, E M; Cronin, J P; Cwele, S C; Davies, R H; Didiza, A T; Dlakude, D E; Dlamini-Dubazana, Z S; Dlodlo, A; Dlomo, B J; Dlulane, B N; Dunjwa, M L; Faku, Z C; Frolick, C T; Fubbs, J L; Gamede, D D; Gcwabaza, N E; Godi, N T; Goqwana, M B; Gumede, D M; Hanekom, D A; Holomisa, S P; Jeffery, J H; Johnson, M; Kalako, M U; Kekana, H B; Kekana, P S; Kekana, E; Kekana, C D; Kenye, T E; Khoarai, L P; Khosa, D H; Khoza, T Z M; Khoza, M B; Khunou, N P; Kilian, J D; Koornhof, G W; Kubayi, M T; Lesoma, R M M; Luyenge, Z; Luzipo, S; Maake, J J; Mabasa, X; Mabe, B P; Mabe, P P; Mabija, L; Mabilo, S P; Madella, A F; Madlopha, C Q; Maesela, P; Mafu, N N; Magadzi, D P; Mahambehlala, T; Mahlalela, A F; Mahlangu, J L; Mahlangu, D G; Mahlobo, M D; Maila, M S A; Majola, F Z; Makhubela-Mashele, L S; Makhubele, Z S; Makondo, T; Makwetla, S P; Malgas, H H; Maluleke, J M; Manana, D P; Manana, M N S; Mantashe, P T; Maphatsoe, E R K; Mapulane, M P; Martins, B A D; Masango, M S A; Masehela, E K M; Maseko, L M; Mashatile, S P; Mashego-Dlamini, K C; Mashile, B L; Masondo, N A; Masuku, M B; Mathale, C C; Matlala, M H; Matshoba, M O; Matsimbi, C; Mavunda, R T; Maxegwana, C H M; Mbete, B; Mchunu, S; Mdakane, M R; Memela, T C; Mjobo, L N; Mkhize, H B; Mmemezi, H M Z; Mmola, M P; Mmusi, S G; Mnganga - Gcabashe, L A; Mnguni, P J; Mnguni, D; Mnisi, N A; Mogotsi, V P; Mokoto, N R; Molebatsi, M A; Moloi-Moropa, J C; Morutoa, M R; Motimele, M S; Mpumlwana, L K B; Mthembu, J M; Mthembu, N; Mthethwa, E M; Mudau, A M; Muthambi, A F; Nchabeleng, M E; Ndaba, C N; Ndabeni-Abrahams, S T; Ndongeni, N; Nel, A C; Nene, N M; Nesi, B A; Ngcobo, B T; Ngwenya-Mabila, P C; Nkadimeng, M F; Nkwinti, G E; November, N T; Ntombela, M L D; Nxesi, T W; Nyalungu, R E; Nyambi, H V; Oliphant, M N; Oosthuizen, G C; Pandor, G N M; Patel, E; Peters, E D; Pikinini, I A; Pilane-Majake, M C C; Qikani, A D N; Radebe, J T; Radebe, B A; Radebe, G S; Ralegoma, S M; Ramatlakane, L; Ramatlhodi, N A; Ramokhoase, T R J E; Rantho, D Z; Raphuti, D D; Scheepers, M A; Semenya, M R; September, C C; Shabangu, S; Shope-Sithole, S C N; Sibande, M P; Siwela, E K; Sizani, P S; Skosana, J J; Skwatsha, M; Smith, V G; Sotyu, M M; Surty, M E; Thabethe, E; Tleane, S A; Tobias, T V; Tom, X S; Tongwane, T M A; Tseke, G K; Tseli, R M; Tsotetsi, D R; Tuck, A; v R Koornhof, N J J; Van Rooyen, D D D; Van Schalkwyk, S R; Williams, A J; Xego-Sovita, S T.
Question not agreed to.
Amendment accordingly negatived.
Question put: That the motion moved by the Chief Whip of the Majority Party be agreed to.
The House divided.
AYES - 192: Abrahams, B L; Adams, P E; Adams, F; Bam-Mugwanya, V; Bapela, K O; Basson, J V; Bekwa, S D; Beukman, F; Bhengu, P; Bhengu, F; Bhengu, N R; Bilankulu, N K; Bogopane-Zulu, H I; Bongo, B T; Booi, M S; Boshielo, S P; Capa, R N; Capa, N; Carrim, Y I; Cele, M A; Chikunga, L S; Chiloane, T D; Chueu, M P; Coleman, E M; Cronin, J P; Cwele, S C; Davies, R H; Didiza, A T; Dlakude, D E; Dlamini-Dubazana, Z S; Dlodlo, A; Dlomo, B J; Dlulane, B N; Dunjwa, M L; Faku, Z C; Frolick, C T; Fubbs, J L; Gamede, D D; Gcwabaza, N E; Godi, N T; Goqwana, M B; Gumede, D M; Hanekom, D A; Holomisa, S P; Jafta, S M; Jeffery, J H; Johnson, M; Kalako, M U; Kekana, H B; Kekana, P S; Kekana, E; Kekana, C D; Kenye, T E; Khoarai, L P; Khosa, D H; Khoza, T Z M; Khoza, M B; Khunou, N P; Kilian, J D; Koornhof, G W; Lesoma, R M M; Luyenge, Z; Luzipo, S; Maake, J J; Mabasa, X; Mabe, B P; Mabe, P P; Mabija, L; Madella, A F; Madlopha, C Q; Maesela, P; Mafu, N N; Magadzi, D P; Mahambehlala, T; Mahlalela, A F; Mahlangu, J L; Mahlangu, D G; Mahlobo, M D; Maila, M S A; Majola, F Z; Makhubela-Mashele, L S; Makhubele, Z S; Makondo, T; Makwetla, S P; Malgas, H H; Maluleke, J M; Manana, D P; Manana, M N S; Mantashe, P T; Maphatsoe, E R K; Mapulane, M P; Martins, B A D; Masango, M S A; Masehela, E K M; Maseko, L M; Mashatile, S P; Mashego-Dlamini, K C; Mashile, B L; Masondo, N A; Masuku, M B; Mathale, C C; Matlala, M H; Matshoba, M O; Matsimbi, C; Mavunda, R T; Maxegwana, C H M; Mbete, B; Mchunu, S; Mdakane, M R; Memela, T C; Mjobo, L N; Mkhize, H B; Mmemezi, H M Z; Mmola, M P; Mmusi, S G; Mnganga - Gcabashe, L A; Mnguni, P J; Mnguni, D; Mnisi, N A; Mogotsi, V P; Mokoto, N R; Molebatsi, M A; Moloi-Moropa, J