Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 22 Aug 2019
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 22 AUGUST 2019
Watch Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zeujzo311aw
PROCEEDINGS IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:00.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
The Speaker announced that the vacancies which occurred in the National Assembly owing to the resignations of Mr S Besani and Ms Z C Faku had been filled by the nominations of Ms C Seoposengwe with effect from 9 July 2019 and Ms P Faku with effect from 1 August 2019, respectively. The members had made and subscribed the oath in the Speaker’s office.
The Speaker announced that, in terms of Rule 34, Mr A H M Papo had been designated as Parliamentary Counsellor to the Deputy President, with effect from 25 July 2019.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Speaker, hon members, I would like to start off on a historical note. Today is the 125th centenary or anniversary of the formation of the Natal Indian Congress which was formed on 22 August 1894. The Natal Indian Congress was one of those organisations that campaigned hard and strongly against the apartheid system, and it is up to us today that we should applaud those who were members and leaders of the Natal Indian Congress because they became part of the congress movement which today is the governing party of our country. [Applause.]
The economic growth and job creation is indeed the apex priority of this administration. We have articulated this time and time again. It is nearly one year since I announced the economic stimulus and recovery package to get the wheels of our economy turning once again. So, it is up to us that we should now take this opportunity to provide a brief report back on what we have achieved in terms of meeting its key objectives.
We said we would implement growth-enhancing reforms in pursuit of igniting economic activity. One of those reforms which we would want to look at is what we have done in relation to the visa regime to attract more tourists and more highly skilled professionals to our country. The Department of Home Affairs recently issued a list of countries that will receive visa waivers, among them countries with high tourism potential from the Middle East. An e-visa system will soon be piloted as part of modernising our current system. The Department of Home Affairs is working with the Department of Higher Education and Training towards refining a list of critical skills that will inform future regulations.
We have introduced trade measures to safeguard key agricultural sectors like the poultry industry, and in the process, protect local jobs. The policy directive for the release of high demand spectrum gazetted on 26 July 2019 will help to draw fresh investment into the digital and telecoms sectors. Towards our goal of making it easier to do business in South Africa through reducing port and rail tariffs, the Ports Regulator in November
announced a tariff decrease of 6% and also decreased container and automotive cargo dues.
We said we would move forward with agrarian reform. Funding to the tune of R3,9 billion has been released to support black commercial farmers through the Land Bank. To promote greater certainty in the use of land for productive activities we have finalised over 1,400 30-year leases.
We said we would revitalise industrial parks and three new parks have been launched in the 2019 financial year in Ekandustria, Garankuwa and Nkowankowa. We said we would reprioritise public spending to support more social infrastructure. We have already exceeded the target of filling over 2 000 critical medical posts to address challenges in the health care system. Between 2018 September and July 2019, the Industrial Development Corporation, IDC, approved upwards of R14 billion in infrastructure funding for roads, human settlements, water infrastructure, schools, student accommodation and public transport.
To support job creation, an amount of R600 million has been provisionally allocated to support rural and township economies. The Employee Tax Incentive has been extended to 2029 to enable more employers to take advantage of its provision to hire more young people.
I recently met the leaders of business, labour and communities at National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac, together with the Deputy President to review progress in the implementation of the Jobs Summit commitments. While there has been progress in some areas, all constituencies agree that the depth of the unemployment crisis means that we have to do more, but more importantly, we have to do it much faster. We have therefore agreed that I, together with Deputy President, will convene regular meetings with all Nedlac constituencies to review progress, and where necessary, take action to resolve problems.
As we outlined in the state of the nation address in June, we are responding to the dire employment situation by addressing the structural weaknesses in our economy, developing skills that
match the needs of the economy, boosting investment and fixing state-owned enterprises, and in particular, our electricity generating enterprise called Eskom. Further measures to reduce our fiscal deficit and debt ratios will be announced in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement by the Minister of Finance in October.
This administration is pursuing a purposeful industrial strategy in which we work closely with social partners to develop master plans for sectors with high potential for growth. Government has already begun work with sectors such as clothing, textiles and footwear, poultry, the sugar industry and steel and downstream metal fabrication. Funding to the tune of R600 million has been allocated over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, to support the clothing and textile sectors.
In June, a number of Chinese companies signed agreements with their South African counterparts to buy more than R25 billion of South African made goods. These will help to boost production, growth and jobs in the local economy. Another opportunity that beckons for us as South Africans is the African Continental Free
Trade Area Agreement, which is planned to come into effect on 1 July next year. This is expected to fundamentally help in reshaping our own the economy.
Already, exports to other African countries support about
250 000 South African jobs. I have just come back from Tanzania, where we entered into a number of agreements with the Tanzanian president in relation to enhancing economic growth between the two countries. We have 228 South African countries operating in Tanzania and therefore African Continental Free Trade Agreement gives them an enormous platform to export finished goods from our shores here into the rest of the continent.
To improve the levels of investment in the economy, we will host the Second South Africa Investment Conference from 5 to 7 November. This will build on the success of the first conference where commitments of some R300 billion were made by local and international companies in support of our R1,2 trillion investment drive. Of the R300 billion committed at the inaugural conference, around R250 billion worth of projects are in the implementation phase.
There has been a significant turnaround inflows of foreign direct investment, surging from R26,8 billion in 2017 to R70,7 billion in 2018. We are working on a set of priority reforms to improve the ease of doing business and reducing the cost of compliance. Technical working groups comprised of
officials in the various relevant departments have begun work on five of the indicators with regard to starting a business, paying taxes, registering property, trading across borders, and dealing with construction permits.
One of the constraints to growth in our economy is the high level of economic concentration. Earlier this year, I signed the Competition Amendment Act into law, and major sections of this Act have come into operation already. The new laws will give the competition authorities the ability to address abuse of dominance and high concentration that keeps small and emerging companies out of being key players in our economy.
The combined efforts of DTI and the IDC and partnerships with the private sector are expected to provide support of well over R40 billion to black industrialists over the next five years,
thus enhancing our radical economic transformation project. The IDC is expected to provide R11 billion in support of women- empowered enterprises alone, and further funds will be made available for youth enterprises. Through spatial interventions like special economic zones, reviving local industrial parks, business centres, digital hubs and township and village enterprises, we are bringing economic development to local areas.
We are working to develop small and medium enterprises in our cities, townships and rural areas and create market places where they trade the products that they make. If we are to achieve the South Africa we want, we need to forge durable partnerships with government, business, labour and communities as well. Government is hard at work to create an enabling environment, use public resources wisely and invest in developing the country’s human potential. In arriving at this, we have been listening and interacting with a number of role players – listening very closely to the suggestions that they are making and we implement those that we find have efficacy. Business and labour needs to act together to promote our country’s national strategic objectives.
Early in the sixth administration, I engaged with the National Planning Commission to tap into the collective wisdom embodied in that esteemed collective of South Africans. In playing their advisory role, the National Planning Commission continues to develop research and insights to support strategies towards inclusive growth. There are no easy or quick solutions to low growth and unemployment. This is an important part that we need to be aware of.
When we introduced the economic recovery and stimulus package, we said that this is a package with South African characteristics. It was not your typical stimulus plan which is akin to what is done in other countries because in other countries they have quite a lot of money and pump money into the economy to stimulate economic activity and growth, as well as to stimulate demand. In our case we reprioritised and we had to come up with measures. These interventions take time to gain traction, by their very nature, and we are already seeing them gaining time or gaining traction and all we would say is that it require hard work, smart policy choices, commitment and above all, close cooperation among all social partners. We have embarked on a journey and this journey will become clearer as we move on in the next month. Thank you very much, hon Speaker. [Applause.]
Ms J HERMANS: President, the ANC notes the extensive interventions made to improve the economy. Further in the state of the nation address, you also announced that, as part of this stimulating investment, government will co-ordinate work to resolve challenges by investors and reforming investment promotion policy architecture, including the reform measures for ease of doing business.
The concerning matter for us as the ANC and all South Africans, is the rise of the unemployment rate as reported by Statistics SA in its quarterly labour force survey. Can the President further share with us the interventions and developments government has made to build on these positive developments to reduce unemployment and create jobs.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Unemployment in our country is unacceptably high. We have identified it as the biggest risk that our country is facing at the moment, and this is particularly so amongst young people. We are therefore moving forward with various interventions. Last year we said that we have embarked on the Youth Employment Service project, and that is gaining traction. It is attracting a number of young people and a number of young people are participating.
We however have a number of other interventions that we are going to embark upon with a number of other social partners. The Jobs Summit interventions are also aimed at precisely addressing the unemployment challenge and these interventions are being implemented as we speak, and the interventions that we are also making in relation to addressing youth unemployment are also being implemented and we have set up a programme management office in the Presidency to focus specifically on the issue of youth unemployment and we are working with various partners, the private sector, labour and various government departments.
We believe that we will be able to address it effectively, but more importantly, we need to be creating that conducive environment in our country for investments to take place. It is for this reason that we are moving with great confidence to the investment conference in November where we believe we will be able to attract more investments to come into our country.
Early indications are that a number of investors are actually very keen to come and invest in our country, including local investors who are already panel beating their various proposals for further investments in our economy. Much as we are, we are seeing an increase in unemployment, but we are also seeing a glimmer of some hope because those who had given up looking for work are now beginning in earnest to look for work, and hence the numbers have gone up. Clearly, we have to move much faster - much quicker, because every year the number of unemployed young people just increases the number of the unemployed people in our country. We are addressing this.
All I would say is that this is a national challenge. All of us need to put our heads together - work together to see the extent to which we can address this problem. It is a major risk. What we have embarked upon, in the form of the stimulus package with South African characteristics is meant to address precisely this. What we are going to be announcing in the next few months is going to be aimed at addressing precisely all these. Daily, we are preoccupied with the best interventions that we can embark upon to address the unemployment challenge. We are working on it, much as the entire world is now facing low growth, we would like to boost more and more growth.
As I said, we look to the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement as one of those boosters for economic growth in our country and we are therefore calling upon businesses to look at this as a great opportunity, because many countries as we travel around the continent are saying that they would rather be trading with us as South Africa rather than trading with other trading partners that are far off in other countries offshore.
We have a great opportunity and we can crank back to life our manufacturing base and reindustrialise our country and get the skills set that is needed to operate in our economy. All these interventions are interlinked and we will be seeking to make sure that they produce the ends that are required to get our economy moving forward. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Mr President, let me acknowledge your comments when you started off by commending the Natal Indian Congress. I hope that many of my colleagues in this House will realise the role that the Natal Indian Congress played in the liberation of our people in this country. Mr President, the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP, appears to have been very successful. We have challenges in the health sector and in the police sectors in terms of human resources. You have said that you are going to create 5 million jobs in 10 years, which is about 200 000 per year, but at this stage there is about
500 000 jobs needed for unemployed people.
