Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 24 Oct 2013
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2013
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:02.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS – see col 000.
The SPEAKER: Hon members, I wish to announce that the vacancy that occurred in the National Assembly owing to the resignation of Ms S C van der Merwe has been filled by the nomination of Mr D W Swanepoel, with effect from 16 October 2013. The member has made and subscribed the oath in my office. I welcome Mr Swanepoel. [Applause.]
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr G LEKGETHO: Hon Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:
That the House debates mechanisms geared at reducing crime in rural areas nationally.
Mr M SWART: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates the extent of performance bonuses paid to Government employees without them achieving the required outputs and the need for rules in terms of which these bonuses can be paid.
Ms S R TSEBE: Hon Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:
That the House debates addressing the effects – both positive and negative – that social media use has on youth and families.
Dr J C KLOPPERS-LOURENS: Hon Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates the importance of research onboard the SA Agulhas II as part of our National Antarctic Programme and the roles of the Departments of Environmental Affairs and Science and Technology in this regard.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the IFP:
That the House debates the importance of revamping the technical vetting process of new candidates in the South African Police Service.
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates the effects of poor police work on the conviction rates of criminals and its consequences for the fight against crime.
Ms M C C PILANE-MAJAKE: Hon Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:
That the House debates strategies to deal decisively with corrective rape and gay and lesbian killings.
Mr G G BOINAMO: I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates the long overdue elections of Traditional Councils throughout the North West Province and solutions to fast-track these elections.
Ms P BHENGU: I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:
That the House debates dealing with hurdles in the attainment of the 2% employment equity for people with disabilities.
RENAMING OF GAUTENG’S R24 FREEWAY
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
(1) welcomes the recent renaming of Gauteng’s R24 freeway section as the Albertina Sisulu freeway, by the President of the country;
(2) notes that this comes after the City of Johannesburg recommended the renaming of municipal roads and streets in Johannesburg after the struggle heroine, uMama Albertina Sisulu;
(3) remembers that R24 freeway stretches from OR Tambo Airport, through the Johannesburg CBD, Roodepoort and finally to Randfontein on Gauteng's border with the North West;
(4) recalls that the renaming ceremony by the President happened during Transport Month, in which the country focuses on promoting transport infrastructure and road safety;
(5) further recalls that the official renaming of the R24 freeway is in line with our country's 20th year of freedom celebrations; and
(6) commends the City of Johannesburg for keeping the legacy of our fallen heroes and heroines alive.
GAS EXPLOSION IN PHARMACEUTICAL LABORATORY
Mr D C SMILES: Hon Speaker, I hereby move on behalf of the DA:
That the House -
(1) notes with great sadness the death of six people as a result of a horrific gas explosion at Rolfe Pharmaceutical Laboratories in Middelburg on Monday, 14 October 2013;
(2) further notes that 41 workers were injured during this tragic accident and were treated at the Wilhelm Stahl Hospital;
(3) acknowledges that 18 patients who were in critical condition were transferred to the Dora Nginza and Cecilia Makiwana Hospitals in Port Elizabeth and East London respectively; and
(4) conveys its sincere condolences to the family and friends of the six victims and its best wishes for a speedy recovery to those who are still hospitalised or recovering at home.
GOOD WISHES TO 2013 MATRICULANTS
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -
(1) notes that on 28 October thousands of matriculants will be starting their final year exams for the year 2013;
(2) further notes that matric exams mark the culmination of 12 years of schooling;
(3) believes that matric exams open greater opportunities for learners as they are about to leave the schooling system;
(4) further believes that with hard work and determination they can achieve the best;
(5) urges our learners to remain focused, motivated and continue to work hard; and
(6) wishes all our learners who will be sitting for this year’s final exams, the best.
WORLD OF CHILDREN HONOURS MICHAELA MYCROFT
Mrs S V KALYAN: Hon Speaker, I hereby move on behalf of the DA:
That the House -
(1) notes that the international organisation, World of Children, will honour 19-year old South African, Michaela Mycroft, for her work as an ability activist for children with disabilities in South Africa;
(2) further notes that Michaela is the co-founder of the Chaeli Campaign, a non-profit organisation that has helped more than 10 000 disabled children receive equipment and physical therapy since 2004;
(3) acknowledges that this award will be bestowed on Michaela on 7 November this year in New York City;
(4) thanks Michaela and the Chaeli Campaign for their commitment and desire to improve the lives of children living with disabilities in South Africa; and
(5) congratulates Michaela on this remarkable achievement.
CONDOLENCES ON PASSING OF MRS BRIDGET OPPENHEIMER
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Hon Speaker, I hereby move without notice on behalf of the IFP:
That the House -
(1) notes that Mrs Bridget Oppenheimer, the widow of the late Mr Harry Oppenheimer, passed away on Wednesday, 23 October 2013, at the age of 92 after a short illness;
(2) further notes that along with her husband, Mrs Oppenheimer was a close family friend of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi for many decades and that the Oppenheimers donated funds to causes identified by him;
(3) acknowledges that the sciences, the arts, conservation and education benefitted from the Oppenheimers’ enthusiastic support; and
(4) conveys its condolences to the surviving family members.
NATALIE DU TOIT AWARDED MOST EXCELLENT ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -
(1) notes that on Saturday, 5 October 2013, the retired paralympic swimmer Natalie du Toit received an honorary MBE from the British High Commission in Pretoria;
(2) further notes that Ms du Toit, who has won 13 gold medals and two silver medals in world class swimming competitions, was handed the award by the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, for her contribution to paralympic sports;
(3) recalls that in receiving this award, called the “Most Excellent Order of the British Empire”, Natalie shared the title with previous recipients such as famous singer Adele and actor Rowan Atkinson;
(4) further recalls that Ms du Toit, who retired after the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games, where she won three gold medals and one silver medal, is an inspiration to all athletes throughout the world; and
(5) congratulates her on her achievements and wishes her well.
SOUTH AFRICA TAKES LEAD AS TRAVEL DESTINATION
Mrs S V KALYAN: Hon Speaker, I hereby move on behalf of the DA:
That the House -
(1) notes that South Africa has once again emerged as the leading travel destination for international tourists at the World Travel Awards Gala Ceremony, hosted in Nairobi, Kenya on 16 October 2013;
(2) further notes that South Africa walked away with an impressive 27 awards out of the 56 awards that were up for grabs;
(3) recognises that 156 000 travel agencies and professionals in 140 countries voted for the winners of these awards; and
(4) congratulates the City of Cape Town for being awarded the ultimate prize when being named the Best Destination in Africa.
ESTABLISHMENT OF AD HOC COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND CANDIDATES FOR COMMISSION FOR GENDER EQUALITY VACANCIES
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Mr Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -
(1) notes the letter by the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, tabled on 20 September 2013 (Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports, 20 September 2013, p 3548), regarding the filling of vacancies in the Commission for Gender Equality;
(2) recalls its resolution of 23 June 2011 that the appointment of new commissioners would be in accordance with the Commission for Gender Equality Act, No 39 of 1996 (“the Act”), once it had been revised to bring it in line with the Constitution, 1996, and the Public Finance Management Act, No 1 of 1999;
(3) recognises that the process of revising the Act is not completed yet; and
(4) notwithstanding its resolution of 23 June 2011, establishes an ad hoc committee to identify suitable candidates for the filling of vacancies in the Commission, the Committee to –
(a) consist of 12 members as follows: ANC 7; DA 2; Cope 1; IFP 1 and other parties 1;
(b) exercise those powers in Rule 138 that may assist it in carrying out its task;
(c) consider the nominees submitted by the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities;
(d) recommend, where necessary, which commissioners should be appointed as full-time commissioners and which should be appointed as part-time commissioners; and
(e) submit a report with its recommendations to the House by 7 November 2013.
PRESIDENT’S AWARD FOR YOUTH EMPOWERMENT
Mr M R SONTO (ANC): Mr Speaker, 10 October 2013 was a proud day for 119 young people who received Gold Awards from President Zuma at the President’s Award for Youth Empowerment at the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town. Inmates and private school pupils alike shed tears in an emotional ceremony to honour South Africans between the ages of 14 and 24.
The president was flanked by the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward and Princess Sophie, who represented the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. The award is offered in 144 countries. In receiving his Gold Award, Jason Caldicott of the Robertson Correctional Centre in the Western Cape and a former drug addict, said that the programme had taught him to believe in himself again. There were young people from all walks of life, ranging from Robertson Correctional Centre inmates to pupils from Bridge House in Franschhoek.
The award programme requires participation in four key areas: community service, a group adventure journey, physical recreation and skills development. There are an estimated 14 300 participants in South African schools, prisons, community youth groups and orphanages. The ANC wants to encourage the recipients of this award to grab this opportunity and to use it to shape their future. [Applause.]
DA VICTORY IN MAKHADO BY-ELECTION
Mr M M SWATHE (DA): Mr Speaker, the DA convincingly won a by-election held yesterday in Makhado, Ward 5, Olifantshoek and Tiyani Village. [Applause.] This is the first-ever resounding victory by the DA in the deep rural areas in the province.
The victory marks a decisive increase from 1,46% in the 2011 local government election to 38,85% in yesterday’s by-election. [Applause.] If there ever was an unequivocal endorsement that more and more people are coming to the DA, yesterday’s by-election was exactly that and more. People in Ward 5 have set the politics of realignment on an irreversible trajectory in Limpopo. This is a watershed victory for the DA in the province, but, significantly, it augurs well for the coming 2014 general election.
In this deep rural area, traditionally an ANC stronghold, the communities have demonstrated their dissatisfaction about poor service delivery. The DA is now the party of choice. The ANC is losing its grip. People will no longer be cowed by the ANC’s disparaging lies about the DA in government. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the communities of Ward 5, Olifantshoek and Tiyani Village, who went in their numbers to vote for the DA. Special mention of gratitude must go to the DA activists who worked tirelessly to make sure that the DA won this ward. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
CALL FOR ACTION AGAINST BOARD OF CONTROL FOR CRICKET IN INDIA
Mr G P D MACKENZIE (Cope): Mr Speaker, I would like to discuss the role of the Board of Control for Cricket in India in reducing their tour to South Africa. I think what we have here is a situation of bullying of the worst kind by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. To suggest that they can choose who our leadership is of Cricket SA, CSA, I find, frankly, disgusting.
All revenue in cricket is really controlled by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, some 70% worldwide, and here you have a situation where we were excluded from the financial discussions at recent discussions about the Champion’s League, where we have a 20% stake of control. I find that absolutely abnormal and sickening.
The CSA has become a weak organisation and has not listened to the findings of the Nicholson Commission regarding governance and independent directors who, more often than not, are not independent when elected. The question is: Why has the Minister not responded? Clearly the Brics accord does not extend to the sports field. I think this is problematic. The result is that the CSA will be potentially ruined. Transformation and development on the ground will be badly affected, as some R300 million is going to be lost because of the shortened tour.
On a lighter note, Mr Speaker, I would like to wish the Western Province rugby team all the best for the Currie Cup final. By now, you will know my role with the Sharks, but if I listen to some of the local commentators on Saturday nights ... [Time expired.] [Laughter.]
NEW SCHOOLS BUILT AS PART OF “ONE SCHOOL PER WEEK” CAMPAIGN
Mrs N M MDAKA (ANC): Mr Speaker, the ANC is encouraged by the growing progress being made in accelerating the building of school infrastructures. Therefore, the newly built Tshantshala Senior Primary School in Gugwini village, just outside Lusikisiki, stands as a beacon of hope for the local community as they can finally be assured that their children have a safe place to continue their learning and development.
Before this, learners in Gugwini village used to travel more than 10 km to attend school in the neighbouring village, and those who remained behind were housed in a local church after the structure that was used was blown away by strong winds. These learners experienced difficult learning conditions and they were all crammed into one classroom, which negatively affected the quality of teaching and learning. The new school boasts, among other facilities, 14 classrooms and two water tanks.
The ANC is proud of this achievement, as Tshantshala joins the list of brand-new schools that have been opened as part of the “One school per week” campaign. This campaign has also seen the opening of Notsolo Senior Primary School, Mqokolweni Senior Primary School and Ndlovayiphathwa Senior Primary School, among others. The ANC is also very proud to announce that thus far a total of 16 schools has been built and handed over, and more schools are still to be handed over in the Eastern Cape. I thank you. [Applause.]
ANC ABUSE OF STATE RESOURCES IN CAMPAIGN FOR NONGOMA BY-ELECTION
Mr V B NDLOVU (IFP): Mr Speaker, when the hon Minister Gordhan cracked down on the abuse of state resources yesterday, there may as well have been a backlog of Nongoma behind him, because the way in which the ruling party and its progeny, the NFP, campaigned in Nongoma over the three weeks leading up to yesterday’s by-election speaks loudly of the abuse of state resources.
It also speaks about what is to come in 2014. [Interjections.] Do you want to meet me outside? [Laughter.] At the height of the by-election campaign, a storm of government activity suddenly blew into Nongoma. Millions of rand from the state coffers were spent in three wards over the span of three weeks. Government functions, complete with musicians, disc jockeys and radio personalities ...
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members! Order! Proceed, sir.
Mr V B NDLOVU (IFP): When questioned on uKhozi FM, the premier of KwaZulu-Natal quite blatantly said that the provincial government had decided to go to Nongoma because of the by-election. The ANC was contesting this election, not the government. Moreover, sadly, delivering services and bussing people to parties is not the way to govern. It is the way to buy votes with taxpayers’ money. That is indefensible.
The SPEAKER: Hon members, order!
Mr V B NDLOVU (IFP): Not to be outdone, the Mayor of the Zululand District Municipality spent vast sums in the three wards, delivering water tanks and other services to people who had been waiting for years for her to deliver.
I urge this Parliament to seriously pay attention to the implications of the ruling party’s use of state resources for party politics to gain advantage over their political competitors. Something must urgently be done. In fact, we call on Parliament to debate this matter. Every South African of integrity must be concerned about this state of affairs, because it is in the interest of every South African that democracy must not be ...
The SPEAKER: Hon members, stop heckling! If you want to have a private discussion, please go out. [Interjections.] Continue, sir.
Mr V B NDLOVU (IFP): Thank you, Mr Speaker. They know what they have done. [Time expired.] [Laughter.]
QUESTIONS SURROUNDING QUALIFICATIONS OF MAJ GEN CHRIS NGCOBO
Mnr P J GROENEWALD (VF Plus): Speaker, die skorsing van genl-maj Chris Ngcobo, waarnemende hoof van die polisie se Misdaad Intelligensie-eenheid, oor teenstrydighede met sy kwalifikasies, is ’n ernstige vingerverwysing na die staat van disfunksionaliteit waarin die eenheid alreeds verval het.
Ernstige vrae moet gevra word oor waarom die ongerymdhede rondom Ngcobo nou eers op die lappe kom nadat hy reeds in Junie verlede jaar in die pos aangestel is. Die eenheid is ironies genoeg juis veronderstel om die spesialis op die gebied van hierdie tipe inligting te wees. Die eenheid spesialiseer onder meer in koverte optredes en meeluistering en is die regering se oë en ore om inligting te bekom wat as ’n bedreiging vir die staat beskou kan word. Dit is alombekend dat Ngcobo ’n voormalige lyfwag en vertroueling is van President Jacob Zuma. Is dit hoekom dit so lank geneem het om agter te kom dat daar teenstrydighede is met sy kwalifikasies?
Uit hoofde van sy amp, sou hy op internasionale vlak met ampsgenote gepraat en inligting uitgeruil het. Daarvoor moes hy oor die hoogste sekerheidsverklaring beskik het. Dis moeilik om te aanvaar dat daar nou eers met sy kwalifikasies fout gevind word. Dit is ook werklik skrikwekkend dat ’n eenheid met soveel mag so totaal disfunksioneel kan raak. Dit maak Suid-Afrika ’n bespotting van die internasionale intelligensiegemeenskap en behoort elke Suid-Afrikaner tot onrustigheid te stem, want die gevolg is dat misdaad sal gedy. (Translation of Afrikaans Member’s Statement follows.)
[Mr P J GROENEWALD (FF Plus): Speaker, the suspension of Major General Chris Ngcobo, acting chief of the police’s Crime and Intelligence Unit, because of contradictions regarding his qualifications, is a serious indication of the dysfunctional state the unit has already fallen into.
Serious questions must be raised as to why the irregularities regarding Ngcobo surfaced only now, after he had already been appointed to the post in June last year. The unit, ironically enough, is supposed to be the specialists in the field of this type of information. The unit specialises, among other things, in covert actions and eavesdropping, and is the government’s eyes and ears to get information that can be considered a threat to the state. It is widely known that Ngcobo is a former bodyguard and confidant of President Jacob Zuma. Is this the reason it took so long to realise that there are contradictions regarding his qualifications?
In his position, he would have conversed at international level with counterparts and exchanged information. For that he must have had the highest security clearance. It is hard to believe that some objections are only now raised regarding his qualifications. It is also really alarming that a unit with so much power can become so totally dysfunctional. It makes South Africa the laughing stock of the international intelligence community and should give every South African cause for concern, because crime will flourish as a result.]
SOUTH AFRICA AND SENEGAL SIGN CO-OPERATION AGREEMENT
Mrs J P NGUBENI-MALULEKA (ANC): Hon Speaker, the ANC believes that economic and political co-operation with other countries can improve the lives of all our people and will continue to work towards a better life for all, a better Africa and a better world. Hence it welcomes the signing of agreements in the field of agriculture and co-operation as well as in the field of arts and culture between South Africa and Senegal. This was concluded after President Jacob Zuma’s recent visit to Senegal and his meeting with his Senegalese counterpart, Mr Macky Sall.
The visit has also solidified the relationship between South Africa and Senegal, and as such the two countries have pledged to play important roles in promoting peace and stability through participating in peacekeeping operations in their regions.
Furthermore, the signing of these two agreements has demonstrated the need to unlock the economic potential between the two countries through economic co-operation that includes industrial and technical partnership and the transfer of skills. I thank you. [Applause.]
CALL TO DISSOLVE BOARD OF NATIONAL YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
Mrs C DUDLEY (ACDP): Hon Speaker, the ACDP calls on the President to dissolve the current National Youth Development Agency, NYDA, board and establish a new board comprised of all political parties to ensure accountability. The ACDP welcomes the dismissal of NYDA chief executive officer, Steven Ngubeni, who is implicated in financial misconduct.
The ACDP youth have expressed serious concerns regarding what they call the dysfunctional and corrupt reputation of the NYDA and say the failure of the board to follow proper procedure with regard to the firing of Ngubeni is just another example of how badly the NYDA is managed. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members, we really do want to listen to the speaker. I can hear you, but I can’t hear her! Continue, hon member.
Mrs C DUDLEY: They have also called into question the agency’s announcement that charges against the chief operation officer and executive manager of corporate services have been dropped.
Since its inception the NYDA has been shrouded in scandal and these problems continue to give the youth in South Africa little hope of the NYDA following its mandate to provide services for all and to be their voice. The ACDP youth are therefore calling for a large-scale investigation of the whole agency.
The ACDP’s call for the President to dissolve the current NYDA board and establish a new board, comprised of all political parties to ensure accountability, aims to ensure that the NYDA is strongly positioned to serve the youth in our country from every corner of our nation. Services must be provided for all and not just a chosen few that are connected with the ruling party.
The ACDP calls on the Public Protector to look into the financial management of the funds given to the NYDA. The ACDP also calls on this House to urgently debate these issues which are dividing our nation as significant number of youth feel they are being discriminated against. The ACDP stands for a shared future for all South Africans. Thank you. [Interjections.]
EXORBITANT FEE FOR SMART ID CARDS
Mr M S F DE FREITAS (DA): Mr Speaker, during the Home Affairs’ portfolio committee meeting last week, the Department of Home Affairs’ Director-General, Mkuseli Apleni, confirmed that all South Africans would now have to pay R140 for their first smart ID card and not just for replacements, as previously stated by Minister Pandor in the department’s communications.
For millions of South Africans, R140 is literally the difference between survival and starvation. The new smart ID card price poses a serious threat to their financial security. The department needs to provide clarity on payment of fees and also needs to update this House on its discussion with the Treasury in this regard.
Imposing a new ID system on South Africa's citizens and forcing them to pay for it effectively puts a price on citizenship that not everyone can afford, and will exclude them from electoral and social security processes once the green barcoded ID books are phased out.
The DA therefore calls on Minister Pandor and her department to provide clarity on the fee structure of the new smart ID cards. I thank you, Speaker. [Applause.]
CLEAN AUDIT REPORT FOR NORTHERN CAPE
Ms N R MABEDLA (ANC): Hon Speaker, the ANC is pleased by the recent outcomes of the Auditor-General’s report on the Northern Cape provincial government. This is an indication that our provincial government is dedicated to achieving a clean audit. Most government departments and entities received unqualified audits and none of the departments received a disclaimer opinion during the 2012-13 financial year's audit.
The other provinces should follow suit and we have noted the findings of the Auditor-General on the DA-led Western Cape government. The recent reports confirm the ANC’s belief that service delivery under the DA has seriously lapsed and is in crisis. [Interjections.]
In the Western Cape, even though five out of the 14 provincial departments recorded a clean audit, there were still serious problems listed with most of those five. Of the 12 provincial entities, two of them, namely Cape Nature and the Housing Development Fund, received bad qualified opinions. Over the period 2012-13, the Western Cape’s quality of performance reports regressed, leadership stagnated, procurement problems were widespread and management responses were at a snail’s pace.