C; Morutoa, M R; Motimele, M S; Mpumlwana, L K B; Mthembu, J M; Mthembu, N; Mthethwa, E M; Mudau, A M; Muthambi, A F; Nchabeleng, M E; Ndaba, C N; Ndabeni-Abrahams, S T; Ndongeni, N; Nel, A C; Nene, N M; Nesi, B A; Ngcobo, B T; Ngwenya-Mabila, P C; Nkadimeng, M F; Nkwinti, G E; November, N T; Ntombela, M L D; Ntshayisa, L M; Nxesi, T W; Nyalungu, R E; Nyambi, H V; Oliphant, M N; Oosthuizen, G C; Pandor, G N M; Patel, E; Peters, E D; Pikinini, I A; Pilane-Majake, M C C; Qikani, A D N; Radebe, J T; Radebe, B A; Radebe, G S; Ralegoma, S M; Ramatlakane, L; Ramatlhodi, N A; Ramokhoase, T R J E; Rantho, D Z; Raphuti, D D; Scheepers, M A; Semenya, M R; September, C C; Shabangu, S; Shope-Sithole, S C N; Sibande, M P; Siwela, E K; Sizani, P S; Skosana, J J; Skwatsha, M; Smith, V G; Sotyu, M M; Surty, M E; Thabethe, E; Tleane, S A; Tobias, T V; Tom, X S; Tongwane, T M A; Tseke, G K; Tseli, R M; Tsotetsi, D R; Tuck, A; v R Koornhof, N J J; Van Rooyen, D D D; Van Schalkwyk, S R; Williams, A J; Xego-Sovita, S T.
NOES - 103: America, D; Atkinson, P G; Bagraim, M; Baker, T E; Balindlela, Z B N; Basson, L J; Bergman, D; Bhanga, B M; Bozzoli, B; Brauteseth, T J; Breytenbach, G; Buthelezi, M G; Cardo, M J; Carter, D; Chance, R W T; Davis, G R; De Freitas, M S F; De Kock, K; Dlamini, M M; Dreyer, A M; Esau, S; Esterhuizen, J A; Figg, M J; Figlan, A M; Filtane, M L W; Gana, S M; Groenewald, P J; Grootboom, G A; Hadebe, T Z; Hlengwa, M; Horn, W; Hunsinger, C H H; Jongbloed, Z; Kalyan, S V; Khubisa, N M; Kohler, D; Krumbock, G R; Kubayi, M T; Lees, R A; Lekota, M G P; Lorimer, J R B; Lotriet, A; Louw, E N; Mabika, M S; Mackay, G; Mackenzie, C; Macpherson, D W; Madisha, W M; Maimane, M A; Majola, T R; Malatsi, M S; Marais, E J; Matlhoko, A M; Matsepe, C D; Maxon, H O; Maynier, D J; Mazzone, N W A; Mbatha, M S; Mbhele, Z N; Mbinda, L R; Mcloughlin, A R; Mhlongo, T W; Mileham, K J; Mncwabe, S C; Mncwango, M A; Mokgalapa, S; Motau, S C; Mpontshane, A M; Msimang, C T; Mubu, K S; Mulder, C P; Mulder, P W A; Ndlozi, M Q; Nkomo, S J; Plouamma, M A; Rabotapi, M W; Redelinghuys, M H; Robinson, D; Ross, D C; Selfe, J; Shelembe, M L; Shinn, M R; Shivambu, N F; Sithole, K P; Stander, T; Steenhuisen, J H; Steenkamp, J; Steyn, A; Stubbe, D J; Swart, S N; Tarabella Marchesi, N I; Terblanche, J F; Twala, D L; Van Dalen, P; Van Damme, P T; Van Der Merwe, L L; Van Dyk, V; Volmink, H C; Vos, J; Walters, T C R; Waters, M; Whitfield, A G; Wilson, E R.
Question agreed to.
Motion accordingly agreed to.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order, hon members, the House is now in session.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: House Chairperson, may I address you in terms of Rule 81?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Please do.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: The DA would like to request a declaration with your indulgence, on a matter to explain the amendment that’s been put.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Declaration of Vote in accordance with Rule 81. Hon Steenhuisen, I think it would be advisable that you should have stated that earlier, but in anyway, you are allowed to. You should have stated that earlier, but you’re allowed to. [Interjections.]
Declarations of vote:
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Bagaetsho, [fellow citizens] the fundamental reasons why this ad hoc committee cannot be the same whitewash as it was the last time, are: Firstly, the President must come to Parliament to account. We’ve just spoken on Vote 2. If we are going to reclaim Parliament as the apex of accountability, we have to ask the executive which is led by the President to come here and account. That’s the first thing.
Secondly, the President is intent on reducing the role of the Public Protector to that of an ombudsman. We simply cannot allow that.
Thirdly, I have written to the Speaker of the National Assembly stating quite clearly on a legal opinion that the report that was tabled by the Minister of Police is: (a) Unconstitutional, (b) it is biased, (c) it is written by a person whose job is dependent on how he writes for his boss if he is going to survive. As Parliament, we cannot simply accept such a biased report.