Mr President, could you not introduce the similar system of the Expanded Public Works Programme into the health sector and into the SA Police Services which are underresourced so that at least these youth, particularly those that are idling, will not be destructive but have something to do and you can pay them a stipend. Thank you.
The SPEAKER: Hon members, please remember that if you are not the person who posed the question, you must limit yourself to one minute to make your supplementary question. If you are the person who put the question, you have two minutes to do that. Mr President?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you, hon Speaker. The police would be the first to tell you that they are understaffed. The Minister of Police continuously tells us in Cabinet and elsewhere that our population has increased and in 1994 we had a police service that had a number of police officials and that number has not increased much and at the same time the population has gone up. In order to fight crime, he is in need of more police officers who will be able to do the work that the whole nation expects of them. So, there is a great need there.
You are now saying that we should introduce the EPWP type of programme – I would think that the training of police needs to be more of a long-term process that requires careful choice and careful training. The Minister is in discussion with the Minister of Finance to see the extent to which this challenge of staff shortage in the police service can be resolved. With all this, he has to have the balance. There is a need of balance that has to do with whether we can be able to try and reduce the costs, particularly the salary bill level because the more we employ more people, the more the salary bill goes up and then we need to have a very good balance and at the same time focus on the security and safety of our people.
On the health side, we have a number of community health workers. When Minister Motsoaledi was the Minister of Health, he kept saying to me that the World Health Organisation has said that we need to employ closely 800 000 people who will make sure that primary health care take root in our country - and of course we don’t have the money and the budget for that, but there is a great need for community health workers. More of them need to be brought into the work that needs to be done to secure a good health regime for our people.
Hon Shaik Emam, there is a great need with regard to the EPWP. The EPWP has always been a very good stopgap measure that has assisted our people - and through it we have been able to employ no less than 4 million people in the life of its administration. Even in this case we are seeing ourselves in this administration bringing in well over 4 million people who do absolutely outstanding work. Some are involved in the health sector; some are involved in environmental matters and some are involved in road building.
I have spoken about this quite extensively in this Parliament – in this National Assembly. Yes, we need to increase more people to participate in EPWP. We will need to see the extent to which some of them can actually be brought in to work in other disciplines, but most definitely, a vote for EPWP is the best that has been done for our people because it has helped to alleviate the challenges and the poverty that many of our people are going through. Thank you, Madam Speaker. [Applause]
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr President, Eskom has already said that any growth will result in load shedding. The next challenge is the fact that your government is unclear about its own policies. You went overseas and you told people that you are going to guarantee private property rights, and you came back to South Africa and said that you are going to advance expropriation without compensation. You tell people elsewhere that in fact the Constitution guarantees the independence of the Reserve Bank ... [Interjections.] ... and then your own party comes out and says that they are going to nationalise the Reserve Bank.
Now, Mr President, on both those matters you have policy confusion. Here is the most crucial question. Your party has already come out and told the people of this country that in actual fact it is going to prescribe assets, which in simple terms means that they are going to take the people of South Africa’s pension money that they have worked hard for all their lives. [Interjections.] Mr President, I want to ask - in the context where investment is down, growth is down and unemployment is at a record high - will you tell the people of this country whether you support the prescription of assets and the stealing, and the nationalisation of pension funds of South Africans? [Applause.] [Interjections.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Speaker, thank you very much. The more I listen to the hon Maimane, the more it seems like a broken record ... [Interjections.] ... it really does. [Interjections.]
I don’t know how many times ... quite seriously. I mean I always try to deal with members with the greatest respect. When a member regurgitates the same issue, question time after question time, no matter how many answers you give him ... the confusion is quite big on this side. [Interjections.] This for me is regrettable. It is quite regrettable. [Interjections.]
Madam Speaker, I have over and over again outlined the economic trajectory of our country and just so you know and understand. It is an economic trajectory that is well appreciated by people in business, by people that we meet overseas, even at the World Economic Forum. In a few days – in 10 days or so, we will have the whole of the world – the investing world – coming here. We are going to have a World Economic Forum, the Africa version, right here in the city. I would like to invite him to come and walk close to me so that he can hear precisely what the investing world is saying about our economic policies. [Interjections.]
Madam Speaker, I want to repeat that the ANC has the most progressive policies it has put in place ... [Interjections.]
... the issue of prescribed assets has been discussed over and over again and in the end we are going to pursue policies that are going to advance the interests of our people here in South Africa. We are also going to advance the interests of pension fund holders - the very workers of this country who are members of trade unions and who themselves are the beneficiaries of all these pension funds. Madam Speaker, our policies are very clear, and we are pursuing a strategy and a trajectory of economic policy and reform that is seen as being quite positive by the investing world. Thank you very much.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, may I address you on Rule 142(6) of the National Assembly Rules. That is a
type of response you expect from a loan shark, not from a President. [Interjections.] [
The question was clear and it was, “Do you support prescription of assets?” Then the President has given us meandos; he has not answered the question. Do you support prescription of assets or not? It is a simple question. [Interjections.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Madam Speaker?
The SPEAKER: Honourable ...
HON MEMBERS: Yes or No! Yes or No!
The SPEAKER: Hon President, please take your seat. Hon members, there are times when we need to get very excited because all of us represent people, but when it is important for the country you should allow for people to make responses and listen to the responses ... [Interjections.] No, hon members! You must understand that a presiding officer cannot prescribe how a question is answered here. If you ... [Interjections.] ... Mr
Maimane, I am addressing a point of order from your party, will you give me the respect? [Interjections.] [Applause.]
Now, the quality of response from anybody at the podium or any Minister answering from their seats is not something that you can ask me to put a judgement on. If you are not satisfied with the response that you get, you know there are many ways, hon Steenhuisen, that you can resort to to ask questions. [Interjections.] Please proceed, Mr President.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker ...
[Interjections.] Madam Speaker ...
The SPEAKER: No ... it is okay. Hon Steenhuisen, I hope you are not in a dialogue.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: No, I am not in a dialogue; I am standing on a point of order in terms of Rule 26(4) of the Rules of the National Assembly which states very clearly that the Speaker must act fairly and impartially and apply the Rules with due regard to ensuring the participation of members of all
parties in a manner consistent with democracy. How is it democratic that we come here to ask questions to the President and he is allowed under your watch to simply ignore the question? It was a simple question, “Do you support prescribed assets or not?” The President spoke in meandos about his policies - about all things; he did not answer the question.
This session becomes a joke and irrelevant if this is allowed to happen. And this is how Zuma was created ... [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon Steenhuisen! Hon Steenhuisen! Hon Steenhuisen
... Order, members. The question was answered. [Interjections.] No, if you had been listening ... [Interjections.] ... no, order members! Order! If you have been listening, and your members had not been heckling, you would have heard what the end of that question is. [Interjections.] No, no, members! Hon Shivambu, give me a space to respond to these members ...
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Speaker, can you tell that to sit down, please.
The SPEAKER: Can you please take your seat, sir. Hon members, the question was responded to, and you then rose ...
[Interjections.] No! No, hon members of the DA benches you are not going to prescribe how members will respond to the questions. [Interjections.] If you know ... [Interjections.] No, if you do know ... [Interjections.] No, no, no! Listen to the responses and then if you are not satisfied, follow the Rules. [Interjections.] The next ... [Interjections.] Hon Malema? Hon Malema, can I recognise you after this hon member. Hon Radebe, why have you been standing?
Mr B A RADEBE: Thank you, hon Speaker. First of all, Rule 92 prescribes that once you have made a decision, it cannot be challenged by anyone on the floor of the House ... [Interjections.] ... which is unfair the way the Chief Whip of the Opposition has done. He was basically challenging you instead of following the prescribed Rules. Secondly, the very same Rule which the opposition has raised, Rule 142(6), deals with the issues of follow-up questions. The issue of prescribed assets has got nothing to do with the original question and has also got nothing to do with the response of the President. [Interjections.] I think that we are too generous to offer them that. Thank you.
Mr J S MALEMA: Hon Speaker, I thought the new era would have meant that you allow the President to decide. If he wants to answer again because of the concern raised by the Chief Whip of the DA and the relevance of the question, then it is not for anyone to say that the question is not relevant; it is for the President to decide if the question is not consistent with the main question. Therefore, he has no jurisdiction to speak on behalf of the President, including you hon Speaker. You can give us that advice and take the question back to the President to decide and for example ask, “Mr President, do you wish to say something in follow up question?”
The SPEAKER: Hon members, may I rule for last time on this issue. [Interjections.] Hon President, please take your seat. Hon members, the third supplementary question went to the hon Maimane. Hon Maimane, you actually exceeded your time by 15 seconds; I was patient. [Interjections.] No, it has everything to do with me being tolerant while sitting here ... [Interjections.]
Hon Maimane, the President then went on to respond to the question you put. After he finished responding, there was a point of order. The point of order from the hon Steenhuisen was that in terms of Rule 142(6), that question should be responded to. I responded by saying that the question was responded to; it was not my interpretation. No, no, no, please put your hand down. The response was given from the podium and I then elaborated, hon Malema.
As I sit here I am not the expert, and I am not going to sit there and say you can answer this one or not. If it was a supplementary question and the President has not answered and it was not in line with the principal response, I would have pointed that out to the President. He chose to respond to this one. If a member is not satisfied with the quality of response they have received – that’s my ruling – the member knows what to do, and that is to follow up on that issue. That has been a precedent set in this House and I am not going to change it today. If a member stands up on a supplementary question and that supplementary question has nothing to do with the principal question or the response, I will then rule out. Most of the time
if it is remotely related, I will allow that to the person who is responding whether or not they want to proceed.
I now wish to proceed with the business of this day. The next and the last supplementary question on this is posed by the hon Gardee. Hon President please take your seat. Hon Ndlozi you are not the hon Gardee ... then I must be instructed that he is taking care of the question; he just doesn’t have to automatically jump up. You are taking care of the supplementary question which was lodged by the hon Gardee, please proceed.
Dr M Q NDLOZI: Hon Speaker, you see, the question of prescribed assets is very relevant to the original question by the way because it has to do with the economics, and that is what the question has opened to. I think you need to take this opportunity to give direction to the country because the idea that pension fund investments cannot be used in a time of crisis is completely ridiculous.
President, the NDP, which you were at the centre of composing, has obviously dramatically failed. It promised to reduce
unemployment to 14% by next year. You and I know that that has already gone. It is not time to conceptualise a new microeconomic framework which by the way is going to place the state at the centre of economic production and control.
