Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 22 Nov 2012
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 22 NOVEMBER 2012
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:08.
The Deputy 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.
NOTICES OF MOTION
Ms F E KHUMALO: Deputy 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 stimulating trade through adequate infrastructure and reliable, transparent practices and procedures.
Mr R N CEBEKHULU: Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the IFP:
That this House debates the criminal manner in which taxi security guards force pedestrians into taxis without their consent, and sometimes at gunpoint, and what can be done to curb this illegal activity.
Mr K P SITHOLE: Hon Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the IFP:
That this House debates what steps can be taken to deal with the failure of the Department of Human Settlements in fighting housing backlogs, poor workmanship on houses and poor delivery of proper sanitation, and in the reduction in rectification and re-rectification of houses.
Mr S Z NTAPANE: Hon Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the UDM:
That this House debates possible mechanisms to force the arm of government departments to impose sanctions on public sector employees who are found guilty of gross negligence or dereliction of duty, especially when it leads to financial losses for government.
Mrs J D KILIAN: Hon Deputy Speaker, whilst we appreciate the enthusiasm of the members, we must just remind them to reintroduce these motions, because it is the last sitting day and, in terms of Rule 316(1), all motions will lapse at the end of this day. So they need to just remember to re-introduce them next year. [Interjections.]
Ms M C MOHALE: Hon Deputy 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 making early childhood development a priority by ensuring that services offered are flexible and responsive to the needs of the children, families and communities. [Applause.]
Ms P MADUNA: Deputy 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 cross-border crime, including piracy and counterfeit goods.
Ms R M MASHIGO: Deputy 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 encouraging a culture of individual saving for risks associated with the loss of income due to unemployment, old age and illness, by providing appropriate frameworks and incentives.
Ms R M MOTSEPE: Deputy 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 strengthening the national health system as a whole by improving governance and eliminating infrastructural backlogs.
OLGIA MACINGWANE RECEIVES ANNUAL RECONCILIATION AWARD FOR 2011
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House —
(1) notes that on 22 November 2012, Olga Macingwane, who was injured in a terror bombing in Worcester 16 years ago, received the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation’s annual Reconciliation Award for 2011 in Cape Town;
(2) acknowledges that the 53 year old Macingwane, who suffered injuries from which she still limps today, forgave the bombers, including Daniel Stephanus Coetzee, whom she has visited at a Pretoria prison in 2009;
(3) recalls that the previous recipients of the annual award include former Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs and former chairwoman of the Electoral Commission, Brigalia Bam;
(4) recognises that Macingwane, who committed to Coetzee that she will keep on praying for him, is also planning to organise the second trip so that other victims could meet him in prison; and
(5) congratulates her on her well-deserved award.
SOUTH AFRICAN CREWMEN TO RECEIVE INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANISATION AWARDS 2012
Mrs D ROBINSON: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -
(1) notes that next week three South African crewmen, Coxswain Adrian Johannes Gunter, Crewman Leon Pretorius and Crewman Quentin Diener will be awarded certificates for “Exceptional Bravery at Sea” by the International Maritime Organisation at a ceremony in London;
(2) further notes that the three crewmen conducted a rescue operation in June 2011 involving the four crew members of the vessel called the Gulliver in dangerous weather conditions, including winds approaching 90km/h, south east of the Breede River mouth;
(3) acknowledges that the three crewmen have been recognised by the NSRI with official Bravery Awards;
(4) recognises the bravery of these men in risking their lives to assist and save the lives of the crew in distress; and
(5) congratulates the three crewmen on being recognised with this prestigious award by the International Maritime Organisation.
EXTENSION OF DEADLINE FOR AD HOC COMMITTEE ON CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT AND REGULATIONS TO REPORT
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I hereby move the draft resolution as printed on the Order Paper in the name of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, as follows:
That the House extends the deadline by which the Ad Hoc Committee on the Code of Judicial Conduct and Regulations on Judges’ Disclosure of Registrable Interests has to report, to 15 March 2013.
SUSPENSION OF RULE 253(1)
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House suspends Rule 253(1), which provides inter alia that the debate on the Second Reading of a Bill may not commence before at least three working days have elapsed since the committee’s report was tabled, for the purposes of conducting the Second Reading debate today on the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill [B 30B - 2012] (National Assembly – sec 75).
Motion stood over.