Fourthly, it is irrational, how can we be telling South Africans, as Parliament, that we think it is sensible that a swimming pool must become a fire pool? This is ridiculous, hon members. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
More importantly, the Special Investigating Unit, SIU, the Public Protector, all of them highlighted the fact that the President did not come to respond to all the questions. Now, we have maintained, the hon member who spoke about President “Angazi”.
UMongameli uthe akazi ukuthi kwenzekeni. [The President said he did not know what had happened.]
I want him to clear that confusion and come to Parliament and explain that he knew and in fact, he complained about the size of the windows. He must come and account to the people of this country.
Fifthly, this expansion, we’ve said quite clearly as the DA, R52 million was wasted on mood lighting, amphitheatre, a cattle kraal and everything else. Can Parliament accept that this amount of money must be wasted for the people of South Africa? I think we must not. So, I am asking in this amendment that if we are going to move ahead with an ad hoc committee, that that committee ensures that the executive is ultimately accountable to Parliament. We simply cannot allow a member of the executive to take charge on this matter.
I ask you today, let’s never surrender Parliament to the executive and more seriously, let us not surrender Parliament to the one man racking ball, who is President Jacob Zuma. I ask that Parliament treat this ad hoc committee as an opportunity to reclaim accountability and hold President Zuma to account so he repays back the money to the people of this country. [Applause.]
Mr N RAMATLODI: On a point of order. I think the hon Leader of the Opposition is using unparliamentary language [Interjections.] by referring to the President as a one man racking ball. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I am not certain about that as unparliamentary.
Mr N RAMATLODI: Could you seek advice, please?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Yes I will seek advice. Hon Mmusi, are you done?
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Ke a leboga. Ke ne ke batla fela go araba. [Legofi.] [Thank you. I only wanted to respond. [Applause.]]
Mr N F SHIVHAMBO: Chairperson, as the EFF we stand to reject with contempt the executive which is investigating itself without mandate. There was never an instruction that the executive must go and investigate itself. An instruction was very clear from the remedial action of the Public Protector that the Minister of Police working with the Minister of Finance must determine how much the President must pay back for the house that was illegally constructed for him in Nkandla.
That is what should be done; we cannot entertain the bioscope of the Minister of Police in terms of this process. We want accountability; we want the President to pay back the money as it is instructed by the Public Protector. We must not undermine the sanctity of this institution. We must not undermine the sanctity of the Separation of Powers.
If you do this, it is not just an insult to this particular process but it is an insult to the constitutional democracy and future generations who will do as you are doing because they are going to undermine institutions that are supposed to support democracy and hold the executive accountable. We must reject a proposal that the executive can determine how and whether it is wrong on certain questions. We must reject with contempt an attempt by the executive and the ANC to undermine our hard won and hard fought democracy. I think that is clarity and we must move forward. Thank you. [Interjections.]
Mr A M MPONTSHANE: House Chairperson, it must be remembered that our member did participate in the first ad hoc committee and to describe it, it was all a charade. On this occasion, one is reminded of the words of the American philosopher, who remarked that minorities in a democracy, sometimes if not always, suffer the tyranny of the majority. This time around, the party is not prepared to go under the same charade and to suffer the tyranny of the majority. Therefore, we don’t see ourselves participating in the proposed ad hoc committee. I thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): We are still listening to the declarations of vote. Staff members, please make sure that the doors are not locked for now. Hon Mulder, continue.
Dr C P MULDER: Hon Chairperson, once the bells have stopped ringing the doors must be locked. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): It is not voting.
Dr C P MULDER: No, but the bells have stopped ringing and the doors must be locked. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Okay.
Dr C P MULDER: Can you just start the clock again please. Hon Chairperson, I would urge all of us to stay back for one second and just to think what we are doing today. We must understand that what we are doing today is going to have consequences and we all know that. We may all be convinced that we are doing is absolutely right but in the end, are we acting in the best interest of Parliament as an institution? Are we acting in the best interest of the public that we say we all serve?
If the motion is adopted or accepted in terms of the proposal, it would mean that the Public Protector’s report and her recommendations of remedial action are simply ignored in total by Parliament. That’s what it means because if you look at the proposed resolution, it only refers to the report by the Minister of Police.
If you look at what the Public Protector basically said, she said that the Police Service, not the Minister of Police, having expertise as well as Treasury should not go and see if there is security or non security because she has already found that. All they should do is to determine the amount of money. Now, the Minister of Police has come all along and says no, there is nothing to be repaid, etcetera. All that I’m saying, hon Speaker, is that we must take very serious cognisance of what the Constitution says.
I want to refer you to Chapter 9 and I can assure you these things will end in the Constitutional Court. Chapter 9 of the Constitution says that the Public Protector is there to protect and enhance our democracy. It then says in subsection 181(3), other organs of state, like Parliament, through legislative and other measures must assist and protect these institutions. They must assist and protect - is that what we are doing today? - to ensure the independence, impartially, dignity and effectiveness of these institutions. Is that what we are doing today? Then subsection 4 states that no person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of these institutions.
All I’m saying, hon Chairperson, is that if we accept this motion by the ruling party today, only the report by the Minister of Police will be in front of this committee. You ignore the Public Protector as if that institution does not exist; we ignore section 1 of the Constitution entrenched with 75% majority that says accountability, openness, responsiveness found in provision of the values of this Constitution. I’m saying to the ruling party: Think. In the end you will all look like fools protecting the President instead of doing what is the right thing to do. You are wrong if you support this. Think before you act. [Applause.]