Historically, there is no country in the world – be it in the West, the East or the Global South that has ever developed without the state being at the centre of production and control. Shouldn’t we pursue that economic route because your NDP has dramatically failed? [Interjections.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you hon Speaker. Let me address two issues; the first issue being this issue that is being repeated by hon Ndlozi, having being raised by the hon Malema which I responded to. In my response I said that the issue of prescribed assets has been raised on a number of occasions in our country. As I responded, I even interposed the key role-players which are labour, particularly in relation to utilising their own pension funds and labour in our country is well disposed towards the utilisation of their assets or their pensions to generate investments.
I happen to know that the Congress of SA Trade Unions, Cosatu’s, view on this issue is in line with precisely what the hon Ndlozi has said. The discussion needs to ensue. We are saying that the discussion needs to ensue in our country and we need to discuss this matter with a view of asking what is it that we can do to utilise the various resources in our country to generate growth in a purposeful manner. Right now as we speak, the one reservoir of public servants’ pension funds is in the Public Investment Corporation, PIC - the Government Employees Pension Fund and the portion of that money is used for developmental purpose in a number of cases that has worked extremely well.
We now need to have this discussion with the pension fund industry and the insurance fund industry in our country - we should have a broad and wholesome discussion. I would encourage all those who have views to come forward with their views. We are faced with a situation where our financial resources have been depleted and we are facing a situation where our developmental needs are enormous. In a number of other places, pension funds funding is utilised for developmental purposes and
for infrastructure and quite often, those pension funds make good returns out of infrastructure developments.
So, I am saying now that let us have that discussion; let it be a national discussion and thereafter as a nation we would arrive at a conclusion that there is efficacy in utilising resources to whatever extent to ensure that we enhance development.
Hon Ndlozi, with regard to the NDP issue, the NDP targets are out of sync; we are way behind the targets that were set by the NDP. I would not say that the NDP has dramatically failed. There are quite a number of things that we are doing now as a nation which are inspired and which are based on what we adopted in relation to the National Development Plan. It is for that reason that when I spoke here I said that the National Development Plan remains the loadstar in terms of a vision for our country and of course hon Ndlozi, I would welcome any opportunity where we can sit and discuss what we then can do.
You posed the question and I can say that the state must be at the centre – at the centre of development in our country. That
is what we have been saying and much of what we have been doing. Precisely what we are doing now is to ensure that the state play a leading role as the regulator. It also needs to play a role in some cases as the investor and we need to be a smart state – a state that is entrepreneurial; a state that will take risks and where the private sector is not able to take risks, the state should be able to take risks.
So, I don’t see much of a difference between what you are saying and what we are seeking to do. What we need to do is to choose sectors – sectors where we can play, and this has been done all over the world. You look even at what we would call the most capitalist country in the world – the United States. It is the United States government that led the way in the creation of Silicon Valley. It is the United States government, through its military that led the way to the creation of the internet and the state, does need to play an entrepreneurial role and a leading role and cede certain industries or sectors that need to come up. A good example is precisely what has happened in a number of countries, China is one and a number of countries in South East Asia have done precisely that.
So, we are not completely in different terms on this matter. We see ourselves as becoming more and more of an entrepreneurial state; a state that will take risks; a state that will work with private sector and lead the private sector to invest more and more money. We see symbiotic relationship between what we do as a government as well as what the private sector can do. Thank you, hon Speaker. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker and hon members, in January 2018 the then President Jacob Zuma appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector, including organs of state.
The Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, Judge Raymond Zondo, was appointed as the chairperson of the commission, having been identified by the Chief Justice.
According to its terms of reference, the commission shall, among other things, inquire into, make findings, report on and make recommendations concerning the nature and extent of corruption,
if any, in the awarding of contracts and tenders to companies, business entities or organisations by government departments, agencies and entities, and in particular, whether any member of the national executive, including the President, public official, functionary or any organ of state influenced the awarding of tenders to benefit themselves, their families or entities in which they held a personal interest.
An HON MEMBER: Bosasa!
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: It should be obvious from these terms of reference that the commission of inquiry into state capture has both the mandate and the authority to investigate matters to which hon Maimane refers.
It is a matter of public record that the commission is indeed investigating various allegations with respect to Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations.
I have deposed an affidavit to the commission regarding any contact or dealings I may have had with persons who have either
appeared before the commission or have been named at the commission in one form or another. I have also said that I would be willing and prepared to appear before the commission at any time that the commission would want to hear me on any matter that may assist it in its work. There is therefore absolutely no reason to establish a new inquiry to investigate a matter that is already being investigated by a sitting commission of inquiry.
As a country, and as leaders, we should direct our efforts towards supporting the Zondo commission of inquiry and urging all those with information relevant to its mandate to make themselves available to the commission.
We also need to support and equip the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, to pursue investigations and prosecutions where there is evidence of criminality.
As for the report of the Public Protector, hon members may know that this matter has been taken on urgent judicial review. We should allow the courts to make a determination on this matter.
Let’s give our courts the opportunity to deal with this matter; whereafter we can then, if you like, have a political discussion about it.
I myself am waiting for the courts to make a determination on this matter and I would like it to be done as urgently as possible. I want to assure this House that I, more than anyone, want this matter to be resolved as soon as possible so that all of us as South Africans can get on with our lives and we can get on with the task of governance in our country. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr President, in 2009 the Special Investigating Unit, SIU, in fact found an improper and corrupt relationship between government officials and the Bosasa group. For the past 15 years Bosasa has gleaned contracts well over R12 billion from various government departments.
In fact, in 2013 Treasury sought to cancel all contracts with Bosasa and have the company blacklisted, but your current campaign manager for CR17, Mr Pravin Gordhan, in his fundraising
effort would’ve known that because he was the Finance Minister at the time.
Mr President, in my hand I’m holding a letter that was sent by your party, the ANC, saying to Bosasa, we want to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to your organisation for this donation and the continued financial support to the organisation, which is the ANC. [Interjections.]
Now, Mr President, your organisation has received R3 million. You were Deputy President of the ANC at the time. I want to remind you of the basics in law. If you are in possession of money deemed from criminal activities, that is also a crime. [Applause.]
So, Mr President, what I want to know is whether today you will undertake to ensure that the ANC repays to the fiscus all the money received from Bosasa for the past 15 years as those monies were in fact derived from proceeds of corruption. Will you commit to the people of this country? [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, one of the observations that was made by the Public Protector against me was that when hon ... I almost said Minister. [Interjections.] Not yet, and maybe never to be. [Interjections.]
When hon Maimane played the same sort of gimmick the last time, the Public Protector, in one of the paragraphs in her report, said, Mr President, when that was done to you, you should’ve actually asked for the copy and said I’d like to reflect on it and I’ll deal with it later. She said, that’s what you should’ve done. She and I differ on her outcomes and conclusions but in this case I want to take her counsel and say to hon Maimane, please give me that letter ... [Interjections] ... and I will reflect on it. [Applause.] Thank you, hon Speaker. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order members. Order! Order! Order! Hon Steenhuisen, you are on your feet.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, it was a supplementary question. It’s only two paragraphs long. We don’t
mind waiting while the President reads and he can then answer. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: No, hon Steenhuisen. The President responded by saying he wants to take time to look at what you are presenting. So can we proceed? [Interjections.] Hon Maimane, you can’t have a second bite at a supplementary. You are making me clever.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: No, it’s not a second bite. I just want clarity. The President has committed to getting back to this House.
The SPEAKER: Yes, he will.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: I’d like to know when. [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: Suka! [Go away] [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon ... [Inaudible.] No, no, no, no, I heard somebody saying suka. [go away.] That is completely out. Please don’t use that language here. We will not degenerate.
Hon Maimane ... Hon President, can you put a date?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: No, hon Speaker, I said I will go back to hon Maimane. That’s what I said. Thank you, hon Speaker. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon Maimane, we will undertake to follow up on your behalf on when this response to your question comes. Thank you. Hon President, the next supplementary comes from the hon Mente.
Ms N V MENTE: Through you Speaker; firstly, President, with the South African economy ... where we do not have money, we do not wish to waste money having commissions that will emanate from other commissions. So, that is just out of order.
Secondly, when the Zondo commission report comes we would like your swift action, like you did with Moyane and like you did with Nomgcobo, and we don’t want any wishy-washy.
Thirdly, we are focusing mostly on your own role that you are playing within the whole corruption saga. You said you would take your son to the police if you found out that he had taken money. You didn’t do that. Now we want you to tell us if you know of any other contribution from Bosasa to your son or to the trusts of your companies, or of anyone that has contributed to you. Tell us how much and if that has been disclosed to Parliament.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Obviously we don’t want the state’s money to be wasted on a number of commissions. One can confirm that. It is for that reason that I said to hon Maimane that we don’t need to establish another commission. These commissions usually cost well over a hundred million and more. We should not be having a plethora of commissions. In fact, our people want the work of the commissions to come to an end so
that we can all get on with our lives. So, I couldn’t agree with you more.
With regard to the Zondo commission, once it has issued its report everybody will be informed of the report and we will make sure that the recommendations are indeed taken forward and implemented.
In relation to my son, the only answer I can give you is that, as I said in this Parliament, he had a clear, pure business relationship with the Bosasa company in relation to work that they were doing in Uganda. It had nothing to do with the work that had been done here in South Africa between himself and the state. So, in my view there’s not much more that needs to be followed up because the contract, which has also been seen by the Public Protector, clearly talks about the business that he was doing with them in Uganda. He himself has gone ahead and said that he is learning in business and that this is one relationship that he regrets having gotten into. So, that puts that aside.
I am not aware of other funds or monies contributed by Bosasa. I do not know of it having been contributed to the campaign or whatever trust. The one that I finally got to know about after the fact is the R500 000 which is now a subject of discussion or litigation between ourselves and the Public Protector in the courts of our country. Thank you, hon Speaker. [Applause.]
Ms J TSHABALALA: Thank you, hon Speaker. Firstly, the Leader of the Opposition should’ve given us the letter written by the then leader, Helen Zille ... receiving an amount of R200 000 from the Guptas themselves. [Interjections.] That is the letter you should be concerned about, not the letters from the ANC. [Applause.] You must not throw stones when you live in a glass house.
Hon President ... [Interjections.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Point of order.
The SPEAKER: Hon Steenhuisen, what is the point of order? Why are you interrupting the member?
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: This is questions to the President, not questions to the Leader of the Opposition. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. Please continue.
Ms J TSHABALALA: You are out of order. In fact, the DA is bankrupt. It’s running out of ideas nowadays. [Interjections.]