SUSPENSION OF RULE 249 (3)(b)
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House, for the purposes of conducting the Second Reading debate on the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill [B 30B – 2012] (National Assembly – sec 75) today, suspends Rule 249(3)(b) and grants the Portfolio Committee on Transport permission to inquire into other provisions of the legislation before it and not only into the amending provisions of the Bill, as specified by the Rule.
Motion stood over.
SUSPENSION OF RULE 249(3)(i)
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I hereby move the draft resolution as printed on the Order Paper in the name of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, as follows:
That the House, for the purposes of conducting the Second Reading debate today on the Repeal of Black Administration Act and Amendment of Certain Laws Amendment Bill [B 40 - 2012] (National Assembly –sec 75), suspends Rule 249(3)(i), which requires that the committee report to the Assembly on a Bill introduced in the Assembly and classified as being subject to section 18(1) of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, 2003, only after 30 days having passed since the referral of the Bill to the National House of Traditional Leaders in terms of Rule 332.
18TH NATIONAL CONGRESS OF COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA
Mr S J NJIKELANA (ANC): Deputy Speaker, after a week of arduous deliberations, the Communist Party of China once again provided leadership for the People of China and the world at large ... [Interjections.] ... during its 18th national congress. [Applause.]
This august congress was able to frankly assess its performance in the past five years. It identified successes, as well as challenges, for the party throughout the past five years. The congress did not, for example, shy away from publicly acknowledging the corruption that currently besets Chinese society and the party.
Amongst highly significant issues, the congress incorporated the scientific outlook on development into the party’s guiding ideology. Notwithstanding the expected venom from critics, whether subtle, vulgar, public, or closet, the party still provided guidance on how transformation of Chinese society could be advanced, despite the highly competitive and unfair trade relations globally.
The ANC is also publicly proud of its strong relations with the Communist Party of China, on the one hand, and of the ever-improving relations between the two countries, on the other. [Interjections.] It is worth mentioning that one of the strong areas where the ANC agrees with the Communist Party of China is the quest for a new world order where peace and prosperity are improved quite markedly.
Even those who differ with the Communist Party of China in its socialist vision ought to rise above such unfortunate ideological limitations and acknowledge the achievements of the People’s Republic of China under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. Iyabulela ilali [Thank you.] [Applause.]
PUBLICATION OF RECORD OF DECISION TO DROP CHARGES AGAINST PRESIDENT ZUMA
Dr W G JAMES (DA): Deputy Speaker, on Sunday the Sunday Times published what appears to be the record of decision by the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, in regard to dropping charges against President Zuma in April 2009.
Parliament will be aware that in February this year the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the DA was entitled to this record and ordered the NPA to hand it over within 14 days. The NPA has thus far declined to do so. [Interjections.] Despite repeated requests, the NPA has hidden behind the so-called confidentiality of representations made by President Zuma’s lawyers at the time of that decision. This in itself is contempt of court and has obliged us to approach another court to force the NPA to do so.
However, now that extracts from these documents have been published and widely disseminated, there can be no reason any longer why the NPA should not comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal. To do otherwise would simply be to further waste time and to waste taxpayers’ money.
CREDIBILITY AND INDEPENDENCE OF NATIONAL PROSECUTING AUTHORITY QUESTIONED
Mr D A KGANARE (Cope): Deputy Speaker, Cope is concerned about the credibility and independence of the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA. [Interjections.] Cope would like the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development to indicate whether there is any politician in any sphere of government who has instructed, or tried to instruct, the National Prosecuting Authority to prosecute or not to prosecute anybody since the takeover by the “Pirates of Polokwane”. [Interjections.]
Recently, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries assured the farm workers involved in an unprotected strike that she would talk to some of her colleagues to get all charges withdrawn against those arrested for committing crimes. [Interjections.] If this is not a clear indication of both abuse of power and interference in the independence of the NPA, then the sun has ceased to rise in the east! What we want to know is whether the hon Minister delivered on her promise. If so, which Minister instructed the NPA to withdraw these charges?
We now have allegations that there is a 300-page document, the content of which the NPA does not want the people of South Africa to know about. We now know that the reason is not the security of the state, but how the NPA manipulated processes in order to make sure that President Zuma never has his day in court. What comes to mind is whether Adv Mpshe’s elevation within the judiciary was a sort of payback and whether he is a fit and proper person ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: I wish to state that as an Orlando Pirates fan, I take the strongest exception to the callous use of the word “Pirates”. [Interjections.]