Declarations of vote:
PROF N M KHUBISA: House Chairperson, hon members, I think we are missing an opportunity here by subverting and whooping Chapter 9 institutions, particularly the Public Protector. This was a grandiose opportunity for us to come clean on this matter. The NFP has been very adamant on this issue that the recommendations of the Public Protector should be applied to the letter; they must be upheld.
What we again notice with regard to the report of the hon Minister is that it’s just a bouquet or a litany of definitions. We never needed any definition of a swimming pool, a kraal, this and that. We wanted to hear what is going to happen with the recommendations of the Public Protector which said a portion must be paid.
Secondly, what is happening to the officials who were found guilty? Are they going to be charged? What about the architectural issues done by the architect? Those questions remain unanswered. In that regard, we feel that this matter will not be laid to rest and will be the travesty of democracy. To just watch the recommendations of the Public Protector and to say it all is travesty of justice and will not lay to rest the fury of the citizens. I think we now stand a chance as Parliament to call for accountability and the NFP is very adamant on that. As we have said before we need to uphold the recommendations of the Public Protector. Thank you.
Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, so what is different since the last time we considered the Nkandla issue is that now we have a judgement by Justice Ashton Schippers. Yes, we, in the ACDP, said the Public Protector’s report is binding as a court of law. Judge Ashton Schippers has differed from that. He said it is not binding.
However, what he did say is that, and I want to quote because it’s very important that we understand:
The fact that the findings of and remedial action taken by the Public Protector are not binding does not mean that these findings and remedial action are mere recommendations which an organ of state may accept or reject.
Now, what is an organ of state? Parliament is an organ of state. The Ministry of Police is an organ of state. He goes on to say “disregarding the findings and remedial action subverts the Public Protector’s powers under section 182 of the Constitution”. So clearly, we, as an ad hoc committee, must consider the Public Protector’s report. If we don’t do that we will be subverting this very judgement of Judge Ashton Schippers.
So, I would appeal to you, let us consider these issues together. We cannot take the one issue alone because it will end up in court again. We’ve already got guidance on this issue now. We, from the ACDP, would implore the ANC to consider this motion as it is directly in line with Ashton Schippers’ judgement and if we don’t we’ll be subverting the powers of the Public Protector. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Madam Chairperson, the first thing we must decide is what is the issue before this National Assembly now? Is it that we discuss the merits and demerits of the matter here and now or whether we must set aside time for the discussion of this matter. That’s a procedural issue, but it’s important because other people are now talking to substance and others to procedure.
First of all, our own position is that it is important that we discuss both issues. Perhaps, if I look at the motion that is before us, the motion says we must talk to procedure. We must decide on procedure whether we said a committee should go and discuss this and then bring a recommendation. That is what the original motion by the Chief Whip of the Majority Party says. Is that what we want to decide? If we decide on that issue we don’t need to go into the merits of the matter.
If we set up that committee then the committee will go and everybody can go and say what their attitude and position is on the matter and then bring that back here. Our own attitude has always been clear right from the beginning. It was – and I’m making the same mistake that I’m saying we should not be making, because I’m commenting on the substance.
Right from the beginning Cope said that the issue of the report of the Public Protector cannot be considered or reviewed by any structure other than the courts. Justice Schippers said the same thing. He said it is not a decision equal to that of the courts. Therefore if anybody, whether it is the President, the executive or anybody, wanted to challenge that they are entitled to take it to the courts, which means only the courts have the power to review and decide whether the Public Protector’s report – yes, I’m just saying what the court has said not my opinion; I’m saying what the court said - it said only the courts, if asked by anybody to review the Public Protector’s report may do so.
We can set up this committee and go and say whatever we want to say there, if we disagree, we think, those of us who feel like it are entitled to take the matter to the Constitutional Court and say the matter must be reviewed. But then we don’t need to sit here the whole night arguing about what is in order and what is not in order. I thank you for giving me extra ten seconds. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Mr L R MBINDA: I just want to make an appeal to the House because I don’t want the public to feel that their intelligence is undermined. Secondly, I think we all know the functions of the Chapter 9 institutions. I think it will be proper, as hon Lekota has said, if we have issues with the report of the Public Protector then it must be referred to the Constitutional Court.
We cannot interfere with Chapter 9 institutions or the Public Protector’s report. So, the PAC of Azania, perhaps I must say it in full, we would rather prefer that we uphold the recommendations because my understanding is that the security, the police or hon Nhleko, did not even have and it was not even in his competence to do this task. It was not within his competence. So please, we must not undermine his competence or the intelligence of the South African citizens. That is my appeal. Let us rather refer this matter to the Constitutional Court so that it can determine whether we can interfere with the Public Protector’s report. Thank you.
Mr M L W FILTANE: Hon Chair, hon Ministers and hon members, first, my message is that we need to show respect for the judiciary and their pronouncements. If we fail to do that as this institution, we are sending a clear message to all criminals and potential criminals out there that they can do anything and that even we, as Members of Parliament, have got no respect for the utterances of the judiciary.
Secondly, we’ve got to respect institutions that we have set up ourselves as Parliament. Let us show respect to the Public Protector’s office so that that office can also do its job very objectively. It will help to stabilise our country which is already tittering on something I don’t want to mention at the moment simply because there are so many people who do not as yet see that we are in trouble.
Thirdly, let us respect the fiscus. Members are paid for every minute that they spend here. Now, we are debating a matter that should have long been closed had we applied our minds objectively. We are going to be paid for debating this matter today. Many hours have been spent already and that’s fiscus going down the drain and people out there are starving. Let us respect the fiscus.
The fourth point is the country’s reputation in every which way is under threat and it is for this institution to protect it. We are the ultimate; we need to make sure that whatever we decide on as Members of Parliament reflects positively on our country. Where else will the South African public as well as the investors that we need so much to come and invest in our country go to if they feel that Parliament just sends matters to committees which are dominated by one party?