President, the question speaks about you duplicating processes. We have the Zondo commission that is ongoing and we would not want to ... we really need to duplicate the processes, unless the DA doesn’t have confidence in the process of the Zondo commission itself. The question is ...
The SPEAKER: Hon Tshabalala, hold on again. Hon Maimane, you rose. What is your point of order?
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, I’m happy to answer the question if the member wants to ... [Inaudible.]
The SPEAKER: No!
Ms J TSHABALALA: I don’t have time to ... [Inaudible.]
The SPEAKER: No hon member, please take your seat.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: We have nothing to hide. [Inaudible.] This is money that was ... [Inaudible.]
The SPEAKER: No, please take your seat. Please take your seat. [Interjections.] Hon members, order. Order! Order! Order! Hon members, we will not disturb a member who asks a supplementary question. In that supplementary ... In that one minute this member has a right to say whatever and to conclude with a question. Please proceed.
Ms J TSHABALALA: Hon President, would you please remind South Africans at large what measures government has taken to investigate allegations of corruption and state capture, and to punish those who are found guilty? Thank you.
Dr M Q NDLOZI: Point of order.
The SPEAKER: Your point of order, Ntate Ndlozi?
Dr M Q NDLOZI: We should be asking questions, not memories. Like remind people ... [Interjections.] What is the question? The ANC is abusing us. I thought you have ideas. There’s no question.
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon Ndlozi, please take your seat. That is not a point of order. Please take your seat.
Dr M Q NDLOZI: Speaker ... [Inaudible.] [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Please take your seat. Order members. Order! The hon President?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, indeed we have set out very clearly — even in our state of the nation address pronouncements — that the whole process of renewal has to mean that we have got to rebuild our institutions, particularly the criminal justice institutions. Rebuild them to a point where
they are able to deal with acts of corruption and criminality. The Zondo commission is executing a very important task which in the end will culminate, yes, in the recommendations that they will come up with. The NPA is also being strengthened on an ongoing basis so that it is able to pursue those who may well find themselves having been involved in corrupt activities.
We are irrevocably committed to this path. It is a path of renewal; a path of rebuilding the institutions in our country and making sure that the rule of law becomes the order of the day in South Africa and that we uphold the tenets that are clearly stated in our Constitution. Thank you, hon Speaker.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Mr President, my understanding is that these commissions and investigations are very selective, and I know that you want to deal with the issue of corruption and state capture or any looting of state resources.
Now Mr President, please tell us why hasn’t anybody to date, and even from this House, been criminally charged for the VBS bank
looting? Could you please tell us, Mr President, and what you are going to do about it? [Interjections.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, I know that there is a great deal of impatience in the nation and a measure of impatience that almost wants to see a conflation of the roles that the executive plays and the roles of independent institutions that we have set up in terms of our Constitution.
We cannot have a situation like that; where the executive is the one that is the executioner of, for instance, justice or prosecution.
We have institutions like the NPA; we have investigative institutions like the police, like the Hawks and like criminal intelligence, and all those are institutions that were clearly and carefully set up by our Constitution to deal with the matters that are germane to the area that they operate in.
The NPA is the one that initiates prosecutions, of course following investigations and arrests by the police. They are the ones that we agreed will be independent. We agreed that they
would execute their task without favour, without fear and without prejudice. Let us allow them, as they are rebuilding, repositioning and refashioning themselves, to do the work that they are constitutionally mandated to do. Let us not interfere in the work that they have to do.
I would like to give them space. I would like to give them all the resources that they need to do this work. So, it is they that must take the decisions on who needs to be prosecuted. It cannot be the President. It cannot be the Deputy President. It cannot be the Cabinet. It must be the prosecuting authority that will take that decision. The day the President does so, it basically means that we have gone backwards once again. It basically means we are conflating the role that an independent agency has to play as well as the role that the executive authority has to play.
So, hon Emam, I hear you and I know there is a great deal of impatience across the nation because they want to see justice being done. Indeed, justice will be done. In my mind I know that they will act because we have appointed good people. The head of
the NPA is very capable in her job. She was carefully selected. She will act, together with her other colleagues. They are now rebuilding, refashioning and retraining, and they will be able to take action. Thank you, hon Speaker. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, hon members, following the release of the Public Protector’s report on allegations against the President, there has been much interest in the country about the funding and operations of, what I would call the CR17 campaign. [Interjections.] As I have already indicated, the Public Protector’s report is currently under judicial review and our independent courts will make a determination in this regard.
Some people have used this opportunity – quite correctly in my view – to debate the issue of political funding. This is an important debate that needs to ensue in our country.
I have also initiated discussion within the political party that I lead. I initiated that discussion in the last national
executive committee, where I said that this whole matter has actually put forward a question that we need to address, as a political party.
However, others have a more sinister agenda, using leaked information selectively to undermine the positive changes that have been brought about in this country since the 54th national conference.
The CR17 campaign was a legitimate, forward-looking and necessary effort to promote the renewal of the governing party and broader society, and it was undertaken under difficult conditions. In its funding and its activities, there was no wrongdoing; let me repeat, no wrongdoing, no criminality and no abuse of public funds or resources. [Applause.] It is important that we note that.
Those who contributed to the campaign, whether as organisers, volunteers, members of the ANC, service providers or, indeed, as donors of one sort or another, including myself, did so out of a genuine concern for the future of the country.
If there were members of the executive who were part of the campaign and who were involved in fundraising, they did so as individual party members exercising their democratic and constitutional right. In this regard, let us be clear, they owe no apology for what they did. [Applause.]
What they did is a matter between themselves and their party, just as it is a matter between me, as President of the ANC, and my party. [Applause.] It is for that reason that I have initiated that discussion within the ANC.
As things currently stand, there are no rules or regulations in place for the disclosure of donations for internal party leadership contests. [Interjections.] I am not aware of that.
Let me be clear, this matter is now before our courts. It is a matter that is going to be discussed by our courts, the extent to which, declarations or disclosures could have needed to be made for internal party-political campaigning. We will wait for the determination of the court in that regard. Once the court has declared, we will then be able to take the matter forward. I
am open enough to say that I want the court to make a determination on this matter.
There is not a provision for the disclosure of such information in the Executive Code of Ethics or in the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interests for Assembly and Permanent Council Members.
I am sure that the hon Malema would agree that it would be unreasonable and potentially prejudicial to expect the disclosure of such information until such time that all candidates and all parties are held to the same requirements of disclosure and transparency. [Applause.]
The Political Party Funding Act, which I signed into law earlier this year, does regulate public and private funding of political parties and requires disclosure of donations accepted. While this Act does not extend to the funding of internal party leadership contests, this is perhaps the appropriate time for this House to consider whether it is necessary and desirable for funding of internal party contests to be disclosed and
regulated. This is the time because it is this House that must come up with solutions.
Do we want internal party-political contests from the governing party right through to the smallest party that is represented here to be regulated? Let us accept it, in political parties, there are contestations for leadership. Hon Malema may be contested by another member in the party and when they contest,
... [Interjections.] Yes, it can happen. I am not wishing that it should happen, but it can happen. Let us put it this way: Hon Shivambu is hon Malema’s deputy. Heaven forbid, one day, it happens that hon Shivambu decides that he actually wants to contest the position of commander in chief, CIC, and he says that he is tired of being a deputy, and that he wants to contest. The same thing may happen to hon Maimane and it may even happen to me. So, when that happens, you then want to get resources so that you can topple the person at the head.
The question I would pose is: Do we want ... This House must discuss it. Do we want those contests that we could get engaged
in, to be regulated, so that there is disclosure of what hon Shivambu will raise as he contests the CIC ...
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Hon Speaker, on a point of order: I think the most appropriate example he must use is hon DD contesting him because that is most likely to happen; not this one. We are still stable here. [Laughter.]
The SPEAKER: I am sure that he is hearing you, but that is not a point of order.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Well, to make you feel better, let me ask: Do we want, when hon Mabuza contests me, as President of the ANC, the resources that he might raise to be regulated by an Act of Parliament? That is the question that we have to raise and we have to discuss amongst ourselves.
I would therefore like to suggest that this Parliament take responsibility for ensuring that the same standards of accountability and transparency are applied to all leaders and
are applied across the board, if that is what we want to do. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr J S MALEMA: Hon President, just quickly to remind your members that in the VBS scandal, 99,8% of the people implicated in that scandal were ANC members. So, they must stop being “judgerag” and saying other things here. [Interjections.]
President, you are elected on a ticket of transparency. You are elected on a ticket of anticorruption as a man who is not scared to open up to society and the country to say what the activities are that you are involved in. Why do you have a problem with disclosing the names of people who have made a contribution to you, even if you are doing that for political-party purposes or contests in the party?
You were the Deputy President; you are the President and you cannot take leave from yourself. You cannot say: Today, I am on leave; I am not a state Deputy President, I am a party Deputy President. At all material times, you are the leader of our country. The sooner you come to the reality that not everybody
is a President of South Africa and stop comparing yourself with other candidates, ... We do not have an interest in them. They have not won. You are the President and you will be held with high standards because you are President. You must never be shocked when we don’t ask similar questions to “nobodies” because you are the number-one citizen who occupies the highest office. Therefore, to compare yourself with nobodies, you are reducing not only yourself, but the office you are occupying.
However, this one, the last one, you will answer me outside: To how many of my members did you give you money? [Laughter.]
The SPEAKER: Order, members! Order!
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, let me start off with the first question and say that yes, indeed, transparency is absolutely necessary and I have no difficulty or problem with the issue of transparency. The act that my lawyers took in asking the court to seal some of those documents is because the documents, particularly the bank statements that were then made available to the Public Protector were, of a number of accounts,
emanating from as early as 2014, when there was no CR17 campaign.
What got to us was just the confidentiality of the information of a number of people. Bank accounts are very sensitive type of documents where all of us, in our bank accounts, transact with whoever and so forth. That is quite private. They went as early as 2014 and during a period when there was no campaign and that is what our lawyers felt needed to be sealed.
In the course of all that, it then encompasses everything. We are going to do a review of all that and I would like hon Malema to keep an eye on the issue of transparency.
And of course, you are absolutely right, as President of the Republic, I know I will be held to a much higher standard. You are absolutely right. I would say that ... You say that I should not see myself as being equal to everybody. I am equal to everybody, but I am held to a much higher standard. I accept that. Let us allow this period of evaluating this whole process
through the courts and thereafter, I will be able to take a view and see how best we handle this situation.
Indeed, I do want to uphold the principle of being transparent and of being straight and being honest, even on this very difficult matter.