QUESTIONS PUT TO MINISTERS BY DA ON DEPARTMENTAL SUBSCRIPTIONS TO, OR BUYING OF THE NEW AGE
Mr X MABASA (ANC): Deputy Speaker, recently The New Age newspaper reported on the DA’s apparent obsession with the newspaper by asking no less than three Ministers the same question regarding whether their departments subscribed to or bought copies of The New Age newspaper. One of the DA MPs in whose name the question was asked denied posing the question. [Interjections.]
By all accounts, this targeting of one newspaper seems to be a deliberate attack on the paper in question.
However, most importantly, by clogging the administrations of Ministries or Parliament’s Questions Office with ineffective questions, the DA reduces the effectiveness of questions to the executive as an oversight tool. Surely questions posed to the executive should be of a higher quality and should interrogate more substantial issues than whether a certain newspaper is subscribed to or not. [Interjections.]
What will the responses from the Ministers questioned on whether they did or did not subscribe ...
Mr I M OLLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: I asked the question. I am not denying anything. I want an answer. [Interjections.]
Mr X MABASA: What question?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Continue, hon member.
Mr X MABASA: Surely questions posed to the executive should be of a higher quality and should interrogate more substantial issues than whether a certain newspaper is subscribed to or not.
What would the responses from the Ministers questioned on whether they did or did not subscribe to the newspaper have proved? [Interjections.] Selectively targeting a certain newspaper under the guise of checking on a department’s budget ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]
BULLY KILLED BY YOUNG BOY
Ms L L VAN DER MERWE (IFP): Deputy Speaker, this week we heard the harrowing story of a young boy who allegedly had to resort to killing his bully with his mother’s firearm. This is but a single incident that has caught our attention. Without a doubt there are many more children suffering in silence.
It is a crying shame that in South Africa today a child will have not only to bear the brunt of receiving an education that leaves a lot to be desired but also, in many instances, to contend with being bullied and harassed.
Abuse can only continue when it’s hidden. Our communities need to break the silence that tacitly consents to violence in our homes, on our streets and in our schools.
The IFP today calls on the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities to take the initiative and, with the help of other key departments, to initiate urgent interventions and programmes. Our youth need our support. Our children need our protection.
Where government fails, people of goodwill need to step in. Indeed, where there is a need regarding abuse or violence, people of goodwill need to speak out and take action. Let us again take giant strides forward in protecting our children. Let us teach our children values, and respect each other’s dignity so that we can end this scourge of bullying. I thank you.
DA COUNCILLOR VOTED IN AS MAYOR
Mr L W GREYLING (ID): Deputy Speaker, yesterday the Tlokwe local municipality removed the mayor, Maphetle Maphetle, through a vote of no confidence. This ANC-dominated council, in a show of extreme confidence in the DA, elected the DA councillor, Annette Combrink, as the new mayor. We warmly congratulate mayor Annette Combrink on her election. [Applause.]
This election clearly indicates that the cracks within the ANC and its tripartite alliance partners are widening. Factionalism is rife. Even ANC public representatives are losing faith in the ability of the ANC to govern effectively and are placing their vote in favour of DA candidates who they know can do a better job. It is no wonder, then, that the ANC here in Parliament is running scared and is using every desperate trick in the book to prevent the debating of the motion of no confidence in President Zuma. [Applause.]
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY - NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: Deputy Speaker, my question to the hon member is this. Which party does he represent? Which party does he represent in the House here? I think he has a problem. [Applause.]
Mr L W GREYLING (ID): I think the hon Minister ... [Interjections.] ... should ask his public representatives at Tlokwe which party they represent!
It seems that President Zuma was correct when he referred to South Africa as a Titanic. This ship is fast taking on water and ANC cadres are busy jumping overboard and looking around for a new captain. We do not need to fear, though, because the DA is here to rescue this ship that is South Africa. And the DA will sail her into waters of peace, stability and prosperity for all. Thank you. [Applause.]
XOLILE MNGENI FOUND GUILTY OF KILLING ANNI DEWANI
Mr S ABRAM (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, with the heartbroken Hindocha family, the father of murdered Anni Dewani, Mr Vinod Hindocha, at a luncheon with Members of Parliament and me, expressed his family’s gratitude and appreciation for the outpouring of compassion by South Africans, and to our investigative, prosecutorial and judicial agencies for their professionalism.
