Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 31 Oct 2019
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 31 OCTOBER 2019
Watch Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQuUXQcpOQ8
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:05.
The Deputy Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
NEW CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, before we proceed with the business of the day, I wish to announce that I have been informed by the Democratic Alliance that Ms N W A Mazzone had been designated as the new Chief Whip of the Opposition. Congratulations, hon member. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, the only item on today’s Order Paper is Questions addressed to the President.
Dr M Q NDLOZI: Deputy Speaker ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, sir?
Dr M Q NDLOZI: Before we proceed, I just want to check if the President will be using these facilities, because they are obstructing us. [Interjections.] If not ...
Because it is an oral-based interaction, firstly. Secondly, it may be cheating if orally he’ll be looking at that thing when he answers, because then it means it is not an oral reply. Therefore, can we please get a chance for these things to be removed either way?
Firstly, they are obstructing us. Secondly it will be a cheat if the President will be looking at the teleprompter to answer our questions orally. Then it is not an oral reply.
Dr C P MULDER: Hon Deputy Speaker ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, hon member?
Dr C P MULDER: May I address you on the same point of order?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, wait a minute. Let the member sit down. He must do so when he finishes talking. Go ahead, hon member.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Deputy Speaker, if the hon Dr Ndlozi was sitting in his own seat, he would not be obstructed! [Interjections.] [Applause.]
Mr J H STEENHUISEN: Deputy Speaker ...
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: On the same point of order ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, hon member?
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: I’m sitting in my own seat, but I am obstructed as well. He rose on behalf of all of us. We are obstructed. [Interjections.]
Mr J H STEENHUISEN: Deputy Speaker ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, hon member?
Mr J H STEENHUISEN: I have a confession to make. It is my first time today. They are for me! [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, hon member?
Dr M Q NDLOZI: Deputy Speaker, it doesn’t matter. The substantial objection ... [Interjections.] ... has to do with the fact that this is an Oral Session. So, this is not going to be sustainable if the President is being given ... because they are electronic and digital, these things. We have seen a lot of incompetence in answering orally here. We don’t want to subject the President to that. They must go, with the greatest respect, sir.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, let me start with the last point about this being an Oral Reply. The Questions were submitted to the President in advance. Therefore you would expect him to have thought about his responses, so that he can also get them in writing as soon as he finishes. He provided it. He will read his answers. This is what he has done before. The teleprompter is really what ... a choice that he would have made to want to do it so that he can present in a manner that he feels fit
to our convenience but to the convenience of this presentation of the answers we sought from him.
So I would like us to proceed on that understanding, including the fact that there are differences of opinion about this matter. Can you allow me to let us go ahead, hon member? Please, let’s do that. There are substantial issues we want to hear answers to, and so I plead with us to proceed on that understanding.
Thank you for your appreciation.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: It’s still “Deputy”. Thank you, Mr President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Deputy Speaker! My apology! It’s an upgrade. Everybody is getting promoted these days! [Laughter.]
Let me start by congratulating hon Steenhuisen and hon Mazzone for acceding to the new positions. I hope they will execute their responsibilities with the expected effectiveness. Congratulations!
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: That’s where the upgrade is, Mr President! [Laughter.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I had wanted to say to hon Ndlozi, one should be careful what one asks for, because you never know what you can get!
The Minister of Finance used these teleprompters yesterday and they forgot to remove them. So I am taking advantage of what was left. It is a leftover of the Minister of Finance. Sometimes we can pick leftovers up, and they can be quite useful!
Hon Deputy Speaker, let me start off by making an announcement. I have been requested by the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, hon Nathi Mthethwa, who is currently in Japan, waiting to attend the final, to join him. I will do so after this Question and Answer Session.
[Applause.] But he requested. He said, President, I know you are answering Questions in the National Assembly.
Could you kindly make the following announcement, that we would like all South Africans, tomorrow, Friday, at 13:00, to either wear the Springbok jersey if they have one, to pause for a moment of silence wherever they are, and, if they are in vehicles, to blow their horns, so that we send a very clear support message to the Springboks. [Applause.]
Naturally, we expect them to play their hearts out on behalf of all South Africans, knowing that all of us are firmly behind them and that they will lift the Webb Ellis Cup and bring it home where it belongs! [Applause.]
Hon members, the South African economy is in a dire situation. The unemployment figures announced earlier this week underline the extent and the urgency of the challenge we must confront as a nation.
As the Minister of Finance outlined in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement yesterday, the economy is
estimated to grow at 0,5% this year. This is a huge decline from the estimated growth rate.
Public finances are severely constrained and require far- reaching measures to curb expenditure.
As a country faced with this grave situation, we can do a number of things. We can either lament, or we can act. We have chosen to act, to confront these challenges, and to undertake the painstaking work required to rebuild our economy and restore it to a path of growth. That is what we have chosen to do.
The measures that we have embarked upon are in support of the vision set out in the National Development Plan, NDP, which guides the measures that government needs to take to remove race, gender and class as determinants of economic and social advancement.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC (Contd.):
The Medium-Term Strategic Framework provides a five-year programme to advance towards the 2030 vision of the National Development Plan which all of us have embraced.
At the centre of this framework is the achievement of greater economic inclusion which we hope to achieve through growth, job growth, skills development and the reduction of poverty. This is necessary to achieve a South Africa that belongs to all the people who live in it, and where the wealth of the country is shared amongst all its people.
This means that we need to grow the economy and ensure that it benefits all South Africans, not just some South Africans. One of the ways of generating growth - as we all know - in the economy is to increase the level of investment so that we have firms and companies that can create jobs. Our drive to significantly increase investment in the economy is gathering momentum - as we heard from the Minister yesterday.
Next week, we will hold the second SA Investment Conference, where around 1 500 investors and business people will gather in Johannesburg to consider the wide range of investment opportunities in our country. We are heartened by the fact that the turnout to the investment conference has exceeded our expectations in that we have
the number of investors and people who are interested in investing in our economy for the first time and to invest further, who want to come to our conference. We are at the stage now where we are beginning to turn people away.
Vital in the effort to drive investment is our infrastructure build programme. We have said in the past that infrastructure is one of the key drivers of economic growth. It has served us well in the past and we also know how well that drove the economic growth in our country leading up to 2010, where there were cranes throughout the length and the breadth of our country and yellow equipment building and planting infrastructure into our country.
Infrastructure build decreased significantly over the past few years. It was with a view to addressing this problem that we decided to set up the Infrastructure Fund through which we aim to mobilise funds – as I once said in this very House - from various sources, both public and private, to invest in priority projects that will expand the capacity of our economy, create jobs and improve service delivery. Where do we want them to
invest? We obviously want to build bridges; we want to build dams; we want to build roads; and yes, we also want to build social infrastructure like houses, hospitals and all those types of infrastructure built-up projects.
This is taking place alongside and in support of the implementation of an enhanced industrial strategy. As part of this strategy, we are working with industries that have a high potential for growth on master plans to expand their production and contribution to job creation. During the state of the nation address I did say we now want to focus on various sectors of our economy, drill deeper down and see what level of growth we can extract from various sectors of our economy. We have started to do that. Master plans of a variety of sectors are going to be announced soon and some are already ready to be announced.
To address, in particular, the spatial distortion within our economy, which has both racial and gender dimensions, we are developing special economic zones. We are also reviving local industrial parks that have been lying derelict for quite a number of years. We are also
establishing new business centres, digital and innovation hubs.
By supporting small and medium enterprises in our cities, townships and rural areas, we are enabling the entrance of more black South Africans, but more particularly, women into productive and sustainable economic activity. I was overjoyed two days ago to be in the company of a number of women who are running their own businesses, but not just businesses - businesses in the manufacturing sector of our economy.
We have a single-minded focus on the creation of employment on a massive scale. While the economy is creating net new jobs, these are not nearly enough to match the number of people who continue to enter the job market every year. This is because the working-age population is growing much faster than the jobs that are being created in our economy, and the number of people who have now started looking for work again has increased. Many of them were discouraged and as they have seen that there is a potential for this economy to grow, they have now thronged once again to the job marketplace.
While economic growth is absolutely necessary for job creation, we have embarked on specific measures to direct young unemployed people into employment and other economic activity. This programme aims to ensure that every young person in South Africa has a place to go, is given a chance, whether in further education and training, skills development, employment, work experience, entrepreneurship or youth service. We are opening up all those channels to give young people an opportunity to get jobs and job opportunities, and get good training to be ready for the world of work.
We are currently working with our social partners on implementing the creation of jobs in line with what we decided on at the Jobs Summit, focusing on challenges and opportunities in specific industries. As you once heard, the Deputy President, Ministers and I meet our social partners every first Monday of the month to look at precisely the constraints that we can remove to ensure that we implement the Jobs Summit agreements, and we are making progress.
Our economic programmes are fundamentally directed towards the reduction of poverty. We have said that within the next decade, no person in South Africa should go hungry, and that we will eradicate poverty within a generation. This, we are focused on and this is something we want to achieve. This, more than anything else, will help to remove race, gender and class as determinants of social and economic advancement.
We are working on programmes to reduce the cost of living and I have often said the cost of living in our country is rather too high. One is not only focusing on data prices and transport but it is a whole variety of areas where the cost of living is excessively high and has an overbearing effect particularly on poor people. We are focusing on that to improve public transport and expand the asset base of the poor through accelerated land reform and the provision of well-located housing.
We are working to improve the quality and accessibility of health care for the poor and – through the introduction of the National Health Insurance, NHI – to
reduce the massive inequalities between the public and private health sectors.
The national minimum wage, which came into effect or operation in January this year, aims to raise the income of the lowest-paid workers and reduce income inequality. Ultimately, the most effective measure to reduce inequality is education and the development of the skills.
Since the advent of democracy, we have made great strides in making education accessible to black South Africans, women and the working class. Within the next decade, we want to ensure that every 10-year-old child in our country will be able to read for meaning, and have therefore called for a massive reading campaign.
This is taking place alongside the work being done to improve the quality and the outcomes of basic education; the expansion of free tertiary education to students from poor and working-class families; greater investment in Tvet colleges; and the expansion of workplace learning.
As I have said in this House before, nation-building really requires that we take measures to advance those South Africans who have been severely disadvantaged by unfair discrimination. That is why we have directed public resources towards the poor; why we have implemented employment equity and broad-based black economic empowerment policies; and why we have massively expanded access to education.
This is the focus of this government to make sure that we redress the imbalances of the past and we position those who were previously disadvantaged in a way that they can advance and have a better life in this, our beautiful South Africa. Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you. Before we give hon Mantashe the chance, can you members join me in welcoming members of the LGBQTI+ from the Triangle Project in Cape Town. [Applause.] And the pupils and their teachers who have just entered, if I am correct, are from Ceres, welcome to Parliament. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Ceres indeed, not Ceres. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you very much. I will remember the lesson and where I got it from and they are from Nduli Primary School. Thank you very much.