Now, you want to know how many members of your EFF we gave money to. [Interjections.] Let me say that the EFF put me in a very embarrassing position because in the end, those members have now been shifted aside. These two colleagues ... I see them as colleagues. They have served in the NCOP and they were my most vociferous opponents and critics in the NCOP. When, as Members of Parliament, right across the board, we discuss, there is a point where there is the question of humanity, where we interact with each other beyond even party lines and see ourselves as human beings. When these two members had great difficulties, which they articulated, we felt that help was needed and they were given help. [Interjections.]
The help was not connected to anything, as I have done with a number of other members as well. So, it was out of a deep generosity, not on your side, admittedly. [Interjections.] That is what it is. Thank you.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, would the President just like to share with the House what his interest rate is. [Laughter.
The SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.
Dr M Q NDLOZI: Well, your lack of transparency seems now to be toxic to the entire country because people receive money and they don’t say who gave the money, even if Parliament says that they must declare. So, your nondisclosure, which you said you are allowed is becoming toxic and is affecting all of us. I don’t think that it is a joke. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon Ndlozi, that was not a point of order.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr President, what we know so far
... I hear members of the EFF have resigned, but we also know that there were four members of this House who received money from CR17 - hon Siweya, Njaveni, Mbalula and Kodwa. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Please, continue. Your time is running.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: No. I cannot, Speaker, as you can hear. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order, members! Order! Order!
... akekho umuntu obhedayo ...
... you are in the House. [Interjections.] No, hon member, that will not be allowed. Hon Maimane, please proceed.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Maybe she is complaining because she did not get paid.
The SPEAKER: No, hon Maimane. Your time is ...
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Sorry, sorry. I know that the President has a prerogative to appoint Cabinet Ministers. That decision must pass the test of rationality. I am not interested in who donated. We now know who money went to. I want to know, whether in his mind, when he was choosing his Cabinet, did the factors of people being paid come into account or was it rewards for the campaign that they led in CR17?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, hon Maimane, the answer is no. I don’t operate like that. The issue of amounts that were deposited into people’s accounts had a variety of reasons. A number of them were active participants in the campaign and they were meant to utilize the money for purely legitimate purposes of making sure that the campaign moves forward. And with all the colleagues that you refer to, there was no expectation whatsoever for any recognition, any return.
The decision to appoint members into the executive is a process that the leadership of the ANC gets involved in. It is a process that the President applies his mind very carefully, and what people have done in whatever campaign and role they have played have nothing whatsoever to do with the reason why they are appointed.
People are appointed in terms of their own capability, their own merit and no other reason. Thank you very much.
Mr N L S KWANKWA: Madam Speaker, the question will be asked by the General.
The SPEAKER: Hon Holomisa, ...
Mnu B H HOLOMISA: Sendiyithathile masiqhube.
USOMLOMO: ... ngicela ukuphawula.
Mr B H HOLOMISA: Kulungile.
The SPEAKER: Hon members, when the person who presses ... I am going to let the General to ask this question. However, General, if you are in the House, you cannot delegate. In this instance, there is no Rule that specifically deals with supplementary questions, so I am going to allow you to do it.
Mr B H HOLOMISA: I even pressed before him.
The SPEAKER: No, I am looking at my order here.
Mr B H HOLOMISA: Hon Speaker and hon President...
... iphi le mali Mhlekazi, kutheni ungakhe usinike nathi apha ecaleni mfondini? [Kwahlekwa.]
The nation and the world have witnessed the ugly public spat between the President and the Public Protector. Not only is this situation embarrassing for South Africa, but it also does not augur well for the President’s new dawn, for your role as custodian of the Constitution and investor sentiments. This Parliament has the necessary powers and authority to look into the Public Protector’s investigation and should hear the matter and deliberate the Public Protector’s remedial action. If you agree, would you be willing to subject yourself to such a process and withdraw the matter from the courts for now in the interest of transparency, please?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, hon Holomisa, I am sensitive to the issue that you have raised. I am equally concerned as President about these happenings between the President and the Public Protector. It does not augur well for our democracy. We should not have important offices in our nation being at loggerheads with each other. It is the same as the President being at loggerheads with the judiciary on a number of matters that could have been solved in a different way.
It so happens that the findings of the Public Protector, we have found, are challengeable in law and in fact. It is for this reason that my advice has been that we should actually go to an arbiter such as our court.
We should not be alarmed when things like these happen. We have a Constitution that regulates the relationship between the various institutions or organs of the state and as long as everything is handled in terms of our Constitution and the law, we should not be alarmed that the wheels will come off.
Yes, we should be concerned politically that the spat is taking place, but in reality, we should rely on the tried and tested ability of our judiciary, which we put in place to be the arbiter in disputes whenever organs of the state don’t agree and whenever individuals don’t agree or individuals and organs of the state.
So, this is what I would call par for the course. It is concerning but it is a valley that we have to go through, so that in the end, we are able to test the decisions of one organ
of state against what may possibly be slightly different when examined by another organ of the state. So, as much as you are concerned, and as I am concerned, let us allow this process to go on.
It may well be that your wish is finally granted - that this matter finally comes back to Parliament and Parliament is given the opportunity to adjudicate on this matter. However, right now
- as they say in law - the case is in limine. In the meantime, let us allow this process to unfold. The good part of it is that it should be done in terms of our law, our Constitution and in terms of the protocols and traditions. We have now evolved, as a new democracy in our country.
Many years later, we will look back at this and we will admire this constitutional statehood that we have, that has served South Africa extremely well. Thank you.
Ms T MAHAMBEHLALA: Hon Speaker, hon President, if in the process of a plethora of investigations emerging today in our country, there is any ... [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon Ndlozi, stop hectoring the member on the ... Stop hectoring the member speaking. You are disturbing her trail. [Interjections.] No, please, proceed, Mme Mahambehlala and address the Chair. [Interjections]
Ms T MAHAMBEHLALA: Speaker, I am not going to be tempted. Hon President, if in the process of a plethora of investigations emerging - and we see today in our country - there is any form of fraud or corruption found, will the President act. Can the President also assure and take the country into confidence in terms of his involvement in the CR17-campaign funding and tell us if the funding was from the taxpayers’ coffers? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, hon Mahambehlala, yes, I am able to say that if there is to be found any wrongdoing, anything that was done against our laws, in the campaign, yes, I will be prepared and willing to act without any doubt or equivocation.
On the issue on whether, in the end, there was any taxpayers’ money utilized, as I said earlier, there was no taxpayers’ money
utilized in the CR17 campaign. That I can state and if it is found to be so, we will then take action. The extent of my involvement is a question that has been raised by the Public Protector and I would like that to be examined by, for instance, our courts, in this regard, because it is a matter that is now being discussed and debated in our courts.
It is going to emanate from whether I knew about the Bosasa- R500 000 donation or not. That matter is being entertained and discussed, and is being adjudicated through the various litigations. The Public Protector has taken a view on that and we have taken a different view.
So, I would like to say that the whole matter of the extent to which I was involved or not involved is a matter that needs to be properly ventilated and clarified. In due course, we will also be able to give a very clear view on this matter. Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker and hon members, South Africa has massive inequalities that require policy change if we are to give our people a better life. We are one of the countries with the highest inequality in the world.
The health sector contributes significantly to a country’s inequality status. Therefore, one of our greatest priorities as a nation must be the achievement of universal health coverage, where all our people have equal access to quality health care. This is essential for the achievement of a better quality of life for all South Africans, and it is also important for social justice, equity and a more productive economy.
We have also signed, as a country, the sustainable development agenda which calls for the introduction of universal health coverage. We are heading out to New York to the United Nations general Assembly meetings to join other countries that are moving towards the implementation of their own version of universal health coverage. As part of our global commitment, we attended and contributed our input at the G20 summit in Osaka in Japan in June this year.
At the summit, we, together with low and medium income countries, were urged to move towards universal health coverage for our countries, and this matter was put on the agenda by the Prime Minister of Japan in the midst of all these other G20 countries. We are on track to do this in our country through the National Health Insurance, NHI, and we have global support in moving towards universal health coverage.
The Elders Group, established by the Former President Nelson Mandela, has issued a statement in support of our efforts towards National Health Insurance. The Elders Group is a group of elders who used to be presidents and heads of state in various countries around the world.
Furthermore, the World Health Organisation is greatly supportive of our efforts to introduce universal health coverage, which has been a fundamental demand of the Freedom Charter for over 50 years. It is for this reason that we are pursuing an ambitious programme to address the problems in our health system alongside the introduction of the National Health Insurance.
Last month, we signed a Presidential Health Compact, which provides a comprehensive and detailed programme to improve our public health system. This historic compact was developed together with all key stakeholders in the health sector including health professionals, health organisations, labour, business, statutory councils, civil society and the users of the health system and academia.
Each stakeholder is committed to practical measures to strengthen the health system. This is essential if we are to ensure that each clinic, each community health centre and hospital in the public and private sector is NHI-ready. The NHI Fund, which we are going to be setting up and set out in the Bill that is now going to come to Parliament, will contract only those hospitals and clinics that meet international quality standards. This approach implies that we will be undertaking measures to strengthen the health system as we implement the NHI.
We are focusing our improvements in human resources, access to medicines and vaccines, building and maintenance of
infrastructure and the safety and quantity of health services. We are working together with stakeholders to improve financial management and strengthen governance, oversight and accountability.
A vital component of this plan is to ensure that the national health information system guides the way policies, strategies and investments are made. Once passed into law, the National Health Insurance Bill, which will become an Act, will go a long way towards achieving universal quality health coverage. We will join a community of nations that are moving towards ending inequality in access to quality health care.
In South Africa, we are confronting severe inequalities where around R250 billion is spent on the 16% of the population who have access to private health care, while only R220 billion goes towards health care for the rest of the population. But the interesting thing is that even those who are covered by private health care, when their allowances come to an end in their medical aids, they are the first to run to the public health
care system. They go there for vaccines and a whole number of other requirements.
There are those who say we must leave things as they are, and by the way, this 16% gets rebates from the government. Therefore, the government subsidises even those who say they have private health care coverage.
We are called upon to retain an unjust system that deprives the majority of South Africans access to the doctors, specialists, allied health professionals that are supposed to serve only a few to the exclusion of the rest. To this we have to say a unanimous “no”. This is unfair, inefficient and unsustainable.
We have enough resources in this country to give every man, woman and child health care, but we refuse because we want to promote interests of a few to the detriment of the rest. We shall change this and we are irrevocably committed to changing this.
Implementing the National Health Insurance while improving the health system has several benefits. The NHI will increase the resources available to hire more health workers, thus reducing waiting times in hospitals and in clinics. Contracting health professionals from the private sector into NHI will increase access to the services of doctors, specialists, dentists, physiotherapists, psychologists and many others.