Once again, though, the ANC congratulates Gauteng province, which has achieved eight clean audits and 23 unqualified audits for the 2012-13 financial year. [Applause.] Thank you very much. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
SABC’S NEW EDITORIAL POLICY SACRIFICES ITS INDEPENDENCE
Ms L L VAN DER MERWE (IFP): Hon Speaker, following the recent announcement by Mr “Happy News” Hlaudi Motsoeneng that all SABC news programmes should be balanced with 70% good news, it comes as no surprise that the popular debate show The Big Debate has been unceremoniously canned.
According to this new news standard, which is in clear contravention of the SABC’s editorial codes, the show was clearly too critical of government’s performance and not smart enough. Mr Motsoeneng has made a number of similar public statements in the past, which raise fundamental questions about the SABC’s editorial independence.
It is becoming clear that the SABC is not only sacrificing its public accountability and editorial policy, but it is moving ever closer to becoming a de facto state broadcaster.
It brings into question the entire SABC’s editorial review process, which is currently under way. Why spend taxpayer’s money reviewing policies that will not be implemented? The same could be asked about the millions of rands we spend advertising positions on the recently newly appointed board when the whole process was a con from the beginning.
Mr Carrim, who is not here now, should provide us with answers. Is the SABC still a public broadcaster or is it now a state broadcaster? If the SABC is now officially the ANC’s TV, who can blame those South Africans who are not supporters of the ANC and who, on the basis of these developments, no longer believe that it is the right thing to do to pay their TV licences. The TV licence payers, the ordinary South African, deserve answers. I thank you. [Applause.]
PLANS TO CURB WASTEFUL EXPENDITURE IN PUBLIC SERVICE
Mr L RAMATLAKANE (Cope): Minister Gordhan, and the Minister of Finance - in fact, the whole Cabinet - should be commended for measures taken to curtail wasteful expenditure in the public sector. This is happening while so many South Africans are poor and in need of social services for survival in these difficult times.
The message is clear: Party time is over; no more credit cards and lavish entertainment; no more excesses in the refurbishment of the homes of Ministers. While we welcome this announcement, we are keenly awaiting its implementation. Bad habits do not die easily.
The next critical aspect to which Cabinet needs to give serious attention is the implementation of stricter controls to stem the tide of corruption, especially with regard to tenders, dealing with corruption in the private sector and with the construction sector stealing from the public purse during the building of the 2010 stadia. We are still awaiting action.
In many seminars on the state of governance, the outgoing Auditor-General has expressed serious concern about the rising tide of corrupt practice in national, provincial and local government administrations, with little or no consequences. Those officials are still walking free, enjoying lavish lives courtesy of expenditure stolen from the public purse.
SIXTH EDITION OF DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS REPORT
Ms M N PHALISO (ANC): Speaker, the ANC welcomes the sixth edition of the Development Indicators report released by the Presidency. Indeed, as we finish the second decade of democracy, we have a good story to tell. This is a story that says that South Africa is better than it was 20 years ago.
Since 1994, working with people, the ANC-led government has achieved many things. To mention a few, the ANC has proudly brought a monthly social grant to over 15 million people; the ANC has proudly built about 3 million new houses; the ANC has proudly provided clean water to an extra 9 million people; the ANC has proudly brought health services to within easier reach of millions of rural people; the ANC has proudly built 500 new clinics; the ANC has proudly provided free schooling to about 7 million learners each year; the ANC has proudly brought about over 4 million new electricity connections; and the ANC has proudly provided a free daily meal to over 5 million primary school children every year.
A lot has been achieved and lot more can still be achieved. It is time that we tell the story of these achievements and we will not hide away our challenges, including those we inherited from the time before 1994.
As we enter another decade of democracy, armed with our National Development Plan, we are confident that we will be able to tackle South Africa’s most pressing challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. [Applause.]
WESTERN CAPE ECONOMY OUTPERFORMS NATIONAL ECONOMY
Mrs D A SCHÄFER: Mr Speaker, last week Western Cape minister of finance, Alan Winde, tabled the Provincial and Municipal Economic Review and Outlook Report. According to the report, the Western Cape economy has once again outperformed the national economy. It is the province with the lowest unemployment rate in the country and the average per capita income per household is almost double that of the national average.
Contrary to what the ANC tries to make people believe, the Western Cape is the most equal province in terms of income, with a Gini coefficient of 0,63, while the national figure stands at 0,68. The Western Cape also has the lowest HIV/Aids prevalence rate and we have halved the number of household heads without education. We have increased the percentage of those who gained at least a matric by 7%. The figures presented in this report show clearly that where the DA governs, they deliver and they deliver for all. This is what the DA can do if we are voted into government. The voters will have the opportunity to choose this better life at the polls next year and, for the record, every single department in the Western Cape had an unqualified audit. It is very interesting that the ANC regards eight clean audits out of 23 in Gauteng as an achievement, whereas in the Western Cape similar figures are not. Thank you. [Applause.]
SOUTH AFRICANS UNITE AGAINST RACISM
Ms J L FUBBS: Mr Speaker, the ANC calls on all South Africans to unite against racism. The ANC has committed to unity in our diversity as we build a national democratic society and develop social cohesion. We have also voiced the belief that all our people are entitled to and should enjoy political and human freedom, as well as socioeconomic rights with a common value system. Thus the 100-year-old ANC - and indeed many South Africans - were disturbed by the utterances of Steve Hofmeyr in the Red October march in Pretoria, when he was quoted as saying:
Immaterial of the statistics, we are not used to this mortality rate. We are not used to being raped at this rate. Most importantly, we aren’t used to being raped by other cultures, tribes or ethnicities.
The ANC views this statement as irresponsible, reckless and divisive, especially at a time when all South Africans are expected to unite in our solidarity against violence and racism.
Ons moet almal saamstaan hier! [We should all be united in this regard.]
The ANC appeals to Mr Steve Hofmeyr and his colleagues to refrain from such utterances that are divisive and fuel racial discrimination. We should rather unite in mobilising our communities to participate in combating crime, whether in street committees, neighbourhood watches and community policing forums. Sekunjalo! Ke Nako! Take ownership – now is the time! Thank you. [Time expired.].
ANC ABUSE OF STATE RESOURCES IN CAMPAIGN FOR NONGOMA BY-ELECTION
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES: Hon Speaker, I think the main complaint about the election process in Nongoma is not so much that government provided services. Government must continue to provide services to the people, whether the elections are on or not. The main complaint is that somebody lost in that campaign. [Applause.] The main complaint is that the people of Nongoma defied intimidation and assassination to exercise their democratic right, realising that not to do so would be the cardinal mistake on their part.
As we are preparing for the 2014 general election, it is necessary that all the political parties should commit themselves to peaceful, free and fair campaigning and elections, both for the voters and the candidates. The people of ward 5 in Limpopo certainly exercised their democratic right, which we fought for and which we will certainly continue to defend to the end of our lives. We are convinced that in the years to come, they will realise the truth of how they wasted their votes, supporting backwardness and going back into the past. Thank you. [Applause.]
EXORBITANT FEE FOR SMART ID CARDS
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Mr Speaker, I think it is important that when we engage in the constituency work that we all do as members of Parliament, we indicate to the public of South Africa that the change to the smart ID card is an important step forward in the management of security for our country. Thus we should encourage our people to take up the smart ID card once we call on them to apply.
I would like to remind the hon member from the DA, who is a member of the committee, that we are not saying you must immediately apply for the smart ID card. We have said that we would take between four and six years to reach every South African. So, we haven’t called on every person to find the R140 immediately. May I say that with countries that have made a change of this kind, the public is required to pay a fee toward the new identity document or card. Now, what we have agreed with the National Treasury is that all first applicants will receive the card free. With respect to senior citizens who are registered on the South African Social Security Agency register as grant recipients, they will receive the card free. The rest will apply and pay R140. Thank you. [Applause.]
ANC ABUSE OF STATE RESOURCES IN CAMPAIGN FOR NONGOMA BY-ELECTION
SABC’S NEW EDITORIAL POLICY SACRIFICES ITS INDEPENDENCE
The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Mr Speaker, I want to quickly respond to two statements.
Esokuqala nje bengifuna nami ukujobelela kuGatsheni ngithi: Gatsheni uma nihluliwe induku yivumeni niyiNkatha [Ubuwelewele.] Somlomo, esifuna ukukucacisa ukuthi uma ngabe kuwukuthi uKhongolose ubethenga abantu, kungani amawadi amabili Inkatha ehlulwe kuwona ingahlulwa nguKhongolose? Ihlulwe yiqembu elaqembuka eNkatheni.[Ihlombe.] Ngakho-ke le nto yokuthi abantu sibathengile; abantu bakithi abathengwa, bahlakaniphile futhi bayalibona ikusasa labo la likhona. Induku yivumeni. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[Firstly, I want to say to hon Gatsheni: Gatsheni, as the IFP you must accept defeat when you are defeated. [Interjections.] Hon Speaker, what we want to clarify is that if the ANC was paying people to vote for it, how did it happen that the two wards where the IFP lost its seats it did not lose them to the ANC? But it was defeated by the splinter party that broke away from it. [Applause.] Therefore, the allegation that we bought people is not true – people are never bought – people are smart and they see where their future lies. Accept defeat.]
The second thing, to the hon member who was talking about the SABC as a state broadcaster, is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the public broadcaster telling the good news and the good things that are happening in this country. The truth is, as the President said, that South Africa is a much better place than it was in 1994. [Applause.] That story has to be told. The reason that the opposition is raising these things is that they want the good news to be hidden and only the bad news told. [Interjections.] This country has changed for the better for the overwhelming majority of our people because of the ANC and its policies. We say to the SABC, don’t be intimidated by the opposition and continue to tell the good story. Thank you very much, Speaker. [Applause.]
SOUTH AFRICA AND SENEGAL SIGN CO-OPERATION AGREEMENT
The MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY: Mr Speaker, in response to the ANC member Ngubeni-Maluleka’s statement about the successful state visit by President Zuma to Senegal, I would like to state that the visit not only strengthened the relations and economic development between our two nations but went beyond promoting peace and stability on our continent. It went into matters of the economic development and integration of Africa.
As you may remember, president Macky Sall leads the New Partnership for Africa’s Development programme for the African Union. President Jacob Zuma co-ordinates infrastructure ...
The SPEAKER: Order, order, hon members!
The MINISTER OF STATE SECURITY: ... development in Africa, in particular Southern Africa. We are the champions. As we all now know, the highlight of the visit was the bilateral arrangement to link Robben Island and Gorée Island. I think that is a most important historical event. Some people over there do not like to know that most people, particularly of African origin, suffered at the historical sites of Robben Island and Gorée Island. I thank you. [Applause.]
NEW SCHOOLS BUILT AS PART OF “ONE SCHOOL PER WEEK” CAMPAIGN
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Hon Speaker, I want to thank the hon Mdaka for celebrating the delivery of schools. This is part of the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Development Initiative, Asidi, which is being co-ordinated by the Presidency through the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission, PICC.
I would like to share with the House that we have gone well beyond the 16 schools. As we speak, 37 schools have reached practical completion. For example, just in Libode in the Eastern Cape, there are 12 state-of-the-art schools. These schools include media and information and communications technology centres that are fully furnished and dedicated Grade R sites. They certainly represent a beacon of hope for the people living in these poor communities.
Indeed, the “one school per week” programme, launched in the middle of July, is on track. When we do the calculations, we find we have exceeded the number of schools. Although we might have delivered 16 schools formally and in terms of ceremony, the reality is that 37 schools have reached practical completion. Given the immediate need of the learners, we allow occupation to take place the moment the schools reach practical completion. Ceremonies can follow afterwards. Let me say one more thing: The Western Cape itself will be the beneficiary of at least 12 schools in terms of this programme by the PICC. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
CALL FOR ACTION AGAINST BOARD OF CONTROL FOR CRICKET IN INDIA
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF SPORT AND RECREATION: Mr Speaker, to provide some perspective, for hon Mackenzie’s benefit and for the benefit of the House, which seems to be as ill-informed as he is, the Nicholson Commission was appointed by the Ministry of Sport and Recreation - nobody else. In fact, stemming from the recommendations made by the Nicholson Commission, today we have independent directors there and they are all highly respected individuals.
The accusation that the Minister of Sport and the Ministry are silent on the whole cricket saga that is going on at the moment is devoid of all truth. The facts are that negotiation processes are ongoing and if we dared issue a statement before they were concluded we would be accused of interfering in the affairs of cricket and sport and of not respecting the international rules of independence.
This is precisely why I caution the hon member, who is a seasoned sport administrator in the game of rugby. I know he is excited about this coming Saturday but he should be patient. Saturday’s result will be known after the whistle. In the same way we will timeously issue a statement on the whole cricket saga.
May I conclude by saying that the whole issue of dependence and independence, and respect for that barrier in international sport, led to Ministers of sport and the International Olympic Committee, at Cancun in Mexico two years ago, concluding and coming up with resolutions precisely to the effect that there is a role for governments in the development state to have a say in the development and management of sport. If we want to host international events, government must put up the guarantees and provide for everything. So I caution the member to be patient. The Minister of Sport will issue a statement in due course. Thank you. [Applause.]
EMPLOYMENT TAX INCENTIVE BILL
MERCHANT SHIPPING (INTERNATIONAL OIL POLLUTION COMPENSATION FUND) CONTRIBUTIONS BILL
TAXATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL
CUSTOMS DUTY BILL
The MINISTER OF FINANCE: Mr Speaker, I wish to introduce before the House four section 77 Money Bills. They are the Bills that have just been read out: the Employment Tax Incentive Bill of 2013, the Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Contributions Bill, the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill and the Customs Duty Bill, all of 2013.
The Employment Tax Incentive Bill is part of a discourse that we have had for some time in South Africa about how we tackle the high and unacceptable levels of unemployment that we have in this country. It is only one part of a wide range of measures taken by government as part of the youth and skills accords to improve the skills levels and employment levels of young people, but also generally of unemployed people of all ages. Clearly, what we are demonstrating as government is our determination that everything possible must be done to enable employment to increase.
So, through this Bill, we are creating a dispensation through which enterprises can share the cost of employing both older and younger workers, both inside and outside of special economic zones, under certain circumstances. In a sense, we are asking everyone to accept the dictum of Deng Xiaoping, the man who transformed China. We have to transform our economies and our countries by crossing the river by feeling for the stones. This afternoon, I am tabling this Bill, which has two legs: employment in special economic zones for workers of all ages; and employment outside of special economic zones to give opportunities to young, first-time job seekers aged between 18 and 29.
No developmental strategy can succeed if the time, energy and talents of a country’s people are not harnessed to achieve higher living standards. Employment, as we all know, offers an opportunity to do just that. Finding a job is about more than economics, however. It is a way to contribute to the wellbeing of our families, households and communities. We also contribute to the welfare of our society and economy, more broadly, and our confidence, dignity, self-image and optimism are shaped by whether we have a job, or not.
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon members, please reduce the noise level in the House.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE: Many South Africans are excluded from economic activity and, as a result, suffer disproportionately from unemployment, discouragement and economic marginalisation. Indeed, South Africa has one of the highest rates of unemployment worldwide and we should spare no effort in reducing unemployment.
The incidence of unemployment is highest among young people. This means that young people are denied the opportunity to gain the skills and experience that will enable them to build future careers and contribute to future economic growth. The lack of skills and the lack of opportunity is what we want to reverse by using a multiplicity of measures, this being one of them.
Approximately 94% of unemployed young people do not have further or tertiary education. Approximately 80% have either never worked or have not been employed for longer than a year. These are alarming indicators and they stand in the way of achieving our stated objective of improving the lives of people in this country.
This Bill creates a framework for the fiscus and enterprises in South Africa to share costs and to create employment, firstly in special economic zones. These will play a key role in creating and attracting investment in industries and indeed in expanding employment as well. As we learned from elsewhere in the world, incentives play a very important part in attracting investment to special economic zones. With that investment will come development of new industries and the opportunity for unemployed workers to be employed as well. Similarly, as I said earlier on, this Bill provides for the employment of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 in all parts of South Africa.
Let me move on to the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill and the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill. These amending Bills provide for revisions to existing tax legislation and complete the tax legislative changes arising from tax proposals, as announced in the 2013 Budget Speech. Tax legislation dealing with annual rates and monetary amounts was passed earlier this year.
Our fiscal sovereignty and our ability to fund government expenditure are premised on a sound tax policy framework and an efficient and effective revenue administration. As we know, global economic conditions continue to be fragile, and while the South African economy has weathered this period of turbulence reasonably well, we have certainly not returned, as we pointed out yesterday, to prerecession levels.
The Taxation Laws Amendment Bills encourage higher levels of retirement savings; encourage employers to assist their employees, especially those at the bottom of the income spectrum, to become homeowners; provide support for the development of special economic zones and the maritime sector; preserve and protect the tax bases of South Africa; and address tax anomalies that hinder commercial business activity.
The next Bill I wish to introduce is the Customs Duty Bill, which is also part of a group of Customs Bills that the House will be asked to consider. In an ever-changing and complex international, regional and national environment, customs plays a critical role in supporting government’s programmes to promote economic growth, job creation and social cohesion. In this regard, customs plays three important roles. Firstly, the fiscal role, which this Bill deals with, involves the collection of the correct customs duties. This, for example, involves detecting undervaluation and the administration of antidumping duties, providing for opportunities to protect our economy and our local industries. It also contributes towards the fiscus. Of course, as the hon members know, 60% of these duties are also shared with our SA Customs Union, Sacu, neighbours.
Secondly, customs plays an important trade facilitation role, a subject that is going to be central to a meeting of the World Trade Organisation in December this year. This trade facilitation role is in relation to imports and exports, to encourage foreign investment and to support our economic competitiveness.
Thirdly, customs must apply the necessary controls in order to protect our society from prohibited goods, such as drugs, from entering the Republic.
Also tabled this afternoon is the Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Contributions Bill of 2013. This Contributions Bill provides for the imposition of the levy on oil importers to contribute to the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund, the manner in which the levy is determined and the obligation on the South African government to pay the contributions to the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund.
The Contributions Bill is a Money Bill, as contemplated in section 77 of the Constitution. It forms part of a package of measures designed to give effect to the Republic of South Africa’s obligations under international conventions and protocols pertaining to oil pollution damage. These obligations are the 1969 International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage; the 1992 International Maritime Organisation Protocol, to amend the 1969 International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution; the 1971 International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Oil Pollution Damage; and the 1992 protocol to amend the 1971 convention I mentioned earlier on.
The three other pieces of legislation that form part of this package of legislative measures are the Merchant Shipping Administration Bill and two Bills introduced by the Minister of Transport, which have been adopted by the National Assembly, namely the Merchant Shipping (Civil Liability Convention) Bill and the Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Bill. This package of legislation deals with the issues of liability and compensation for loss or damage caused by contamination resulting from the escape or discharge of oil from oil tankers. The Civil Liability Convention provides that victims are entitled to claim compensation from the registered ship owner or insurers for pollution damage suffered in the territory or exclusive economic zone of a contracting state.
I will not bore you with too much more detail, save to say that the Contributions Bill proposes to impose a contributions levy to enable the required contributions in terms of the fund and convention to be paid to the SA Revenue Service by persons liable to pay the contributions. As I mentioned earlier, the government of South Africa will pay annually to the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund the total amount of contributions invoiced by the director of that fund.
So, in conclusion, I hereby table for consideration by this House the Employment Tax Incentive Bill of 2013, the Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Contributions Bill of 2013, the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill of 2013, and the Customs Duty Bill of 2013. I thank you. [Applause.]
Employment Tax Incentive Bill referred to the Standing Committee on Finance for consideration and report.
Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Contributions Bill referred to the Standing Committee on Finance for consideration and report.
Taxation Laws Amendment Bill referred to the Standing Committee on Finance for consideration and report.
Customs Duty Bill referred to the Standing Committee on Finance for consideration and report.
LOTTERIES AMENDMENT BILL
(Decision of Question on Second Reading)
The SPEAKER: Hon members, I wish to remind you that after the debate on the Second Reading of this Bill on Tuesday, 22 October 2013, the decision of question on the Second Reading was postponed. Are there any objections to the Lotteries Amendment Bill being read a second time? [Interjections.] Order, hon members! Order! Are there any objections? Alright, there are no objections. [Interjections.] Order, hon members! [Interjections.]
Mrs S V KALYAN: Speaker, the DA would like to call for a division on this, please. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members! Order! Order! Order! [Interjections.] All right, a division has been called for ...
Prof B TUROK: Speaker, on a point of order: I wish to draw your attention to the fact that quite a number of members of the opposition have just left the Chamber. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon member, what is out of order in that?
Prof B TUROK: It is out of order in the sense that it is a violation of the principles of this House, which are that we work together to pass legislation without deliberate - deliberate - abstention and undermining of democracy. I ask you to rule on that.
The SPEAKER: I am ruling, hon member: A division has been called for. [Interjections.] Order!
Mrs S V KALYAN: Speaker, there are quite a few committees sitting. [Interjections.] I would like to advise you that there are several committees that are sitting and members are leaving to take up their duties there. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: In that case, why are you calling for a division? [Interjections.]