Ms P T MANTASHE: Deputy Speaker, Mr President, in your response you deal with both the progress and content towards building a national democratic society ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, I have just introduced primary school children here. [Interjections.] [Laughter.] You can’t contest with them. Order, please. [Laughter.] [Applause.] And they are absolutely disciplined up there in the gallery. No members allow hon Mantashe to respond. Go ahead, hon member.
Ms P T MANTASHE: ... as per the assertion of the National Development Plan, NDP. Given the plans and progress you outlined, the current statistics and data emerging from
Statistics SA seems to suggest that the desired outcome will be far more protracted than envisaged.
Turning a society and its economy around is a complex matter. Have we built into the programme you have mentioned the ability to measure both the impact of the reduction of inequality and the measure to determine that we are in fact achieving a fairer and more just society? If so, please indicate Mr President. Thank you. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Deputy Speaker, hon Mantashe, yes, we have as part of implementation of the NDP adopted a process through which we want and assess, evaluate and look at the progress that we are making. And fortunately we have got the statistician-general and his office who are doggedly looking at the data and not only the data but our performance, how we are moving the needle to achieve some objectives we have set ourselves up for particularly in relation to meeting the needs of our people which as we do ultimately does have an impact on poverty and ultimately should have an impact on reducing inequality in our country.
For the past 25 years, we have made tremendous progress and if you look at the statistics; we rose in terms of reducing poverty and inequality and we reached a stage where we began to slide down. We became acutely aware of this and this is precisely what we are addressing but we are addressing this in a situation of great economic challenge as alluded to right at the beginning and even during this challenge we are able and we will continue to make sure we do not regress in as far as meeting the basic needs of our people particularly in relation to efforts we are going to make in job creation, in education and in health and also, as I said earlier, in infrastructure build because part of the infrastructure build has an impact on social infrastructure and that too will have a direct impact or a derivative that will reduce poverty as well as have an impact on reducing inequality. So, all the efforts we are making that we are making we want to be efforts that are measurable, efforts that the statistician-general measure in a very direct way.
So, yes we are on course of building this national democratic society that you have alluded to and this we
want to do with all the programmes and the measures and interventions that we embark upon. We are on course the way of improving the lives of our people notwithstanding the economic challenges that we face right now. Thank you, Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Deputy Speaker, you know President, South Africa is the most unequal society in the world and that inequality is based on race where white minorities are rich and the black majority is poor. We have got an unemployment crisis. The NDP had said that by next year unemployment will be 14%; by 2030 it will be 6%, currently, it is approaching 30% in terms of the official definition but overall we have got more than 10 million people who are looking for jobs or are capable of working who do not have jobs. Poverty levels are at a crisis level.
The Minister today said we have got a huge fiscal crisis. The debt-to-GDP ratio is approaching 70% in terms of all these issues and throughout the 25 years of your misdirection of government, there has not been an achievement even of your own objectives either through
the NDP, New Growth Path Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa, Asgisa, Growth, Employment and Redistribution, GEAR, you have never reached anything.
Don’t you think the ANC is not the appropriate vehicle to drive about meaningful economic transformation in South Africa? You have tried everything. You have made lots of commitments but you are not delivering anything. Don’t you think when it comes to the real economic transformation you are a Mabena “failure”? [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I do not think the governing party is an inappropriate vehicle to transform this country; in fact, the governing party is the one that is transforming this country and has done a great deal. [Applause.] Over the past 25 years, everyone admits that we have seen a great improvement in the lives of our people. [Applause.]
That has happened whether you like it or not, whether you agree or do not agree, the people who vote, the voters in this country have always invested their hope and their
trust in the governing party. [Applause.] That, hon Shivambu, is the real litmus test because if the voting people of our country ever had this notion you are talking about they would have voted, possibly, for you. [Laughter.]
Now, the fact that they have continued for the past 25 years to vote for this party which you say is an inappropriate vehicle means that they know precisely what they are investing their confidence in. Now, that is not to say, hon Shivambu, our country is not facing huge challenges and all the issues you have cited are correct, I will grant you that.
We need to generate growth in our economy and I thought you would also touch on the need to change the structure of our economy; you didn’t touch on it and I will say it on your behalf. We need to change the structure of our economy because our economy from the get-go, for over 300 years, has been an economy that has just been constructed and structured in a way where it benefitted or looked after the interest of a minority.
The majority of our people were never ... [Interjections.]
AN HON MEMBER: White people!
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Yes white people. The majority of our people were never really seen as active participants in this economy. Now, if you look at the policies that have been adopted, the laws that have been passed even in this Parliament, you see that efforts are being made to change the structure of this economy to reposition this economy.
If you listened carefully to what the Ministers come and present here, you would have heard that all of them, in terms of laying out the policies, their plans as well as the laws that are put forward to Parliament, are essentially geared to changing the trajectory of this country, transforming this country and making sure that the majority of people of our country get to have a better life and become active participants in the economy.
Now that has happened. Many more black South Africans are beginning to participate meaningfully in the economy.
Young people are becoming more educated and learning the real outstanding wonderful skills that Verwoerd never wanted them to get into. So now that is happening, and my good hon Shivambu, this is a revolution that is underway. You wait and see and this revolution will unfold before your eyes, in your lifetime as well. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Deputy Speaker, Mr President, thank you very much for your kind words and I look forward to these engagements as we deepen our democracy and the service to the people of South Africa.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I am meeting you soon after this to shake your hand.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you. I am looking forward to that and I hope we have a cigar as well. [Laughter.] And Mr President, I couldn’t agree with you more that one of the biggest challenges facing the
country is building a more just society where race, gender and class no longer determines one’s path in life.
The best way to achieve this is through the greatest levellers in our society; quality basic education and quality health care. A good basic education, in particular, underpins an aspiration economy and does more to address inequality than any other intervention. It allows us to ensure equality of opportunity without having to engineer equality of outcome.
If we agree on this, then how do you justify the massive cuts to the provincial governments that were made by the Finance Minister yesterday which undoubtedly are going to have to come from the provincial education and health budget? [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: The challenge that the Minister of Finance and the Cabinet had was how we deal with a number of challenges we face. The first one is, our tax collections have gone down, R53 billion down and that is a hole that needs to be plugged and closed.
Secondly, Eskom, which we all agree plays an overarching role in the economy of our country, needs to be funded and you will say bailed out. Now, if - for instance - the government were to let Eskom go to the wall, this economy would collapse completely and everybody agrees that you need to support the state-owned enterprise because the economic and social life of our country hinges and hangs on the fortunes of Eskom.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC (Contd.): Now, those two... only those two... the lower tax returns... the support that we‘ve got to give to Eskom have sucked out the money that we now needed to fund a number of programmes.
Now, funding those programmes was looked at very carefully by Treasury. And in certain cases we found that a number of departments as well as a number of provinces have not been able to spend all the money that they have been allocated. And treasury is the best-placed entity to be able to have a globe or globular look at all departments because they monitor this on an hourly basis. They have been able – if you like – to suck some money
out of those departments and those provinces that would ordinarily have gone unspent.
What we have sought not to do is to cut spending in a drastic way across the board. And it’s been a process where, for instance, we’ve been able to agglomerate quite a bit of money from all over and the Minister of Finance did meet with his provincial MECs for Finance, he spoke to the Premiers as his did, of course, to his Cabinet colleagues. Everybody realised that we are in a tight budgetary situation or fiscal situation and everybody had to look at how their expenditure is currently configured. And it is from that, that there was a little bit of a come back.
Now, you would say that maybe you should have tried to find money elsewhere. The only way we could have done so is to go and borrow more; and borrowing more, ordinarily, is not the biggest challenge, except where, for instance, you are having rating agencies that are in the process of downgrading us, making our debt much more expensive. We knew that whilst it could have been an option to go and borrow more, right now it is not the most viable option.
We, therefore, had to look at how we, in a way, reprioritise. Reprioritise our spending and cut it down and it is for that reason that he also went to explain to the executive and it will hopefully cascade down even to Members of Parliament in terms of how we travel, in terms of our pay scales and all that.
Everybody focuses on the wage bill. The wage bill has gone up over the past few years excessively high and obviously there are discussions that are going to ensue with labour, so that labour is also in a position to understand precisely where the country is. And we hope that every South African will realise that we are in a situation where we’ve got to cut back on a number of things in order to save for tomorrow; in a few years, maybe two or three.
The tax collection will go up and we will begin to generate more growth into the economy and Eskom and other state-owned enterprises, SOEs, will be able to manage their own finances and we’ll return once more to a much more balanced situation. That is exactly what we are aiming to achieve. The Budget Policy Statement that the
Minister released yesterday is aimed at achieving that; but also sending a clear message.
We are facing a dire situation but we are not yet out, we are still on our feet and we intend to correct a number of areas where we need to put things right, Eskom and tax revenue and whole number of things. We will resolve these problems. That I assure, that is the message I’m putting before all of us as South Africans. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Mr President, in our quest to create a further and more just society, I must admit that millions of people, particularly the poorest of the poor, have been left behind and one of the core reasons for this is the spatial planning which we inherited from the apartheid days but continued 25 years later into democracy; and the City of Cape Town is one good example.
Now, my question, Mr President, is: What is government’s plan to create a more integrated society, taking the poorest of the poor and moving them into more affluent
areas where they could mix and integrate with the other communities with better facilities?
Because in these areas you would find drug and substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, violence is increasing. We have to take them out that environment to create a better quality of life addressing the high levels of inequality in the country. Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Emam, I have said, in this NA before, that clearly the spatial architecture of our country was so designed as to ensure that the poorest people in our country live as far away from the city, from the suburbs, from job opportunities, from cheaper transport nodes, from good schools and all that, as far as possible. And clearly this is the legacy of apartheid and may I say the more visible and ugly legacy of apartheid that poorer people have been relegated way to the back; and it was a deliberate action by the past misrulers of this country. Clearly what we have to do and which we are determined to do is to change the spatial architecture of our country and to change it by ensuring that we bring poorer people into areas where transport
nodes are much cheaper, where jobs are much more available.
This, when we had a conversation with one of the leading economists in the world who is based in Harvard University, Ricardo Hausmann, he said, many other countries bring in all the poorer people into the city, they live where jobs are easily available, where transport is cheaper, where they don’t have to travel long distances, where they are near factories, where they are near economic activity facilities; so that they are able to find jobs, they are able to look for jobs easily and able to travel to work. And this is precisely what we want to do.
Densification of our cities and of our metros and of our urban areas is clearly the programme that we have embarked on.
The Deputy President has been leading a team that is looking at the release of land and recently they came with a proposal to release 14 000 pieces of land which the Minister Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation is
going to be working with, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is also going to be working on to ensure that we bring in more and more people; releasing the land, releasing title deeds and getting people to live in and around the cities of our country so that they are able to have easier access to jobs, to education, to transport, to healthcare facilities and a whole variety of other facilities.
Because as it is now, poorer people are moving more and being moved more and more out of the city areas where there are no services and where there are no facilities.
So, we are determined to correct the apartheid spatial architecture and turn it into the architecture of a new democratic society.