Through the more efficient allocation of health resources, the NHI will improve access to medicines and equipment, reduce drug stock-outs and improve maintenance of facilities. The NHI Fund will separate the purchase of health services from the delivery of services, thereby increasing value for money. It will help to ensure that funds, staff, medicine and equipment are more fairly distributed. It will further enhance the quality of services delivered because all those who receive contracts will be able to provide services of a specified quality. It will also help improve efficiency, transparency and accountability.
As we have done before with all major policy interventions since 1994, we will ensure effective consultation and engagement
across society at all stages of this process. The quest for universal health coverage is probably one of the most significant public-private partnerships that we will undertake, and it is essential that all social partners are involved in its design and implementation. It will be implemented incrementally and within available resources.
The NHI provides an opportunity to fundamentally transform the health care system in this country to ensure greater fairness, improved health outcomes and a more productive workforce.
Through the NHI, we will be closer to achieving the demand that was set out by our forebears in the Freedom Charter that; “Free medical care and hospitalisation shall be provided for all.” Working together, we are determined to achieve this goal.
I had the occasion to listen to the Prime Minister of Sweden, Olof Palme, before he was assassinated when he told me that the first Prime Minister of their country had ended up in a public hospital. He had had a medical procedure and he was in a ward that accommodated some four or six people.
The following day somebody came and lay in the bed next to his. They started conversing and he asked him: “What do you do for a living?” He answered: “I am a steel worker and I work in a steel mill somewhere”. And the then Prime Minister, Erlander was his name, then said, “I want to tell you something my friend. This is exactly what we were working to achieve; that you, as a steel worker, can come into a hospital and lie next to me as a Prime Minister of this country and both of us can get exactly the same medical healthcare.” [Applause.]
This is precisely what this is about; we want to improve and revolutionise our health care. This is something that we hope to achieve and it is for this reason that the NHI is being piloted and directed from the President’s office. We are going to make sure that the NHI does get implemented and the Bill will be coming to Parliament and we hope that this House is going to revolutionise health care delivery in our country and in our lifetime. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Dr S M DHLOMO: Hon Speaker, to the hon President, there has been some concerns — and we need to attend to them — raised by some
South Africans based on the reports of the performances of some state-owned enterprises, SOEs, which are related to governance challenges and financial irregularities.
These concerns therefore claim that the NHI will become a vehicle for corruption instead of improving access and quality of health care for all South Africans. Can our hon President assure this House and South Africans and the world that NHI will have stringent measures to guard against any possible corruption in its implementation? I thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, hon Dr Dhlomo and hon members, we have learned a great number of lessons out of the experiences that we have been through with our SOEs. We are now committed to improving governance of the running of our SOEs, management and financial management as well.
What we can say is that as we reform and rebuild our state-owned enterprises and improve the architecture, one of the things that we are going to be focusing on is to ensure that we root out corruption of any sort and nature. When we come to the NHI we
are going to make sure that we keep a hawk’s eye on the finances as the NHI Fund does its work.
We will make sure that the lessons that we have learned in our state-owned enterprises — the things that have happened there do not repeat themselves. This is what I can promise you. We want to run a clean shop in our NHI Fund. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr P A VAN STADEN: Madam Speaker, to Mr President, I hear what you say about the NHI but what is your reaction to the fact that certain companies that are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange lost all together an amount of almost R14 billion on close of business last Tuesday due to the fact that the National Health Insurance Bill was tabled in Parliament the Thursday before?
Because of that, in the interest of South Africa, to prevent any further financial losses in our economy, don’t you think it would be better and wise to abolish this programme because of the fact that there are now problems in Britain with the NHS
system, there were problems in Ireland with the system and it was abolished four years after it was implemented there, and we also saw problems in America in the past? Thank you very much.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, to hon van Staden, yes, I did note that a number of companies that are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange lost some value as a result of the introduction of the NHI Bill. That largely happened because there are people in our country who are against transformation, who are bad mouthing the NHI, they send negative and alarmist messages when we are seeking to ensure that there is social justice
Those people do not realise that we could lose everything if we do not introduce a measure like this one. I feel sorry for those who have lost money but losses on the stock exchange happen from time to time. Sometimes it can take a president of another country to say something and the stock market can be wiped out. Sometimes something positive can be said and it goes up. So, that is the vagaries of the market. We cannot say because of that we should now abandon the 84% of our people who need to
gain and benefit from national health care. We cannot say that. [Applause.]
We need to come up with programmes that are aligned with the interest of the majority of our people. What I do know is that when finally the real facts about the NHI do sink in and people understand what this NHI is all about, those stocks will start going up and I look forward to you coming back here and saying to me, “President, now that people understand NHI the stocks of those companies have gone up.” And I want you to thank me when that happens. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N SINGH: Hon Speaker, to the Mr President, I agree with you that universal health care coverage is an ideal that we must all strive for – in fact it is an imperative 25 years into our democracy that we afford all the citizens of this country equal access to health care services.
You mentioned R220 billion for, and I’ll use your words, “the rest” which is the money that is used in the public health care facilities. Are you satisfied, Mr President, and I’ll use your
words again, that we are getting value for money in terms of the R220 billion? Because if you go out there to those called “the rest” they will complain bitterly about the lack of services in primary health care clinics, hospitals, waiting long hours, waiting for operations for six months.
While we are introducing the system, should we not monitor very closely what is happening at our institutions that are being funded from the fiscus? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: One of the reasons why we are opting for the national health coverage is to make sure that our people do get value for money. Right now I would agree with you that the majority of our people are not getting value for money. Our health care system is under a great deal of stress.
If you go and talk to our people who are in the waiting queues in hospitals and clinics they will tell you that they are not entirely satisfied with the health care that they are getting. But things are improving; we are opening new hospitals and equipping our hospitals. With the economic recovery stimulus
package that we announced we needed to employ more doctors and nurses, we needed to equip our clinics and hospitals with bed linen, with beds where there was none, we pumped money into that system and things are beginning to move and improve.
The national health system is going to add to that improvement trajectory that is bound to follow. And when we are able to manage the finance system, the procurement system and the human resources properly, we will then be able, at the management of the hospitals of course, to have a health care system that will be able to bring social justice to our people.
I have no doubt whatsoever that once we reposition our health care, though the health care coverage that we are talking about, our hospitals and clinics will function better.
At the signing of the compact we had an occasion with all these professionals — the professors, the doctors, the scientists and workers in hospitals — to look at an ideal hospital, and we all agreed that this is the type of a hospital that we want and we
committed ourselves to ensuring that we do get that type of dispensation in our hospitals.
So, we built a model, an ideal, and we are going to be working on an ongoing basis to achieve that model and the NHI is going to give us the wings, the mechanics, the mechanism to do precisely that. Thank you, hon Speaker.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Speaker, to Mr President, the public health care system is in disarray. Only last year the department was short of over 18 000 nurses, 2 250 doctors and 150 dentists. In the Eastern Cape alone there were 110 health facilities, that is clinics and hospitals, which were without electricity.
The rollout of the NHI will be meaningless and will only amount to posturing if it is not preceded by a massive investment in public health infrastructural development, in employment and the retraining of medical practitioners. Now, Mr President, what is your government doing to resolve this crisis in public health care?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, to hon Mkhaliphi, what I have been saying about the benefits of the National Health Insurance is meant to precisely address the challenges that you are talking about. For starters, the economic recovery stimulus package that we announced is meant to address the issue of the shortage of staff; doctors, nurse and dentists.
Admittedly, we may not be able to employ all those various thousands that we need this year, but on an ongoing basis as the fund is set up and the process moves on we will be able to employ professionals and workers that we need in our hospitals.
The compact that we signed, and I would like members to familiarise themselves with it, addresses precisely all these issues including the issue of infrastructure rollout to ensure that we have functioning clinics and hospitals that have access to electricity, water, and good management systems. This is going to be possible once we kick start the NHI to ensure that we have the funding and the determination.
Some of this will be done on a programmatic basis where we will be able to see progress as we move on. We are under no illusion that the NHI is going to be the immediate panacea to all the challenges we face in health care. It is going to be a long process but we are committed to embarking on this journey to improve our national health care system and we will be improving infrastructure as well. Thank you, hon Speaker. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA: Hon Speaker, hon
members, the acceleration of land reform is essential for the transformation of society, particularly in relation to tackling poverty and growing our economy.
The Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, which I appointed in September 2018 to provide expert advice on the critical task of land reform, has produced several far- reaching recommendations to ensure that we correct the skewed distribution of land in our country and also address the issue of land use and utilisation. This is necessary if we are to reduce inequality.
Through providing poor South Africans with land on which to farm, to live and to run businesses, we will be able to break the cycle of poverty in which many people are currently trapped. The report of the Advisory Panel has been presented to Cabinet and has been made available to the public.
The report provides a detailed and critical assessment on progress since 1994 and it also outlines some of the weaknesses in our policies and programmes. This report recommends legal mechanisms to recognise, register, record and enforce a continuum of land rights, so that all our people become right holders.
The Panel has called on government to immediately identify well- located and unused or underutilised land and buildings for the purposes of urban settlement and to prioritise poor tenants for upgrading their rights.
The panel argues that expropriation without compensation should happen and it also said expropriation without compensation by
itself, is not a solution to land reform, but is just one of the means and the mechanisms of acquiring land.
The report goes much further to address questions of who should benefit, and promotes a participatory and democratic, area-based approach to identifying land needs. The panel’s recommendations complement and reinforce the work being done by the Inter- Ministerial Committee, IMC, on Land Reform chaired by the Deputy President.
The IMC is making progress in the development of the National Spatial Development Framework, which will guide our efforts to ensure that land use and planning is developmental and transforms people’s lives.
The work that is being done by the Deputy President as well as the IMC has identified number of land parcels that need to be given to our people so that they can have access to land and to work, part of it is through redistribution and restitution.
The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has released
100 parcels of land for land restitution purposes. For the remaining parcels of land, land use studies are being finalised, which include land identified for human settlements.
Progress is being made in the development of an integrated model for farmer support. The model entails the provision of financial and nonfinancial support through the value chain. It is intended that, together with the work already underway, the panel’s recommendations will inform the finalisation of a comprehensive, far-reaching and transformative land reform programme. The work that has been done by the panel obviously will be the work that will complement the work that we are doing here in Parliament in dealing with the issue of the land question.
Cabinet still needs to consider the findings and recommendations of the panel. The report having being presented to Cabinet, Cabinet will release it for debate and discussion throughout the country and will thereafter be able to settle down and give consideration to the recommendations after which it will then make a pronouncement on the implementation of this report. We
hope this will dovetail with the work that is being done here in the National Assembly on the land question. Thank you, hon Speaker.