HON MEMBERS: Yes! [Laughter.] [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members!
The SPEAKER: Order! Will the members please take their seats?
The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Hon Speaker ...
The SPEAKER: Order, I have not recognised you. I said that members must please take their seats. [Laughter.] Will members please take their allocated seats?
Question put: That the Bill be read a second time.
The SPEAKER: Order!
I am still waiting for the results. While waiting, let me review the following rules: A member demanding a division shall not leave the Chamber ... [Applause.] ... until the results of the division has been declared and shall vote with those who, in the opinion of the Presiding Officers, are in the minority. Those are the Rules.
The House divided:
AYES – 195: Abram, S; Adams, P E; Ainslie, A R; Bam-Mugwanya, V; Beukman, F; Bhengu, N R; Bhengu, F; Bhengu, P; Bikani, F C; Bonhomme, T; Booi, M S; Borman, G M; Boshigo, D F; Bothman, S G; Burgess, C V; Cele, M A; Chabane, O C; Chili, D O; Chiloane, T D; Chohan, F I; Coleman, E M; Cronin, J P; Cwele, S C; Dambuza, B N; De Lange, J H; Diale, L N; Dikgacwi, M M; Dlakude, D E; Dlomo, B J; Dubazana, Z S; Dube, M C; Duma, N M; Dunjwa, M L; Frolick, C T; Fubbs, J L; Gasebonwe, T M A; Gaum, A H; Gcwabaza, N E; Gelderblom, J P; Gigaba, K M N; Gina, N; Gololo, C L; Goqwana, M B; Gumede, D M; Hajaig, F; Huang, S-B; Jeffery, J H; Johnson, M; Kekana, C D; Kenye, T E; Khoarai, L P; Kholwane, S E; Khumalo, F E; Khunou, N P; Koornhof, G W; Kubayi, M T; Kwankwa, N L; Landers, L T; Lekgetho, G; Lesoma, R M M; Line-Hendriks, H; Lishivha, T E; Maake, J J; Mabasa, X; Mabedla, N R; Mabuza, M C; Madlala, N M; Madlopha, C Q; Mafolo, M V; Magagula, V V; Magama, H T; Magubane, E; Magwanishe, G; Mahomed, F; Makasi, X C; Makhubela-Mashele, L S; Makhubele, Z S; Makwetla, S P; Malgas, H H; Maluleka, H P; Maluleke, J M; Manamela, K B; Manana, M C; Mandela, Z M D; Mangena, M S; Manuel, T A; Mashatile, S P; Mashigo, R M; Mashishi, A C; Masilo, J M; Masutha, T M; Mathebe, D H; Mathibela, N F; Matlanyane, H F; Matshoba, J M; Maunye, M M; Mavunda, D W; Mayatula, S M; Maziya, A M; Mdaka, M N; Mdakane, M R; Mfeketo, N C; Mfulo, A; Mgabadeli, H C; Mjobo, L N; Mkhulusi, N N P; Mlambo, E M; Mlangeni, A; Mmusi, S G; Mnisi, N A; Moepeng, J K; Mohai, S J; Mohale, M C; Mohorosi, M M; Mokoena, A D; Molebatsi, M A; Molewa, B E E; Moloi-Moropa, J C; Moloto, K A; Moni, C M; Morutoa, M R; Moss, L N; Motimele, M S; Motlanthe, K P; Motsepe, R M; Mufamadi, T A; Mushwana, F F; N'wamitwa-Shilubana, T L P; Nchabeleng, M E; Ndebele, J S; Ndlazi, A Z; Nene, N M; Newhoudt-Druchen, W S; Ngcengwane, N D; Ngcobo, B T; Ngcobo, E N N; Ngele, N J; Ngubeni-Maluleka, J P; Ngwenya, W; Ngwenya-Mabila, P C; Nhlengethwa, D G; Njikelana, S J; November, N T; Ntapane, S Z; Ntuli, Z C; Nxesi, T W; Nxumalo, M D; Nyalungu, R E; Nyanda, S; Nyekemba, E; Nzimande, B E; Oliphant, M N; Oosthuizen, G C; Pandor, G N M; Petersen-Maduna, P; Phaliso, M N; Pilane-Majake, M C C; Pilusa-Mosoane, M E; Pule, D D; Radebe, B A; Schneemann, G D; Segale- Diswai, M J; Selau, G J; Sibanyoni, J B; Sibiya, D; Sindane, G S; Sithole, S C N; Sizani, P S; Skosana, J J; Snell, G T; Sogoni, E M; Sonto, M R; Suka, L; Sulliman, E M; Sunduza, T B; Surty, M E; Swanepoel, D W; Thibedi, J D; Tinto, B; Tobias, T V; Tsebe, S R; Tseke, G K; Tshabalala, J; Tshwete, P; Tsotetsi, D R; Turok, B; Twala, N M; van Rooyen, D D; Van Wyk, A; Wayile, Z G; Xaba, P P; Xasa, T; Ximbi, D L; Xingwana, L M; Yengeni, L E.
NOES – 18: Boinamo, G G; Buthelezi, M G; Davidson, I O; Esau, S; Farrow, S B; James, W G; Lekota, M G P; Mpontshane, A M; Ndlovu, V B; Paulse, S; Selfe, J; Skosana, M B; Smuts, M; Swart, S N; Thring, W M; Van der Merwe, J H; Van Der Merwe, L L; Waters, M.
ABSTAIN – 13: Adams, L H; Berend, S R; Botha, T; Diemu, B C; Kganare, D A; Kilian, J D; Koornhof, N N J v R; McIntosh, G B D; Mnguni, P B; Nhanha, M A; Njobe, M A A; Ntshiqela, P; Ramatlakane, L.
Abstentions are 13 and we will include hon Kalyan’s vote. That is 14 abstentions in terms of the Rules.
Question agreed to.
Bill accordingly read a second time.
The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Speaker, on a point of order: I want to request that you please establish whether it is true that there are committees that are sitting at this point in time or if the hon member is possibly misleading the House.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Speaker, no permission was given to committees to have a committee sitting. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order! No committees are sitting. [Interjections.] I did not recognise you. Please raise your hand. I will recognise you. Don’t raise a voice; raise a hand - all of you. Take your seat.
Mr L T LANDERS: Mr Speaker, in light of the Rule that you have just referred to, in terms of which an hon member requesting a division may not leave the House, we ask you to give us a ruling as to what happens to the member, hon Kalyan, who left the House after requesting a division.
The SPEAKER: Let me read it again: A member demanding a division shall not leave the House until the result of the division has been declared and shall vote with those who, in the opinion of the presiding officer, are in the minority. Her vote has been counted with the minority – those who have abstained. That is what the Rule says.
Mr J H JEFFERY: Mr Speaker, may I just address you on that? If the Rule is that the member may not leave the House and she did leave the House, then there should be action taken against her. I would want to urge that the Speaker look into the matter. That is a peremptory rule. She may not leave the House and she did. There should surely be some kind of sanction for breaking the Rules. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon member, please take your seat. I will recognise you. Don’t speak before I recognise you.
Mrs M T KUBAYI: Hon Speaker, following up on the issue of hon Kalyan, who has misled the House, in light of what the House Chairperson has said, I would like to request that she be ordered to withdraw and apologise for her misconduct.
The SPEAKER: Hon member, I will come back with a ruling. I said that earlier. Please, don’t go back to that issue; I will come back to you with a ruling.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Mr Speaker, if I heard the hon House Chair correctly, no committees are sitting this afternoon. In my hand, in Annexure A, I have the notice that at 15h00 today, in E444, I must be present for the delivery of the Public Protector’s report. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon member, the Chairperson of Committees is here and there is only one Chairperson of Committees.
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Hon Speaker, I think the hon Chair of Committees did not answer the question. The question was whether there are committees sitting, not whether there are committees that have permission to meet. He spoke about whether they have permission or not.
The SPEAKER: Hon member, the Chairperson of Committees said that there were no committees sitting. You are not the chairperson. [Interjections.] Order, hon members! Hon member, are you rising on this point or on a different point of order?
Mr S B FARROW: Speaker, I rise on the issue of committees that are sitting. Both the Committee on Police and the Committee on Finance are sitting and we have confirmation of that as well. Thank you very much.
Mrs J D KILIAN: Hon Speaker, on a point of order: I just wanted to say that if the hon Kalyan had to withdraw because she was misleading the House, then clearly we should ask the hon House Chairperson to also apologise for misleading the House.
The SPEAKER: Order!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Speaker, the question was: Are any committee meetings taking place now that we are sitting? And I said that no permission was given to committees to sit when decisions were being taken. The protocol is that committees may apply, but permission is conditional: When the bells ring and a vote is called, they must suspend all their proceedings and proceed to the House. There was therefore no committee sitting while the vote was taking place. [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members. I will come back with a ruling on this issue.
Mrs S V KALYAN: Speaker, may I address you? I would like to advise you that I did not mislead the House. The Committee on Police is sitting in G26. [Interjections.] I went out to check for myself and I was locked out.
The SPEAKER: Hon member, please take your seat. I will come back with a ruling on this issue
Mr T A MUFAMADI: Hon Speaker, can I just place on record that the Committee on Finance is not sitting. There was an assertion in this House that there is a Committee on Finance meeting.
The SPEAKER: Yes. When the bells are rung, no committee may sit. It means that people are invited to the Chamber. [Interjections.] The Bill will be sent to the NCOP for concurrence. [Applause.]
EMPLOYMENT EQUITY AMENDMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The MINISTER OF LABOUR: Hon Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon members, colleagues, comrades and friends, I am honoured to introduce a number of important amendments ... [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon members on my right, please take your seats.
The MINISTER OF LABOUR: ... to the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998. These amendments are contained in the Employment Equity Amendment Bill of August 2013. The House should note that these are the first amendments to the Employment Equity Act since it was enacted in 1998.
The main purpose of the Employment Equity Act is the elimination of unfair discrimination and the implementation of affirmative action measures to bring about equitable workplaces across all occupational levels. This is in line with the work of this government, which has worked tirelessly to change the lives of ordinary South Africans for the better, and for whom we can proudly say that life is much better than it was before 1994.
Unfortunately, employers have refused or are unwilling to make a leap of faith with regard to transformation. Reports received from employers over the past 15 years clearly show that not much progress has been made. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon members on my right, take your seats! I have ordered you many times to take your seats. Stop moving around.
The MINISTER OF LABOUR: According to the report by the Commission for Employment Equity for the 2012 reporting period, whites and males, particularly white males, continue to dominate in the middle to upper echelons of organisations. The Freedom Charter says: “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.” The main aim of this Bill is to give effect to fundamental Constitutional rights, including the right to equality, fair labour practice and protection against unfair discrimination; to strengthen the implementation and enforcement mechanism of the Act; and to ensure that South Africa complies and meets its obligations in terms of the standards of the International Labour Organisation.
The proposed amendments have gone through a rigorous process, with the initial advice coming from the Commission for Employment Equity. This process included adopting strategies to engage the public and stakeholders through public hearings.
With regard to the amendments of the definition of designated groups, beneficiaries of affirmative action have now been clarified. Affirmative action will be limited to persons who were citizens of South Africa before the democratic era and their descendants, or those who would have been entitled to citizenship but due to apartheid policies were not afforded such citizenship. Foreign nationals and those who became citizens after 1994 do not assist employers to achieve their affirmative action targets and goals at the expense of designated South Africans.
The Freedom Charter further says: “There shall be work and security.” This clause continues to emphasise that men and women of all races shall receive equal pay for equal work. We have inserted a new clause on the issue of equal pay for work of equal value. This deals explicitly with unfair discrimination by employers in respect of the terms and conditions of the employment of employees who are doing the same work, similar work or work of equal value. This includes contract workers vis-à-vis permanent workers, whether employed by a temporary employment agency or directly by the company.
Strengthening compliance and enforcement mechanisms, securing written undertakings and the issuing of compliance orders by labour inspectors were mandatory, even if a designated employer did not comply with the law at all. Securing written undertakings and issuing of compliance orders by labour inspectors have been made discretionary in the Bill, which may result in noncomplying employers being referred directly to the Labour Court for a fine.
The introduction of arbitration at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, CCMA, and not just conciliation in terms of current provisions for certain unfair discrimination disputes, will give employees the option of referring cases of unfair discrimination for arbitration at the CCMA in certain circumstances.
With regard to the amendment of schedule 1, which deals with fines and penalties, fines in schedule 1 have not increased since the inception of the Act. They have now been increased and linked to turnover in order to avoid any circumvention of the Act for noncompliance.
When this Bill is enacted, the department, together with the Commission for Employment Equity, will prioritise the finalisation of the regulations to bring them in line with the new amendments and it will ensure the necessary system changes to implement them. Thereafter, the department will embark on presenting public information sessions on the changes to stakeholders, explaining how the changes may affect them and what should be done to implement them properly.
I would also like to call on our social partners to pool their efforts to ensure that these amendments are implemented. Let me thank all those who participated and contributed to these amendments, including the Commission for Employment Equity, our social partners, Nedlac and the Portfolio Committee on Labour for their commitment.
Let us work together to make sure that the dreams of our forebears are fulfilled. This Bill introduces measures that will contribute to making South Africa a better place for all to live in. With the above in mind, I hereby table and recommend the adoption of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill by this House. [Applause.]
Mr M E NCHABELENG: Mr Speaker, hon Deputy President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, hon members, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, there are not many things in life that are predictable -except that the ANC will win the elections next year. [Applause.] The ANC will win not because of its beautiful colours, but because of its track record as a champion of progress. The other predictable matter is the poor transformation track record of this country. It is so predictable that you can almost write an accurate introduction to the 2014 Employment Equity report today.
Achieving the real transformation of South African society has proven to be so tough that it seems as if it will take us 48 years, just as long as it took the ANC with all its organs to smash apartheid. While the fight for affirmative action makes sense when it is the minority seeking the levelling of the playing field, it is absurd when it is the majority that is begging for redress. It is somewhat preposterous that the majority is struggling to be affirmed in a country where they are in power.
How can a fraction of the population continue to hold the affirmation of the large majority of the society to ransom? It is even worse that this is happening when the majority is in power. I have come to accept that black people are generally a very kind, patient and forgiving lot. Please do not get me wrong: I am not for one moment suggesting that this is a bad attribute - far from it. However, what worries me and many others is the propensity to rubbish the country’s transformation efforts and, at worst, to place political roadblocks in the path to a transformed society.
Someone once remarked that one of the reasons that the South African industrial relations environment has become so adversarial is the unacceptable and almost annoying levels of inequality. He pointed out that the levels of inequality in our country remain a recipe for instability. The gap between the rich and the poor is so frighteningly large in this country that it finds expression in many facets of our lives.
The trouble with this sorry state of affairs is that one day people are going to run out of patience and demand redress now and not tomorrow. One day it will become so difficult for the ANC to introduce legislation that is enabling and nudging that it will be forced to start introducing legislative instruments that push a bit harder. If the carrot does not yield the expected results, then you may be left with little choice but to start introducing the stick - a very big one, for that matter.
I don’t understand why, in general, businesses do not take full advantage of the opportunities for self-regulation but play hide and seek until punitive measures are introduced. The employment equity legislation is a case in point. For many years, the Employment Equity Act remained merely enabling legislation, with designated employers enjoying full latitude to set their own plans, with no interference from government.
What we have gleaned from the reports of the designated employers is that they are not meeting the very targets that they themselves have set. This is tantamount to a joke - a very sick one, for that matter. The poor performance of the designated employers to meet their own targets is but an invitation for government to intervene. What has happened to the famous call of the employers for self-regulation? Just by way of illustration, after many years since the advent of Employment Equity Act, Africans occupied a mere 12,3%, Whites occupied 72,6%, coloureds occupied 4,6% and Indians occupied 7,3% of top management positions in 2012.
A new and unusual phenomenon is the number of non-South Africans in top management positions in 2012, which stands at 3,1% compared to 0% in 2002. It seems to me that you need to be a non-South African in this country if you want the Employment Equity Act to work for you. This picture is a source of sadness, and it is not a true reflection of what many people fought for in this country. Yet there are still those who are calling for a sunset clause on employment equity. On what basis, if I may ask, when the sun has not even risen? Those who are making this call are mischievous and disingenuous at best or, at worst, contemptuous of our history.
This democracy has worked very hard for business and it continues to do so. The key, though, is whether or not business has reciprocated by investing in the transformation agenda. I am afraid the answer is a big no, they haven’t. Generally, there is sufficient consensus that the Employment Equity Amendment Bill tackles the correct issues and it is spot on regarding what needs to be done.
What has happed to the progressive business leaders of the past? You will recall that in the mid-1980s, progressive business formations such as the SA Consultative Committee on Labour Affairs, Saccola, argued that business in South Africa had to start doing things differently if they had any hope of influencing and shaping the inevitable new order. The top employer industrialists in this country also understood the role industrial relations would play as the workplace became the terrain of conflict. To pursue this new thinking, business created a consultative forum as a platform through which they could engage the Mass Democratic Movement and the ANC in exile.
In 1988, the old government proposed new amendments to the Labour Relations Act, which included things that were aimed at reversing the gains of workers achieved over many years of struggle. The proposed amendments triggered mass action and strikes of the same, if not greater, proportions than those last seen in the period of 1973. This was the first trigger and a real test to determine if business, under the umbrella of Saccola, was genuine about their resolve to find a new way of doing things in South Africa.
The Bill before us is very mild; those who are complaining either have no appreciation of the challenge at hand or they just don’t care. The proposed stick in the Bill, proverbially speaking, is a mere smack on the palm and nothing to rave about. If we really cared about the vulnerable workers and the victims of our ugly past, the Bill should go through without too much farce.
If we truly loved our country and our Constitution and what it stands for, then this Bill should be welcomed with open arms. The ANC cares - and this is not just a slogan. This Bill and what it proposes bear true testimony to how much we care. The Bill takes into account all the issues raised in the Regulatory Impact Assessment exercise and we are convinced that the socioeconomic benefits far outweigh the negatives.
We are also pleased that the Bill is, by and large, the product of robust engagement by the social partners at Nedlac. [Interjections.] Which side are you on - the poor or the rich and well-off? The ANC is for the wellbeing of all, with a bias towards the poor. If things continue like this, we may have to consider making compliance with the Employment Equity Act a precondition to doing business with the state. The ANC supports this Bill. [Applause.]
Mnr A P VAN DER WESTHUIZEN: Adjunkspeaker en agb lede, ek wil graag aan die voorsitter van die komitee sê ook die DA gee om. Daarom steun ons die wysiging van die wet op gelyke indiensneming. Hierdie wet het reeds ’n groot invloed op die Suid-Afrikaanse arbeidsmark gehad en is heeltemal versoenbaar met die DA se beleid van ’n oopgeleentheidsamelewing.
Suid-Afrikaners se geleenthede in die arbeidsmark is ongelukkig vir te lank beïnvloed deur herkoms en velkleur wat bepaal het waar jy woon en werk en watter poste nié vir jou beskore was nie. Ek glo daarom dat almal in hierdie Huis aksies steun wat die onregte van die apartheidsverlede probeer regstel. Natuurlik sou ons wil sien dat daar meer gesofistikeerde kriteria as ras moet wees om te bepaal wie hulp benodig om die onregte van die verlede te bowe te kom. Tans blyk dit dat ras, hoe kru ookal, nog steeds die beste klassifikasiemetode is. Dit is egter ons hoop dat die regering homself in die toekoms toenemend daarvoor sal beywer om ’n beter maatstaf as net ras te vind.
Dit is duidelik dat die opstellers van hierdie wetsontwerp daarvan oortuig is dat daar steeds ten opsigte van vergoeding en byvoordele tussen mense van verskillende rasse gediskrimineer word. Hierdie wetsontwerp maak dit dan ook makliker vir mense wat glo dat daar teen hulle gediskrimineer word om hul regte uit te oefen. Die wet op gelyke indiensneming het die potensiaal om op die lang termyn enorme voordele vir die Suid-Afrikaanse ekonomie te bring, maar indien hierdie wet nie met die nodige oorleg toegepas word nie, kan dit ook tot ’n baie groot verlies aan kundige arbeid in Suid-Afrika bydra.
Ek wil dus pleit dat gelyke indiensneming toenemend die onderwerp van formele studies sal wees. Die DA is dankbaar vir elke hofuitspraak wat groter helderheid oor die korrekte toepassing van dié wet bring. Enigeen wat op ’n hartelose manier eis dat bruinmense die Wes-Kaap moet verlaat ten einde hul regmatige plek in die Suid-Afrikaanse ekonomie en Staatsdiens op te eis, is in stryd met die gees van gelyke indiensnemingswetgewing. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Mr A P VAN DER WESTHUIZEN: Deputy Speaker and hon members, I would like to say to the chairperson of the committee that the DA also cares. Therefore we support the amendments to the Employment Equity Act. This Act has already made a huge impact on the South African labour market and is completely compatible with the DA’s policy of an open opportunity society.
Unfortunately, South Africans’ opportunities in the labour market have been influenced by descent and skin colour for too long, which determined where you lived, worked, and for which vacancies you were allowed to apply. I therefore believe that everyone in this House supports actions that are aimed at rectifying the injustices of the apartheid past. Obviously we would have liked to see more sophisticated criteria than race being used to determine who needs help in order to overcome the injustices of the past. At present, it seems that race, however crude this may be, is still the best classification method. However, we hope that the government will increasingly strive towards finding a better measure than race in the future.