I was in Bloemfontein recently with the Premier of the Free State and Minister Sisulu, the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation and the deputy Minister, Mahlobo. And we were launching a housing project which is an integrated housing project near to factories, near to the city where our people are going to live and opening up housing projects which will
accommodate more than 6 000 people. And when I saw it I said this is the way we should be going.
All other areas in our country should densify, bring more and more people into city areas so that people can get jobs easily.
So, hon Emam, we are determined to do it, even here in Cape Town, we want to do it and we will do it without any fail. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker and hon members, since the state of the nation address in February 2018, government has undertaken a number of reforms within the economic and several institutions of state to stimulate growth and job creation. We have built a broad social consensus on the measures that need to be taken to fundamentally transform the structure of the economy so that it is more inclusive, more competitive and more labour intensive.
These efforts have resulted in initiatives such as the Jobs Summit, which we held last year and has produced practical measures to protect existing jobs and to create new ones. As part of this process, we have established regular monthly meetings with leaders of business, labour and communities to review progress in several areas of reform.
The paper published by the National Treasury in August 2019 on economic transformation, inclusive growth and competitiveness, proposed a range of additional reforms to address constraints to growth. These proposals have been extensively discussed not just in government, but also across society. The Minister of Finance alluded to this yesterday.
It is significant that the Treasury has received well over 800 substantive submissions on the paper, and has this week published a revised version of the paper, as the Minister said yesterday. As he said yesterday, this is a living document. It is a document which we would like all South Africans through their institutions, individually or otherwise to engage in because in the
main the document is much more about measures that we need to take to unlock constraints to remove blockages and generate economic growth. Some can be done immediately, some can be done later and some can be done much more later, and can be debated for quite a long time until consensus is reached.
Several reforms proposed have already been acted upon and we have seen important progress in several areas. To cite a few we have embarked on an integrated series of interventions to increase youth employment. The paper addresses the challenge of youth employment and we have through various discussions held elsewhere the Jobs Summit and in many other places embarked on various measures to precisely address this problem. The youth challenge is co-ordinated from the President’s Office through the programme execution office that we have established.
Through the measures outlined in the Roadmap for Eskom which was released earlier this week by Minister Gordhan, we are taking steps to make the energy sector more efficient and more competitive. We are working with the
regulator on an accelerated timetable for the release of the broadband spectrum. We were able to have engagements with the regulator without compromising the regulator’s independence. We asked the timeline and timeframes that they have in mind in terms of their regulatory process. They have been able to shed light on when the spectrum process would reach its fruition.
We have strengthened our competition legislation and we are reducing red tapes as part of our efforts to improve the competitiveness of our economy. We have undertaken several reforms to the visa regime to promote tourism and make it easier for business people, investors and tourists to visit South Africa. Through the implementation of these and several other measures contained in the Treasury paper, we are establishing a platform for a return to growth and for the creation of much-needed jobs.
May I say that some of these measures which were also addressed in the Treasury’s paper were raised to us as government by the private sector. As we have held meetings with them they identified a number of issues
which we said we will address them. Some of them have to do with the Mining Charter and some have to do with things like water licenses. Some of them came to us and said we are prepaid to invest R7 billion, but we have been waiting for a year and more for water licenses. At the National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac, forum which I attend every first Monday of the month, we were able to call the water licensing people and ask why it is taking so long for corporate who want to invest so much money for them to get licenses. And that on its own shed a great deal of light on some of the processes that they get involved in. And we said very clearly that we want the timeline to be reduced – to be reduced quite significantly. We are going to meet them again and I have said to them I want it to be cut by 50% and more. They are going to come with those answers.
We are embarking on a process of repositioning everything that we do in our economy - removing the constraints and addressing all these things. Unfortunately, these things take time.
Hon Steenhuisen, one of the reasons why we have an oversubscribed investment conference - which we are holding next - is precisely because many people in the private sector can see that we are not a government that is reluctant to put into effect reforms. They see that we are determined to reform and that is precisely what we are doing. When we engage with them they see that. Our continued engagements, consensus building and collaboration with the private sector is bearing fruits. Part of the fruits is the response to their attendance at the investment conferences. Thank you, Deputy Speaker.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you, Mr President. Mr President, to get young people more into jobs your Finance Minister, Mboweni’s reform plan recommends lowering the regulatory barriers that are locking young people and small business out. He recognises that it is your own government’s regulations that are erecting these barriers. This is something that the private sector cannot reduce it, but it is something which your government has to do.
When you became the President you addressed the nation and said, and I quote:
Our most grave and most pressing challenge is youth unemployment. It is therefore a matter of great urgency that we draw young people in far greater numbers into the productive economic activity of our country.
And to that we say, Amen! When you said this in the 2018 state of the nation address youth unemployment in its expanded definition was sitting at 65%. Two days ago we learnt that it has now grown to 70%. Given this dramatic increase you do not accept that interventions that you have made so far have failed to address this pressing challenge. Is it not time given the fact that your own Deputy President said he does not take the Finance Minister seriously. For you is to find the courage to unequivocally back Mr Mboweni and his plan and stop bending the knee to the unions, the communists and other enemies of growth on your benches. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. Hon Steenhuisen, I agree with you and I am glad
to know that you do read the text of what I say here in the National Assembly. That pleases me to no end. Of course youth unemployment is our biggest challenge, and we know that. In a way we have become a victim of the success that we have made in bringing more and more young people...[Interjections.] No, that’s true. More and more young people are getting into education facilities. They qualify and get out. When you meet them in the streets they say you have given us education and we now have certificates, but we don’t work. That is precisely the challenge that is there for all of us and I bear the challenge, the problem and the burden of that everyday.
This is precisely what we need to respond to.
As I said earlier we are embarking on enormous initiatives which are being led in the President’s Office. We are collaborating with a number of partners in the private sector in a most enthusiastic way. The National Youth Development Agency, Youth Employment Service, Yes, programme, Harambe and many others are all involved. All these are now working on a major intervention that is going to bring in a number of young people. We are going to count in hundreds of thousands to
try and reduce the level of unemployment amongst young people.
Clearly, you say we should abandon labour and the communists. Let me tell you something. Labour has been, and continues to be, a real good partner of the governing party. The stability that we have today in our county today is in large measure and is also a borne out of the partnership and the alliance that we have as a governing party with the communist; yes, with labour; and yes, with other socio-organisations like the community-based organisations. Obviously, in our disclamations we do deal with these issues - we discuss these issues.
When we were negotiating the national minimum wage some of these issues came out for discussions and we agreed that we should have a national minimum wage which is going to cut across and be applicable to all working people in our country. Soon the assessment of the national minimum wage impact will be out and we will be able to measure precisely the impact that it has.
The measures and interventions that we are embarking on are not the type of interventions, in my view, that are going to make things a lot worse. In fact, they are aimed at ensuring that we do reduce the level of unemployment amongst young people. We are focusing our attention precisely on the employment amongst young people because it is the biggest challenge that we face. Every year we have more and more young people coming into the labour market and for that reason we want to ensure that our economy grows, we create more firms and companies that will help to create jobs. That is the task that we have embarked upon.
If you have better ideas on how this can be done put them on the table rather than lamenting. We say let’s all act and let’s work together to address this challenge. Thank you very much.
Dr M Q NDLOZI: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. Mr President, the paper of Mr Mboweni speaks about a continuation with Independent Power producers, IPPs, which have been a big problem financially to Eskom, privatisation of water and
irrigation services, but most importantly, the paper’s perspective on spectrum allocation.
We have a big problem with the telecoms of a duopoly where Vodacom and MTN owned about 71% of the market share. There is no detail but it looks like the government’s attitude is towards auctioning high demand spectrum. It you auction, you are selling. How will you break the duopoly? If you want to break the duopoly and you are selling the spectrum, the obvious reality is that the big players have more money and therefore, there won’t be competition. Data prises won’t go down as a result, despite the fact that they keep promising as it were that that allocated spectrum will help the end user to have much more relieve in relation to data prises, but you will never have competition with that road. What exactly is the government’s position and in particular with breaking the duopoly of MTN and Vodacom.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker and hon Ndlozi, you will have heard me speak here in this National Assembly about addressing, and in a way, if you can use the type of term that you will use attacking the
monopoly structure of our economy. Breaking up monopolies, the competition law amendments that we have put in place are also aimed at doing precisely that because we have realised and long ago of course that the way our economy is structured and this has also been described by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, and the World Bank, they say one of the big problems in the economy of South Africa is that it’s overdominated by monopolies, much more than what they see in other countries.
So, we are acutely aware of that and this is a historical fact. So, we want to address that. Now if you have listened very carefully to Minister Stella Ndabeni Abrahams as she has put forward the proposal or the policy position on the spectrum, you will have heard her say, we are going to allocate a portion of that spectrum to those who were previously disadvantaged. So, there is going to be a portion which is called the worn where there will be opportunities for the smaller and the newly established entities that want to play in the Telecoms space. Now, that has been set aside. But we have also got to realise that those smaller ones will obviously need
funding. They will need money. That’s where they will need to be supported greatly. That’s why they will be able to have this allocation and be able to go and raise money with it.
At the same time, you have the big four, Telkom, Cell C. Vodacom and MTN. They are all players in this field. You have a number of other subsidiary ones, liquid, whatever and so forth. They are all players in this space.
Therefore, auctioning a portion, hon Ndlozi, if you are still listening, auctioning a portion of that spectrum to those raises money for the fiscus so that the fiscus is then able to utilise that because they in the end are going to participate in this. They are going to make huge investments, which we should welcome. But at the same time, they will be taking part in this auction on conditions that are clearly going to be set out and those are developmental conditions.
Those developmental conditions, because they have the muscle, they have the spread, they are going to mean that they must go and install 4G, 5G capability in the rural
areas and in the townships. So, you want to use the muscle that they have to ensure that you achieve your developmental ends. But at the same time, you also want to get your new players, those who were prevented in the past by a whole number of reasons to participate in the spectrum as well.
The way I see it at the end, even those bigger ones will envy the smaller ones who are going to participate in the set aside that has been put out for the new imaging and the newly established ones. So, I believe that we have a very balanced approach to this. That is an approach that is aimed at further emboldening and further empowering the existing players.
In fact, if you look very closely, hon Ndlozi, this is one of the more effective transformative moves that this government is making on this to ensure that we limit the powers of the monopolies by bringing in more competition. I have spoken in this House before about how the economy of the US grew when they broke up AT&T and make sure that it’s broken up to include many other players. That’s when the economy of the US took off. Now through this, you are
not going to have four players in the spectrum, you going to have a multiplicity of players. That’s something that we should welcome. There is nothing wrong about that.
As to the size that a Vodacom and MTN will have, that’s going to be the function of how in the end that process works out. But what we are going to ensure is to ensure that we curb the power and the influence of monopolies and allow our own emerging companies to participate in a much more meaningful way. I want you to pay her attention, even spend time with Minister Stella Ndabeni Abrahams. Go and buy her a coffee. [Laughter.] Have coffee with her and then she will explain all these to you.[Applause.] Thank you very much.