Mr M HLENGWA: Madam Speaker, Mr President, you will agree that one of the challenges with the report is that there was no consultation in some of the areas in which it did its work. The point in case of course is the issue of Ingonyama Trust. They never met with the board, the trustees, and the originator of the Bill nor the residents nor do those who are administer the land in the jurisdiction of the Ingonyama Trust.
Secondly, is being the naïve political ploy to dirty Ingonyama Trust as part of the deal which saw the IFP contesting elections in 1994, which you are in the position now to clarify that was not the case. Interestingly enough, the person who was there, Mr De Klerk issued a statement yesterday as part of your sufficient consensus arrangement when he explains that Ingonyama Trust was not part of deal that saw the IFP contesting election. I can hand it over to you as well, since you are receiving documents today, Mr President.
What is important is that, I put it to you that do you still stand by the commitment that you made in so far as Ingonyama Trust is concerned vis-a-vis now the recommendations which say it must be reviewed or repealed, which we certainly don’t agree with. You are on record somewhere as having made commitments that the land won’t be touched and so I ask you, to now take those of us who live in Ingonyama Trust who are beneficiaries of that land and the majority of the people living there who are beneficiaries that you are not going to subject us to the process which takes away what it is that makes us who we are on the land that we live on. I thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, and hon Hlengwa, I am able o say that the Cabinet discussed this matter just yesterday and reflected on what we need to do in relation to our dealings with the Ingonyama Trust. This was prompted by a letter which I received from His Majesty the King which I will be responding to, but Cabinet decided that we should appoint and send a number of my colleagues in Cabinet to go and have extensive discussions with various role-players in KwaZulu- Natal, KZN. The following Ministers, Mantashe, Mthembu, Lamola,
Didiza, and Dr Zweli Mkhize will be part of the delegation. They will be working with our Premier, as well as various members of executive council, MECs. They have been given directives by the President to go to engage with various role-players in KZN about this matter and come back and report to me and to Cabinet.
The issue that you have raised that there hasn’t been any consultation is a matter that I note and clearly this is going to be a process of ensuring that there is consultation and proper discussion and I want thorough going discussions on this matter to ensue so that we are able to come to a conclusion.
Remembering that, there have been two entities which are the High Panel Review Report which was led by former President Kgalema Mothlanthe and the other one which I appointed is the Advisory Panel and the process that is also being led by the Deputy President. All these have come with certain recommendations that now need to be discussed.
What I did say is that there will not be any arbitrary action that will be taken, yes, on the Ingonyama Trust. We will need to
sit down and discuss with all the key role-players so that everybody becomes part of the solution. That is what I am able to say to you. So, the team will be going to engage with people like you and the whole range of other people but I will be responding to His Majesty the King as he wrote to me. Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
Mr J S MALEMA: Speaker, President, don’t you subscribe to democratic means of ownership of the land and if you do, does Ingonyama Trust represent that democratic way of ownership of the land, because there are no holy cows here. All of us being King, Queens, and chiefs must be subjected to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. All of us must serve that Constitution and therefore if you subscribe to the democratic means of ownership of the land, do you agree with the recommendations of former President Kgalema Mothlanthe’s Panel? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA: Hon Speaker, hon
Malema, yes I do subscribe to the democratic processes of ownership of the whole range of assets in our country and in
this regard, the issue of dealing with the Ingonyama Trust is a matter that we have to approach in the way that I have outlined. There is need to have proper discussion and consultation.
Consultation is part of a democratic process and it is not something that should be seen as being outside the democratic process. We have always been able to resolve various problems and challenges through discussions and consensus building where there is always give and take and this in the end would be an opportunity for us to do precisely that. Thank you, hon Speaker.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION PARTY: Hon Speaker, I have been engaged with communities all across the country who have made claims for land, one of such is Gwatyu and there are many others. Today, your government has been found against in the Constitutional Court and I want to read to you what the Constitutional Court in fact said. It says that your government jeopardises not only the rights of land claimants, but the constitutional security and future of all. In effect, it proceeds to say, more accurately - South Africans have been waiting for centuries -the department’s failure to practically manage and expedite land reform measures in accordance to the
constitutional and statutory problem profoundly exacerbated the intensity of the debate and the bitterness in our country. It concludes by saying, it is the institutional incapacity of the department to do what the statute and the Constitution requires of it that lies at the heart of this colossal case.
The SPEAKER: Your question?
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION PARTY: So, my question is that, why if the judges are saying the issue is not the Constitution, does your party continue to want to amend section 25 of the Constitution?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA: Hon Speaker, hon
Maimane, the judgement you are referring to was discussed by Cabinet yesterday and we all said that the events that the judge spoke about actually happened and we vowed that we have seen the end of this. It should never ever happen again, where the government of the Republic of South Africa is seen as an obstacle through its own inefficiency, incapability and incompetence to see this type of thing happening.
Now, I was made to intervene in another case and the Deputy President has also been able to intervene in others, where the communities had waited for 15 years and we were able to intervene and get departments to work together.
What we have heard as a government system has been situations where we are working in silos and departments don’t talk to each other for years. We are bringing that to an end and we are saying we now need to have joint up government, where government departments are able to work together from the ministerial level right down to officials at the lower end, where as we approach any issue that impacts on the lives of our people we at jointly. We do it together and we find ways in which we can support and assist one another. So, the situation that you described was clearly outlined in Cabinet and we are going to ensure that comes to an end.
The issue of section 25 is going to be finalised by this National Assembly and let us engage on that debate. I look forward to the debate that will ensue here as we deal with the issue of amending section 25 or not so. Let us engage in that
and sharpen our words so that we bring cogent arguments as to why it should happen and why it shouldn’t happen. So, I am saying let us wait for that moment. Thank you very much hon Speaker.
Ms T BREEDT: Madam Speaker, Mr President, two of the members of the Advisory Panel releases supplementary report. Have you considered the content of this report? Will you take the recommendations into account, specifically looking and the fact that the original report ignores targets set out by the National Development Plan, NDP, declines of the commercial farmers, state’s past failures with regard to land reform and fails to take into the economic impact of expropriation without compensation that have felt already? Thank you, Madam Speaker.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, the Cabinet has received the report and in receiving the report, as they presented that report we had Mr Dan Kriek, who has issued together with Mr Serfontein an alternative report or proposals. Cabinet is going to consider both and debate both and it will deal with the issues that you are highlighting. The impact on
the economy, food security and the various issues that they have raised, because they have raised cogent issues that need to be addressed by Cabinet and indeed they need to be discussed and addressed by everyone else. So, they will be considered. Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker and hon members. While the Constitution enjoins the President to promote the unity of the nation, it is the role and the responsibility of all South Africans to build a country that belongs to all who live in it.
In undertaking my responsibility as the President of the Republic, I am guided in the main by the preamble to our Constitution. Amongst other things, it calls on all of us to heal the divisions of the past, establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights, but also ensure every citizen is equally protected by the law and free the potential of each person in our country.
The achievement of national unity depends on the advancement of equality in all spheres of public and private life.
All South Africans must have the same rights and opportunities regardless of race, gender, sex, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.
Since 1994, we have put in place policies as well as programmes to safeguard these rights and advance these opportunities. We have sought to advance the constitutional principle that everyone has the right to use the language and to participate in the cultural life of their choice.
Given the huge inequality in our society, which is mainly defined along lines of race and gender, the promotion of national unity requires that we take measures to advance those South Africans who have been disadvantaged by unfair discrimination. That is why we have directed public resources towards the poor, why we have implemented employment equity as well as broad-based black economic empowerment, that is why we
have massively expanded access to education, and why we have introduced a National Minimum Wage.
The divisions in our society are not only material; they are also social, cultural and psychological, but they are also historical.
We must, therefore, deepen dialogue to ensure that South Africans across the racial and other contours of difference establish common ground and that there is solidarity as well as mutual trust. These dialogues must address what it means to be an active and responsible citizen of the Republic of South Africa.
It is true that there are minorities that are alienated; then we need to find the reason why they feel alienated. And I would even say, I would hasten to use the word minorities; I would say, there are sort of groups of people who feel that they are alienated.
We need to establish whether it is a matter of perception or the consequence of actual experience, and we need to engage in dialogue to address any grievance or concerns that they may have.
My experience is that the overwhelming majority of South Africans, regardless of race, class or gender, support the measures we have undertaken, in line with the tenets of our Constitution to address the inequalities of the past and to affirm those who were previously disadvantaged. They are in many instances also eager and actively seeking to be part of the solution of building a united nation.
They have built a bridge and crossed over it. They understand that we will never achieve a united, peaceful society for as long as racial privilege or other forms of inequality continue to exist in our country.
Perhaps it is time for us to challenge this idea of the so- called minorities. It is indeed true that South Africa is made up of people of different races, ethnicities, language groups,
religions, but we are all part of the greater South African people. Whatever our individual backgrounds are or circumstances, we are all part of the majority.
South Africa belongs to all of us equally and we must all feel that we belong to this South Africa, regardless of the various differences that we may have, either along the lines of language, regional line, colour lines or whatever. We are all one nation and let us begin to act as one nation. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Dr C P MULDER: Thank you hon President for your reply. I can assure you the FF Plus is ready to engage with your government or yourself on the issue of minorities in South Africa and I think it’s time that we do that.
The true test of a modern democracy is how you accommodate your minorities. Now, I can assure you that minorities in South Africa is not a perception, it’s a reality.
When we address the inequalities of the past, nobody objects to that, but it’s a question of doing the one and not doing the other, what also needs to be done. And if there’s a feeling of alienation, I think we should take note of that.
You referred to the Constitution, which I understand and the Constitution is fine. But it’s also what you as the President are going to do in South Africa, hon President. And the Constitution is quite clear when it says that you need to promote the unity of the nation and that’s what would advance the republic as such.
Now, the problem to a certain extend is that we have seen previous leaders of the ruling party that are almost too busy with promoting the unity of the ruling party and not necessarily of the republic, and that caused a sincere problem.
If you talk about minorities in South Africa, it’s not only the Afrikaner people that experienced [Interjections.]
Dr M Q NDLOZI: Order, order, Mam’Thandie, please be consistent. If it was me you would have said “What’s the question, what’s the question?”
The SPEAKER: Hon [Interjections.]
Dr M Q NDLOZI: No, we need to be treated equally in front of the hon Speaker.
The SPEAKER: Hon Ndlozi, can I ... hon Ndlozi [Interjections.]