Lastly, on this issue and in closing, I want to say the UDM sees no point at all in establishing a committee which we know from previous experience that it is going to be dominated by a party which owes allegiance to the President who was elected by that same party, is not going to serve any useful purpose. Thank you.
Mr N T GODI: I’m going to apply my mind and not my attitude to the issues. Firstly, I think hon House Chair, there is a motion before us, and instead of talking to the motion, most of the people who were at the podium spoke about the report by the Minister of Police. [Interjections.]
I’m here to talk to the motion that the DA has proposed and make my declaration on that motion not the substance of the issues. That is something else. I’m standing to say no, I do not support the motion made by the DA. [Interjections.]
House Chair, the demand that we should call the Ministers of Police and Public Works, the Public Protector and the President actually takes us back to the work of the initial ad hoc committee and yet what we are supposed to be doing is to reflect on the report submitted by the Minister of Police. [Interjections.]
I thought that report was supposed to answer a simple question whether the remedial action called for by the Public Protector has been complied with or how it must be complied with. That is the point. If you are going to call the President and the Public Protector it becomes something completely different.
In a meeting called by the Speaker with the leaders of all political parties, we agreed that when that report is brought before Parliament there should be an ad hoc committee to look at it. All I’m saying is that the motion that has been moved, especially in terms of calling other people, takes us away from focusing narrowly on that report and making a determination whether it is appropriate or not. Thank you.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon House Chair, the members who spoke here are making three big mistakes. [Interjections.] Sometimes, when you listen to them, you think, oh, they missed an opportunity the first time around, because they never got the opportunity in the first ad hoc committee and are kicking themselves asking, “why did we lose the opportunity?”
Rule 138 allows for all these things they are talking about. They can call anybody. They walked out of the committee meeting and they lost the opportunity to call the people they wanted to call. Now, we are dealing with the report of the Ministry of Police. Why would they call other people? You call the owner, not somebody who did not author the report.
Let me correct the second problem ... [Interjections.] ... that is fine. You know, they are all so scared that it will be a whitewash. Again, I must point out your flawed logic.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order, hon members!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: I am left with very little time, so I must rush. They suggested that it would be a whitewash, but they did not to say to the voters, “I was there”; “I did this”. They want to run away from it again so that they can blame somebody else for it. [Interjections.] Now, all these parties that spoke here had agreed to this ad hoc committee – all of them. That is why we suggested this in the motion, because they said ...
... nam ndiyafuna. [I also want to be part of it.]
I want to be part of it.
Mr N F SHIVHAMBO: Chair, on a point of order: The Chief Whip of the ANC says that all of us agreed to the establishment of that committee. We never agreed to that nonsense. [Interjections.] We never agreed to that. You must not paint all of us with the same brush. We never would have agreed to the establishment of a committee which is illegal, in the first place, to do illegal things. We are not part of such corruption. Do not include us in that thing. You must include other people, not us.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, you have made your point. Thank you.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: In the National Assembly Programming Committee, NAPC, this was agreed. That is why it is on the Order Paper. It was agreed that we will establish a committee and it will consist all of these people here. It was also agreed that we will debate it. That is exactly what we are doing. We are complying with what a court decision, hon member from the UDM. The court said that NAPC decisions must be honoured and cannot be changed by any particular individual. They must be rejected by the House, not by individuals.
Now, you are changing what you said. We must respect the decision of the court. We, in the ANC, brought it here because it was agreed to in the NAPC. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order, hon members. Hon members, I would like to remind ... [Interjections.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam House Chair, on a point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): A point of order was first called from this side.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam House Chair, it is simply incorrect for the Chief Whip to say that this was agreed at the NAPC. The first time I saw the resolution was this morning on the Order Paper. It was not put before the NAPC in its current form. That is why we have had to move an amendment. I am happy to pull the Minutes of the NAPC to back that up. However, I think it is wrong of the Chief Whip to mislead South Africa, saying that we agreed to this resolution. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, hon Steenhuisen, your point is made.
Ms N L DUNJWA: Hon House Chair, I was looking at hon Shivambu. Unfortunately, I don’t know whom he was referring to. He said, “voertsek” [Interjections.] I was looking at him and I would like you to rule on that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Please, let me address the hon member. Hon Shivambu, please stand. [Interjections.]
Ms N V NQWENISO: Hon Chair. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon members, let me address ... [Interjections.]
Ms N V NQWENISO: Hon Chair, the member did not see her own member provoking the Chief Whip of the EFF. Your own member provoked the Chief Whip. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Wait, I don’t want to go into that. [Interjections.] I was just calling on the hon Shivambu. Hon Shivambu, did you say “voertsek” in this House to the member?
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: I did not say that, Susan Shabangu is the one who said “voertsek” to me. She is the one who said “voertsek”, “voertsek” to me. She has been swearing at me throughout here.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Who is Susan Shabangu?
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: It is the lady who is standing up over there. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Who is this lady? [Interjections.] Hon Shivambu, can we please respect each other and call one another, honourable.
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: How can I respect a person who tells me to “voertsek” here? Should I respect a person who tells me to “voertsek”? I don’t respect Susan Shabangu, and I will never respect her.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Shivambu, do you deny that you said that?
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: I never said “voertsek”. It is her who said “voertsek” to me.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you very much. Sit down. I will come back to you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES RESPONSIBLE FOR CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Chairperson, I am rising on a point of order.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Point of order, please, comrade, we are dealing with a matter ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Chief Whip, let us allow him to speak. [Interjections.] Hon Makwetla, please continue.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES (Mr S P Makwetla): Chairperson, on a point of order: The presiding officer asked the hon member whether he said what he is alleged to have said. Hon member Shivambu said no. He is out of order, hon presiding officer, because I heard him sitting here saying that. [Interjections.] What he was responding to and why he said what he said is not the issue, but he said “voertsek”, and I heard him. He is out of order saying he did not say that.