Mr E M BUTHELEZI: Thank you Deputy Speaker. Hon President, yesterday, the Minister of Finance advised the country that there are 29 000 state employees that are earning salaries over a million rands per year. What are you doing to further reduce the still bloated size of public service and thus reduce the drain in the fiscus spending as abused by your predecessor?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Sorry, I didn’t get the last part of the question. I am sorry about that. There was too much noise.
Mr E M BUTHELEZI: What does the President do to further reduce the still bloated size of public service and reduce its drain on the fiscus spending?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. The issue of the public service, we have some 1,2 million public servants. Our aim is to have one single public service that will include those people who work in local government, provincial government structures and obviously to join the ranks of the nurses, police and other civil servants that we have - our soldiers and all that.
Now if you were to talk to the Minister of Police, he will tell you that he is short of a couple of thousands of people who should be brought into the Police Service so that the objective that he has set himself out to achieve on behalf of the safety of all South Africans is
achieved. So, he has a shortfall in the men and women who should work in the police.
If you should talk to Minister of Health, Dr Mkhize, he will tell you that he needs more nurses and doctors because our population has grown, our hospitals need more of those health workers.
If you were to talk to a number of other people who work in the state sector, they will tell you that they need more warm bodies and more pairs of hands to do the work.
Right now as the Minister of Finance said the civil service wage takes about 46%. Now that indeed is a high figure. This has come about as a result of a number of things that have happened where we have had increases that are above inflation and where we have had other benefits that have accompanied all that. Now that needs to be looked at and we are going to be looking at that with labour because the more this grows the more we become constrained in as far as providing services to the people our country.
Now you want to know what we are going to do. What we are going to do is actually to have thorough going discussions with labour precisely about this situation that we are currently facing as a country so that all of us can be joined in our understanding of what it is and what needs to be done.
I believe that the leaders of our labour movement in our country are sensible people. They have an acute way of analysing situations and understanding situations. They will realise that indeed we have a serious challenge on our hands and we have to address it. We will find solutions as we have always found solutions on many other problems that looked intractable. So, we are going to be sitting down and negotiating with labour to address the situation that we find now. Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
Mr W W WESSELS: thank you, Deputy Speaker. Hon President, one of the priorities of the plan is labour intensive growth with the agricultural sector as the catalyst. But would there be an agricultural sector left when this plan is eventually implemented? Currently, farmers are going
bankrupt and the prevalence of bankruptcy is increasing because of the rapid in drought and meets exuberant input cost and policy uncertainty. Isn’t not time to do something now and not wait for this plan? What will your government do to urgently protect commercial agriculture? Isn’t not time to consider implementing protectionism for our agricultural sector? I thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, we are determined not only to protect but to grow the agricultural sector of our country. We have identified the agricultural sector as the one sector that can generate growth and in fact can employ well over a million people. That’s what the National Development Plan said and that is what we have also come to as the government in terms of the measures and the interventions that we want to embark on. Now Minister Didiza has put forward the plan that she has and obviously working together with her other colleagues. It’s aimed at, firstly, yes, ensuring that we support the commercial agriculture sector in our country and also support it through difficulties and challenges such as drought.
They will come up with programmes that are going to support farmers when it comes to drought situations or situations of calamity. But at the same time, to promote farming amongst those who were prevented from participating in farming either in terms of opportunities, lack of land and support that they have never had from government and also no access to markets. So, we are promoting all that and ensuring that many more black people who want to be farmers. I know that for a fact because I am a farmer and I know that many black people want to be in farming. They want to farm cattle, food production, crops, the grains and fruits.
We need to open opportunities for them to participate in that sector. For them to be able to do so, they also need certain facilities such as access to water, land and funding. So, all that is now on her desk and she, Minister Didiza, is meant to come up with a strategy and she has put forward a number of those so that they can be implemented. But at the same time support your commercial farmers and make sure that your commercial farmers work as well. The good thing that you may not be aware of is that a number of commercial farmers have come forward and
said, we want to support the government efforts in making sure that agriculture becomes a sunrise industry in our country.
It becomes a winning industry that can employ many more people and also make sure that the food production in our country is not compromised but we should continue producing our own food. We say this having looked at a number of other countries that have been stumbling when it comes to food production. We don’t want South Africa to ever get there. In fact, we want to be a next producer of food and export.
One of the things that we are doing is to support our exporting farmers. A number of them are also black farmers who are coming to the export market, exporting beef and martin and all that to other countries.
So, we want to play an overarching support role to the agricultural sector of our country because we see it as a growth industry indeed. Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon members, when I asked this House to approve the emergency action plan to combat gender-based violence and femicide two months ago, it was in response to a national crisis. I was very pleased that this House responded positively and members who spoke did so very positively from the heart.
It was also a response to mounting calls from our people to match our condemnation of such violence with the commitment that is necessary to ensure that necessary human, financial and other resources are available to tackle this crisis.
Since I announced that government would commit
R1,1 billion towards the implementation of the plan, the National Treasury has written to key departments and entities in government, asking them to urgently identify funds that can be reprioritised.
Departments must be commended for readily and swiftly responding to this call. We are now in a position to
allocate more than R1,6 billion from the 2019-20 financial year baseline spending allocation. No longer R1,1 billion; but R1,6 billion has now become available for this purpose! [Applause.]
Departments have done that and we are very delighted. Accountability for the expenditure on the reprioritised funds lies with the respective departments themselves. The multisectoral interim steering committee established after last year’s Presidential Summit on Gender-based Violence and Femicide will continue to play a key role in driving implementation of this plan.
It will, among other things, review, but it will also monitor and evaluate progress, and ensure there is adequate budgeting and resourcing to support the five key pillars of the plan. As an example, an amount of
R179 million has been allocated to education, to raising awareness and to ensure that we do haven effective prevention programmes. We know that gender-based violence often has its roots in social, cultural and other norms that perpetuate patriarchy and chauvinism. We also know
we have to focus on prevention as the first point of intervention.
The Department of Social Development, in collaboration with other departments, will drive the roll-out of programmes. These roll-out programmes will take place throughout the country. That will engage with men’s forums or formations, traditional leaders, student organisations, youth formations, offenders inside prisons, officials working in the criminal justice system, and communities at large.
Work is being done to enhance our current legal and policy framework to make it more responsive to the needs of survivors of gender-based violence. This includes bail and sentencing reform to ensure that perpetrators face justice and that the law acts as an effective deterrent. This funding will ensure that legislation that has been pending for quite a long time is also finalised, and, where necessary, that capacity is made available for new laws to be drafted as well.
An amount of R517 million will go to care and support for survivors of gender-based violence. Two hundred social workers will be appointed to provide targeted services to survivors at various social services centres, including at the national network of Thuthuzela Care Centres. [Applause.]
This is phenomenal achievement and this has been done through the discussions that the people who are participating in the sector have come up with It will also be used to support social services for survivors at local and district municipality level. The plan furthermore calls for the creation of more economic opportunities for women who are vulnerable to abuse because of poverty.
The budget for this intervention is still to be finalised through the ongoing reprioritisation process; as is the approximately R20 million still needed to strengthen accountability measures. To ensure that the reallocation of resources has the necessary impact, government is working with civil society and other partners to ensure that all of these measures are implemented with urgency.
Given the breadth of interventions, this is a challenging undertaking, but we are confident that – working together
– we will succeed.
Particularly, I must commend compatriots of our country – the women of our country – who are in the committee, in the structure, because they have been working for long hours, for days and for weeks to put together a more effective plan in this. They are going to make sure indeed that this does succeed.
Prof Olive Shishana in the Presidency is leading this process and she is doing extremely well, working together with those who are in the various gender structures in our country. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Gwarube!
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I think it is hon Meshoe.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Ooh, hon Meshoe! Sorry. Hey, K R J – I don’t know what happened to me today. [Interjections.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Is it Friday today?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, they are in a hurry for Friday, Mr President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC (Mr M C Ramaphosa): Ooh,
okay, it is still Thursday!
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Someone on my left is in a hurry for Friday. Go ahead, hon Meshoe - my apologies!
Rev K R J MESHOE: Thank you for your answer, Mr President. Two days ago, I wrote a newspaper report about a 91-year-old grandmother who told journalists that she has suffered abuse for more than 20 years, allegedly at the hands of her own son. She told them that being in her own home is like being in hell because of the abuse that she and her two grandchildren have endured over the years from her 53-year-old son who is allegedly very aggressive and has even attempted to rape his own mother after telling her that he wanted to sleep with her.
Now, my question, hon President is: How will this R1,1 billion that has been redirected to the fight
against gender-based violence benefits such grandmothers who live in fear of their lives and are being abused and raped by family members or members of their communities who take advantage of them due to their age and fragility?
Mr President, this grandmother is crying for help. So, is there anything that the President can say now - hoping that it will reach her ears that something is going to be done by the President - which will ensure that her own son, who has applied for bail and whose case will be heard next week, is not released to go back to her at home to abuse her? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Meshoe, I read that story as well. I took time to read it very carefully because I found it quite shocking and harrowing that a 91-year-old woman could be so traumatised and abused by her own 53-year-old son. Now, he is standing trial. The justice system has kicked in.
As you have said, he is going to seek to apply for bail.
Clearly, the issue of granting bail is a magistrate’s prerogative, but we have sent a clear message to the prosecuting authority, the NPA and all those that from now on, we need to be opposing bail where people who are suspected to have participated in sexual violence and acts of crime appear, whether it is rape, murder or femicide. So, we are hoping that it kicks in.
However, more than that, the91-year-old gogo will be assisted by these social workers that I was talking about. The social workers that we are now going to bringing in will be funded by this R1,6 billion and will be on hand to give her assistance. Apart from these social workers, there will also be psychologists and psychiatrists who will give her counselling.
Also, we will be setting more and more Thuthuzela Centres around the country to make sure that those who seek refuge, like this 91-year-old mama can go there to get assistance and support from people who are well trained. Clearly and obviously one of the things we have to do is to look at her own social situation - to look at the
challenges that she is facing. Our social workers should be able to do that.
More than that, we obviously need to embark on prevention measures and interventions. It is through prevention and it is through as I have been challenging even people in the faith-based sector, that we should all of us be participating in preaching the message, ensuring that there is more and more prevention. That those who have little understanding of what gender-based violence is: patriarchy and male chauvinism is. Get a better understanding of it!
We obviously want to focus on the boy-child; but we also have to focus on older men as well. So, the prevention message needs to go out more and more. This programme that – and I am glad to say - the women of our country have come up with is an overarching programme that is going to answer and address all these issues. So, I have put myself in front of that old lady and I have said: What is it that we can do as government. As you asked the question, I have asked myself precisely that.