The Hindocha family felt that Mngeni’s conviction was good news. The last of the three South Africans, Xolile Mngeni, who pulled the trigger which killed the beautiful Anni, was found guilty of Anni’s murder on Monday. Hopefully, suspect Shrien Dewani, too, will have his day in our courts, and this will subsequently bring closure to the traumatised Hindocha family and all of us here in South Africa.
The guilty verdict handed down to Xolile was a milestone for the country’s judicial system, and the judgment reaffirms that crime is not to be tolerated in South Africa. [Applause.] May many other South Africans whose dear ones have been killed, and who are looking forward to closure, also find that closure which is today to the benefit of the Hindocha family and all peace-loving people. Labo abagangayo bazoboshwa. [Those who are doing wrong will be arrested.]
QUESTIONS IN RESPECT OF DISCIPLINE IN SCHOOLS AFTER SHOOTING OF BULLY
Rev K R J MESHOE (ACDP): Deputy Speaker, the ACDP wishes to convey its condolences to the family of Nkululeko Ndlovu, a Grade 10 learner, who was shot by another pupil in the classroom at Phineas Xulu Secondary School in Vosloorus. The deceased was accused by the Grade 11 pupil who shot and killed him of bullying him repeatedly and of taking his cap and cell phone.
The reported remarks and feelings expressed by pupils at this secondary school, such as “relieved”, “at peace” and “free”, are worrying indeed. Some of the pupils at the school allegedly told journalists that they were neither saddened nor bothered by Nkululeko’s death as they allege that they too had been victims of his bullying.
A Grade 10 pupil is reported to have said that if the school had taken action against Nkululeko and his friends a long time before, their fellow pupil would not have been killed. This raises the question of discipline in our schools.
This sad incident is a clear example of the fact that the measures government has introduced to replace corporal punishment are not effective. Teachers do not seem to know how to deal with behavioural problems. Hence the increasing number of thefts, sexual assaults and stabbings, and the increasing amount of abuse of drugs among students.
According to a recent study by Unisa’s Bureau of Market Research among 3 300 pupils at 24 Gauteng high schools, 34% said they had been bullied in the past two years. This percentage is a clear indication that discipline is a major challenge in our schools.
So, what the ACDP wants to know is what government is going to do to improve discipline and order in our schools. I thank you.
DEATH OF FARM WORKERS IN WESTERN CAPE LABOUR DISPUTE
Mr S C MOTAU (DA): Deputy Speaker, the DA deeply regrets the deaths of Mr Michael Daniels, 28, and Mr Bongile Ndleni, 40, during the recent farm workers’ strike in the Western Cape. The DA believes that no one should have died as a result of a labour dispute over wages. Our heartfelt condolences go to their families and their next of kin. We pray that such wanton loss of life will not happen again.
It is thus unfortunate that the Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, did not deem the violent labour unrest serious and urgent enough for her to return home from her trip to the International Labour Organisation, ILO, conference in Geneva to take charge of the situation. [Interjections.] We do, however, welcome, albeit with strong reservations, the efforts by the Department of Labour to get agreement between the representatives of the farm workers and the employers’ organisations to have the current sectoral determination reviewed while guarding against any loss of jobs in the sector.
Meanwhile, the government must not pander to those who engage in illegal strike action and intimidation. Regrettably, some Cosatu and ANC leaders in the Western Cape are using real worker dissatisfaction to further their own narrow political ends. [Interjections.] We would like to caution that this is a dangerous thing to do and that it could have very serious consequences for the country. Thank you, Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
APPLICATION BY DA TO DEBATE MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE IN PRESIDENT ZUMA DISMISSED BY HIGH COURT
Mrs M T KUBAYI (ANC): The ANC welcomes the ruling of the Western Cape High Court today that the separation of powers between the different arms of state must be respected. As a result, the motion of no confidence brought by the opposition to be debated by the House has been dismissed. [Applause.]
The ANC reconfirms its respect for the Constitution and the rule of law, and calls on all opposition parties to abandon their disruptive activities and instead take hands with the ANC to work together to improve the lives of our people. [Applause.]
EFFECTS OF PROPOSED ESKOM PRICE HIKE
Mr N SINGH (IFP): Madam Deputy Speaker, it does not give us in this House confidence when Eskom wants to increase its prices by 16% per year over the next five years, which will effectively double the current prices that consumers pay!