It is clear that those who have drafted this Bill are convinced that people from different races are still being discriminated against with regard to remuneration and fringe benefits. This Bill also makes it easier for people who believe they are being discriminated against to exercise their rights. The Employment Equity Act has the potential to reap enormous benefits for the South African economy in the long term, but if this Act is not implemented with due diligence, it could also contribute to a very big loss of skilled labour in South Africa.
I therefore want to make an appeal that employment equity should increasingly become the topic of formal studies. The DA is thankful for every court judgment that brings more clarity regarding the correct implementation of this Act. Anyone who is making heartless claims about coloured people having to leave the Western Cape in order for them to claim their rightful place in the South African economy and Public Service is contradicting the spirit of employment equity legislation.]
The statistics of the Commission for Employment Equity show that we still have a long way to go in order for all race groups to share in an equitable way in the benefits of this country. The statistics also show that the goal of employment equity is so much easier to reach in times of economic growth and under an effective education system. The National Development Plan summarises its approach as follows:
Career mobility and rising incomes are more likely in an economy that is growing rapidly. Selecting good quality black and female candidates will be easier if the education system is producing ever greater numbers of skilled black and female work entrants.
The poor performance of the economy over the last few years has resulted in a weakening of the figures indicating the measure of employment equity reached in South Africa.
Dit kan nie ontken word dat Suid-Afrika ’n groot tekort aan kundige arbeid het nie. Oor baie jare is hierdie tekort met buitelanders met die nodige kennis en kwalifikasies aangevul. Die wetsontwerp vandag voor hierdie Huis het onder meer ten doel om buitelanders van die aangewese groepe uit te sluit. Die skerp toename in plaaslike indiensneming van hoogs gekwalifiseerde en professionele persone, veral vanuit Afrika, is ’n duidelike aanduiding dat die grootste faktor wat regstellende aksie strem die tekort aan Suid-Afrikaners met die nodige kennis en vaardighede is.
Die gevaar met die wet op gelyke indiensneming is juis dat die probleme aan die insetkant van die arbeidsmark verdoesel kan word. In die proses kan dit maklik gebeur dat die regering nie hard genoeg werk om te verseker dat almal wat die skool, kollege of universiteit verlaat met dieselfde standaard van kennis en vaardighede toegerus is nie. Dit is waarom die DA glo dat die regering ’n oopgeleentheidsamelewing moet skep om so die grondslag vir ware regstellende aksie te lê. Ek dank u. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[The fact that South Africa has a large shortage of skilled labour cannot be denied. This shortage has been dealt with over the years by employing foreigners with the necessary knowledge and qualifications. The Bill tabled before the House today seeks to exclude foreigners from the designated groups among other things. The sharp increase in local employment of highly qualified and professional people, especially from Africa, is a clear indication that the biggest factor that limits affirmative action is the shortage of South Africans with the necessary knowledge and skills.
The danger with the Employment Equity Act is precisely that problems relating to input into the labour market could be obscured. In the process it could easily be the case that the government is not working hard enough to ensure that everyone who leaves school, college or university is equipped with the same standards of knowledge and skills. That is why the DA believes that the government should create an open opportunity society in order to lay the foundation for true affirmative action. I thank you. [Applause.]]
Mr D A KGANARE: Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon Ministers present and hon members, I stand here on behalf of Cope to support the Bill. The simple reason for our support is that we believe the normalisation of society after several decades of apartheid should be enforced.
It is really unfortunate that this Bill has to come to Parliament because there are certain employers who believe that white male domination should still reign supreme in the workplace. This Bill is necessary because there are employers who decided that the spirit of the principal Act should be undermined. Instead of embarking on nonracialising the workplace, they resolved that they would give preference to white women and import blacks to meet the requirements of the Act. This undermines the objective of the Act. After almost 20 years of democracy, we annually get reports on how bad we are faring in implementing equity in the workplace.
The excuse of a lack of skilled labour does not really hold water anymore. With a myriad of legislation to finance skills development, we cannot continue to plead a lack of skills stemming from the reluctance of those involved to utilise the funds put aside to develop these skills. Skills development cannot be left to the Departments of Basic Education and of Higher Education and Training alone. Our tripartite partners at Nedlac should take skills development seriously and develop a sustainable programme of action to develop skills in different areas, which would contribute to economic development. It is important to note that the amendment abolishes discrimination in the treatment of workers within a particular workplace. It also allows the Minister, after consultation with the commission, to prescribe the criteria and methodology for assessing work of equal value, as contemplated in subsection 4 of the principal Act.
The Bill allows employees to refer disputes alleging unfair discrimination on the grounds of sexual harassment to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, CCMA. The volume of work for the CCMA might increase as a consequence, for this will make it easier and cheaper for cases involving workers alleging unfair discrimination on the grounds of sexual harassment to be resolved speedily. The issue of equitable representation at all levels of the employers’ workplace categories has been brought for this reason. The intention is to simplify the determination of employment equity in the workplace.
Our experience over 20 years of attempts to address the employment equity at different workplaces has been met with a lot of resistance, hence this Bill. It is clear that there are employers who are determined to maintain the status quo, despite the existence of the principal Act and its intentions. As a result, a director-general is being empowered to apply to the Labour Court to impose a fine against those employers who refuse to abide by the law. The increase in these fines cannot be viewed as unfair, because those who will be taken to court will be those who refuse to comply with the Act.
This Bill also gives teeth to the labour inspectors to enforce the undertaking from a designated employer within a specific period. If an employer refuses to give a written undertaking, that labour inspector is empowered to issue a compliance order. This increase in the responsibilities of labour inspectors can only be carried out effectively if they were given enough resources and training. Training will create abilities and skills to enforce this Bill once it becomes an Act. The procedure to enforce this Bill should be fair and objective.
Cope believes that the proposed insertion of section 64(a), which empowers the Minister to amend the total annual turnover threshold in order to counter the effect of, is a very progressive move. I believe that the earlier we, as society, deal with the negative effects of apartheid, the better for our future. I hope that this legislation will help our country to move forward in progressively creating a nonracial, nonsexist society in the workplace, where workers spend the majority of their time. The problem we have in this country is that we used to have oppressors and the oppressed, and now we only have the previously disadvantaged. [Applause.]
Mr P J GROENEWALD: Adjunkspeaker, die VF Plus verskil met die ANC en die DA oor hierdie wetsontwerp. Hulle ondersteun dit. Die VF Plus verwerp hierdie wetsontwerp. Ons is daarteen. [Deputy Speaker, the FF Plus disagrees with the ANC and the DA on this Bill. They support it. The FF Plus rejects this Bill. We oppose it.]
I want to say that this Bill is bad news for the National Development Plan. I see the hon Minister sitting here. This Bill is bad news for the fiscus, because it will not encourage any investor to invest in South Africa.
Die VF Plus glo daar moet ’n balans wees tussen die belange van die werkgewer en die werknemer. Hierdie wysigingswetsontwerp hel oor na die belange van die werknemer. Waar kan dit regverdig en billik wees dat as ’n beskuldiging van diskriminasie teen die werkgewer gemaak word, die bewyslas op die werkgewer moet wees om die teendeel te bewys? Dit is totaal onaanvaarbaar. Ek wil vandag vir u sê dat die vakverbondwese in Suid-Afrika se belange so hoog geag word dat dit die ekonomie van Suid-Afrika geweldig skaad. Dit is nie in belang van Suid-Afrika dat daardie wanbalans plaasvind nie. Die ANC en die DA – kan ’n mens hoor en sien – is besig met verkiesingspraatjies. Hulle wil die massas probeer bereik. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[The FF Plus believes that a balance should exist between the interests of the employer and the employee. This amending Bill favours the interest of the employee. How can it be just and fair that when an accusation of discrimination is brought against an employer, the onus of proof lies with the employer in order to prove the opposite? It is totally unacceptable. I would like to say to you today that the interest of the congress of trade unions in South Africa is regarded as so important that it seriously harms the economy of South Africa. It is not in the interest of South Africa that this imbalance should happen. The ANC and the DA – one can hear and see – is busy with electioneering. They are trying to reach the masses.]
I want to say to these hon members: You cannot make the poor rich by making the rich poor.
Ons moet die balans kry. As ons die balans het, dan sal ons die ekonomie in Suid-Afrika kan bou. [We need to strike a balance. If we find the balance, then we will be able to build the economy of South Africa.]
The hon member said that some people asked for a sunset clause on affirmative action. The FF Plus asks for that sunset clause. Now the hon member says that the sun has not risen yet. I want to say to this hon member that it is 2013. It has been almost 20 years since 1994. The sun is not only setting on affirmative action; it is setting for the economy of South Africa if we continue with Bills like these. We can never support it. If you really wanted to build the economy of South Africa, then you should not even have Bills like these. What we need in South Africa is the best person for the best job. Let merit be the criteria, not the colour of your skin, or else the sun will set on South Africa. [Interjections.]
Mr E NYEKEMBA: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, South Africa is one of the 185 member states in the International Labour Organisation, and this has been the case for many years. The country proudly carries the flag as one of the few member states where core labour standards are enshrined in the Constitution and it has remained a source of inspiration for many countries, both in developing and developed economies.
Human rights activists continue to hail the South African labour laws as among the best in the world. South Africa, besides being a member in good standing, has been one of the leading countries that has made visible contributions to the shape and content of the international labour agenda and in some cases even sponsored taxes on some of the International Labour Organisation’s recent conventions and recommendations.
At its 34th session the International Labour Conference adopted the International Labour Organisation Convention 100 on equal remuneration and, in 1958, the International Labour Organisation Convention 111 on discrimination in employment and occupation - these two being among the eight fundamental International Labour Organisation conventions. Every International Labour Organisation member state is obliged to follow the principles expressed in the conventions on equal remuneration and discrimination in employment and occupation.
Our country comes from a very divided and a severely unequal past. It cannot be acceptable, or be business as usual, for the country to have levels of inequality that rate as among the worst in the world. It is even more disturbing that the instrument agreed to by all social partners to address this legacy is being treated with contempt by those who are meant to implement it. Wage and income disparities are chronically severe in the South African society. The hard truth is that these things cannot resolve themselves without some interventions.
The South African business community is not synonymous with doing things without being pushed. The spectacular failure of a number of enabling pieces of legislation is a case in point and employment equity is no exception. The irony is that all social partners agreed that the endgame of employment equity was the right thing to do. If that were the case, why are we not seeing progress on this front? That on its own is overwhelming.
The ambitions expressed in the International Labour Organisation Conventions 100 and 111 are issues that we could certainly have relied on our Constitution to address without having to lay down the law. But because of the attitude of the average employer and some parties – I don’t want to mention their names – in South Africa, we had to go through the pain of drafting legislation to facilitate and regulate this national imperative.
The performance of employment equity is not cause for celebration but a source of disappointment and a betrayal by some of our social partners. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa provides for the right to fair labour practice in terms of section 23 and 9 of the Constitution, where provisions for equality are made; provisions that an employee may raise in the event of an “equal pay” dispute.
In terms of section 9(1) of the Constitution, “everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law”. The ANC argued that the principle of equal pay for work of equal volume, besides being part of our international obligations, resonates firmly with our constitutional ideals. Therefore, the adoption of this Bill is an excellent attempt to promote the Constitution of the Republic.
In a country with high levels of unemployment and where the employers behave in a certain way in the dismissal of workers, a comprehensive social security protection net becomes key. The empirical evidence points to the fact that it takes no less than six months to secure an employment opportunity in South Africa. For this reason, social protection becomes a matter of must and not an option for South Africa.
In addition to many reported complaints of noncompliance, 269 designated employers were placed under the director-general’s review process for noncompliance with certain aspects of the Employment Equity Act. They were all issued with recommendations to correct the offending aspects of their equity plans. It is reported that the reasons for such high levels of noncompliance can be placed squarely on the fact that the current law lacks teeth. Even the fines are set so low that some employers go to the extent of budgeting for them in case they are caught.
Labour brokers flout the employment equity provisions with impunity. The noise against fines for offending designated employers and their friends sends the wrong message - that breaking the law should go unpunished. Why is noncompliance with labour laws not treated as having the same level of importance as those guilty of breaking the competition and tax laws of this country? Does this mean that the labour laws in general, and employment equity in particular, are not equal to other laws of the land? It sounds like some laws are more equal than others. This is absurd!
Passing the Employment Equity Amendment Bill is long overdue and the time to act is now. The ANC cares and, as such, supports the Bill. [Applause.]
Mrs C DUDLEY: Deputy Speaker, the ACDP supports the broad intention of employment equity legislation, which is to address the inequalities of the past. But what is particularly problematic with this amendment Bill is that the democratic process, from Parliament’s side, has left business stakeholders feeling that their views have been totally ignored.
Business Unity SA’s executive director, Vanessa Phala, says the trend of the labour committee passing Bills without considering the views of business is very, very worrying. Labour expert Andrew Levy called the processes of consultation “a charade”. Ms Phala says the Bill’s removal of the right of companies to appeal against the compliance orders is a violation of the principle of administrative justice and is probably unconstitutional.
Busa also argued that the too rapid recourse to the Labour Court to deal with cases of noncompliance would be costly and time consuming, and that there should be scope for conciliation in line with the convention of the International Labour Organisation.
What the poor need most are jobs, and joblessness among black South Africans has almost tripled in 19 years. At present, only 3% of black South Africans have completed the necessary tertiary studies for management positions and many of them have only recently qualified and are too young to have gained the experience needed.
The SA Institute of Race Relations says it is not a racist refusal on the part of business to employ black people; it is the skills deficit that is the key issue that needs to be addressed. The skills deficit is so acute that many firms are paying premiums of between 10% and 30% for skilled black professionals.
Now, instead of recognising or addressing these problems, important provisions addressing these practical issues have been removed from the current Act. Under this Bill, maximum fines will start at R1,5 million or 2% of annual turnover, whichever amount is greater. For a fifth similar offence within three years, a maximum fine would be R2,7 million. These proposed fines, coupled with the absorption of skills by a better paying public service, make it virtually impossible for firms to stay in business while working towards increasing black representation at senior levels.
The ACDP will, however, be supporting this Bill, despite our reservations because we recognise that we are facing significant inequality in South Africa. We must make strides in this direction.
Mr K J DIKOBO: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon members, the Employment Equity Act came into effect in 1998. The purpose of the Act was to address the imbalances of the past and to assist people who were put at a disadvantage by laws and past practices: black people and women.
Analysts and statisticians tell us that very little has changed in the workplace. Top positions in the corporate world are still dominated by white males, with a few black males being sought by companies in order to reach their equity targets.
The main reason for this state of affairs is that the Act is generally difficult to enforce. It is generally vague and lends itself to many possible interpretations. The Bill simplifies provisions of the Act by eliminating unnecessary mandatory steps and mandatory criteria that must be taken into account when assessing compliance.
Azapo welcomes the revision of the definition of designated groups to ensure that beneficiaries of affirmative action are limited to persons who were citizens of South Africa before 1994. This will make it impossible for employers to employ foreign nationals who became citizens after 1994 to reach their equity targets.
Azapo also supports the removal of provisions that made it impossible for parties to refer unfair discrimination disputes to the CCMA. It is good that lower-paid employees will be entitled to refer any discrimination claim to the CCMA for arbitration. The provision that such disputes could only be referred to the Labour Court was prohibitive because many workers could not afford the fees that were charged by the attorneys who represented them.
Apartheid in the workplace was based on skin colour. People were not oppressed on the basis of religion, level of education or some sophisticated criterion but were segregated because they were black. There is therefore no way of reversing that legacy except by using race as the criterion. Or are we expected to use shoe size or some such obscure criterion? [Laughter.]
Minister, as before, we are asking again: When is affirmative action going to start? I ask this because it has not started yet. Azapo supports the Employment Equity Amendment Bill.
Mr S C MOTAU: Deputy Speaker and hon Deputy President, the DA fully supports the constitutional provisions for affirmative action and the objectives of the Employment Equity Act to promote redress and diversity in the South African labour market. The DA believes that it is desirable that individuals from diverse backgrounds should lead, participate in and form part of businesses and other organisations in South Africa and that corrective action should be taken to achieve such diversity.
However, while we support the general thrust of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill before this House today, we remain concerned about some provisions in the Bill. We believe some of these amendments could have far-reaching negative impacts on the labour market and consequently the economy of the country because of unintended consequences.
We always need to remind ourselves that employment equity and affirmative action have very strong inherent weaknesses because they are concerned only with those people who are in employment. These are people who are already “affirmed” in that they have a job, and they are being developed and assisted to move up the ladders of authority and salary in the economy. These necessary interventions say absolutely nothing and do absolutely nothing for the more than 7 million South Africans who cannot be affirmed because they are unemployed and remain outside the labour relations framework.
Herein lies the country’s greatest challenge and potential threat to our economy and political stability. For instance, complaints of unfair discrimination on the basis of equal pay for work of equal value could prove to be complex. This could put even greater stress on the already stretched resources of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and therefore regulations in this regard need to be crafted very carefully.
We also believe that linking certain penalties for noncompliance to a company’s annual turnover could be very risky because some vulnerable designated employers, particularly small and medium enterprises, may not be able to survive such fines and could be forced to shut down, at the cost of much-needed jobs.
In a perfect world all designated employers would comply with the law, but we are not there yet. Laws such as the Employment Equity Amendment Bill should therefore not be made for punitive reasons, driven by frustration and impatience. Such an approach merely increases the degree of inflexibility in our labour legislation regime. This raises the barriers to job creation and that cannot be good for employment and economic growth.
The Commission for Employment Equity was scathing in its latest report about the lack of progress in this area. Government, business and labour therefore need to engender a sense of common purpose and mutual trust with regard to employment equity if this country is to show significant improvement in the next employment equity report.
Employers should be encouraged to understand that employment equity and affirmative action are business and economic imperatives necessary for effective nation-building and to grow the country’s tax base. This is necessary to provide the funds needed to service the ever-growing number of newly unemployed workers who survive on finite unemployment insurance benefits and the millions of South Africans who depend on social grants. Here we need to remind ourselves that the fact that millions of South African are on social grants is not to be celebrated. It simply means that millions of our people are poverty-stricken. Heavy penalties for the errant behaviour of those who provide employment and contribute to the growth of the economy could be counterproductive and should be resisted. Sometimes incentives can have a more positive effect than punishment. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr K B MANAMELA: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon members and hon Ministers, we have gone through the arduous process of clarifying why we need this Bill. We think what is more important is the fact that year after year we have been told by the Commission for Employment Equity that instead of reversing the inequalities of the past, we are actually deepening the inequalities of the past; that part of the major problem that our country and economy are facing is the deepening inequality, deepening poverty and deepening unemployment, which significantly and particularly affects black people; and that the provisions made by the current Employment Equity Act are not sufficient to reverse and to address the economic imbalances of the past.
One of the most significant policy and political decisions that the ANC took in the build-up to the 1994 general elections was not to be involved in reverse racism; not to turn apartheid upside down and have a government, led by Nelson, that would take revenge on those who were at the helm of the apartheid system.
One of the critical decisions that the ANC made in 1994 was to ensure that the transition becomes smoother; that everyone - black, Indian, coloured and white - felt that they were part of this particular country and that they all contributed to the building of this country. The stability that we are enjoying today has been as a result of the compromises that were made at that particular time.
To suggest that today, after 20 years of that democratic dispensation, we need to be talking about a sunset clause is basically to suggest that, 20 years later, we can and should be able to reverse the atrocities that had been committed for 350 years. It is to suggest that racialism and colonialism, which had been imposed on our own people for more than 350 years, can easily be reversed over a period of 20 years. It is basically to suggest that after a period of 20 years we can speak of an equal society and a situation where race is not considered an issue, when for 350 years our people were discriminated against and exploited on the basis of their colour. This is actually unfair and unjust. In many instances ... [Interjections.]
Mr P J GROENEWALD: Hon Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: Is the hon member willing to take a question? [Interjections.] It will be an easy question.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, are you willing to take a question?
Mr K B MANAMELA: Deputy Speaker, I am willing to take an answer from him. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, he is not willing to take a question. Please sit down.
Mr P J GROENEWALD: If you don’t even understand that reference, I can understand that you understand nothing.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, I did not allow you to speak.
Mr K B MANAMELA: The objective of the ANC has been to build a nonracial, nonsexist and democratic society. The foundation of that nonracial, nonsexist and democratic society is what we refer to as the national democratic revolution.
If we were to build this kind of society, what we essentially need is the realisation that to reverse the atrocities committed for 350 years does not need a miracle of 20 years. In fact, what happened 20 years ago was actually not necessarily a miracle, but the result of the compromises we collectively entered into. We realised they were important for our society to enter into a transition. I think it is unfortunate for some in this House to use the compromises reached 20 years ago and the perks agreed to in the Convention for a Democratic South Africa, Codesa, and in various other negotiations, as political campaigning programmes to suggest that all those compromises were in fact a failure on the part of the ANC when it comes to delivering to our own people.
It is unfortunate to suggest that the compromises that happened at the World Trade Centre and the agreements that were reached at that time were a failure on the part of the ANC. To use that today to get votes when we go to elections next year is actually opportunistic and has to be exposed. This country is where it is today because of the sacrifices and compromises that have been made by the millions of our people, and we must never, ever take that for granted.