I have said, what we need to lay out to her is that we are a caring and sensitive government. We are going to be there to support her, and we are also going to mobilise a number of other organisations to be there to give her as much support as we possible can. I hope that the religious or the faith-based sector that you are a part of, hon member, you will be able to ensure that she is given the support that she needs. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Ms S GWARUBE: Mr President, while we commend the commitment of an additional R1,1 billion to the fight against gender-based violence, this money will mean nothing if police cannot gather critical evidence. Two weeks ago, the Police Minister Cele missed his own deadline for ensuring that police stations in the country have rape kits. It was revealed that 76% of our police station didn’t have adult rape kits; and 69% did not have child rape kits.
Earlier this month, you vowed personally to ensure that this injustice is rectified. Mr President, women in this country are living in a warzone. How do you explain the
spectacular failure by your government to keep women safe and to prosecute those who commit these crimes against them?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, the demand that has been made by our women is very clear. They want to live in a safe South Africa. They want to feel safe. They want to be able to walk around freely without being harassed because they are women. That is something which I am committed in, trying to achieve.
We are going to make all efforts. We are going to take all steps to ensure that this is the case. This is an ongoing challenge. We have risen to the challenge. The women of our country have raised the issue at a higher decibel, and we have heard them.
I went to a police station in Inanda recently with Minister Cele. One of the things that I asked when I got there is whether they had rape kits for adult women and for young women. They said, “President, we have.” They immediately lined up ... [Interjections.]
No, no, no! Much as they knew that I was coming – much as they knew – they had lined up in the police station [Interjections.] Maybe you should listen first! You really need to listen. We are dealing with a very serious matter and I must say, Deputy Speaker: I do object to members trivialising this matter by interjections as I answer, because when they ask questions, I don’t interject. [Applause.]
I do take ... Because we are dealing with a serious matter, the women in our country are listening and they don’t want to hear hackling. They want to hear the answers to the questions that you have raised. Now, let me ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no, hon member! [Interjections.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Maybe I should keep quiet and not speak!
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, you can’t continue to do exactly the same thing after a plea! It doesn’t make sense! Absolutely! So, if you want to scream, that door
is open; you can go and scream to the loudest, not here in the House [Interjections.] [Applause.] Hon President, please proceed. I hope members will now reasonably keep quiet.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I do think we need to listen to each other when we come to this matter. This is a very serious matter. The women of our country, as you correctly say, have a sense that this country has declared war on them. We need to work together rather than throw stones at each other.
I want to hear very clearly from the hon member about those police stations that do not have those rape kits. I want to hear which ones are they, because I will want to go myself, with or without the Minister, and I will want to know what is happening, because I did stand here – right here in this platform – and committed our government to doing something about it. If it is not happening ... [Interjections.]
ADJUNK SPEAKER: Bly stil asseblief! Kan jy nie stil bly nie?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: If it is not happening, I want to know where it is not happening. I don’t want to hear hackles; I want to hear where is it not happening and why is it not happening, so that I am given chapter and verse in order that I should be able also to put the Minister on the spot and say: Minister, why is this not happening? Because, it must happen!
We have committed ourselves as a nation that we are going to address the plight of the women of our country. That I am committed to and I want to see it happening. So, it really disturbs me a great deal to hear that 69% of our police stations do not have child rape kits and 76% or so do not have adult rape kits. After this, I am going to speak to the Minister - right now – and say: Why is it not happening?
He will then be able to talk to those in his chain of command and demand that it should happen. This is something that we must work together on as a nation to
make sure that we address gender-based violence. This is not a joke; this is not a matter to laugh about; and this is not a matter to hackle about. We must do it and let’s work together. Thank you very much! [Applause.]
Question 9 (cont):
Ms L L VAN DER MERWE: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon President thank very much for informing us that you have employed
200 social workers, but I want to bring to your attention that the State, your government has actually trained 5000 social workers who remain unemployed, are sitting at home and can be vital in the fight against gender-based violence. [Applause.] Mr President as we speak the Safe House shelter right here in the Western Cape faces closure, as it receives only R57 per women, per day from government which is meant to cover meals, transport, medical expenses and specialist services, which is simply not good enough.
In contrast your government is spending more than R350 on a prisoner in jail. Earlier this year made several commitments, firstly for greater support for shelters, for abused women and children, and you also told us that
you strengthen the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre. So my question to you is: Can you please tell us today what interventions if any can you list as initiatives that your government has taken since your pronouncements to ensure greater support for shelters and please can you furnish this House and the nation at large with the number for the toll free national government Gender-Based Violence call centre, the number please? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, let me start off by saying I don’t know the number by heart.
Ms L L VAN DER MERWE: I can help the President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I love you to help me, let’s have the coffee and you will give me the number.
Ms L L VAN DER MERWE: No, but I think the nation must hear.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Ok...
Ms L L VAN DER MERWE: ...so it’s 0800 428 428 you can
take it down President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I will buy you a coffee, thank you very much. Now, obviously on all the issues that you have raised, you are right we have trained a lot of social workers and it always pained my heart to know and to hear them because, one often meets them, to hear them say I was trained , I am social worker but I do not work. Now, clearly with this reinvigorated programme that we are embarking on, yes we have employed 200 but I want to see us employing more to ensure that we address this problem more closely and so we will be paying attention to this and see how we are able spread social workers throughout the country, to address this problem because it is also through social workers like the social worker that is going to be attending to issue raised by Reverend Meshoe about the 91 year old gogo [grandmother].
So, we want more social workers to be spread throughout the country, so that they are able to pay attention, to show compassion and to counsel the various people who are
traumatised and subjected to gender-based violence. Obviously, yes we don’t want any centre to close, this is not time for centres to close and that matter will also be looked at and my are listening to all these, because I will be appalled to hear that refuge centre has close, at this point when we are dealing with such a huge, huge challenge. I want be able and we were going to give more details of the measures that we are now embarking upon, on gender-based violence, we going to do that through my weekly letter. We will be doing so because I need to give an updated report and we will be doing so shortly, precisely all the measures that we are taking and on that newsletter, I will imprint the call centre number that you have given me today. I will memorise it and remember it at all times, so that next time when you ask me, I will remember it. Thank you very much.
Ms N N CHIRWA: Deputy Speaker, Mr President, Mr Tito Mboweni yesterday, said nothing about the redirection of the R1,6 billion to fight gender-based violence, which is clear evidence that this again is one of your empty promises that are misleading our people. Now, my question is that: Can you please extrapolate for us in detail what
the prevention mechanisms will be, how will this R1,6 billion stop a girl-child from being raped by her father, a daughter by her brother, wives by their husbands, can make you make us through the picture of what the money will do to stop men from killing women, raping them and burying them in shallow graves because, you have no extrapolated for us in details. Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I did mention what the Minister or Treasury did...
Dr M Q NDLOZI: ...point of order, Deputy Speaker, when members were heckling this side about the importance of this question, you both were very strong to call them to order, members of the ruling party are heckling when another member is raising a genuine question and you remain complicity, it’s wrong. They were hackling at our member ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member...
Dr M Q NDLOZI: ...please call them to order because all of us must be subjected to the same equal law.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, take you seat. Hon members, the whippery here acted on this matter, if you even defy whips, it’s wrong all of you, no don’t scream “shame”, what shame, shame on you, on you, all of you. You are inconsistent yourself, you deliberately keep quiet when it’s not you, and it’s out of order. Order hon members; look at what you are doing now, just look at...
...kyk net wat doen julle nou?
Hon members, order please, hon President please give a response.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Deputy Speaker, I was saying that the Minister of Finance and I reported on this now, made an intervention which Presidency asked him to make, to get all the departments to delineate amounts of money that should be reprioritised for precisely this purpose. Now, that in a way is not really part of the new budgetary process is part of the current budget and these are amounts of money that have to be reprioritised to
address this issue. So there was no need for the Minister of Finance to address this issue. I can address it politically, which I am doing because this has been an initiative which the Presidency is driving, to make sure that we address the gender-based violence issue, it is firmly in our office and therefore we can speak about it.
In speaking about it, we are going to make sure that this money R1,6 billion is utilised by various of our departments in way which will address the interventions that we want. In this regard fortunately we’ve got a steering committee made up of women, who are going to be watching like hawks on how this money is utilised. At the same time there will also be evaluating the various programmes that need to embarked upon, including preventative programmes. Yes we want to get to a point where we will be to be able so successful with our intervention programmes to prevent this 53 year old man, which Rev Meshoe referred to, from wanting to go and sleep with this mother. We need to embark on programmes like that and I did allude to that and said, all of us, we need to participate in embarking on programmes that will deal with the moral fibre of our nation, because
when things like that happen is almost like Sodom and Gomorrah byanong [now], that’s where we have arrived, where a young man or 53 year old man now wants to sleep with this mother, and is the most appalling, moral degradation situation that we can ever imagine. It needs to be addressed and we therefore need to address that, come up with preventative measures now, unfortunately some of these things like rapes, take place in confined places, in homes and are done by either people that the victims know and all that, but that does not detract from the fact that we have a responsibility not only as government but a society to deal with these challenges that we face. Our programmes will be aimed at doing precisely that.
Hon member, the good thing is that those preventative programmes are programmes that are going to be designed, crafted by women and will embark upon them and implement them jointly together with women of our country. So, it’s not going to be the sole responsibility of government, it going to be responsibility of all us acting together and I hope all of us raise our level of consciousness and alertness when it comes to that. Thank you very much.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, as I indicated in this House on 22 August, the report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture has been presented to Cabinet and has been made available to the public for comment. Cabinet still needs to finalise its deliberations on the findings and recommendations of the advisory panel. This advisory panel has produced several far-reaching recommendations to ensure that we correct the skewed distribution of land in our country, a necessary precondition to our objective of reducing inequality in our country.
This report recommends legal mechanisms to recognise, to register, to record and to enforce a continuum of land rights, so that all our people become rights holders. The panel has called on government to immediately identify well-located, unused and underutilised pieces of land and buildings for the purpose of urban settlement and to prioritise poor tenants for upgrading their own rights.
In line with this recommendation, Cabinet itself has already taken decisions on the release of land for human
settlements, as I was saying earlier. The advisory panel found that the mechanism of land expropriation without compensation is one of a range of methods that could be utilised to acquire land for the purposes of land reform. It further proposed circumstances in which such expropriation could be considered.
Now, the panel’s recommendations complement and reinforce the work being done by the interministerial committee, IMC, on land reform and agriculture. The interministerial committee, which is chaired by the Deputy President, is tasked with co-ordinating and providing political leadership to accelerate land reform. The report of the panel has provided the country with a comprehensive, I believe, and also a just and sustainable approach to land reform.
Cabinet is therefore determined to finalise shortly its considerations of the recommendations so that the land reform process can proceed at a faster rate and have greater impact. It is therefore necessary not only to address the plight of the landless in our country but to boost the economy to create jobs and reduce poverty,
particularly in the rural areas of South Africa. I thank you, hon Deputy Speaker.
Ms K D MAHLATSI: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. Thank you very much, hon President, for your compendious response. Firstly, I think it is important to remind the hon Steenhuisen that you are a former general secretary of a trade union. Therefore, how you relate to communists and trade unionists is none of his business, quite frankly, and he will not dictate to you how you should respond to them. [Interjections.]