Dr M Q NDLOZI: I’m a minority. I mean, really?
The SPEAKER: Please, hon Ndlozi, you’re out of order. The hon member ... hon Mulder
Dr C P MULDER: Yes ma’am.
The SPEAKER: Put the question to the President. He has two minutes before he puts his question. Please proceed.
Dr C P MULDER: Yes. Hon Speaker, it’s time that we workshop the hon Dr Ndlozi, he’s not well-known with the procedures of Parliament. We should get a watch, two minutes is not one minute
The SPEAKER: Please proceed Dr Mulder to your
Dr C P MULDER: Yes, yes, I’ll get back. When he interfered I still had about 30 seconds left, sorry.
The SPEAKER: You actually have 41 seconds, please go.
Dr C P MULDER: Thank you ma’am, thank you ma’am.
Hon Speaker, one of the stalwarts of your organization, two weeks ago, interacted with the former secretary-general of your party, the hon Mantashe, now the Minister of Mineral Resources. And she said the following about minorities “I never thought the day would come where I will be known as a minority.”
He said to me, he jumped up, don’t worry about that I say that is what you say, but what are you as a leader doing to rank and
file, she sat in her office and say I’m not a minority; but outside and within the ANC I, Sophie de Bryun, experience what’s it to be a minority. That’s the reality in South Africa.
Now, hon Speaker, my question. In the last question you indicated quite clearly that you are open for discussions with regard to the Ngonyama Trust, all the different issues. Are you
The SPEAKER: Now, you must round up.
Dr C P MULDER: Yes, I’m doing that. Are you prepared to enter into negotiations with minorities who feel alienated and would like to make a contribution but feel currently not included? [Interjections.] And I’m not asking the back benchers, they know nothing
The SPEAKER: Please address me. The hon the President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, yes, it was interesting to see the battle between the two doctors, Dr Ndlozi and Dr Mulder, quite fascinating.
Yes, the answer is yes, I’m prepared to enter into that type of discussion. And I look forward to a dialogue between us, to discuss precisely the issues.
And I do, Dr Mulder ... hon Mulder, recognize that there are concerns and these are concerns that we need to sit down and talk about. We did do quite a lot of work in that regard.
Leading up to 1994 we used to be able to sit and chat about these matters, and now we’ve been caught up in the process of governance and we now need to start again, to engage in those types of discussions. So, I would like to extend a hand to you and say yes, we will set time aside to have those types of discussions. Fireside chats for that matter. Thank you very much.
Mrs N R MASHABELA: Mr President, there is a growing tendency in society which would like us to believe that unity means forgetting the injustices of the past, which are manifested in the present by pervasive racism, race-based inequality, landlessness and continuing marginalisation of black people from the economic, social and cultural life in the country.
In fulfilling your responsibility to unite the nation, Mr President, what must be the premise of that unity? Should it not be a thorough going transformation of society that includes a rejection of colonialism and apartheid and all that represented, including the inclusion of Die Stem in our national anthem?
Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, hon member, hon Mashabela, that is, yes, unity should not mean forgetting the injustices of the past. The preamble to our Constitution enjoins us to recognise the injustices of the past; it also enjoins us to embark on a journey of doing something about those injustices, together as a nation embarking on a transformative journey. Yes, indeed, rejecting what represented those injustices of the past in the form of colonialism and apartheid.
Transformation must mean that we affirm those who were disadvantaged by the policies of the past and at the same time, while we are on a journey to unite the people of South Africa, taking into account the various concerns that people may raise,
and this we will be able to do in discussion and in active dialogue.
The issue of The Stem, the part of our national anthem is what we arrived as, as a symbol of enabling us to build the nation that we are. And as I said, as we proceed on this basis, compromises, accommodations that need to be mad. And I think that the anthem we have, which is sung in four languages, I once said to one president that I know of no country in a whole world that has a national anthem that is sung at the same time in four languages; in Sesotho, in an Nguni language, in English and in Afrikaans. That is what represents who we are as a nation. [Applause.] And I think we should not reject, we should not reject that which unites us. Everything that unites us we must embrace and we must reject everything that divides us. And if those who hanker for the past want to hanker for the past and for the Vierkleur, know that, that divides us, they must put it aside. We must embrace everything that unites us. Now, [Interjections.]
Mr J S MALEMA: Speaker, on a point of order: We are not talking about Afrikaans, the language. We are talking about Die Stem, an apartheid song that was sang when they were saluting that apartheid flag, which the court said it’s a hate speech yesterday. So, you must differentiate between the language and the song. We have no problem singing Afrikaans. Die Stem, gaan uit [go out]. [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Hon Malema, the point of order unfortunately will not be sustained. Hon President, please continue.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, we need to understand that we have embarked on a journey, a journey which started 25 years ago; and this journey is a long journey, it’s not going to be completed overnight. And it involves understanding one another, being able to be aware of the concerns of all of us and embracing one another as one nation.
We come from different histories, we come from different parts of the country, but the beauty that we have as South Africans is that we are diverse and we’ve got beauty in our diversity and
that is what distinguishes us from any other nation in the whole world, and this is what we must uphold. And it is clearly well- articulated in our Constitution.
So, that is how we need to move forward but at the same time we must be transformative in what we do and reject those things that come from the past that seek to divide us and take us backwards. Thank you very much, hon Speaker. [Applause.]
Ms E M THLAPE: Mr President, the preamble that you have alluded to goes on to say: through our freely elected representatives, we adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the republic. It then goes on: to indicate four key issues that it seeks to achieve.
My question, Mr President, is that what role can the elected representatives of minorities – for lack of better word – what role can they play to allay this subjective fear or feeling of alienation as purported by Dr Mulder? I thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, I think that is a very important question and I would like Dr Mulder in the talks that we will have; we need to address precisely that question that has been raised. What role would the people that you say have serious concerns because they feel that they are minorities, what role can they play to make sure what is set out in the preamble of our Constitution is realised? What role can they play to make sure that there’s social justice in our country? What role can they play to ensure that every citizen is equally protected, even those who under the system of apartheid were disadvantaged and did not enjoy any rights? What role can we play to embrace one another so that we become this nation?
Dr Mulder, hon Mulder, I have found that a number of South Africans who are of Afrikaner origin, a number of them have extended their arms, opened their arms to want to be part of this new South Africa, this united nation that we are, rich in our diversity but also recognising that we can only thrive and succeed as one nation; and never as one section of the nation moving in a different direction. And they embark on a number of projects, a number of things that they do to try and heal the
wounds of the past, to try and advance the interests of those who were disadvantaged in the past. So, to me that is the most important question and I would like, when we sit to discuss this matter, we should also incorporate precisely the issue that has been raised by the hon member. Thank you, hon Speaker. [Applause.]
Mr S N SWART: Hon President, arising from your response, the ACDP, like many others, are extremely concerned by deepening divisions in society and you have alluded to that and it’s mainly along racial grounds and there’s obviously an undoubtedly an urgent need to promote unity, nation building and social cohesion.
And whilst you correctly say it starts with us here as leaders, civil society and faith-based organisations can play a key role. And President, believers in particular, have a ministry of reconciliation and are commanded to love one another and to be peace makers whilst at the same time understanding the need for justice and restitution for the wrongs of the past.
Given that, hon President, do you not think that churches and believers in the nation should be encouraged to reach hands and to find solutions? And if that is the case, and I know that you are engaging in that already, is there not far more we can do to heal the pains of the past and at the same time together reach the potential for this nation? I thank you so much.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, yes, I couldn’t agree more that faith-based organisations and believers have a big role to play in this regard and they have always played a key role in the work of building our nation. Under apartheid ... and yes amen. Under apartheid it was faith-based organisations that led the charge to ensure that we bring the end to the nightmare of apartheid. And they were able to help bind the nation together to heal the wounds of our nation, literally and figuratively. As people were being ravaged and being wounded and killed, they were in the forefront of bandaging the wounded and burying the dead. And they were also in the forefront of ensuring that there is peace. We once went through a horrendous period in our country where peace was nowhere to be found and they are the ones who led the process for the peace accord in
the late 80s and the early 90s. And it is the religious leaders and faith-based organisations and believers that we should once again look to, to ensure that we continue this nation building process.
But they underpin it with what they call moral regeneration. That, yes, the nation should be the nation that adheres to certain values, that adheres to certain morals and with the work that they do, they are committed to ensuring that South Africa becomes a nation that is united and I would agree that this is where the faith-based organisations play a key role and religious leaders play an even important role. And I would say, because ewe at government level have been engaging with the various churches, we held a summit where we brought together religious ... faith-based organisations, we are going to have follow up discussions. And we see a very important role that is played by faith-based organisations in binding this nation together and ensuring that we adhere to a high, ethical and moral code.
So, hon Speaker, I could not agree more and this is the work that we are committed to continuing with. And I’m delighted to hear that the ACDP will be joining us in this most wonderful work to a point where we are able to make a great deal of progress in this regard. Thank you, hon Speaker. [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Hon members, hon members, I got into the firing line today. The hon Mandela and hon Maimane were quick to point out that they were in the list for supplementaries. Indeed, they were. But also the two women members were also on the list. I think it would have been wrong for a discussion on land and on health when women had also pressed, not to have been included and to have had an all male supplementary session. [Applause.] So, if I’ve done anything wrong, because your rules as the NA are not very clear as to how to deal with this, I will apologise.
Also, also, it is important to say that during the question time we must accord every party that reaches out the opportunity to put a question or to put a comment on behalf of their
constituencies. So, if I did anything wrong there then I apologise. [Interjections.] Thank you.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, in terms of Rule 26 of the NA Rules, it is very clear. The prerogative to choose who speaks rests with the Speaker. It’s very clear; you don’t need to follow that order. And I respect your right to do so and that’s why we don’t take points of order when that happens.
However, I would like to take issue with the method which you’ve used today. Because if we go down the road of choosing people based on gender [Interjections.] then we are going to start going down the road of people based on language, on ethnicity and all sorts of you can’t have a debate around land without someone who is Afrikaans speaker asking a question.
And I would urge that in future, that when you’re using your discretion, that we are all equal members in this House, it doesn’t matter what our sex is, doesn’t matter our race is, doesn’t matter what our age is, doesn’t matter what language we
speak. When we sit in this chamber we are all equal Members of Parliament.
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Speaker, we want to assure you that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you having prioritised females in discussing the land question, it can’t be an all male discussion. So, that discretion was revolutionary and we appreciate it. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: I do take what you say hon Steenhuisen and I precisely looked at the different parties to ensure that, that spread is done. I take your point.
Hon members, that concludes the business of the day and this House is adjourned.
The House adjourned at 16:54