Today, as a result of this Bill, trade unions, workers and civil society will be empowered to begin to question why certain people, because of their race, are paid more than other people in the workplace. Today, because of this Bill, trade unions and civil society will begin to question why certain people, because of their race, will be promoted faster than others on the basis of their race. Today, because of this Bill, we will realise the transformation of the workplace. The situation where more than 70% of management in the workplaces were predominantly white and the majority of the population remained on the sidelines of transformation will be history. The majority of the population remain on the sidelines of what this democratic dispensation is supposed to be offering.
Today, because of this Bill, women, black women in particular, will realise the value of our democracy. Today, as a result of this Employment Equity Bill, farm workers, wherever they are, will realise why it was important that in 1994, and even subsequently, they went out to go and vote for an ANC government. It is only because of this Bill that we realise the transformation of our society and direct changes in the lives of our own people. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF LABOUR: Deputy Speaker, I just want to tell the hon Groenewald that it is very surprising that he said what he said here. I don’t think your colleague, who is a member of the portfolio committee, can say that, because this Bill emanated from the International Labour Organisation’s convention and your colleague participated in the standard commissions during that ILO conference. Now you come here and say that you don’t support this, while your member supported what was said at that ILO conference.
Hon Dudley, firstly, on the issue that was raised by Ms Vanessa Phala, I think it is wrong to come here and say that you have concerns based on the comments by Business Unity SA, because Busa participates in all the structures, such as the National Economic Development and Labour Council and the ILO. The very same Vanessa is a member of organised business and always participates in the ILO conference in the African Regional Labour Administration Centre, Arlac, and even at the Southern African Development Community level. She agrees with everything that we discuss before we go to those conferences, and even after we have come back home. Therefore I think you must sit down with her and tell her not to have a double agenda.
Secondly, I want to highlight for the hon members that when you talk about business vis-à-vis organised labour, I am not sure which business you are representing because organised business and organised labour also serve in the Human Resource Development Council, which deals with skills development issues and is led by the Deputy President. That is where they identify where there is a lack of skills and come up with strategies on how to work together with government, including the issues of the farmers. The farmers have asked us as the Department of Labour to take them through the labour laws so that they would be able to comply with this legislation. I am not sure whom you are representing because we have agreed with organised business and, in particular, with farmers on these matters.
I want to thank all the political parties who supported this Bill. This is confirmation that the ANC leads and the ANC lives. I thank you. [Applause.]
Dr C MULDER: Hon Deputy Speaker, the ANC may lead the DA but they do not lead us. I ask that our objection be noted. Thank you. [Laughter.]
Bill read a second time (Freedom Front Plus dissenting).
SOUTH AFRICAN LANGUAGE PRACTITIONERS’ COUNCIL BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The MINISTER OF ARTS AND CULTURE: Phini likaSomlomo elihloniphekile [Hon Deputy Speaker] ...
... hon Deputy President, hon Ministers here present, ladies and gentlemen, on 7 August last year I stood before this House to table for consideration the Use of Official Languages Bill. On that day we said that we were taking a major step in the promotion of multilingualism in our country. We also said that we were strengthening our efforts to build a South Africa that truly belonged to all who lived in it, black and white, united in their diversity.
Today, as I table the Language Practitioners’ Council Bill, I do so in order to take forward the work we are doing to promote the widespread use of all official languages. Once again we are delighted that the Bill we are tabling is a product of popular participation and broad consensus among various stakeholders. By tabling this Bill we are, as directed by the Constitution of our country, taking another step forward in ensuring that all languages enjoy parity of esteem.
Hi tlhela hi xixima ni ku sirhelela timfanelo ta tindzimi ta Maafrika-Dzonga. [Again, we want to respect and protect the linguistic rights of South Africans.]
In particular, through the Bill we are ensuring that there is proper regulation of the language profession and thus addressing some of the challenges it faces. The challenges include the vulnerability to exploitation of many language practitioners, the lack of clear and predictable standards for the language profession and the lack of protection to members of the public who may be prejudiced by the services rendered by language practitioners.
In addressing these challenges, the Bill provides for the establishment of the SA Language Practitioners’ Council. It sets out the objectives, powers, duties and functions of that council. Of critical importance is that the Bill seeks to regulate the training of language practitioners and provide for the control of their accreditation and registration. The Bill also proposes that the SA Language Practitioners’ Council acts as an advisory body to the Minister responsible for language matters. The council is also expected to prescribe the rules governing the conduct of language practitioners, language professionals and the procedures for compliance, monitoring and enforcement. We are also proposing that the council provides and encourages the provision of opportunities for South Africans, especially from disadvantaged communities, to enter the language profession and practice as language practitioners.
We are confident that the measures we are proposing in the Bill will go a long way in elevating the status of the language profession, ensuring that it is properly regulated and that it contributes meaningfully to language preservation and development. Following this Bill, we are likely to see more South Africans pursuing careers in the language profession, not only as an academic pursuit but also as a means towards promoting unity and diversity.
Hinkwaswo leswi swi twisiseka kahle hi tlhelo ra vumundzuku bya tindzimi etikweni ra hina. [This can be well understood in the context of the prospects of South African languages in our country.]
Hon members, we are doing all of these things inspired, among others, by the words of the founding father of our democratic nation, uTata Nelson Mandela, who wrote the following:
Without language one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry or savour their songs.
Let us continue to preserve and develop our languages because it is only through language that we can reach out to one another and embrace each other’s diversity.
Mohlomphehi Sepikara, ke motlotlo ho teka Bili ya Lekgotla la Basebeletsi ba puo hore e amohelwe Ntlong ena. [Hon Speaker, it is an honour for me to table the Language Practitioners’ Council Bill before this House for consideration.]
Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Ms T B SUNDUZA: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President, Ministers, Members of Parliament and guests in the gallery, I want to start by saying that in the committee we agreed on the Bill. I am therefore not expecting any surprises here today. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Malungu ahloniphekileyo, hayi bo. Kaloku akufuneki ndithethe qho ndisithi niyangxola nibadala. Imbi loo nto niyenzayo. Qhubeka, lungu elihloniphekileyo. [Hon members, no, no, I must not always remind you that you are making a noise; you are adults. What you are doing is wrong. Continue, hon member.]
Ms T B SUNDUZA: The ANC has always been in favour of multilingualism, from as far back as the Freedom Charter. The liberation party declared that all people shall have equal rights to use their own languages and develop their own folk culture and customs. Some people do not recognise the catastrophic impact that colonialism and apartheid had on African languages. There was a deliberate onslaught against Africans and their own languages, especially the first people, the Khoikhoi and the San, who fought against oppression from as early as the 15th century.
When you are dealing with the question of language and equality, you would expect the full support of the perpetrators of languages that trampled on indigenous languages and coerced Africans into speaking their languages. During that process the illegitimate state used the taxes of Africans to marginalise their own languages while the languages of the oppressors were being promoted. You find that even in certain political parties today, the idea of giving equal status to all indigenous languages is perceived as a threat to dominant languages like English.
We want to assure South Africans, abantu bethu [our people], that Bills such as the Use of Official Languages Bill, which was passed last year, and the Bill we are passing today – by the way, we will pass it because we are the majority - will not suppress any of the official languages but promote all languages so that they are treated the same, both in government and commerce.
The Bill addresses the legitimate concerns of languages and culture and does not narrow its scope by protecting just one or two languages, but all 11 official languages. In fact, the Language Practitioner’s Council Bill will ensure that equal status is given to all historically diminished languages without taking away English and Afrikaans, hon Mulder.
Uyayiva akunjalo? Kulungile. [You do understand, right? That is good.]
The council will be responsible for the professionalisation of the use of indigenous languages and the protection of all language practitioners from all official languages in South Africa. Right now, only English and Afrikaans have some resemblance to a professional sector, but this is unregulated and cannot cater for all 11 languages. While there are voluntary organisations that purport to provide professional registration of language practitioners, these remain unregulated and cater only for the white minority. There is no evidence that suggests that language practitioners are accountable and that they are obliged to meet the necessary standards of service. Hence, this council will enforce registration of all language practitioners in the country so that individuals providing language services are identified and adhere to a particular level of professionalism.
The establishment of the council will demonstrate that accredited language skills are more likely to provide the most effective language services. Hence, as the Minister correctly says, the role of the council will be to govern the language practitioners and turn them into a professionally recognised sector. The ethics in this industry are found in the moral character of the language sector so that it is no longer perceived as an unscrupulous sector where people provide poor services and get away with it.
When it comes to African languages, you find that people do not want to pay translators because they say they are our mothers, uncles and siblings. They ask why they should pay their own people.
In the health sector ...
... nina bantu bahlala begula kakhulu nisiya kwizibhedlele zikarhulumente ufika oomama phaya betolika, betolikela ugqirha ongumlungu kodwa bangabhatalwa kuba kusithiwa abazizo iingcali [professionals] kodwa olu lwimi bayaluthetha kwaye bayamnceda ugqirha ngokuthi bamxelele ukuba lo mntu uyagula uphethwe yintloko okanye iinyawo ... (Translations of the isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[... where there are people who are always sick and go to public hospitals, you will find women interpreting for the white doctor but they are not paid for that on the basis that they are not professionals; however, they speak the language and they are also helping the doctor by telling him/her that the patient is suffering from a headache or sore feet.]
Then, later, we say we don’t want to pay these people. No, it is not fair. When you go to other different sectors, where you find ...
... ukuba aba bantu bayatolika kodwa ababhatalwa ... [... that these people are interpreting but are not paid ...]
... we call them our “organic intellectuals” when we need their information but when we are supposed to pay them, then we say, no, they have not been regulated. This is what this Bill seeks to do. [Applause.]
The proposed council will promote indigenous languages by ensuring that people working in the language sector are not exploited and are paid what they are worth. If you look at the profile of people who speak indigenous languages, ngabantu bethu [it’s our people]. These people are from our communities, our townships, our villages and they are so impoverished that they don’t even know how to access the language sector as a trade. We proudly say that we have dictionaries for our African languages. They have been translated, from the Khoi, the San and I remember people saying they were busy with the Nama. But those people are not paid! Those who are educated, the researchers ...
... baya phaya kubo balufumane ulwimi baze bakugqiba... [... go to them and acquire the language and when they finish ...]
... then they get the victory of saying that they translated an English dictionary into isiXhosa, isiZulu or Setswana ...
...empa bomme ba teng ha ba fumane letho, tjhelete e ile le makgowa. [... yet these people do not benefit anything; all the money goes to the white people.]
These people from our communities and villages deserve to be recognised. It will be this council’s responsibility to ensure that people from disadvantaged communities enter the language sector and find jobs as interpreters, translators, writers, editors and so forth. The council will encourage people from poor communities to participate in the language sector to earn a living. People who are exploited in the industry tend to move away from it once they realise that bayaqhathwa [they are being taken for a ride] and are not being paid as they should. South Africa has moved away from promoting unregulated sectors that take advantage of less powerful people.
The ability of language to link people to the services offered by the government is what the previous Bill was trying to achieve. As I said, when you go to a hospital, for instance, you understand what the medical staff member is saying. In cases like these, accredited language practitioners would ensure that they felt closer to society and resources.
Sometimes you find that an interpreter is not doing a good job of translating information and you fail to understand what is being said, even though it is said in your own home language. The Bill is very clear that the council must regulate the training of language practitioners to ensure that they meet certain standards in the sector. Similar to any other trade, the council will organise language practitioners according to its own standards, authority and policies. The council will be responsible for prescribing how to regulate the sector that should be governed.
The Language Practitioner’s Council Bill debate has come at a time when people are crying out for their languages to be recognised. We do see some progress in the media, with news channels offering content in indigenous languages, but this is a drop in the ocean of what is possible.
Language rights will not only be recognised by the passing of the Bill. As the ANC has the mandate of over 65% of the voters, it is our obligation to bring such services to the people. The ANC views this Bill as a way to undo the damage that was done by the apartheid minority government. It is unfortunate that hon Steenhuisen, my friend, is not here today because he said that it was not true that our languages were marginalised. The question I would have asked him today is why he cannot speak any of our languages if they had not been marginalised. That is the question because he was saying that I am not speaking the truth. But hon members will pass on that message. [Interjections.]
The issue of language is a very sensitive issue. Some of the people who are saying this today were raised by people who never went to school, but they understood the language when they were hungry. They understood their language when they wanted anything to be done. But now they suddenly say that this language was recognised.
Furthermore, we also encourage workplaces to follow this Bill that we are speaking about. You find that there are still places that discriminate against our own languages; where, in the workplace...
.. kuthiwa abantu mabathethe isilungu kuba umlungu akabeva kwaye bayamhleba. [... people are told to speak English because the white person does not understand their language and they are gossiping about him/her.]
We have cases where our languages are not recognised.
Furthermore, we condemn those teachers who say that children must speak English even when they are at home. They think that language is superior just because they are professional teachers. The issue of languages is very important.
As I said when I started, we agreed unanimously on the Bill. We made our inputs as the committee. I know hon Mulder could be one member to come and say something, but I don’t think he will say anything different because this does not take Afrikaans away.
Ons kan nie daardie ding doen nie. Afrikaans is geskiedenis. Ek praat ook Afrikaans. [We cannot do that. Afrikaans is part of history. I also speak Afrikaans.]
Ngoko ke, ndicela ukuba ungasisokolisi namhlanje ... [I therefore beg you not to give us hard time today ...]
... just agree with the Bill. Thank you.
Mnr N J VAN DEN BERG: Adjunkspeaker, Adjunkpresident en lede van die Nasionale Vergadering, die koms nou van die Wetsontwerp op die Raad vir Suid-Afrikaanse Taalpraktisyns is ’n belangrike oomblik vir die bevordering van taal in ons land, bygesê, natuurlik, as die Taalpraktisynsraad gegun word om tot volle wasdom te ontwikkel. Die wetsontwerp gaan dui op die herontwaking van taalstudie in skole en verskillende vlakke van tersiêre studie.
Ek was ’n BA-student aan die Potchefstroomse Universiteit vir Christelike Hoër Onderwys. Daar het ek ’n Baccalareus Artium met Afrikaans en Nederlands, Spraakleer en Vertolkingskunde in die drama departement gedoen, en baie mense het gevra: Wat gaan jy doen met ’n BA-graad? Daar is mos nie werk om in ’n taal te kan doen nie. Wat gaan jy daarmee doen? Dit was veral die BSc-studiemense wat half smalend neergesien het op ons mense wat ’n BA-graad in tale gedoen het. Ek het vir hulle gesê ek gaan die gebruik om ’n toekoms te bou, en ek het my brood tot nou toe met taal verdien; met my spraakorgane en ’n bietjie entoesiasme en ywer. Ek was ’n onderwyser, ’n radio-omroeper en nou ’n LP.
Daar is so baie mense wat so lief is vir hulle taal – isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho, en so kan ons al ons land se tale opnoem, tale wat leef op die tonge van taal-indoenas. Die belangstelling in die taal en lettere het ongelukkig getaan as gevolg van beperkte beroepsmoontlikhede, en ek lees vandag in Die Burger dat die Afrikaanse Taaldepartement by die Universiteit van KwaZulu-Natal dalk gaan sluit. Dit is altyd ’n jammerte as enige taaldepartement by enige universiteit sluit. Dit moet nooit gebeur nie. Alle tale is so belangrik. Ek is so bly oor hierdie wetsontwerp, want dit ontsluit die moontlikhede vir mense wat, soos ek en baie van julle, ongelooflik lief is vir hul taal. Ek is lief vir Afrikaans, en ek weet elkeen van u het ’n moedertaal waarvoor u baie lief is.
Jongmense wat taalmense is, kan nou met vrymoedigheid Baccalareus Artium gaan studeer, en ek glo daar gaan baie geleenthede wees om jou taal te timmer, om soos N P van Wyk Louw die beitel in te span om die aarde oop te kloof. Dit is wat taal doen. Dit breek wêrelde om ons oop; dit bring ons nader aan mekaar; dit breek skanse af wat rondom ons is. Op dié wyse verstaan ons mekaar. Daar gaan ruim geleentheid wees vir mense met nie-formele taalvaardighede of kwalifikasies om hul brood met taalvermoë te verwerf. Dit is ook wat die agb Sunduza gesê het. Iemand wat dalk glad nie studeer het of ’n graad behaal het in isiXhosa of watter taal ookal nie kan nou ingespan word. Vanweë die wonderlike kommunikasievaardighede van sulke individue kan mense nou iewers op die platteland help om, byvoorbeeld, wanneer iemand dokter toe gaan vir die dokter te verduidelik wat verkeerd is met die persoon, want daardie mens kan in die idioom van daardie persoon praat.
Ek wil ook dit vir u noem. Ek wil hulde bring. Ek weet nie waar sit die vertalers hier in die Parlement nie. Baie dankie vir wat julle doen. Nou kan julle ook aansoek doen om te behoort tot hierdie Taalpraktisynsraad. Daar is so baie ander mense. Ek wil vir u sê dat u seker dikwels in u eie taal luister na, byvoorbeeld, ’n advertensie oor die radio of ’n storie wat vertaal word, en dan is dit swak vertaal. As jy ’n Zulusprekende persoon is en daardie isiZulu is swak vertaal, is dit soos ’n dolk wat in jou hart gesteek word, maar nou, as daar mense is wat verantwoordelik is en wat deel is van hierdie Taalpraktisynsraad, kan hulle sorg dat u taal nooit afgeskeep gaan word nie, sodat daar gepraat kan word in die idioom wat graag gehoor wil word. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Mr N J VAN DEN BERG: Deputy Speaker, Deputy President and members of the National Assembly, the arrival now of the South African Language Practitioners’ Council Bill is an important moment for the promotion of language in our country, added to which, of course, is whether the Language Practitioners’ Council is allowed to develop to full maturity. The Bill will indicate the reawakening of the study of language in schools and at various levels of tertiary study.
I was a BA student at the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education. There I studied towards a Bachelor of Arts, with Afrikaans and Nederlands, Speech and Interpretation in the drama department, and many people asked me: What are you going to do with a BA degree? There is, after all, no work you can do using a language. What are you going to do with that? It is especially the BSc students who dismissively looked down on people who were studying towards a BA degree in languages.
I told them that I was going to use it to build a future, and until now I have earned my living using language, employing my speech organs and a little enthusiasm and dedication. I have been a teacher and radio announcer and now I am an MP.
There are so many people who love their language so much – isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho, and so we could list all the languages of our country, languages that live on the tongues of language indunas. Interest in the language and literature has unfortunately waned as a result of limited career opportunities, and only today I read in Die Burger that the Department of Afrikaans language at the University of KwaZulu-Natal is possibly closing down. It is always a pity when any language department at any university is closed down. That should never happen. All languages are so important. I am happy about this Bill, since it opens the possibilities for people who, like me and many of you, have an incredible love of their language. I love Afrikaans, and I know each of you has a mother tongue that you love.
Young people who are language people can now confidently study towards a Bachelor of Arts, and I believe there will be many opportunities to knock your language into shape, to use it like N P van Wyk Louw’s chisel to split open the earth. That is what language does – it breaks open worlds around us, it brings down the bastions that hem us in. In this way we are able to understand each other. There will be ample opportunity for people with non-formal language abilities or with qualifications to earn their living using their language ability. That is also what the hon Sunduza said. Someone who possibly did not study at all or who did not obtain a degree in isiXhosa or whatever language can now be put to work. Thanks to the wonderful communication abilities of such individuals, people somewhere in the rural areas are now able to lend a hand, for example when someone goes to the doctor, to explain to the doctor what is wrong with that person, because he or she is able to use the idiom of that person.
I also want to mention this to you. I want to express praise. I do not know where the translators sit here in Parliament. Many thanks for what you do. Now you can also apply to belong to this Language Practitioners’ Council. There are so many other people. I want to remind you that you probably often listen in your own language to, for example, an advertisement on the radio or to a story that has been translated, and then it has been poorly translated. If you are a isiZulu-speaking person and that isiZulu has been poorly translated, it feels like a dagger entering your heart, but now, if there are people who are responsible and who are part of this Language Practitioners’ Council, they can ensure that your language will never be neglected, so that it is possible to speak of the idiom that it is desirable to hear.]
South Africa’s efforts at building a unified nation are relatively new. We have emerged from our political transition in 1994 as groups divided by history, but united by the vision that we have for the country. This is a vision of a country that will heal the division of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights; and also a vision of a people that will honour their past while taking positive steps to build a shared future.
Viva, taal in Suid-Afrika! Mag dit goed gaan met al die tale in ons land, en wees lief vir jou taal, asseblief. Viva, die tale! Baie dankie. [Applous.] [Viva, language in South Africa! May all the languages in our country flourish, and please love your language. Viva, the languages! Thank you very much. [Applause.]]
Mr P NTSHIQELA: Molweni apha ekhaya. [Kwahlekwa.] Injani imvuko? [Uwele-wele.] NguDlangamandla lo! Kufuneka ndifake iiglasi zamehlo ukuze ndibone yonke le nto ndiqhele ukuyibona. [Uwele-wele.] [Greetings to everyone in the House. [Laughter.] How are you? [Interjections.] I am Dlangamandla! I must wear my spectacles so that I can see what I used to see. [Interjections.]]
For the first time in life in South Africa, the issue of languages and language practitioners is now positioned as one of the top priorities on the country’s development agenda. [Interjections.]