Now, let’s deal with issues of national interest. President, whilst acknowledging that ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: So, now you find yourself all right to scream as you do now. [Interjections.] No, no, no. You must be in order. You must not scream, so that everybody can be listened to.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: On a point of order, Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: It’s not justifiable.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: Firstly, in this House, one does not speak directly to a member of the House. The hon member directed her statement to the hon Steenhuisen. She is supposed to be asking the President a question. So, if you are going to give, you have got to get back.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: So, okay. Hon member, let’s assume you are right, which is likely. [Applause.] So, it is correct for your members to do what you are saying they shouldn’t do. Is that correct? [Interjections.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Deputy Speaker, what I am saying is this: If an hon member in this House is going to direct her statement to the Leader of the Opposition, she must expect a heckle back from the opposition. If she’s willing to speak to us, she must be willing to get an answer from us.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Mazzonne, welcome. Welcome to the club. You are going to get it back, okay.
[Interjections.] Ya, ya, ya, ya. Hon President, please go ahead.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Deputy Speaker, as I once famously said: Bring it on.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, you don’t speak before you are told to speak. [Interjections.] You must be allowed to speak. Take your seat, hon member. [Interjections.] Take your seat. Hon President, please
Ms K D MAHLATSI: I haven’t finished my question.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Go ahead; finish your question.
Ms K D MAHLATSI: President, can we deal with issues of national importance now? President, while acknowledging that Cabinet is still in the process of considering the report, it would be important to give an indication to the nation that the land reform agenda is deeply bound together with social and economic justice, human development and spatial transformation objectives.
Now, President, the advisory panel makes reference to the work of the IMC under the leadership of the Deputy President. Therefore, my question is: What has been the impact of the IMC on the report and recommendations of the advisory panel on land reform? Thank you, Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, the issue of the panel, as you alluded to, hon member, is before Cabinet. Cabinet is seized with the matter and will soon be giving effect to its own considerations on that. But, it has also – as you will remember – put it out to the public for the public to be able to comment.
Now, the IMC itself is dealing with matters that include
- but are not only limited to - the work of the advisory panel. The IMC has been given a more overarching-type of mandate to look at land reform processes. What they have done is actually quite admirable, because they have identified portions and pieces of land throughout the country for release to our people, both in the rural and the urban areas. [Interjections.] They are ensuring that we release 14 000 hectares of land in this phase, and
they are identifying further pieces of land. They have engaged me in various processes where land has been given back to our people from a restitution point of view. The redistributive part of giving land back to our people is also part of their mandate.
So, they are looking, hon Mahlatsi, at a very broad scope of land reform interventions and not limiting themselves only to what the panel has been doing. No doubt, they have applied and continue to apply themselves to the report of the panel and they are dealing with that. They are also dealing, obviously, with a whole lot of other reports, including the Kgalema Motlanthe high-level panel report. So, all of these are being looked at by the IMC. They are a fairly active and results-oriented IMC. So, we will be seeing more and more reports and interventions coming from that IMC. Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
Dr P J GROENEWALD: Hon Deputy Speaker and hon President, exactly a year before this panel submitted their report to you, President, in July 2018, you addressed the nation at 10 o’clock in the evening as president of the ANC.
What you said on land reform is exactly the findings of the panel. Even if you look at the other recommendations about the criteria – certain categories – they are exactly what the ANC said their policy was as far as land reform was concerned.
Parliament had the constitutional review committee who crisscrossed the country to hear what the people had to say about land reform. My question is, hon President: Why waste money on yet another panel actually confirming the findings of the constitutional review committee on the one side, and the policy of the ANC on the other side? We say that we are in an economic crisis ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, your time has expired by
Dr P J GROENEWALD: ... 14 seconds. Thank you. My ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: It’s over, your time, by 14 seconds. I allowed you to complete your question.
Dr P J GROENEWALD: You have not. Okay. My question is then: Are you going to accept the minority report’s recommendations as well?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, I did want to speak on your allocated time. Whatever your philosophical or ideological position is, it can fit within those two or three minutes that you have. Just make your choices better. I won’t do this anymore, because it is abuse, quite frankly, of other time.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, my answer is a very simple and straightforward one. The minority report by two panel members, Mr Serfontein and Mr Dan Kriek, obviously, will be considered as well. So, both reports are before Cabinet and they are going to be considered. Thank you very much.
Mr R N CEBEKHULU: Deputy Speaker, Mr President, not long ago we had the Deputy President, standing on the podium, confirming that land will be expropriated without compensation. If one may further say; land is a very
sensitive issue which raises emotions from people who are business civil and general public.
It is a known fact that South Africa is part of a global stage and that has its own consequences. For a smooth implementation of the Presidential Advisory Panel, how is government going to do it to avoid a situation where investors might pull out their investments and that might lead to a situation that Zimbabwe went through? That is my question.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, clearly, we are implementing the recommendations that has been put forward which Cabinet will discuss, are going to be very mindful of precisely the issues that the hon member has alluded to. Obviously we got to have a very balanced approach. Expropriation of land without compensation is part one of the instruments that is going to be used to effect land reform in our country. That is what the panel has also said.
And in doing so, we will need to look at a plethora of methods and processes and that is why I also said the
minority report that was put forward by other panel members comes into play because they have taken a different view and the majority took a different view. So, we will be looking at all what has been proposed and see how best we do it.
Obviously we will need to take into account the context; the current conditions and actually, the panel said we need to have a set of criteria as well as we implement the recommendations that they have put forward. I think we are going to have quite a lot of scope and the ability to move forward on this. But the main thing is that in the end we must make sure that the land is returned to the people of our country. That we are going to make sure and we will utilise a variety of measures.
From 1994 until now, we have utilised certain measures but many of those have worked and some have not worked and we now need to embolden our efforts and make sure that we include other measures that will take us further so that the land is returned to our people. As I have said before, we are not going to do it in a reckless
manner; we are going to make sure that land reform is done responsibly.
In all this, we will also be guided by the resolution that was adopted by the governing party at its conference because it said that we should opt for expropriation of land without compensation, taking into account the issue of the impact on the economy, productivity of land and food security.
Those are the issues that need to be taken into account. As we move forward with this; we obviously need to use those as filters; to use those as issues that we need to pay attention to as we return land to our people. And that we are going to do and we will not turn away from returning the land to our people. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr W M THRING: Mr President, the restoration of land to those from whom it was stolen has legitimacy. It is the view of the ACDP that there is sufficient land and resources for all South Africans to enjoy and benefit from. The secret, however, is in the implementation of
the policies and corruption sadly cannot be part of the equation.
The ACDP Member of the Mayoral Committee, MMC, for Human Settlements in the City of Johannesburg has been instrumental in restoring dignity to our residents by issuing thousands of title deeds to first time home owners.
Does the President agree that in order to restore dignity of all South Africans, that property rights must be protected by law and title deeds given to the poor and the marginalised which can then be leveraged to grow their wealth? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, yes I agree that giving land to our people and ensuring that we protect their rights and we give them tenure and title deeds, is precisely what we should do. There has been asset poverty in our country for generations and hundreds of years.
When land was taken from our forebears, what was done through that act, including the legislative part, the Land Act of 1913 and so forth, which was preceded by wars of disposition when our people were moved from areas where they lived, was actually asset stripping. They were stripped of the assets that they had.
Many of our people had two or three types of assets. They had their land, they had their livestock and they also had their own inherent knowledge and experience. When they were moved, they were stripped of all those and they remained asset less for hundreds of years and to that end, many of our forebears were never even able to leave and bequeath anything to their children as inheritances because, what they could have left as bequeaths for their children was taken away. That is when poverty and inequality set in, in real effect.
So this is what we are seeking to change. We are seeking to change the architecture of asset-based wealth in our county. So giving our people land, giving them title deeds, is actually to give the assets they should have had throughout their lives.
So we support title deeds granting to our people. We support that they should have tenure and the Constitution is very clear on this; it talks about tenure and land rights for all and not for some. We live in a country where land rights and tenure were for some only; for a minority of minorities and this must now end. We must give land to our people. That is something that we are not going to turn away from. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Since the start of the sixth democratic administration in May 2019, I have attended six international summits, covering both political and economic issues. These are the: G20 Summit in Japan; African Union Extraordinary Summit in Niger; SADC Summit in Tanzania; Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development in Japan; Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia.
These gatherings provided an opportunity for South Africa to advance its foreign policy and promote its economic interests. At the G20 Summit in June, for example,
leaders reaffirmed their support for the necessary reform of the World Trade Organisation, WTO, to improve its functioning. They agreed that action is necessary regarding the functioning of the dispute settlement system consistent with the rules as negotiated by WTO members. On the margins of the G20 Summit, we participated in a Japan-South Africa business roundtable with business people from South Africa as well as from Japan.
Among other things, this roundtable generated leads for possible investment projects in sectors such as minerals processing, automotives and battery production. It also provided opportunities for our farmers who export fruit and vegetables to Japan to be able to interact with their counterparts and indeed with government officials there. I have spoken about this before in this very House how our grape farmers have wanted to export grapes into Japan; the seedless grape and they are being prevented by their processes in Japan. We were able to get them to interact and to raise the matter with the Prime Minister of Japan.
Through these engagements we were able to strengthen relations also with Japanese Business Community. This is important as Japan is South Africa’s fifth largest trading partner and one of the largest sources of foreign direct investment into South Africa. We have got hundreds of Japanese companies invested here. They use South Africa also as a gateway into the rest of the continent.
The African Union Summit in Niger in July 2019 launched the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area, and directed that the outstanding work on tariff schedules, rules of origin and commitments on trade in services be submitted to their next Session in February 2020 for adoption. The decisions of the summit are significant for the South African economy since the African Continental Free Trade Area promises great opportunities for trade with other countries on the continent, broadening our manufacturing based and boosting employment in our own country.
The SADC Summit which happened in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania gave impetus to the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and adopted the
Regional Mining Vision and Action Plan. Together, these programmes aim to increase co-operation among countries in Southern Africa on building regional value chains and enable countries to expand their manufacturing base and diversify their exports.
The Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development, Ticad, which was held in Japan in August, resulted in a commitment from Japan to contribute to economic transformation in Africa and improve the business environment through innovation and private sector engagement. The Government of Japan undertook to bolster diversification and industrialisation, support Japanese investment in Africa, and offer support to the development of regional agricultural capability.
The first Russia-Africa Summit, which was held in Sochi last week, focused on forging economic ties between Russia and African countries, developing joint projects, and collaborating in the humanitarian and social sectors. In addition to the discussion between government leaders, there were also productive engagements between Russian and South African businesses. We have a number of
businesses that are invested in Russia which you might know about.
All these processes have helped to increase co-operation in areas such as mining, information and communication technology and oil extraction. While these international summits do not directly create jobs, they can contribute to an improved environment for investment, trade and co- operation. They provide a platform for the South African government and business to promote the investment opportunities in the country, to explore new markets and to forge strategic partnerships.