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS: Hon Chairperson, I was looking at him. I heard him. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you very much.
Ms H O MAXON: Hon Chairperson, I was looking at her and I heard her. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you. Can I rule on this matter? Please take a seat, hon Shivambu. Hon Dunjwa, the unfortunate part is that the presiding officer did not hear it and the question was asked to the hon Shivambu and he said no.
Therefore, I am unable to call on the hon Shivambu to withdraw. However, let me just say this – hon Lekota, I am intimidated by your hand - hon members, we cannot regenerate to that level. Please, let us not do that. I have ruled; we will continue as such. Can we please continue? Thank you.
Ms H O MAXON: Chair, I think I must correct you. You are supposed to ask Susan if she did say so. [Interjections.] Yes. You must be consistent with your ruling, Chair. Earlier on you failed to do what you are doing now when Connie was there at the podium. You said you were waiting for you staff to advise you. Now you are changing. You must be consistent with your ruling if you want us to respect you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, please sit down. I am not going to take any further points of order on this matter.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Sorry, House Chair, it is a matter of procedure: The doors are supposed to be locked, ANC members walked out at the back there and another one just walked out that door over there. The doors are supposed to be locked. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): This is a voting session, the doors are supposed to be locked. Your point of order is sustained. [Interjections.]
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Chair, on a point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): No, hon Shivambu, please.
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Yes.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I think I have ruled.
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: No, but there is a point of order. Susan Shabangu said “voertsek” to me. It is a matter of fact. You must check if she said that and she must withdraw. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Shivambu, please take your seat. Hon Shivambu, there was a member who stood up on a point of order. That is the order I was addressing. [Interjections.] ... Listen, no, no, no, no. You did not rise on a point of order. You were responding and I have ruled on the point of order. I said that I could not tell you to withdraw, because I did not hear that communication between the two of you. However, I plead with you, let us not do that in this House, please.
Ms H O MAXON: Chair, on a point of order: I am rising on Rule 70. Susan Shabangu told the Chief Whip of the EFF to “voertsek”. Can you check with her if she said that?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms MG Boroto): Hon member, unfortunately, I don’t know any Susan Shabangu.
Ms H O MAXON: Then let me correct that, the hon Minister Susan Shabangu. She said “voertsek” to the commissar, the hon Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you very much. May I ask the hon Minister to stand. Hon Minister, did you say “voertsek” in the House to another member?
The MINISTER OF WOMEN IN THE PRESIDENCY: Hon Chairperson, I did not say that. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you very much. The same ruling will be affected now. I did not hear her say it, so I cannot ask her to withdraw that. Please allow us to continue.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon House Chairperson, I just want to clarify what the hon Steenhuisen said. We were in a National Assembly Programming Committee, NAPC, meeting when the Speaker told us that she received the report. It was last week Thursday, and she said in that meeting, today, we are going to establish a committee.
What we were supposed to consult each other on was the composition of ... Yes; it was the composition of the committee. That is what we consulted each other on, but that this committee will be established today, we are agreed in that National NAPC meeting, and the DA has been asking as to when is the report coming to Parliament because they wanted us to establish a committee even before we receive the report. That is the honest truth.
Mr J H STEENHUISEN: Sorry, House Chair. I didn’t ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (MS M G Boroto): No! I am not going to allow a dialogue
Mr J H STEENHUISEN: So, you are making a liar out of me by not allowing me to continue.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): No, hon member, please.
Mr J H STEENHUISEN: House Chair, you are making ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member!
Mr J H STEENHUISEN: Hon House Chair, thank you for order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, please sit down!
Mr J H STEENHUISEN: I am making a point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (MS M G Boroto): Please sit down! And please, sit at the back. Hon members, I think a point has been made and we continue with the work of today. Thank you very much. Hon members, this is the voting time.
Question put: That the amendment as moved by the Leader of the Opposition be agreed to.
Declarations of vote made on behalf of the DA, EFF, IFP, FF Plus, NFP, ACDP, Cope, PAC, UDM, APC and ANC.
The House divided.
Question not agreed to.
Amendment accordingly negatived.
Question put: That the motion moved by the Chief Whip of the Majority Party be agreed to.
[Take in from Minutes.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Are there any objections to the motion? Right! In light of the objection those ... [Interjections.]
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Chair, on the now motion which was put by the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, we want to make declarations. We did on ... [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Wait, hon member. Can I respond?
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Okay!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): In terms of Rule 81, the officer presiding over a vote has a discretion as to whether or not to allow parties to declare or state why they are in favour of the vote or not. In exercising that discretion, the Chair will take into account of the opportunity members have had to express themselves on the matter before the House for decision. [Applause.] In this instance, I have given parties to an opportunity to express themselves on this matter. And these declarations have been wide-ranging and not only restricted to the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition. I am therefore, not allowing further declarations on this matter.
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Chairperson, it looks you have a different Rule Book. There is no discretion of the Chairperson here, in terms of this Rule Book. The Rules of the National Assembly does not say discretion of a Chairperson here. Don’t invert Rules to try to short cut processes, please. Rule 81 provides for declarations to be made before a vote is made and we have made a request for declarations. Where do you get that?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Let me just say it because it talks about the PO here, the presiding Officer may. Thank you. I think this issue has been closed and we continue.
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Chairperson, when you spoke first here, you said you are copying something there and you mentioned the word discretion.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Yes!
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: There is no discretion there. And in terms on how these things have been operating, is that we are allowed to give declarations before a vote is taken. Can you please allow us to give declarations?
The HOUSE CHAIPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Shivambu, I am not going to allow that. You are not going to play semantics. Please seat down and we continue with the business of the day.
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: You are still reigning nonsense.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I am not going to sink that. No! Hon members, I was still on the question. Order, hon members. Hon, don’t worry. Are there any objections? I still repeat.