Ndandinixelele ukuba andiphindi ndingasithethi isilungu. [Kwahlekwa.] [I’ve told you that I will never stop speaking English again. [Laughter.]]
Remember, when you touch the language issue, you are touching a nerve and the blood of an individual. For too long the environment in which language practitioners have been operating has not been conducive to professionalism. As such, they have been deprived of their right to freedom of expression in this country. The Bill must help and defend them when they are dealing with their challenges.
With regard to language activists in Parliament ...
... apha kule Ndlu yoWiso-mthetho ... [... in this National Assembly ...]
... the definitions should include oaths of office, seniority level; language professional, accreditable, registered language practitioners and retirees’ accreditation. The council should determine standardised tariffs for each level of language practitioner and it should include PanSALB.
Individuals with more than 10 years experience, who have been the backbone of interpreting services and who may not possess the necessary qualifications, need to be considered in this Bill because their vast experience will empower the council to reach its objectives.
The implementation of this Bill is long overdue and its introduction to this House is an indication that government and Parliament take language practitioners very seriously. This Bill will give language practitioners the dignity they deserve. The Bill also seeks to provide for the objectives of the council to protect the professional interests of language practitioners and to protect members of the public who make use of the services provided by language practitioners.
Hon Minister of Arts and Culture, if the council does not function, the time has arrived to act fast - especially when the council does not perform. This would prevent a vacuum from developing, where nobody can be held accountable, because that would open an unnecessary space for no service delivery to the nation.
Hon Minister, Cope calls for the implementation, implementation and implementation of this Bill. Cope [iyayixhasa] supports this Bill. [Interjections.] Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S Z NTAPANE: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President, Ministers and hon members, not that I have been undermining the language profession but when we conducted public hearings on this Bill, I realised how much more important this profession is than I had thought. Members of the public and language organisations responded very positively to the invitation to the public hearings and made massive contributions to the Bill.
I can say without fear of contradiction that with this Bill the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture complied fully with the provision of section 59(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in that it facilitated public involvement. I can confirm that it was not a mere question of compliance. This is not the same Bill as it was before we conducted public hearings. We took very seriously the inputs of those who gave their submissions orally and in writing. Those inputs are included in this Bill.
Because of the importance of this language profession, the UDM believes that the establishment of the Language Practitioners’ Council is long overdue. Therefore, we verily believe and trust that this juristic person that this Bill seeks to establish will take its objectives and functions very seriously. The UDM supports the Bill. Thank you.
Dr C P MULDER: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President, colleagues, this seems to be quite an ordinary Bill but it is not. This Bill is part of a certain process in terms of languages in South Africa that is very important. Hon Sunduza tried to convince me that I should relax and not worry about Afrikaans being threatened in any way. Let me assure you, hon Sunduza - and remember this forever - Afrikaans survived the onslaught of the British Empire. The ANC won’t be a problem; you can relax. If for some reason, at some stage, it comes to be a problem ... but I don’t think it will ever get to that. So, don’t worry about that. We are quite relaxed in that respect.
The second thing that you should remember is that the majority of Afrikaans-speaking people in this country are not white. Many millions of people out there speak Afrikaans. So, Afrikaans is a normal South African official language. But let me come back to what we are busy with.
We are a very diverse society and we all know that. We have many differences and language is one of them. But language can be and should be a very strong point in terms of social cohesion and true nation building. Once we start going down this road, where we are now in terms of this Bill ... As I have said, we should not see it in isolation: Earlier this year, when we approved the Use of Official Languages Bill, it was the first step in taking further what the Constitution says in section 6 about the 11 official languages.
The day we start to respect each other’s language - all our languages; the day we are competent in speaking our different languages to one another, that is when we will be making true strides in social cohesion and nation building. That is what we should strive for; that is where we should go. With that process, we are moving in the right direction at last. If we are serious, then we definitely need a Bill like this to establish an official language practitioners’ council, to make these things official and to assist when we go down the road of multilingualism - which South Africa cannot do without.
Of course the FF Plus will support this Bill. We will support every measure that takes our multilingualism and respect for our different languages further. Of course our children should be able to speak different languages, because then we can understand one another and we will be able to take our country forward.
I want to ask you this: For once, let us look forward and not backward. Let us look forward, thinking positively of what this may bring to South Africa and how it will help us to take our country further. We will support this Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]
Nkul D W MAVUNDA: Museketeri wa Mutshamaxitulu, Museketeri wa Phuresidente wa tiko, Holobye wa Ndzawulo ya Vutshila na Mfuwo na Museketeri wa n’wina, Vaholobye hinkwavo na Vaseketeri va vona na Swirho swa Yindlu leyo saseka songhasi, sweswi i nkarhi lowunene wo vulavula hi Nawumbisi lowu wa timhaka ta tindzimi ta tiko ra hina, na hi laha hi khutazaka vaakatiko hinkwavo ku tinyungubyisa na ku hlayisa ndhavuko na ndzhaka leyi ya tindzimi ta hina.
Nawumbisi lowu wu khutaza vanhu hinkwavo ku tokota swinene hi ku vulavula tindzimi ta hina hi rixaladzi, vutshila na mfuwo wa ririmi hi ku hetiseka. A hi tinyungumbiseni swin’we hi tindzimi ta hina ta xintima leti a ti ri ehansi ka ntshikilelo hi mfumo lowu nga hundza wa xihlawuhlawu. (Translation of Xitsonga paragraphs follows.)
[Mr D W MAVUNDA: Deputy Chairperson, Deputy President of the Republic, Minister of Arts and Culture and your deputy, all ministers and their deputies, members of this beautiful House, it is now the right time to talk about the Bill that concerns the indigenous languages of our country and how we encourage all citizens to be proud of and to preserve the culture and heritage of our languages.
This Bill encourages all the people to be skilful in using our languages with pride, art and culture of the language in totality. Let us all be proud of our indigenous languages which were suppressed by the former apartheid regime.]
This democratic and caring government, of course under the leadership of the ANC, finds it necessary to establish a juristic person for the protection and promotion of language practices in the Republic. The SA Language Practitioners’ Council Bill seeks to facilitate the effective implementation of the constitutional obligation concerning multilingualism as contemplated in section 6 of our Constitution. This means that every South African will be able to use the official language of his or her choice as a matter of right in a range of contexts. This was also contemplated in the already promulgated Use of Official Languages Act of 2012, which has just been signed by the hon President of the Republic.
These Bills, as the hon chairperson already indicated, seek to regulate language practitioners and ensure that they are accredited and registered and offer their services in a professional manner. Moreover, this Bill will also seek to formalise the existence of language practitioners as accredited experts, governed by the set standards and norms of our Constitution.
In this regard, in their profession language practitioners will be available to develop indigenous languages through the Use of Official Languages Act. This Act seeks to capacitate language practitioners through language policies and legislation. The Language Practitioners’ Council will also change the perception that the indigenous languages are inferior to English and Afrikaans whereas, in essence, all indigenous languages in South Africa were suppressed and made to be neglected by their own people under the apartheid regime.
As we speak, we still have people who offer their language skills to government and the business sector but are not paid even a cent or given anything as a token of appreciation. All this happens because we do not have a council that regulates and protects the sector in a way that maintains high standards of language use by our practitioners. In the absence of a structure in the form of a council representing the interests of translators, interpreters and writers of indigenous languages, our people became so vulnerable because they could not be protected by any policy or legislation.
The Language Practitioners’ Council will create an enabling environment for job creation in the language practice sector. It will be possible to link up with opportunities, either as self-employed professionals or as practitioners offering their services to the national language units that will be established in all national departments under the Use of Official Languages Act of 2012.
If there is a Language Practitioners’ Council, it will become possible for our people to make careers out of speaking their own home languages. Moreover, organic language practitioners will be regulated in a way that will lead them to become professional language practitioners and people who offer language services will enjoy greater credibility.
Xandla xa Mutshamaxitulu, hi ku famba ka nkarhi tindzimi hinkwato leti a ti nga tsarisiwanga eka matsalwa lamakulu ya tiko a ti ri kusuhi na ku rivariwa na ku fa. Hi ku ya hi Nawumbisi lowu ti ta pfuxetiwa ti tlhela ti tirhisiwa. Hikokwalaho, ku ta va na ku burisana lokunene na ku vuyerisa vanhu va Afrika-Dzonga na vapfhumba hinkwavo va matiko ya le handle. (Translation of Xitsonga paragraph follows.)
[Hon Chairperson, all languages which were not codified in the national registry were about to be forgotten and to die with time. According to this Bill, they will be revitalised and be used again. For this reason, there will be good communication and will benefit the South African public and all tourists from overseas.]
The Bill will have positive implications for a variety of language developments in our country. The ANC therefore supports the Bill.
Ku dya ngopfu a hi ku hlula ndlala. Ndzi gimeta mbulavulo wa mina kwala. I mahlanga! [I have spoken a mouthful. It marks the end of my speech. Till we meet again.] [Applause.]
Mr K J DIKOBO: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon members, theoretically and on paper, all South Africans have the right to use the official language of their choice, but this right applies only to those who speak one of the 11 official languages.
This House cannot and must not close its eyes to the reality that there are more than 11 languages in South Africa. The right to use the language of one’s choice is not being enjoyed by people who speak sign language and people who speak the Khoi and the San languages. The people who speak Northern isiNdebele - isiNdebele saseNyakathu -are not enjoying this right. The people who stay in the areas of Majaneng in Hammanskraal, Zebediela, Mokopane, Mashashane and Bakenberg are struggling to have their language recognised as an official language. They have a long record of the letters they wrote to previous Ministers of Arts and Culture and the Speaker of the NA.
Nothing hurts me more than knowing that I cannot address this House in my own language simply because it is not one of the official languages.
Banthu base Moletlane, bakaMokopane nabakaMashashane batibutisa ku ri ba fanele kuri bayeteni, kuri batwana babo bafudwe ngemaleme abo. Batwana bethu basibusitisa khona nje, kuri kuta jani kuri bona maleme abo agaberegisiwa etikolweni tabo. (Translation of isiNdebele paragraph follows.)
[The people of Moletlane, Makopane and Mashashane are asking us what they should do, to ensure that their children can be given lessons in their mother tongue. Our children are asking us why their home languages are not being used in their schools.]
Hon Minister, the quotation you read was profound - and you were quoting the former President. What you said applies equally to my language. For the record, my language is not a dialect of any other spoken language and this fact is supported by science and research. Linguists have confirmed that it is a language of its own. I guess that people who speak other languages that are also not one of the 11 official languages will say the same. Having said that, Azapo supports the Language Practitioners’ Council Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]
Dr H C VAN SCHALKWYK: Agb Adjunkspeaker, veeltaligheid is die norm in die wêreld, aangesien 95% van alle lande in die wêreld veeltalige bevolkings het. In hierdie opsig is Suid-Afrika dus nie uniek nie. Taal is, en bly, in enige samelewing ’n hoogs sensitiewe saak en die politiek in die algemeen kan hom nie van die taalproblematiek onttrek nie. Die 11 amptelike landstale geniet verskansing in die Suid-Afrikaanse Grondwet, en die wet op die gebruik van amptelike tale van 2012 vereis dat inheemse tale, waarvan Afrikaans ook deel vorm, in staatsdepartemente en entiteite bevorder moet word.
Die wetsontwerp op die raad vir Suid-Afrikaanse taalpraktisyns, wat vandag hier onder bespreking is, gaan ’n deurslaggewende rol speel in die implementering van die wet op die gebruik van amptelike tale. Hierdie wetsontwerp bied ’n unieke geleentheid aan die taalsektor in Suid-Afrika om te professionaliseer. Professionalisme is ’n noodsaaklike stap in die bevordering van inheemse tale. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Dr H C VAN SCHALKWYK: Hon Deputy Speaker, multilingualism is the norm globally, as 95% of all countries in the world have multilingual populations. South Africa is thus not unique in this sense. In any society language is, and will remain, a highly sensitive issue, and generally politics cannot be separated from the challenges associated with the language issue. The 11 official languages are entrenched in the South African Constitution, and the Use of Official Languages Act, Act 12 of 2012, provides for the promotion of indigenous languages, which include Afrikaans, in government departments and entities.
The South African Language Practitioners’ Council Bill under discussion here today, will play a crucial role in the implementation of the Use of Official Languages Act. This Bill offers a unique opportunity to professionalise the language sector in South Africa. Professionalism is a necessary step in the promotion of indigenous languages.]
The Bill proposes that the SA Language Practitioners’ Council, SALPC, be established as a juristic person and that its core functions are the following: to regulate the training of language practitioners; to provide for control of the accreditation and registration of language practitioners; and to provide for matters incidental thereto, like advising the Minister on matters affecting the language profession.
Die doelwitte van die raad, soos uiteengesit in die wetsontwerp, is kortliks die volgende: om die taalpraktyk in Suid-Afrika te beskerm en te bevorder; om geskikte mense as taalpraktisyns te registreer; om geskikte mense te akkrediteer; om besonderhede van voornemende taalpraktisyns na te gaan voor registrasie; om ’n gedragskode vir geregistreerde taalpraktisyns te ontwikkel, te implementeer en te hersien, indien nodig; om taalpraktisyns se professionele belange te beskerm; om voldoende en effektiewe taaldienste aan lede van die publiek te voorsien en sodoende die taalpraktisyns en die kliënte, die publiek, te beskerm; en om geleenthede aan mense, veral uit benadeelde gemeenskappe, te bied en om hulle aan te moedig om deel te word van die taalsektor in die land.
Die implementering van hierdie wetsontwerp kan tot grootskaalse werkskepping lei in ’n sektor wat voorheen aan die agterspeen gesuig het. Met die gebruik van al die landstale sal daar ’n groot behoefte aan genoeg leksikograwe, vertalers, tolke, ens, ontstaan. Die wetsontwerp kan tot ’n wen—wen situasie lei: die grondwetlike vereiste van veeltaligheid word aangespreek én werkskepping in ’n voorheen verwaarloosde sektor kan nou uiteindelik tot sy reg kom.
Die groot voorwaarde, en ek sluit daarmee af, bly egter die politieke wil van die regering om die wet op die gebruik van amptelike tale en die wetsontwerp op die raad vir Suid-Afrikaanse taalpraktisyns op die grondvlak te implementeer. Ongelukkig is dit nie iets waaraan die huidige regering hom elke dag toewy nie. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[In summary, the objectives of this council, as provided for in the Bill, are as follows: to protect and promote language practice in South Africa; to register appropriate people as language practitioners; to accredit appropriate people; to verify the details of prospective language practitioners before registration; to develop and implement a code of ethics for registered language practitioners and to review it when necessary; to protect the professional interests of language practitioners; to provide efficient and effective language services to members of the public, and, consequently, to protect the language practitioners and the clients, the public; and to offer opportunities to people, especially those from disadvantaged communities, and to encourage them to become part of the language sector in this country.
The implementation of this Bill could lead to large-scale job creation in a sector that previously lagged behind. The use of all the official languages would result in a great demand for enough lexicographers, translators, interpreters, etc. The Bill could lead to a win-win situation: the issue of multilingualism as a constitutional imperative would be addressed, and job creation in a sector that was previously neglected would finally be realised.
In conclusion, the key prerequisite remains, which is government’s political will to implement the Use of Official Languages Act and the South African Language Practitioners’ Council Bill on grass-roots level. Unfortunately, this is not something that the current government commits to on a daily basis.]
The DA supports this Bill. [Time expired.]
Mev L N MOSS: Agb Adjunkspeaker, agb lede van die Parlement, agb Adjunkpresident, die gaste in die gallery, in Nama en Khoi groet jy soos volg:
!gâi ts?s, mî re.
Dit beteken, ek groet nou almal hier in die Parlement. Soos u gehoor het en soos die Minister en ander aangevoer het, is die erkenning van tale in Suid-Afrika nie ’n maklike taak nie, omdat dit so ’n sensitiewe kwessie is. Dit is nie net ’n kwessie van mense of lede van die Kabinet wat hier kom praat nie, maar sommige van hulle woon nie eens die vergaderings by nie. Daardie lede weet wie hulle is. Ek gaan nie name noem nie.
Die Afrika-tale is histories nie eens goed genoeg geag vir onderrig of leer nie. Studente is nie net gedwing om subklas-opvoeding te verduur nie, maar ook om in tale te leer wat nie hulle eie was nie. Ek praat van die verlede. Gevolglik is daar afbreek gedoen aan die Afrika-tale, wat deel was van ’n agenda om swartmense te onderdruk.
Die ANC-beleide het die ontwikkeling van tale, kulture en erfenis op die sakelys geplaas om taaldienslewering te vermaklik. Wanneer mense inligting in hulle eie taal ontvang by plekke soos die howe, banke, hospitale en skole, bou ons ook ’n maatskaplike samehorigheid. So, ek wil vir die agb lid van die VF Plus sê dat die ANC omgee vir die mense van hierdie land. Die ANC doen iets aan die ongelykheid van tale. Eindelik moet die Vryheidsmanifes en Grondwet seëvier, want hierdie twee dokumente beskerm die universele regte van mense, ongeag hul ras, kleur, geslag en klas. So, dit is deel van nasiebou.
Soos u gehoor het, wil die wetsontwerp op die Suid-Afrikaanse taalpraktisynsraad verseker dat ons ’n kombinasie van beroepsmense het wat die inheemse tale vir amptelike beleidsdoeleindes vlot praat. Soos agb Mavunda gesê het, as ’n mens vandag na ons samelewing kyk, blyk dit dat die mense wat as vertalers en tolke geld maak, diegene is wat Engels en Afrikaans doen. ’n Verandering is nou nodig. Tale wat onder apartheid verswak het, word elke dag deur ons mense gebruik, byvoorbeeld Nama, Setswana, Tshivenda en ander tale wat nie neergeskryf word nie en ook nie vir amptelike doeleindes in ons regering gebruik word nie. Dit lei daartoe dat opgeleide beroepsmense wat in hierdie tale ’n goeie diens kan lewer, nie in die land as professionele taalpraktisyns erken word nie.
’n Liggaam soos dié raad is nodig om die taalsektor te reguleer en om te verseker dat mense wat tolke, taalversorgers en vertalers wil wees, behoorlik opgelei word en dat die publiek beskerm word teen kansvatters wat voorgee dat hulle ’n taal praat, maar dit in werklikheid nie praat nie.
Reeds met die opstel van die Grondwet is gesê dat die regering die status van die amptelike tale in Suid-Afrika moet verhoog en die gebruik daarvan moet bevorder. Negentien jaar later is dit die ANC-regering wat veg dat ons tale gelyk behandel en teen diskriminasie beskerm word. Ons moet dus daardie staatsdepartemente, entiteite en besighede prys wat materiaal in twee of meer amptelike tale aanbied. Dit is egter nie genoeg nie. Meer moet gedoen word om te verseker dat ons die Vryheidsmanifes en die Grondwet uitvoer.
Die ANC sê, as ons saamwerk kan ons meer doen! Die hele wetsontwerp op die raad vir Suid-Afrikaanse taalpraktisyns is in lyn met die Grondwet. Toe die openbare verhoor plaasgevind het, is die spertyd verleng om te verseker dat belanghebbbendes en mense wat geraak word insette oor die wetsontwerp kon lewer. Die grootste gedeelte van die kommentaar en voorleggings wat ons van die publiek ontvang het, het hoofsaaklik bestaan uit minder belangrike besonderhede oor die samestelling van die raad en die regulering van ’n grootliks ongereguleerde sektor.
Regulering is ’n goeie ding vir daardie kulture en tale wat histories benadeel is. Sonder die ANC-regering sou die tale van die nageslag van die eerste mense, die Khoi-Khoi en die San, byvoorbeeld, verdwyn het. U sal daarop let dat daar nou meer as ooit te vore ook publikasies in ander inheemse tale gedruk word en dat die land se mense aangemoedig word om ander mense se tale te leer. Dit is President Jacob Zuma se missie om te verseker dat die bydrae van die Khoi-Khoi- en San-gemeenskappe tot die stryd teen kolonialisme in Suid-Afrika erken word.
Die ANC ondersteun die wetsontwerp en versoek die burgers om trots op hul erfenis te wees en ook die wetsontwerp te ondersteun. Verder wil ek sê, soos ek reeds genoem het, dit sal baie goed wees as lede van die Parlement seker kan maak dat wanneer ’n item op die agenda van die Parlement is, hulle hul belangstelling sal toon indien hulle vir hul kiesafdeling omgee. Moenie hierdie platform kom gebruik en dan oor ander goed praat nie, maar jy het nog nooit die komitee bygewoon nie.
Ek wil ook noem dat dieselfde lede het in Julie verlede jaar die spitsberaad oor nasiebou en kohesie in Soweto bygewoon. By daardie spitsberaad kon elke burger van Suid-Afrika sy misnoeë uitspreek, selfs oor die kwessie van die tale. Nou kom gebruik u hierdie platform om u misnoeë uit te spreek. Ek dink dis opportunisties. Baie dankie. (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)
[Mrs L N MOSS: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon members of Parliament, guests in the gallery, in the Nama and Khoi language one greets as follows:
!gâi ts?s, mî re [good day, how are you?].
This means that I am greeting everyone here in Parliament. As you have heard, and as the Minister and others have said, the recognition of languages in South Africa is not an easy task, because it is such a sensitive issue. It is not only a matter of people or members of Cabinet coming here to deliver speeches, but some of them even fail to attend meetings. Those members know who they are. I will not mention names.