It was at this conference that we were able to invite a number of Russian businesses to come and attend our investment conference next week. Some of them will be coming and they also provide an opportunity to advance South Africa’s position on a range of issues, like the reform of the multilateral institutions to international support for Africa’s development.
The agreements that we reached and partnerships that were forged at these summits make an important contribution
for economic growth, development and job creation. This is where as we travel and get our companies to move with us in these visits, we inform them that they should participate meaningfully because they can move from contact with other companies to contract. In fact we have found a number of them are able to sign up a number of contracts with their counterparts and these are usually mutually beneficial. Thank you very much.
Mr S N AUGUST: Hon Deputy Speaker, Mr President thank you for the good response and one can see the good work has been done at the summits. After Minister Mboweni made the Budget Policy speech yesterday with the strength assessment and the state-owned enterprises, SOEs and the trimming of government’s wage bill and our country’s increase in debt, how will this assist in building confidence in our economy?
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker and the hon August, I see all these processes as being very beneficial. In fact all these seek to do is to get South Africa through government and its business colleagues to interact with various other colleagues in other countries
to raise key issues of garnering investments in our country. The more investments we get, is the more we get companies that can come and invest in South Africa whether they are off-shore or locally based.
As they invest they make profits and profits go to the fiscus and we are then able to address the challenges that Minister Mboweni spoke about yesterday. The more we collect the revenue is the more we are able to have enough funds to be able to support various projects and programmes that government should fund. These will include programmes in health, education as well as supporting our provinces and our local municipalities.
So, I see this as being something that is really positive and should be supported because it is not fun when we go to these summits. You hardly ever had fun or any time to have fun. Actually the most part you will would rather say that I would rather stay home and not go because it is just meeting after meeting; pumping flesh after flesh to try and get people to come and invest here. You shake hands and talk about your country continuously and it is a wonderful calling which I would recommend it for anyone but I tell you, it is hard work and it is good work that
needs to be done for our beloved beautiful South Africa. Thank you very much.
Mr P P KEETSE: Hon Deputy Speaker, Mr President, the sociological characterisation of politicians currently is being questioned in terms of their dishonesty. I would require you to be extremely honest with the answer that you are going to give us. Currently there is more than 55% of unemployment in this country and in 2018 you have launched what we call Youth Employment Service, Yes. We want to check how many thus far, does the Yes programme produced? How many employment opportunities did it produce for young people?
In the state of the nation address of 2019 you promised young people two million jobs. We want to check the progress on how far is that? How many employment opportunities have been created because we do not want to get into a situation where you promise people another millions of jobs without understanding what went wrong with the previous ones that you had promised.
Mr B A RADEBE: Hon Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: I am rising on Rule 142 which clearly states that a question must relate to the original question or response of the President. It is not like. The very same question is of statistical nature and I do not think the President can have numbers with him. [Interjections.]
Dr M Q NDLOZI: Hon Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: The hon member obviously has comprehension problems because a question has to do with summits and the promises of jobs are related to these summits. So, I do not know which Parliament he is part of and which Question Paper is he reading, number one. Number two, if he has to stand and defend his own President for answering questions and giving details about his own promises, then we are in real trouble.
The President must answer. If he does not know he must say so. Then we will know that he is not a useful President. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: You see hon Ndlozi, I do not know how you now put the President into this. You should have
stated out of what the President is going to say yes or no and hear him do so. [Interjections.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, I am able to answer the question. The Youth Employment Service
– let me start out by saying that everybody agrees that youth unemployment is a major challenge and it is to this end that we have set up an office in the Presidency to address the issue of youth unemployment. You referred to the Youth Employment Service, Yes. When the Yes programme started, I would be honest with you, we thought that we would have galloped much further than where we are. We thought that by the first year we would have had tens and tens of thousands of young people employed and given job opportunities. That has not quite honestly turned out as we thought because there have been difficulties in getting the private sector to buy into this project.
A lot more of work is now being done and it is now being mobilised much more effectively and the take up is increasing. We should have known that it would take time because what it really needs is that companies are encouraged to open up employment spaces, including public
sector companies, in their own companies where they currently employ a number of people to create spaces for young people to be employed and be brought into the world of work. Quite a number of them say we have already reached our limit and it is through encouragement that we put across to them and urge them to take more and more young people.
The last time I got the report, it was telling me that it was almost getting to 50 000 young people who have now been brought into the programme. They are looking at more young people coming in. It was hovering between 40, 45 and 50 000 and it is gathering momentum as we are moving on.
The one that we are working on in our office is going to go beyond that. We have agglomerated a number of other partners and other entities that are involved in a similar type of process. We will be able to give numbers without any doubt but the good thing about the Yes programme is that it brings in young people for a year into the world of work but we have found that almost
between 70% and 80% of those young people do finally get permanent jobs in the various companies that employ them.
These companies find that the young people are real gems and they absorb them. A number of them have been brought in and others have also been encouraged and given pathways and platforms to start their own entities and businesses. So, we are seeing a lot of benefit in this and clearly the challenge is much bigger. Everybody would like to hear that millions of young people have been brought in but it is quite difficult to create jobs. It is quite difficult for entities to create jobs and we need our economy to grow by leaps and bounds for jobs to be created. To create one job, actually it is quite expensive.
We are nudging forward; encouraging and we are also doing it through the tax incentive. There is a Youth Employment Tax Incentive process and we are finding that companies are responding to that as well. I hope that answers you and that is the honesty that I am able to give you.
Question 11 (cont):
Mr Z N MBHELE: Thank you hon Deputy Speaker, Mr President when it comes to job creation as it should flow from economic summits, small business is the key. The first step is to recognise how real jobs are created, that is, to abandon the fantasy that governments can create jobs and to look at supporting the private sector because it is small and large businesses that create jobs. The government’s role is to provide enabling environments for investments and entrepreneurship. That can be stifled when we have excessive regulation in red tape. If we want that that booming small business sector and to create jobs, we have to cut that red tape as the DA is doing in the Western Cape through our red tape production programmes.
In the past Parliament we proposed a Red Tape Production Bill with those proposals to make it easy for business to run. So, Mr President, when can we start seeing the governments move on red tape reduction? Can we count on your support on such a Bill within the coming year in this House to slash that red tape and enable job creation? [Applause.]
Dr M Q NDLOZI: Point of order, point of order. Deputy Speaker, the new leader of the DA asked this question as a follow up earlier on that: Will the President support the Minister of Finance to remove the red tape? There are hon members with new questions. Can we maximise the time of these... [Inaudible.] This question has already been answered in this session. It looks like the new DA does not have creativity now. [Laughter.]
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, the answer to that is yes. We want and continue to want to remove the red tape. This was raised very prominently with us by the business sector. We then asked them to specify the areas where red tape still existed and they have. In these meetings that I was talking to you about, the first Monday of every month at the National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac, is precisely what we are also doing.
We are looking more specifically at areas where there is red tape. I sighted the water licensing one, I cited a number of others and we were able to bring in those people who run the water permitting process and they
explained the process and we said we want them to reduce the timeline that it takes to get a water licence. This happened when I told them that I waited for three years to get a water permit for water that rose on my farm. I asked as to why I had to wait for three years but they could not give me an answer. Therefore, we want to reduce that, it is a number of other processes.
On supporting, I would say you should really actively engage with the Minister of trade and industry. Minister Patel is the one who is seized with all these matters that have to do with red tape. I will ask him to invite you for coffee or whatever else you drink. He will be able to invite for that, so that you can have a discussion to see how well the proposals that you want to put forward are really synchronised with what they are doing. Thank you very much.
Mr V ZUNGULA: Hon Deputy Speaker, Mr President I note your initiatives to grow the economy and create jobs, particularly the summits and investments conferences that you have gone to. None of these initiatives have created jobs as unemployment keeps on rising. Also, there is a
looming Fourth Industrial Revolution whereby jobs, particularly for the entry level might be lost.
Earlier you spoke about the issue with our economy, that it is the way in which it is structured. The question is: What fundamental transformation to the economy are you going to embark on in order to improve the material conditions of the people? In other words, can you please define what you mean by the restructuring of the economy? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, let me start off by saying that, it simply is not true, repeat, it simply is not true that some of the outcomes of the summits that we hold do not result in jobs being created. It is not true. I think we need to deal with that. Maybe it is possible that people hardly ever notice what is done in this country, how it is done. Maybe they never see the news that go around. Everybody agrees that unemployment is high and we’ve got to reduce it.
When I started my input I said, one of the things that is happening here is that, as we create jobs we are finding
that the net effect of it is being diluted by more and younger people who get into the job market. It does not mean that jobs are not being created. Jobs are being created. I give you one or two examples. Last year we held the Investment Summit, R300 billion was committed for investment. Let me give you one simple example, there was an investment commitment by a young man who comes from Uganda who makes cell phones like your smart phones, real beautiful slim line smart phones. When I met him at the investment conference I said to him, I want you to come and invest in South Africa. He said, Mr President, we will come and build a factory in South Africa.
Indeed they have come; they have built a factory and invested hundreds of millions of rand. A week or so ago, I went to open the factory. They have employed 200 young people, 70% of them are women and 94% of them are newly trained young people. That is the job value that you get out of the summit. A number of other companies like Toyota have expanded their own processing and have employed more people. Mercedes Benz made a commitment and they have employed more people. It is a fallacy to say that all these efforts are not yielding anything. It is
not true and I do not think that we should propagate untruths in this Parliament.
What are we doing about restructuring the economy? Hon Deputy Speaker, it is possible that even the laws that are passed here, probably their full impact is not noticed by even the Members of this very Parliament. If a Member of Parliament will say, what is it that you are doing in restructuring the economy and they are not aware themselves of the laws that they pass; then I do not know what we are talking about.
That member should have known that when they amended the Competition Act, that Competition Act was meant to help in restructuring the economy. When that member passed a number of other transformative acts that impact on the economy of our country, they should have known that, that is precisely what we are doing. We are in the process of restructuring this economy. We inherited an apartheid and a colonial economy. We are restructuring it, repositioning it to be a transformed economy.
The economy that we inherited was deformed. It locked out the majority of black people out of the economy. You cannot tell me that since 1994 we have not been making efforts to transform this economy, because if that is the case, then I think somebody has been sleeping through this whole process. Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, three months ago South Africa submitted its first voluntary review on the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals to the United Nations.
Now, the aspirations of the sustainable development goals, Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, compliment those of the National Development Plan especially the over arching objective of eradicating poverty and inequality.
The report highlights progress in a number of fields covering things like literacy and child mortality to access to basic services, climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The report also notes that South Africa is one of the most unequal societies, not only in the world but on earth. As the unemployment statistics released this week show, we will continue to bear the brunt of the historical distortions of our labour market and our economy for a very long time to come.
Our task is to implement measures that stimulate and grow the economy of our country and create jobs. But, at the same time to address and overcome the root causes of inequality. Now, attracting domestic at international private capital into our economy leads to more job opportunities that can be created.