Question put: That the motion moved by the Chief Whip of the majority Party be agreed to.
The House divided.
Question agreed to.
Motion accordingly agreed to.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT ON STRATEGIC PLAN AND ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN (BUDGET VOTE 31) OF DEPARTMENT OF SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT FOR FINANCIAL YEAR 2015/16
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WATER AND SANITATION ON VOTE 36, 2015-2016 STRATEGIC PLANS AND ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLANS OF DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND SANITATION AND ENTITIES
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COMMUNICATIONS ON BUDGET VOTE 3: DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND ENTITIES
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ON BUDGET VOTE 22: OFFICE OF CHIEF JUSTICE AND JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ON BUDGET VOTE 21: JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ON BUDGET VOTE 18: CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ON BUDGET VOTE 30: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (2015/16)
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS ON BUDGET VOTE 19: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SPORT AND RECREATION ON BUDGET VOTE 40: SPORT AND RECREATION SOUTH AFRICA
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ARTS AND CULTURE ON BUDGET VOTE 37: DEPARTMENT OF ARTS AND CULTURE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION ON BUDGET VOTE 6: DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION (ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS, 14 MAY 2015, P 1614).
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ENTERPRISES ON BUDGET VOTE 9 AND STRATEGIC PLAN FOR 2015/16 – 2018/19 OF DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND INDUSTRY ON BUDGET VOTE 34: TRADE AND INDUSTRY
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND POSTAL SERVICES ON BUDGET VOTE 32: DEPARTMENT OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND POSTAL SERVICES AND ENTITIES
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ON BUDGET VOTE 25: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT FOR 2014/2015 FINANCIAL YEAR
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON POLICE ON 2015/16 BUDGET VOTE 23, ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN AND 2014-2019 STRATEGIC PLAN OF DEPARTMENT OF POLICE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON POLICE ON 2015/16 BUDGET, ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN AND 2015/16-2019/20 STRATEGIC PLAN OF PRIVATE SECURITY INDUSTRY REGULATORY AUTHORITY
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON POLICE ON 2015/16 BUDGET VOTE 20, ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN AND 2015/16-2019/20 STRATEGIC PLAN OF INDEPENDENT POLICE INVESTIGATIVE DIRECTORATE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON POLICE ON 2015/16 BUDGET, ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN AND 2015/16-2019/20 STRATEGIC PLAN OF CIVILIAN SECRETARIAT FOR POLICE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING ON BUDGET VOTE 15: HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES ON STRATEGIC PLAN, ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN AND BUDGET OF DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES (VOTE 24) AND ENTITIES
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WOMEN IN THE PRESIDENCY ON STRATEGIC PLANS AND ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLANS (BUDGET VOTE 13) OF DEPARTMENT OF WOMEN IN THE PRESIDENCY AND COMMISSION FOR GENDER EQUALITY FOR FINANCIAL YEAR 2015/16
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ON BUDGET VOTE 17, STRATEGIC PLANS AND ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLANS OF DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND ENTITIES FOR 2015/16
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LABOUR ON BUDGET VOTE 28: LABOUR AND STRATEGIC PLANS OF DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR (2014/15 – 2018/19) AND ENTITIES
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION AS WELL AS PLANNING, MONITORING AND EVALUATION ON BUDGET VOTE 10: DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION AS WELL AS PLANNING, MONITORING AND EVALUATION ON BUDGET VOTE 8: DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING, MONITORING AND EVALUATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HUMAN SETTLEMENTS ON BUDGET VOTE 38: HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, STRATEGIC PLAN AND ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENERGY ON BUDGET VOTE NO 26 OF DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE ON STATISTICS SOUTH AFRICA’S STRATEGIC PLAN AND ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN (BUDGET VOTE 12)
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE ON NATIONAL TREASURY AND SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE STRATEGIC PLANS AND ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLANS (BUDGET VOTE 7)
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS ON BUDGET VOTE 11: PUBLIC WORKS AND STRATEGIC PLANS 2015-2016 AND ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLANS OF DEPARTMENT, PROPERTY MANAGEMENT TRADING ENTITY AND ENTITIES
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS ON ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN AND BUDGET VOTE 4 OF DEPARTMENT OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM ON BUDGET VOTE 39: RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TOURISM ON BUDGET VOTE 33: TOURISM
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON MINERAL RESOURCES ON STRATEGIC PLAN AND BUDGET VOTE 29 OF DEPARTMENT OF MINERAL RESOURCES FOR 2015/2016 FINANCIAL YEAR
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH ON STRATEGIC PLAN (2015/16 TO 2019/20), ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN (2015/16 TO 2017/18) AND BUDGET VOTE 16 OF DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT ON BUDGET VOTE 35: TRANSPORT
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON BASIC EDUCATION ON BUDGET VOTE 14: BASIC EDUCATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HOME AFFAIRS ON ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLAN AND BUDGET VOTE 5 OF DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS
There was no debate.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon House Chair, I move:
That the Reports be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report on Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan (Budget Vote 31) of Department of Small Business Development for financial year 2015/16 accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Vote 36, 2015-2016 Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans of Department of Water and Sanitation and Entities accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 3: Department of Communications and Entities accordingly adopted (Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters and Inkatha Freedom Party dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 22: Office of Chief Justice and Judicial Administration accordingly adopted.