The responsible Minister, hon Gigaba, has spoken on the necessity of the price increase and how we must all “bear the collective pain” in order to fund the necessary programmes. Essentially the hon Minister is asking everyone to fund government’s failure!
He has failed to speak on how businesses will be crippled, jobs will be lost, and the cost of food will increase. The poor will not be shielded from the effects of the increase, because they will have to pay for food at hiked prices. The municipalities will also add price mark-ups to cover the cost of running their networks, which will mean everyone pays more than the proclaimed 16%, and this pushes people to take to the streets in mostly violent protests.
Government has the money needed to subsidise the cost of this increase in electricity, if it only manages its finances well. Instead of bailing out entities that spend public funds irresponsibly, and granting exorbitant salary increases to the executives within these entities, government should be looking seriously at how the plight of those affected, mainly the poor, will be alleviated. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: Is it parliamentary for hon Watson to look so sad after the court judgment? [Laughter.]
CORRUPTION AND ABUSE OF POWER BY ANC IN GOVERNMENT
Mrs J D KILIAN (Cope): Hon Deputy Speaker, there is very little for the ANC to rejoice about today. What Judge Davis has said reinforces the position of opposition parties in South Africa, as well as multiparty democracy.
Mrs M T KUBAYI: Point of order! Point of order! Can you sit down?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Kilian, is that your statement?
Mrs J D KILIAN (Cope): It’s my statement. I have a right ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: What’s your point of order? That is her statement.
Mrs M T KUBAYI: I was waiting for the next person to be called for statements.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no, no! It’s Cope.
Mrs J D KILIAN (Cope): Hon Deputy Speaker, what we will do is continue to keep a vigil over the absolute majoritarianism and abuse of power by the ANC, in this House as well as in government, and we will not be deterred by anything. [Interjections.]
What makes us more concerned is that the level of corruption under the ANC is just spiralling out of control. [Interjections.] What happened yesterday was again an absolutely shocking reality. [Interjections.] In the Northern Cape, no fewer than four top leaders have appeared in court on serious charges of corruption, money laundering, and transgression of the Companies Act. [Interjections.] This appearance follows only days after the ANC’s provincial leader in the Northern Cape, Mr John Block, was a keynote speaker at the corruption awareness seminar in that province.
If this is not enough to be seriously concerned about, one of the hon members of the ANC in this House was hauled before the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests and was slapped on the wrist for failure to declare.
The ANC must lead by example from the top, from the President. [Interjections.] They must have a clean government. Thank you. [Applause. [Time expired.]]
LAUNCH OF ACADEMY FOR LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT IN HEALTH CARE
Dr M B GOQWANA (ANC): Deputy Speaker, the ANC welcomes the launch of the Academy for Leadership and Management in Health Care, which seeks to address management skills gaps at all levels of the health sector, including clinical and hospital management. Hence, one of the academy’s strategic tasks is to develop a national management and leadership competence framework for the health sector, based on a needs analysis.
This initiative is as a result of a follow-up of a study commissioned by the Minister of Health in 2011, to review competency levels of hospital chief executive officers. This revealed that a significant proportion of chief executive officers did not have the requisite leadership and management competencies required to run successful institutions. Thus, the study forms part of the move of overhauling the health system in South Africa.
The main purpose of the academy is to address the skills gaps at all levels, including clinical and hospital management. This initiative is in line with and reaffirms the ANC manifesto assertion that management and leadership skills at all levels of the health system will be improved, as well as that the national standards of quality care will be met and an explicit accountability framework will be ensured.
Madam Speaker, on the basis of the court decision, and the fact that we have got the results today, we request that the Leader of the Opposition resign. Thank you. [Applause.]
MINISTER JOEMAT-PETTERSSON’S INTERFERENCE IN JUSTICE SYSTEM
Mrs D A SCHÄFER (DA): Deputy Speaker, last week, in the heat of the farm violence in the Western Cape, Minister Tina Joemat–Pettersson made the most outrageous promise. She told the farm workers that she would ensure that no farm worker would face criminal or disciplinary sanctions and that she would speak to the National Prosecuting Authority and the Minister of Police to ensure that all cases of intimidation and public violence were withdrawn. These statements are the latest nails in the coffin of the criminal justice system in South Africa.
What the Minister was saying is that she is quite confident that she, or those to whom she has access, control the National Prosecuting Authority, the Police and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. There is no other possible way that she could make a promise like that with the confidence that she could keep it.