Historically, African languages were not even regarded as good enough for education and learning. Students were not only forced to endure substandard education, but also to study in languages that were not their own. I am referring to the past. As a result African languages were denigrated, which was part of an agenda to oppress black people.
The ANC’s policies put the development of languages, culture, and heritage on the agenda in order to facilitate language service delivery. When people receive information in their own languages at places like courts, banks, hospitals, and schools, we are building social cohesion at the same time. So, I would like to say to the hon member of the VF Plus that the ANC cares about the people of this country. The ANC is doing something about the inequality of languages. Eventually, the Freedom Charter and the Constitution will have to prevail, because these two documents are protecting the universal rights of people, irrespective of their race, colour, gender, and class. And that is part of building a nation.
As you have heard, the South African Language Practitioners’ Council Bill wants to ensure that we have various professionals who speak the indigenous languages fluently for official policy purposes. As hon Mavunda said, if one considers the current situation in our society, it seems as if the people who earn money as translators and interpreters are those who work in English and Afrikaans. Change is needed right now. Languages that have been weakened under apartheid have been used by our people on a daily basis, for example, Nama, Setswana, Tshivenda and other languages that have not been recorded and used for official purposes in our government. As a result of this, trained professionals who are able to deliver good services in these languages are not recognised as professional language practitioners in this country.
A body like this council is necessary to regulate the language sector and ensure that people who want to be interpreters, editors, and translators are adequately trained, protecting the public against opportunists who pretend to be able to speak a language but are in reality not competent in that language.
During the drafting of the Constitution it had already been said that the government should elevate the status of the official languages in South Africa as well as promote the use thereof. Nineteen years later, it is the ANC-led government that is fighting for our languages to be treated equally and to be protected against discrimination. We should therefore commend those government departments, entities, and businesses that are offering material in two or more official languages. However, that is not enough. More should be done in order to ensure that we implement the Freedom Charter and Constitution.
The ANC is saying, together we can do more! The entire South African Language Practitioners’ Council Bill is in line with the Constitution. When the public hearings took place, the due date was extended in order to allow stakeholders and affected parties to provide input with regard to the Bill. Most of the comments and submissions that we received from the public to a large extent consisted of less important details about the composition of the council and regulating a largely unregulated sector.
Regulating this sector would be to the advantage of those cultures and languages that have been historically disadvantaged. Without the ANC-led government, the languages of the descendants of the first people, the Khoi-Khoi and the San, for instance, would have disappeared. You will notice that publications are now printed in other indigenous languages more than ever before, and that the people of our country are encouraged to learn one another’s languages. It is President Jacob Zuma’s mission to ensure the acknowledgment of the contribution made by the Khoi-Khoi and San communities in the struggle against colonialism in South Africa.
The ANC supports this Bill and requests citizens to be proud of their heritage and also to support the Bill. Furthermore, I would like to say, as I mentioned earlier, that it would be very good if Members of Parliament could ensure that, when an item is put on the agenda of Parliament, they actually show their interest if they care about their constituencies. Don’t use this platform to come and talk about other issues, while you have never even attended a committee meeting.
I would also like to mention that the same members attended the social cohesion and nation-building summit in Soweto in July last year. At that summit South African citizens could express their dissatisfaction, even with regard to the language issue. Now you want to use this platform to show your dissatisfaction. I think that is opportunistic. Thank you very much.]
The MINISTER OF ARTS AND CULTURE: Adjunkspeaker, ek wil al die lede van die komitee bedank vir die werk wat hulle gedoen het. [Deputy Speaker, I would like to thank all the members of the committee for the work they have done.]
Let me take this opportunity to thank the hon Sunduza, all the members of the committee and all the parties for supporting the Bill. I think our message is loud and clear this afternoon: Let us take pride in our languages. Let us develop and promote them and make sure that we teach them to younger generations as well.
I want to say to hon Dikobo that the Constitution does provide for the development of languages other than the official ones. To those who feel that we should be looking at their languages and developing them, it is important that we say we are more than prepared to look into that. But the important thing is that languages that are not spoken and written will disappear. A language must be spoken. To develop these other languages, it is important that we should speak and write them, making sure that they are also preserved and developed.
I want to conclude once more by thanking all hon members. I assure you that we will work with everybody and with all South Africans to ensure that we develop all our languages.
Inkomu, ha khensa. [Thank you.]
Bill read a second time.
SOUTH AFRICAN POSTBANK LIMITED AMENDMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
Mr S E KHOLWANE: Deputy Speaker, hon members, Ministers and the Deputy President, on 1 December 2010 the SA Postbank Limited Act came into being. The Act provided for the incorporation of the Postbank division of the SA Post Office as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Post Office. In terms of that Act, the Postbank will trade as the SA Postbank Limited.
The Act came into operation on 22 July 2011 and its implementation started around August 2011, with a number of activities being performed by different key players, among others by the Department of Communications, the National Treasury, the SA Postbank, the Post Office and the SA Reserve Bank, under the committee wards that were established for that particular work. Indeed, considerable progress has been made in the implementation of that Act. The transactional advisor was appointed and the lodging of the licence has already been started.
The process to separate the assets and liabilities between Postbank Company and the Post Office has already been concluded. The co-operation agreement between the two companies in terms of how to use the infrastructure has already been done. In addition, we must thank the Treasury that a minimum amount has been put aside to ensure that this process becomes a success.
However, we must indicate that during this process the SA Reserve Bank raised some concerns about some of the provisions of the Bill, hence we are here today, talking about the amendment of this particular Act. Among other sections that needed amendment is section 3, which exempted the Postbank from the provision of the Banks Act. Section 4 of that Act needed to be repealed. That section talked to the requirement of compliance by the Postbank, which, originally, that Act placed squarely on the Minister.
This Bill also seeks to amend section 25, which ensures that the powers of the Minister to intervene in the Postbank Company are limited or comply with the Banks Act in terms of section 60(6), section 69 and section 69(a) of the Banks Act. Indeed, for us as the ANC, we see the Postbank as important postal infrastructure aimed at achieving socioeconomic developmental goals in line with the agenda of a developmental state. The Postbank must become the preferred bank of choice for the poor. For this reason it must become sustainable, hence the amendment in order to guarantee a sustainable model that upholds the values of the ruling party or government.
The Postbank comes at a critical time for the Post Office and at the advent of technology that impacts negatively on the traditional delivery model of postal services. However, we should commend the Post Office for viewing the influence of technology in the context of the revitalisation of its services and the provision of innovative and affordable banking solutions to poor communities who cannot afford to open a bank account and therefore cannot put aside some savings for the future of their families.
In conclusion, the co-operation of the Postbank will offer real long-term financial benefits and solutions. I must also thank the portfolio committee, the Department of Communications, the legal services, the state law advisors and everyone who has been involved in these amendments, in particular the SA Reserve Bank, who ensured that indeed we do comply with the Banks Act. Deputy Speaker, I commend this Bill to the House. [Applause.]
There was no debate.
Bill read a second time.
The House adjourned at 17:28.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
The Speaker and the Chairperson
1. Draft Bills submitted in terms of Joint Rule 159
(1) Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill, 2013, submitted by the Minister of Finance.
Referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and the Select Committee on Finance.
2. Classification of Bills by Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM)
(1) The JTM in terms of Joint Rule 160(6) classified the following Bills as section 75 Bills:
(a) Determination of Remuneration of Members of Constitutional Institutions Laws Amendment Bill [B 31 – 2013] (National Assembly – sec 75).
(b) Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Amendment Bill [B 33 – 2013] (National Assembly – sec 75).
(2) The JTM in terms of Joint Rule 160(6) classified the following Bills as section 76 Bills:
(a) Marine Living Resources Amendment Bill [B 30 – 2013] (National Assembly – sec 76).
(b) National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Bill [B 32 – 2013] (National Assembly – sec 76).
(c) Legal Metrology Bill [B 34 – 2013] (National Assembly – sec 76).
1. Introduction of Bills
(1) The Minister of Finance
(a) Taxation Laws Amendment Bill [B 39 – 2013] (National Assembly – proposed sec 77).
(b) Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill [B 40 – 2013] (National Assembly – proposed sec 75) [Explanatory summary of Bill and prior notice of its introduction published in Government Gazette No 36941 of 18 October 2013.]
(c) Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Contributions Bill [B 41 – 2013] (National Assembly – proposed sec 77).
(d) Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Administration Bill [B 42 – 2013] (National Assembly – proposed sec 75) [Explanatory summary of Bill and prior notice of its introduction published in Government Gazette No 36591 of 21 June 2013.]
(e) Customs Duty Bill [B 43 – 2013] (National Assembly – proposed sec 77).
(f) Customs and Excise Amendment Bill [B 44 – 2013] (National Assembly – proposed sec 75) [Explanatory summary of Bill and prior notice of its introduction published in Government Gazette No 36945 of 18 October 2013.]
(g) Customs Control Bill [B 45 – 2013] (National Assembly – proposed sec 75) [Explanatory summary of Bill and prior notice of its introduction published in Government Gazette No 36945 of 18 October 2013.]
(h) Employment Tax Incentive Bill [B 46 – 2013] (National Assembly – proposed sec 77).
Introduction and referral to the Standing Committee on Finance of the National Assembly, as well as referral to the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) for classification in terms of Joint Rule 160.
In terms of Joint Rule 154 written views on the classification of the Bill may be submitted to the JTM. The Bill may only be classified after the expiry of at least three parliamentary working days since introduction.
1. Membership of Committees
(1) The following changes to Committee membership have been made:
(a) Inkatha Freedom Party:
Portfolio Committee on Energy
Discharged: Eric James Lucas, Mr
Appointed: Jacobus Hercules van der Merwe, Mr
Appointed: Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Mr (ALT)
Portfolio Committee on Mining
Discharged: Eric James Lucas, Mr
Appointed: Jacobus Hercules van der Merwe, Mr
Appointed: Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Mr (ALT)
Portfolio Committee on Communications
Discharged: Helen Makhuba, Ms
Appointed: Sibongile Judith Nkomo, Ms (ALT)
Standing Committee on Finance
Discharged: Mario Gaspare Oriani-Ambrosini, Dr
Appointed: Sibongile Judith Nkomo, Ms
(b) United Democratic Movement:
Portfolio Committee on Economic Development
Appointed: Kwankwa, Mr NL
Standing Committee on Finance
Appointed: Kwankwa, Mr NL
1. Portfolio Committee on Corrections Services’ Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report on the Department of Correctional Services’ Performance in 2012/13, and the First Quarter of the Current Financial Year, dated 23 October 2013
1.1 The Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act (Act 9 of 2009) provides for, amongst others, a parliamentary procedure to amend Money Bills, thus granting parliamentary committees greater opportunity to influence the allocation of funds to the departments they oversee. Section 5 of the Act compels the National Assembly, through its Committees to submit annual Budgetary Review and Recommendation (BRR) reports on the financial performance of departments accountable to them. The BRR report must be informed by a Committee’s interrogation of, amongst others, national departments’ estimates of national expenditure, strategic priorities and measurable objectives, National Treasury-published expenditure reports, annual reports and financial statements, and all other oversight activities undertaken in the period under review. Essentially, the BRR report is a committee’s assessment of a department’s service delivery performance given its available resources, as well as the effectiveness and efficiency with which its programmes are implemented. Committees should adopt their BRR reports after the adoption of the Appropriations Bill and prior the adoption of reports on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).
1.2. According to Section 2 of the Correctional Services’ Act (Act 111 of 1998), the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is mandated to contribute towards maintaining and protecting a just, peaceful, and safe society, by enforcing court-imposed sentences in the manner prescribed by the CSA, detaining inmates in safe custody while promoting social responsibility and the human development of all offenders and persons subject to community corrections.
1.3. The Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services (“the Committee”) is mandated to, amongst its other statutory obligations, support the DCS in delivering on its mandate through rigorous monitoring of the implementation of, and adherence to, DCS-specific policies such as the White Paper on Corrections (“White Paper”) and legislation such as the CSA and Correctional Matters Amendment Act (Act 5 of 2011). The Committee furthermore oversees the delivery of services to all inmates incarcerated in South Africa’s state-owned and privately-operated correctional centres.
1.4. At the start of its term in May 2009, the Committee had agreed to six focal areas that have since then informed its oversight activities. Most importantly the Committee agreed to intensify oversight of the DCS’ administration and financial management, as weaknesses in that area impact negatively on, amongst others, the implementation of the rehabilitation and reintegration objectives contained in the White Paper and, ultimately, the DCS’ ability to ensure that those released from its care do not re-offend. To this end, the Committee receives quarterly financial and administrative reports from the DCS, which are closely scrutinised, in order to timeously detect weaknesses and recommend remedies. The Committee’s oversight must therefore be driven by its commitment to ensuring service delivery to both sentenced offenders and remand detainees i.e. humane conditions of incarceration, effective rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, and adequate care and development. The successful delivery of these programmes will ensure that by the time an inmate is released his or her offending behaviour has been “corrected”, thus ensuring successful reintegration of offenders, and ultimately increased safety and security.
1.5. According to section 91 of the CSA, the DCS is responsible for the payment of all the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services’ (JICS’) expenses. The ‘Money Bills’ legislation is silent on oversight over entities, but the Committee believes that, although the JICS does not receive its allocation directly from National Treasury, but instead, and in line with the legislative provisions referred to above, from the DCS, the JICS’ performance too should be considered quarterly, to culminate in a final assessment during the BRR process in October each year. This report should therefore be read along with our report on the JICS’ financial performance during the 2012/13, and the first quarter of the current financial year.
1.6. In preparing to report on the DCS’ financial and service delivery performance for the period under review the Committee considered, amongst others, all previous reports and recommendations related to the DCS’ service delivery and financial performance, the 2012/13 Annual Report and Financial Statements, National Treasury-published expenditure reports, reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA), Standing Committee on Appropriations and the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA), briefings by the DCS and other government entities, reports relevant to the DCS, as well as stakeholder-input on the DCS’ performance.
1.7. The Committee values stakeholder participation in the BRR process, as it ensures that our observations and recommendations are as well-informed and balanced as possible. It should be noted however that the very limited time between the deadline for the tabling of annual reports, and reporting on the MTBPS places serious limitations on such participation.
1.8 It is important to indicate at the outset that the Committee is concerned about the very limited progress the DCS has made over the past five years not only in relation to its financial management, but in its overall service delivery to sentenced offenders especially with regard to ensuring a safe and secure correctional environment. Much of what had been identified as areas of serious concern in 2011/12 have remained unchanged in 2012/13. Stakeholders have also observed that practically all recommendations made by the Committee have been ignored, as little evidence can be found that they have been considered, and where possible implemented.
2. FINANCIAL INFORMATION
2.1 Financial Performance: 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013
2.1.1 The DCS received R17,7 billion in the 2012/13 financial year, of which it spent 97,2%. It underspent on all but the Incarceration programme. Most of the under-expenditure was ascribed to delays in the filling of funded posts. In the previous financial year it had underspent by 5,4%, and in 2010/11 by 4,7%. While the improvement in spending between 2011/12 and 2012/13 is noted, it is also noted with concern that the DCS’ spending appears to fluctuate unpredictably, and that in the period between 2010/11 and 2012/13 the Department had failed to spend just over R2 billion of what it had been allocated.
2.1.2 Most of the R386,7 million under-expenditure occurred in relation to the Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration programmes which are integral to the DCS’ service delivery. The under-spending on these programmes was also ascribed to delays in the filling of funded vacancies.
2.1.3 The DCS’ fruitless and wasteful expenditure had decreased from R71,3 million in 2011/12 to R1,6 million in 2012/13. The 2012/13 fruitless expenditure, which was still under investigation at the time of reporting, was the result of value added tax (VAT) having been paid to non-VAT vendors, and to R189 000 in interest paid for office-space occupied.
2.1.4 Irregular expenditure has increased from R214,65 million in 2011/12 to R363,79 in 2012/13. An amount of R579,329 million, which included an amount dating back to 2011/12, was still awaiting condonation at the time of reporting. The irregular expenditure was reportedly caused by the DCS’ non-adherence to procurement procedures, and the absence of service level agreements with amongst others, the Departments of Public Works (DPW) and Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJCD).
2.1.5 The Administration programme received a final appropriation of R4,77 billion of which only 97,6% was spent. The under-expenditure was ascribed to delays in procurement for the establishment of cabling and local area network (LAN) equipment, and delays in the filling of funded vacant posts.
2.1.6 The Rehabilitation programme received a final appropriation of R967,5 million of which only 87% was spent. The under-expenditure was ascribed to delays in the filling of funded vacant posts.
2.1.7 The Incarceration programme received a final appropriation of R9,498 billion of which 99,8% was spent.
2.1.8 The Care programme received a final appropriation R1, 724 billion of which 96,8% was spent. The under-expenditure was ascribed to delays in the filling of funded vacant posts, and savings accrued when the nutritional services contract, which the DCS had anticipated would not be renewed, was extended.
2.1.9 The Social Reintegration programme received a final appropriation of R739,2 million, of which 90,4% was spent. As in the case of the Care programme, the DCS ascribed the under-expenditure to delays in the filling of funded vacancies only.
2.2 Financial performance: 1 April to 30 June 2013
2.2.1 At the end of the first quarter the DCS had spent 22,7% of the R18,7% billion allocated it in the 2013/14 financial year. This is 0,6% less than projected. At the end of the same period in the previous financial year, underspending on this programme stood at 2,33%.
2.2.2 At the end of June 2013, the DCS had spent 1,1% less than what was anticipated on the Administration programme. The under-expenditure affected sub-programmes Corporate Services, Internal Audit, Office Accommodation and Management, while higher than anticipated spending occurred in relation to sub-programmes Finance, Residential Accommodation and Ministry.
2.2.3 The Incarceration programme was ahead on planned spending, and had spent 1,1% more than the projected 23,1%. Higher than planned expenditure had occurred on all items, with the most notable variance observed in relation to item: Transfers and Subsidies. Significantly higher than planned expenditure occurred on item: Households.
2.2.4 A 7,7% lower than planned expenditure was reported in relation to the Rehabilitation programme. This is almost R30 million lower than at the end of June 2012. All sub-programmes reflected significantly lower than planned expenditure, the most notable variance being in relation to sub-porgramme Correctional Programmes.
2.2.5 A 3% lower than planned expenditure was reported in relation to Programme Care. Although all sub-programmes were affected by the under-expenditure, the most significant variance occurred in relation to sub-programme Hygiene Services.
2.2.6 A 3,3% lower than planned expenditure was reported in relation to programme Social Reintegration. Although significantly higher than planned expenditure occurred in relation to sub-programme: Community Reintegration, sub-programmes Supervision, Parole Administration and Office Accommodation: Community Corrections reflected lower than expected expenditure.
2.2.7 It is noted with concern that at the end of the first quarter of the 2013/14 financial year, the most prominent under-spending was in relation to the Rehabilitation, Care and Social Reintegration programmes. In August 2013 the DCS ascribed the under-expenditure to, amongst others, delays in the filling of vacancies, late and/or incorrect billing by some of its service providers, challenges as far as reconciling inventories, and systemic challenges related to the BAS, PERSAL and LOGIS transversal systems.
2.2.8 All programmes reflected a much higher than planned expenditure on items Transfers and Subsidies, and Households, in response to which National Treasury recommended that sufficient funds should be budgeted towards the payment of leave gratuities to employees who terminate their service during the remainder of 2013/14. It was also felt that the conservative approach followed by only budgeting modestly for transfers to the household services item was not favourable and required urgent attention if spending was to stabilise.
2.2.9 Deviations from the DCS’ original spending plan were evident in April, May and June 2013. Deviations of up to only 8% were allowed, and therefore the -16,9% and 15,3% deviations recorded in April and May were of concern. The DCS’ PMG balances at the end of June 2013 represented only 2,4% of what had actually been drawn from the National Revenue Fund.
2.2.10 At the end of June 2013 the DCS had a 4,3% vacancy rate, affecting salary levels 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12 in the main. Natural attrition and the length of time it took to finalise recruitment processes contributed to the increased vacancy rate.
2.2.11 National Treasury welcomed reduced spending on advertising; agency support services; catering and entertainment; travel subsistence; and venues and facilities, but thought increased expenditure on computer services, consultants and contractors over the same period ‘’rather excessive’’ and advised that “explicit cost-containment initiatives” to curb such expenditure should be implemented.
3. PROGRAMME PERFORMANCE
1 April 2012 to 30 June 2013
3.1 In 2011/12 the DCS succeeded in meeting only 47% of the 127 targets it had set. In 2012/13 targets were reduced to 102, of which the DCS succeeded in achieving 66%. The same explanation that had been provided for the under-performance in 2011/12 was provided for the under-performance in 2012/13 too: that the targets set for the period under review ought not to have been listed as targets as they were unattainable for various reasons not taken into consideration when the strategic and annual performance plans were drafted. At that time too, assurances were given that targets would reviewed to ensure that only those for which the DCS could reasonably take responsibility would be included. No explanation was given as to why this strategy was implemented after the weaknesses so as to avoid the weaknesses in 2012/13.
3.2 The AGSA found that the targets set by the DCS for 2012/13 were not specific, measurable, achievable, relevant or time-bound (SMART), and that technical descriptions had not been prepared as required by the National Treasury Framework. This, in combination with the overall assessment by the Committee and stakeholders who commented on the DCS’ annual report, made it difficult to, based on the information contained in the Annual Report, assess the DCS’ actual performance for the period under review.