Over the past 18 months, we’ve been on a concerted drive to implement policy and regulatory reforms that will make it easier but much more importantly cheaper to do business in South Africa and to undertake other measures to stimulate growth. Next week as I said earlier, we will hold the second investment conference as part of our drive to attract R1,2 trillion over five years.
Last year we were able to raise in commitments to investments and some of those are coming through, we were able to raise R300 billion of investments into our economy. We will be showcasing investment opportunities at this conference in a diverse range of sectors including infrastructure as I say all the time that infrastructure is the fly wheel of economic growth.
We will also be show casing opportunities in our mining sector because we see mining as a sun rise sector in South Africa. The oceans economy beckons the economy in our seas is calling us to come and invest but we will also be showing the opportunities in renewable energy. The whole word is now booming with renewable energy projects. Finance institutions and banks are all rushing to finance some of these projects. We’ve got the sun, the wind and many other elements that are freely given to us by providence that we must utilise and this gives rise to opportunities that we should utilise to generate growth in our economy.
Now, the commitments made at last year’s conference have already translated into projects that have created jobs.
I was citing one earlier, through the jobs summit framework agreement, we have committed resources to support rural and township economies; to stimulate entrepreneurship and encourage innovation.
Funding has been set aside for the establishment of a township and rural entrepreneurship fund that will enable small businesses easy access to markets, financing, business support and other services. Now, this is part of Minister Nchabeni’s plans to ensure that the small business sector becomes revitalised.
We are revitalising industrial parks around the country and expanding the special economic zones. Among the industrial parks that have been prioritized include Botshabelo, Phuthaditjhaba, Garankuwa, Isithebe, Komani, and Seshego. Those are some of the projects that we are focusing on. Dimbaza is one other area and we are now injecting more revitalisation in those.
Land and agrarian reform and are key to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Access to land enables our people to farm for themselves and to do so commercially.
And, to have a place to live and have an asset as I was saying earlier that can be used as collateral for business and other loans. We are implementing a range of measures to support commercial, small scale as well as subsistence farmers.
This is essential to fighting poverty in rural households. If we are to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality, we must also address youth unemployment as I was saying. We have set up a project management office in the Presidency, to develop an integrated comprehensive employment strategy. This office will coordinate various other initiatives that I’ve already spoken about to address youth unemployment both within and beyond government and make all these initiatives work together in an integrated manner
Now, the expanded works program has been a major source of economic opportunities for many of our people and especially young people and women in the process of imparting the job skills that are so needed and re- training.
We also have to reform our education system to make it much more responsive to the requirements of the economy. This includes the work to introduce technical subjects in more of our schools and the conversion of traditional high schools into technical high schools.
Now, this is I saw for myself just last week in the Free State, where we were exposed to young people who are being offered technical subjects at schools. At grade 9,
11 and 12 they are now beginning to become boiler makers, they are learning boiler making which is now going to enhance their own capabilities. This for me was the greatest joy to interact with young people as you ask them what do you want to be when you grow up, and to hear them not say I want to do Human Resource, HR, I want to do just a Bachelor of Arts, BA, they are now saying I want to become a boiler maker, welder, aero space, an engineer or a pilot. This is now unleashing the mental energy of our young people who are now looking at great opportunities that are now being ignited by the technical education that they are getting at grade 9, 10 and 11.
So, this we must be grateful for because this represents a silent revolution that is spreading amongst the various educational facilities or schools that we have at that young age. They no longer have to wait to pass matric to go into college and universities to learn about boiler making. They are now learning it as they go on and it will be crowned by the artisan training that they will get once they go to artisan school.
Now, to overcome the unemployment crisis, to end poverty and reduce inequality requires a concerted effort by all of us, all social partners including government, labour, business, civil society as well as this Parliament. So, we all have our job cut out for us and I hope that we will take this up very seriously and commit to what we need to do in a way of our debates, the suggestions that we make, the laws that we pass and interventions that we make on an ongoing basis. All hands must be on deck to address the job challenge that our country faces. Thank you hon Deputy Speaker.
MR M GUNGUBELE: Mr President, one must appreciate the fact that they’ve gone a long way to articulate and
account to this country on your activities taking this country forward but however, you’ve articulated what appears to be good work in progress, taking into account that the SDGs are globally dictated kind of imperatives point of human development and there are also dependents that are outside this country within the environment where South Africa is trading.
It would be useful to hear the president sharing with the country with regard to what will be the significant role of SADC and probably the point where 2063 vision of the continent that will actually send a message that we are aware of the dependencies and the sustainability of these goals once they take off from within the country?
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, I
think one most wonderful thing about the Sustainable Development Goals is that they are a mirror, a mirror against which every country needs to look at itself. But to go even beyond just seeing that as a mirror there’s a call to action, a call to address the needs of the people of our country and these are universal needs.
The goals that are set out in the SDGs are so over arching and transversal and they affect the lives of people all over the world. We have appropriated them in SADC and Agenda 2063 of the African Union has also appropriated those and when you look at Agenda 2063, it is a real sort of a mirror image of what the SDGs are about.
We must see them as a real call to action and for us they are a guide but more than that they are also an evaluation mechanism to evaluate ourselves in terms of what we are doing to address the needs of ordinary people.
This is what we have to do and it is good that they have put out. It is almost like the universal declaration of human rights which even in liberation movements looked at fared from to inform how the struggle should be prosecuted. For us, the freedom chatter was that mirror and call to arms and to action that we also utilise. So, along the way have been very fortunate to have all these instruments and now in our cases it’s also the National Development Plan, NDP, that is a call to action in terms
of what we need to do but the SDGs which we voluntarily decided as a country that we are going to report on.
Reporting on them also showed up where we may be weak, where we may have short comings but we had the strength of courage to say we must report because it is the country reporting to the world but more importantly reporting to its own citizens about the progress or lack thereof that we are making.
In a number of areas we are making tremendous progress. But, it is when we see ourselves against the back drop of what other countries are doing that we are then able to quicken our step as we see how other countries are implementing the SDGs so that we are not left behind because those SDGs are meant to leave no one behind and this what we have committed ourselves to ensure that our people as a whole do indeed have an improved life as we implement these SDGs. Thank you very much Deputy Speaker.
THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr President, I’m very glad that you mentioned land and agrarian reform as one of the measures to meet these challenges because we believe that South Africans must own land in their own right and that
includes agricultural land. But, while you’re busy with the populist hearing of the constitutional amendment, there’s plenty that your government could be doing immediately without recklessly attacking property rights.
You could start by reversing the land reform program that you introduced in 2011 called Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy, PLAS. Under the previous called Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development, LRAD, lease agreements with the state had an automatic built in offer to purchase after five years. But, since 2011 this has been removed and that’s why a black emerging farmer like David Rakgase had to take you to court with the help of the DA to compel you to sell his own land to him.
So, Mr President, here’s a suggestion for you today, if you are serious about land reform and about freeing black farmers from the permanent sifter that they under, isn’t time that you put a tiger in your tank and committed to reversing this unjust policy and give them chance to own and buy the state owned land?
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Steenhuisen, I’ll be very clear and direct with you and fair and say yes, a variety of interventions we should make on land reform should include precisely the point you are making. Thank you very much.
Question 12 (Cont):
Dr W J BOSHOFF: Hon Deputy Speaker and hon Deputy President.
Eerbare President. Agbare President. Ek glo dis agbare en eerbare.
Sustainability is an integration of the three concepts of social, economic and the environmental issues. In your exposition you gave a lot of attention to economic and socio issues, but not to the environment which I do not find surprising if I look around me, because we nearly literally drown in waste in South Africa while waste is actually a concept which should be abolished because every waste stream is actually a resource stream.
I specifically want to refer to a Karoo town in the Northern Cape where they predominantly make use in new sewerage plants of evaporation dams, rather than finding some way of which many are extremely labour intensive to reuse that water and to use the resources logged up in the sewerage stream.
I would like to know from the President if it’s part of the plan of the sustainability to recover our environment in a labour intensive way? Thank you, Mr President.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, the answer is yes. If you were to spend time with Minister Creecy, she will tell you that part of the plans they have in the department or the Ministry she runs, the Department of Environmental, Forestry and Fisheries, is precisely that. To make sure that firstly, we look after our environment and this we are bound to do. We have no choice because with the challenges of climate change we are duty bound, historically bound and futuristically bound to look after our environment in more ways than one.
We have been found to be one of the biggest polluters particularly on our continent. We have to address climate change challenges and carbon emissions much more seriously. We have a very clear programme and plan for that.
However, on issues like addressing wastage, the department or the Ministry have a huge programme to do precisely that. So, the answer is definitely yes, we want to do it and we see it. We see the economic derivative out of the environment, because the waste treatment for instance is a subset of an industrial sector on its own which needs to be mined properly, which needs to be properly exploited and it can be a great job creator. In fact, it is a great job creator.
So, from that point of view we are looking very closely at it. We are coming up with programmes and interventions that are going to address that because the whole process of job creation is just really overriding. It cuts across everything that we and we are also focusing on this.
The other important benefit is that we have a number of women who participate in that subset of the economy. So, the answer is yes, we see environment as a huge job creation process that we need to embark upon.
So, have time to have tea with Minister Creecy. Thank you very much. [Interjections.]
Mr X NGWEZI: Hon Deputy Speaker and Mr President, the goals as listed require a long-term strategic commitment from government to grow the economy and provide sustainable jobs for people.
Your Minister of Finance was quoted yesterday saying that the country spends more than we earn, which alludes to the point about the country being unable to directly finance the realisation of these goals, but rather requires a flourishing economy to realise such goals.
Now, putting aside short-term employment, I would like to know from you: What programmes the Presidency has or will be putting in place to permanently locate industry in order to address each of the listed sustainable goals and
whether you think that South Africa will meet the 2030 Agenda? Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, our aim is to meet the 2030 Agenda from our own purposes with the National Development Plan, NDP. On a number of areas we are behind, we accept that on job creation, we are behind. On an overall basis, we do want to meet those goals. We have to keep trying. We are going to make every effort to meet those goals.
Of course we are making a lot of effort as much as the Minister of Finance did say that we are spending much more than we can afford or much more income than we have. We want to redress that. We want to turn that around as well. He laid out clear interventions that we need to embark upon. Interventions that can lead us there without at the moment getting us into heavy austerity measures, we think we are gently wishing to turn this ship around from the precipice. I believe that the interventions that he put in place and the interventions that we are going to continue taking are such that they will ensure that we
do not go into that precipice. Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members that concludes questions to the President. Before you rise please hold on.
There are two ... Mr President. Alright. There are two members of staff who I thought I cannot inform you that they have requested early retirement. Now, they joint Parliament at a very significant period of our country. One of them is Sandy Williams. She worked here for 27 years and the other is Shumiera Davids who worked here for 26 years. They were both working in the members facilities. This is why I thought I should ask you to give them a round of applause and wish them well. [Applause.]
Unfortunately, I did not ask them to come over here. They had a party with staff where they were and this is what they had fun for. We will communicate on your behalf, hon members. Thank you very much. That concludes the business of the day. This House is adjourned.
The House adjourned at 17:04.