Report on Budget Vote 21: Justice and Constitutional Development accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 18: Correctional Services accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 30: Science and Technology (2015/16) accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 19: Department of Defence and Military Veterans accordingly adopted (Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 40: Sport and Recreation South Africa accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 37: Department of Arts and Culture accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 6: Department of International Relations and Cooperation accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 9 and Strategic Plan for 2015/16 – 2018/19 of Department of Public Enterprises accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 34: Trade and Industry accordingly adopted (Democratic Alliance dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 32: Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services and Entities accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 25: Economic Development and Annual Performance Plan of Economic Development Department for 2014/2015 financial year accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on 2015/16 Budget Vote 23, Annual Performance Plan and 2014-2019 Strategic Plan of Department of Police accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on 2015/16 Budget, Annual Performance Plan and 2015/16-2019/20 Strategic Plan of Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on 2015/16 Budget Vote 20, Annual Performance Plan and 2015/16-2019/20 Strategic Plan of Independent Police Investigative Directorate accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on 2015/16 Budget, Annual Performance Plan and 2015/16-2019/20 Strategic Plan of Civilian Secretariat for Police accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 15: Higher Education and Training accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan and Budget of Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Vote 24) and Entities accordingly adopted.
Report on Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans (Budget Vote 13) of Department of Women in the Presidency and Commission for Gender Equality for financial year 2015/16 accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 17, Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans of Department of Social Development and Entities for 2015/16 accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 28: Labour and Strategic Plans of Department of Labour (2014/15 – 2018/19) and Entities accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 10: Department of Public Service and Administration accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 8: Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation accordingly adopted (Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 38: Human Settlements, Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote No 26 of Department of Energy accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Statistics South Africa’s Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan (Budget Vote 12) accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on National Treasury and South African Revenue Service Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans (Budget Vote 7) accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 11: Public Works and Strategic Plans 2015-2016 and Annual Performance Plans of Department, Property Management Trading Entity and Entities accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Annual Performance Plan and Budget Vote 4 of Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 39: Rural Development and Land Reform accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 33: Tourism accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Strategic Plan and Budget Vote 29 of Department of Mineral Resources for 2015/2016 financial year accordingly adopted (Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Strategic Plan (2015/16 to 2019/20), Annual Performance Plan (2015/16 to 2017/18) and Budget Vote 16 of Department of Health accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 35: Transport accordingly adopted
(Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Budget Vote 14: Basic Education accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
Report on Annual Performance Plan and Budget Vote 5 of Department of Home Affairs accordingly adopted (Economic Freedom Fighters dissenting).
POINT OF ORDER
I want to get back to the point of order raised when the hon September was speaking.
The use of the phrase empty vessel in the context used by the hon September does not reflects on the character or integrity of the member referred to. It is a political statement or judgement and can be defended or disputed in a debate. It is therefore, not unparliamentary.
The House adjourned at 19:15.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
THURSDAY, 28 MAY 2015
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
The Speaker and the Chairperson
1. Membership of Committees
(1) The following members have been nominated by their parties to serve on the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Probing Violence Against Foreign Nationals.
African National Congress
Bhengu, Ms NR
Dubazana-Dlamini, Ms ZS
Gumede, Mr DM
Kenye, Ms TE
Mpumlwana, Adv LKB
Ramatlakane, Mr L
Mnisi, Ms NA [Alternate]
Chance, Mr RWT
Motau, Mr SC
Inkatha Freedom Party
Mncwango, Mr MA
United Democratic Movement
Kwankwa, Mr NLS
- Membership of Committees
- The following changes to Committee membership have been made by the African National Congress:
Portfolio Committee on Police
Discharged: Mathebe, Ms DH
Appointed: Ramathlakane, Mr L
Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs
Discharged: Maluleke, Ms JM
Appointed: Nyambi, Ms HV
Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry
Appointed: Kalako, Mr MU
Williams, Mr AJ
Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Appointed: Kekana, Mr E [ALTERNATE]
Committee on Public Accounts
Appointed: Chiloane, Ms TD
Portfolio Committee on Communications
Discharged: Kalako, Mr MU
Appointed: Van Schalkwyk, Ms SR
Tsotetsi, Ms DR
Nkadimeng, Ms MF
Matshoba, Ms MO [ALTERNATE]
Portfolio Committee on Labour
Discharged: Nkoana, Mr HF
Appointed: Mjobo, Ms LN
Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources
Discharged: Mdaka, Ms NM
Appointed: Nyambi, Ms HV
Portfolio Committee on Public Works
Appointed: Madlopha, Dr CQ [ALTERNATE]
Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology
Discharged: Mjobo, Ms LN
Appointed: Mabe, Mr PP
Tuck, Ms A
Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development
Appointed: Khoza, Mr TZM
Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services
Discharged: Mabe, Ms PP
Appointed: Siwela, Mr EK
Khosa, Mr DH [ALTERNATE]
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
- The Speaker and the Chairperson
- 2015 First Quarterly Report of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), tabled in terms of section 23(1)(c) of the National Conventional Arms Control Act, 2002 (Act No 41 of 2002).
1. The Speaker
- Report by the Minister of Police in reply to recommendations in the Report of Ad Hoc Committee on Report by President Regarding Security Upgrades at Nkandla Private Residence of the President, as adopted by the House on 13 November 2014.
Please see pages 2017-2019 of the ATCs
Please see page 2019 of the ATCs
FRIDAY, 29 MAY 2015
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
- The Speaker and the Chairperson
- Submission of the Financial and Fiscal Commission on the Division of Revenue Bill for 2016-2017, tabled in terms of section 9(1) of the Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Act, 1997 (Act No 97 of 1997), as amended.
TUESDAY, 2 JUNE 2015
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
The Speaker and the Chairperson
1. Assent by President in respect of Bills
- Division of Revenue Bill [B 5 – 2015] – Act No 1 of 2015 (assented to and signed by President on 30 May 2015).
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
- The Minister of Finance
- Corporate Plan and Shareholder’s Compact of the Land Bank for 2015/16 – 2017/18.
- Municipal Budgets for the 2014 Medium Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework (MTREF), tabled in terms of section 24(3) of the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (Act No 56 of 2003).
- The Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform
- Report and Financial Statements of the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights for 2014-15.
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