3.3 The Committee also notes that the DCS ignored its Audit Committee’s recommendation that performance information should be submitted to its Internal Audit Unit for review on a quarterly basis. The fact that this had not been done, draws into question the reliability of the quarterly reports submitted to the Committee.
3.4 The Committee’s main areas of concerns related to the DCS’ performance across programmes, are outlined below.
3.5 Administration programme
3.5.1 The Administration programme provides administrative; management; financial; information, communication and technology; research; policy co-ordination and good governance support functions necessary for service delivery, good governance and accountability to oversight institutions.
3.5.2 The DCS’ vacancy rate showed an increase from 3,3% in 2011/12 to 4,1% in 2012/13. The highest number of vacancies were reported in relation to psychologists, social work and related professions, educationists and professional nurses. Of concern is that after resignations, retirement and expired contracts were the biggest contributors to the high number of vacancies. The Audit Committee had also raised serious concerns about long standing vacancies particularly in relation to the internal audit unit: at the time of reporting both the Deputy Commissioner: Internal Control Compliance, and the Chief Audit Executive posts had been vacant, the latter for longer than five months.
3.5.3 Of serious concern too is the leadership instability brought about by high staff turnover at senior management level. At the time of reporting the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Deputy Commissioner: Strategic Management posts had been vacant for approximately 12 months; and the National Commissioner post had also become vacant at the end of August 2013.
3.5.4 Despite numerous calls that vetting should be treated with the necessary urgency, and despite government departments having been implored to prioritise the vetting of those in supply chain management, the DCS’ Annual Report is silent as far as its performance in this regard.
3.5.5 The DCS reports that it had exceeded its target for convictions in fraud, corruption and serious maladministration matters by 3,39%, but unfortunately the detail related to the reported success was not included, nor could it be provided during the interrogation of the Annual Report. What is provided is that in the period under review the DCS had opened 358 cases and 299 enquiries for investigation. Of the 146 cases that were finalised, 19 were referred for disciplinary action, and 127 could not be pursued for lack of evidence. At the time of reporting 212 cases and 257 enquiries were still open for investigation. The DCS provided little information on how long it took resolve these matters, or the types of sanctions imposed on those found guilty of such transgressions.
3.5.6 Although, according to the Annual Report, the target for the number of person days lost due to suspensions had been exceeded by 2 925 days, the Committee reiterates that the DCS’ prolonged disciplinary processes and long suspensions remained a major challenge, particularly given the DCS’ already acute staff shortages.
3.5.7 The Committee notes with concern that the DCS again failed to meet the target in relation to ‘interoperability’ between its own and other Justice Crime Prevention and Security-cluster departments’ core business systems. The lack of progress was ascribed to the Remand Detention and Offender Management System (RDOMS) having had to be put on hold owing to delays caused by the service provider. The Committee recognises the importance of the RDOMS system, and first raised its concern about the delays in the finalisation of the project in 2012. Despite frequent interactions with both the DCS and the State Information and Technology Agency (SITA), little if any progress as far as resolving the deadlock reached with the service provider, was reported. The Committee also notes with concern that despite it being a critical information, communication and technology (ICT) roadmap, the ICT Strategic Plan, requested by the Audit Committee, was not provided it.
3.5.8 The DCS has for the past several years been battling a number of serious human resource-related challenges. These include the establishment of shift systems that would make the successful implementation of the Seven Day Establishment possible, the implementation of the second phase of the occupational specific dispensation, payment of backdated overtime, and the management of disciplinary matters. The Committee had welcomed the establishment, in February 2013, of a Ministerial Consultative Forum (MCF). It had been hoped that the Ministerial Task Team that formed part of the MCF, and which comprised labour unions and DCS senior managers, would be able to amicably and within a reasonable timeframe conclude negotiations on how the ongoing challenges may be resolved. The Committee has noted with concern that despite the intervention being in its final stages, labour unions were expressing extreme frustration about the lack of progress, and about their apparent exclusion from some aspects of the process.
3.5.9 An organisational restructuring proposal was submitted to the former Minister of Correctional Services in 2011/12. According to the 2011/12 annual report the proposed restructuring was aimed at addressing “serious functional misalignments”, the accounting officer’s “unmanageable span of command” and to correctly align strategic and operations management functions. The phased implementation of the restructuring commenced at the most senior level on 1 June 2012. The most notable change in the DCS’ structure is the creation of a chief operations officer (COO) post. The COO reports directly to the National Commissioner, and is responsible for the management of the six regions. Labour unions raised serious concerns about the expanded organisational structure which is due for implementation in the 2013/14 financial year, but on which labour unions had not been consulted.
3.6 Incarceration programme
3.6.1 The Incarceration programme provides for services and well-maintained physical infrastructure that support safe and secure conditions of detention consistent with human dignity. It also provides for the profiling and compilation of correctional sentence plans, administration and interventions. In addition to the Remand Detention and Offender Management sub-programmes, it comprises the Security Operations and Facilities sub-programmes.
3.6.2 The DCS reported an increase in the number of assaults from 5 284 in 2011/12 to 6 884 in 2012/13. The increase is ascribed to an increase in the reporting of such incidents, and not necessarily to an increase in actual assaults.
3.6.3 In addition, the number of gang-related incidents had also increased by 55,38%. This increase was also ascribed to improved reporting, and therefore the DCS views it as an indication that the gang management strategy it employed is functioning well.
3.6.4 The DCS failed to achieve its targets in relation to unnatural deaths too. It had undertaken to reduce such deaths to 44, but 57 such deaths were reported. The report states that 29 of the unnatural deaths were suicides. Of concern is that the JICS reported only 19 such deaths for the same period.
3.6.5 Although the adoption of the Policy Framework to Address Sexual Abuse of Inmates in DCS Facilities, points to an acknowledgement that such assaults are prevalent enough to warrant a dedicated policy and strategy, recommendations that assaults should be disaggregated to isolate sexual assault cases, have once again not been implemented.
3.6.6 In October 2011, after much debate about the true value of utilising a public private partnership (PPP)-funding model to procure more correctional centres, the DCS announced that it would not proceed with the process of procuring the additional four correctional centres that would have been procured through the PPP- funding model.
3.6.7 At the time of reporting labour unrest had compromised security at the Mangaung PPP Correctional Centre, forcing its management to call on the DCS to intervene, and temporarily take over management of the facility. The Committee has not yet been briefed on what had led to the situation, however the incident validates our serious concerns about the cost and appropriateness of ‘outsourcing’ national security services. These concerns are shared by the Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
3.6.8 Despite the obvious pressure on infrastructure exerted by overcrowding, the DCS had again failed to meet its targets in relation to creating additional bedspaces. Major and long outstanding construction projects, which ought to have provided 1 045 new bedspaces have suffered serious delays. The DCS has indicated that the DPW and/or SITA have been responsible for the delays. Unfortunately the DCS’ management have not been able to provide adequate evidence of efforts it has made to ensure that the necessary pressure was exerted to ensure that projects were completed, if not by original deadlines, then within reasonable time.
3.7 Rehabilitation programme
3.7.1 The Rehabilitation programme provides needs-based programmes and interventions to facilitate rehabilitation and enable social-reintegration. The programme comprises the Offender Development, Psychological, Social and Spiritual Services and the Corrections sub-programmes.
3.7.2 Despite this programme being one of those that had been underspent on, the DCS managed to exceed its target for participation in skills development activities by 225. The DCS had under-performed in relation to this target in the 2011/12 financial year, but in 2012/13 it reports that it had, regardless of the artisan shortage, and the impact this has had on the productivity of workshops, exceeded its targets.
3.7.3 As in 2011/12, the DCS again failed to meet most of its agriculture production-related targets. The non-achievement of targets was ascribed to amongst others, the special remission which had resulted in fewer eligible inmates being able to participate in agricultural programmes, dilapidated irrigation systems, machinery and equipment at some centres, and in the Free State/Northern Cape regions poor infrastructure and management of piggeries.
3.7.4 Despite having underspent on the programme, the DCS exceeded its targets for social work, and spiritual services. No clear targets were set for psychological services however, and therefore performance in this regard could not be measured. Of interest is how the DCS had managed to exceed its social work-related targets, despite a 14,7% social worker-vacancy rate, and despite its centres being severely overcrowded.
3.8 Care programme
3.8.1 The Care programme provides for needs-based programmes and services aimed at maintaining the personal well-being of incarcerated offenders by facilitating physical fitness, social functioning, health care, thereby ensuring their spiritual, moral and psychological well-being. The programme comprises the following three sub-programmes: Nutrition, Health and Hygiene Services.
3.8.2 According to the Annual Report the DCS had managed to exceed most of its targets in relation to this programme. Of greatest interest to the Committee is the management of mental illness, and communicable diseases. The DCS reports that in the case of mental illness, 98,78% of those diagnosed received medical treatment. The target related to the treatment of communicable diseases, hypertension and diabetes could however not be met most likely owing to the DCS’ acute nurses-shortage.
3.9 Social Reintegration programme
3.9.1 The Rehabilitation programme provides needs-based programmes and interventions to facilitate rehabilitation and enable social-reintegration. The programme comprises the Offender Development, Psychological, Social and Spiritual Services and the Corrections sub-programmes
3.9.2 A number of targets under this programme were achieved. Of concern is the failure to improve on the correctional supervision and parole (CSPBs) consideration of eligible offenders. CSPBs rely on case management committees (CMC) to provide them with complete case files for each inmate who has reached his or her minimum sentence period, and therefore qualifies for parole consideration. The CSPBs poor performance was ascribed to CMCs not being adequately capacitated, and therefore being unable to manage caseloads, which resulted in backlogs.
3.9.3 It was not possible to establish whether the DCS had indeed met its targets related to the processing and release of inmates on medical parole. Of serious concern is that 14 inmates had passed away while awaiting the outcome of their medical parole applications.
3.9.4 Although 136 parolees had benefited from electronic monitoring, and the target set had been met, it is felt that given that the electronic monitoring system has been on the agenda for a number of years, and given the potential it has to reduce the number of incarcerated persons, and restore the judiciary’s confidence in the DCS’ ability to monitor those sentenced to non-custodial sentences, greater effort should be made to expand the use of the system.
3.9.5 The Committee notes that although the number of consultants in the DCS’ employ had been reduced, payments to consultants had increased from R678 million in 2011/12 to R825 million in 2012/13. This increased expenditure is of concern, particularly given the findings of the AGSA’s 2012 audit of the use of consultants by certain government departments between 2008/9 and 2010/11. The DCS disputed some of the findings, but failed to provide the Committee with reports to the contrary.
3.9.6 The Victim Offender Dialogues (VODs) were launched in November 2012, and are aimed at promoting restorative justice through the fostering of dialogue between victims and offenders. Since the launch, 85 VODs have taken place. While the VODs are welcomed, there is concern about the manner in which they have been conducted. Stakeholders are concerned about whether fundamental restorative justice practices have been adequately applied, and about whether sufficient consultation had taken place prior the programme’s implementation. The Committee shares the view that victim participation being a condition for parole, was unfair to both victims and offenders.
4 2012/13 AUDIT OUTCOME
4.1 Report of the Auditor General of South Africa
4.1.1 The DCS received a qualified audit opinion owing to its failure to comply with section 40(1)(a)-(b) of the Public Finance Management Act which requires that an accounting officer “must keep full and proper records of the financial affairs of the department…” and “must prepare financial statements for each financial year in accordance with generally recognised accounting practice”. The DCS’ poor performance related to inadequate oversight and monitoring by senior management, a number of human resource-related challenges, and weak internal controls.
4.1.2 The DCS’ audit qualification was again based on its inadequate asset management. It had understated movable tangible capital assets to the approximate value of R88 million as these could not be physically traced to the asset register; movable tangible capital assets were overstated to the approximate value of R36 million and could not be physically verified; and, movable tangible capital assets were understated to the approximate value if R16 million and did not reflect appropriate costs or fair values.
4.1.3 The DCS’ under-expenditure in relation to its Administration, Rehabilitation, Care and Social Reintegration warranted significant emphasis.
4.1.4 The AGSA ascribed the DCS’ failure to achieve a number of pre-determined objectives to its failure to prepare regular, accurate and complete financial and performance reports that were supported and evidenced by reliable information; and to the DCS senior management’s failure to ensure oversight over such reporting.
4.1.5 In relation to supply chain management too, the AGSA found that the DCS had failed to prepare regular, accurate and complete financial and performance reports that were supported and evidenced by reliable information, that lack of oversight had resulted in non-compliance with laws and regulations related to internal controls, and that the DCS’ management had failed to adequately review and monitor compliance with applicable practice notes and National Treasury regulations.
4.1.6 The DCS had failed to effectively communicate policies and procedures to enable and support, understanding and execution of internal control objectives, processes and responsibilities; and to ensure effective human resource management so that adequate and sufficiently-skilled resources were in place and available at all times. In addition, the National Commissioner did not exercise his oversight responsibility regarding financial and performance reporting, and compliance with related internal controls. These human resource-related weaknesses had contributed to the DCS’ poor performance.
4.1.7 In 2012 the Committee had reported that it was “pleased that the Minister of Correctional Services undertook to drive the process of reporting to the AGSA on a quarterly basis with regard to the deficiencies identified”. Unfortunately, the 2012/13 audit outcome revealed that commitments made during the 2012/13 financial year were not honoured. In 2012 the Committee reported that upon interrogation of the DCS’ 2011/12 Annual Report and Audit outcome, the DCS’ senior management appeared reluctant to acknowledge their part in the department’s continued poor performance. As was the case then, and despite the DCS senior management’s statements to the contrary, the Committee remains concerned about the DCS’ senior management’s capacity to implement the necessary strategies to ensure a better audit outcome, better service delivery, and the DCS contribution to achieving the government priorities outlined above.
4.2 Report of the Audit Committee
4.2.1 The Audit Committee agreed with the AGSA’s findings, and assured the Committee that it had proposed various interventions to address the challenges identified, but that the DCS had failed to implement them. The Audit Committee chairperson confirmed that had these been implemented, the 2012/13 audit outcome would have been markedly different.
4.2.2 The following Audit Committee recommendations were not implemented: little was done to ensure that correctional centres, areas and regions implemented appropriate systems to ensure greater reliability of the information provided to national management, the internal audit unit was not able to review performance information on a quarterly basis; there was no consequence management for those who provided incorrect information; and annual performance plans were not aligned to the DCS strategic plan, budget and/or core functions.
4.2.3 The DCS’ perceived resistance to independent oversight is evidenced by the relationship it has had with its audit committees. In the past three years, the DCS has had four audit committee chairpersons, two of whom were removed as chairpersons without consultation and/or prior notice. At present the Audit Committee comprises three members only, and sorely requires additional members with human resource-, legal- and operational expertise.
4.2.4 The Committee has noted with concern, that despite communication in 2012 from the then Chief Audit Executive, and the affected audit committee members, about the termination of the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson’s contracts in July of that year, the annual report indicated that they had resigned. The terminations had occurred shortly after the Committee had received reports from the then Audit Committee that detailed challenges identified in relation to the continued IT-challenges, inaccurate reporting on performance information, poor risk management, and failure by the DCS to properly remedy challenges identified by AGSA. It is noted that the very concerns raised by the those members of the audit committee whose contracts had been terminated, are the ones that had resulted in the DCS poor audit outcome in 2012/13.
4.2.5 Following its 2011/12 audit, the AGSA had identified 451 matters that required attention, and for which an audit action plan had to be developed. The final audit action plan was not submitted to the Audit Committee, supposedly because the Deputy Commissioner: ICC had resigned.
4.2.6 As stated above the DCS’ Audit Committee concurred with the AGSA’s assessment of the DCS 2012/13 performance. In a written submission to the Committee, the Audit Committee reiterated that the DCS had to change its attitude towards external and internal audit, and that it had to foster a organisational culture that recognised that internal control was a department-wide responsibility, and not only that of its finance unit.
The Committee requests that the Minister of Correctional Services (the Minister) ensures that the following recommendations are considered, and where possible, implemented. It should be noted that the concerns raised in previous Committee oversight, and BRR reports, have in the main not been addressed and therefore remain.
5.1 Quality of reporting
5.1.1 The Committee must again express its dissatisfaction that, as was the case with the preceding three annual reports, the credibility of the information contained in the Annual Report remains questionable. The DCS should remain cognisant of the fact that they have a responsibility to ensure that all information submitted to Parliament is accurate. Failure to do so may be interpreted as deliberate attempts to mislead Parliament, and thwart effective oversight, and ultimately service delivery.
5.1.2 As in previous years, the AGSA reported that there was no clear link between the indicators and targets contained in the strategic plan, and that this made definitive assessments of the DCS’ success in meeting targets impossible. As stated in previous reports the DCS should ensure that indicators and targets contained in its strategic plan, annual performance plans and annual performance reports are properly aligned.
5.2 Accountability and Cooperative Governance
5.2.1 The Committee attempted to employ principles of cooperative governance to persuade the DCS to take its recommendations and accounting responsibility seriously, but these have borne little fruit. The Committee believes that an urgent intervention is required to ensure that combined efforts to create a correctional environment built on good governance, accountability and a shared commitment to rehabilitating offenders, are successful.
5.3 Leadership instability
5.3.1 The DCS must put in place measures for ensuring compliance with all relevant legislation, policies and National Treasury guidelines as a matter of urgency. As was indicated in previous reports a turnaround strategy was developed in 2010, but judging from the non-compliance, internal audit capacity constraints and weaknesses, and poor quality of reporting highlighted above, this strategy has either not been implemented or is inadequate. The Committee had in the past recommended, and reiterates that a credible turnaround strategy should contain clear performance indicators, should clearly define responsibilities and consequences for non performance. The Committee again requests that the turnaround strategy, as well as the above-mentioned new organizational structure should be provided to the Committee.
5.3.2 The DCS’ attempts at realising the rehabilitation and reintegration objectives contained in the White Paper are undermined by its continued administrative challenges, and the poor leadership already referred to by the Auditor General. As indicated in previous reports, leadership instability, lack of discipline and financial mismanagement seriously impede service delivery and must be addressed as a matter of urgency. The DCS intention to resort to head-hunting to fill some senior management posts is noted, however the Committee recommends that all head-hunting processes be closely monitored to ensure their credibility is not drawn into question.
5.4 Human Resource Management
5.4.1 The MCF and its Ministerial Task Team referred to above, which were established to address, amongst others, the human resource-related matters referred to in this report, are acknowledged. The Committee looks forward to the outcome of the intervention, and urges the Minister to, on consideration of the Ministerial Task Team’s report, ensure the implementation of agreed to recommendations.
5.4.2 The Committee had for the past four years advocated for the use of alternative recruitment strategies to the ones the DCS has been using with little meaningful success. Despite reports that such strategies would be explored in 2012/13, there has been no meaningful improvement. The Committee remains convinced that the DCS’ poor reputation as an employer, is a major contributing factor to its inability to attract and retain professionals especially. The Committee had in 2012 registered its concern about the DCS management’s inability to instill confidence in potential employees, and to create an environment conducive to professional development. This concern remains.
5.4.3 The DCS’ inability to fill even its most critical vacancies remains a major cause for concern. This failure to attract and retain employees seriously impedes service delivery, and limits the DCS contribution to South Africa’s economic growth. Furthermore, the high vacancy levels reported in financial and related areas can only have a negative impact on compliance with relevant legislative and good governance requirements, and will make it virtually impossible to address internal control deficiencies. It is recommended that the DCS should redouble its efforts to fill all vacancies especially those in its finance and internal audit units, and that all avenues to attract, develop and retain graduates in professional fields should be explored.
5.5 Alignment of the DCS budget and strategic objectives
5.5.1 The Committee notes that the DCS and National Treasury had developed a revised budget programme structure which was implemented from 1 April 2012, and which is more reflective of the Department’s core functions.
5.5.2 National Treasury’s commitment to encouraging the DCS to reprioritise funds towards its Care, Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration programmes notwithstanding, the Committee continues to be concerned about the small allocations made towards programmes responsible for the welfare and rehabilitation of offenders. The high rate of repeat-offending is indicative of the DCS’ limited success in the area of social reintegration. If a significant improvement is to be made, a radical shift in the budget allocation to the Rehabilitation, Care and Social Reintegration programmes would have to be effected.
5.5.3 As recommended in previous reports on the DCS’ budget allocation, the budget must be aligned with its rehabilitation and reintegration objectives. The DCS must reconsider and increase its targets for developmental interventions and make the requisite allocations to its Care, Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration programmes. These programmes are integral to the reduction of recidivism, which is the only measure for determining the DCS’ success in “correcting” offending behaviour and rehabilitating offenders.
6.1 The Committee, having considered the DCS’ performance in the 2012/13 financial year, and the first quarter of the current financial year, acknowledges progress made, but remains concerned about the DCS’ financial management, service delivery performance, poor monitoring and internal control, and severe staffing constraints. It is believed that its poor performance is closely linked to its leadership instability, and extremely poor forward planning.
6.2 Given the recurrent nature of many of the concerns raised, the Committee is not convinced that the DCS will, without the necessary intervention, be able to responsibly manage its budget to ensure that its available resources are adequately managed, and that core functions are adequately resourced.
Report to be considered
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