What right does she think she has to engage in interference in the justice system to ensure that people who have laid charges do not receive the access to justice to which they are constitutionally entitled?
Essential ingredients of a successful constitutional democracy are the rule of law and the separation of powers. These are critical to counter the abuse of power. Minister Joemat-Pettersson’s statements fundamentally undermine these principles.
We call on the Ministers of Justice and Constitutional Development and of Police to repudiate these statements unconditionally and assure the House that they will do whatever possible to ensure that no interference in police investigations or the National Prosecuting Authority takes place in respect of these matters. Thank you. [Applause.]
COMMEMORATION OF QUEENSTOWN MASSACRE
Ms R M M LESOMA (ANC): Deputy Speaker, the ANC remembers the sad history of the Queenstown Massacre. The ANC sadly remembers 17 November 1985 as the date to commemorate the Queenstown Massacre, which took place then.
At that time the police surrounded the Nonzwakazi Methodist Church in Casspir vehicles. They lobbed teargas into the church and fired through the windows. Eleven people were brutally killed.
The Mlungisi community had mobilised in 1985 to oppose the community councils initiated by President P W Botha. They were particularly angry concerning household evictions and the derelict Mlungisi infrastructure, designed to force Mlungisi people to move to Ezibeleni. A consumer boycott had been launched on 12 August, leading to negotiations with the white business community. The white minority in the apartheid epoch, who governed the country at the time through dictatorship, arrived, with no sympathy for the poor, to disrupt this and they brutally killed innocent people who had met merely to find a solution to their social needs.
As we commemorate this great occasion, we solemnly remember that our freedom was not free. The Constitution directs us to heal the divisions of the past and to establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. That is what we stand for as a nation, and that is what unites us. All South Africans need to know and work meticulously at recording our rich history. Such heroes who died fighting for their rights must be symbols of unity amongst us. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
COMMEMORATION OF QUEENSTOWN MASSACRE
The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Deputy Speaker, let me thank the member who has just spoken about the Queenstown massacre. On Saturday last week, 17 November 2012, which was the exact anniversary of the Queenstown Massacre, I had the honour to be deployed by the National Executive Committee of the ANC to be part of the commemoration and celebration of the lives of these comrades. This, indeed, is a reminder of the role played by our activists in their various localities in the struggle for liberation in our country.
UBaba uNgcana owayewusihlalo walo mhlangano mhla ziyi-17 kuLwezi wadutshulwa ekhanda ngamaphoyisa ayeholwa ngelinye iphoyisa lobandlululo okwakuthiwa u-Van Vuuren esontweni. [Mr Ngcana, who was the chairperson of the meeting held on 17 November 2012, was shot in the head whilst in church by the police officers who were led by an apartheid policeman called Van Vuuren.]
I am convinced that as a country we do need to embark on a local history project, and that Government needs to play a leading role in order for the heroic deeds of our people to be told. We can forgive, but must never forget, so that our country will never again descend into such barbarism.
This is even more important in the wake of an ideological offensive to try to wipe the history of apartheid and its brutalities from our history. When the people of KwaMlungisi, eKomani, were being butchered, none of today’s democrats had the guts to march to P W Botha’s house in protest against this. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
XOLILE MNGENI FOUND GUILTY OF KILLING ANNI DEWANI
CREDIBILITY AND INDEPENDENCE OF NATIONAL PROSECUTING AUTHORITY QUESTIONED
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Deputy Speaker, I would like to start off by welcoming the statement made by the hon Abram regarding the statement made by the father of the late Anni Dewani. I think the conviction last week in the matter of Xolile Mngeni demonstrates that our criminal justice system, including the police and the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, have dedicated and competent men and women who are working tirelessly to ensure that all in South Africa are and feel safe.
Contrary to the suggestions made by some that the NPA is an organisation that is rudderless and in crisis, it has again demonstrated in the past two weeks that it is making a major contribution to fighting crime in such major and complicated, high-profile matters as the Dewani case, and the rhino poaching case, in which Chumlong Lemtongthai was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment. During the past year, the NPA has achieved and maintained conviction rates of 84,6% in high courts, 73,3% in regional courts, and 90,8% in magistrates’ courts. This is not the performance of an organisation that is in crisis.
We would also like to reiterate our condolences to the family of Anni Dewani, and hope that these convictions will lay some basis for the family to start finding closure. [Applause.]
Secondly, I would like to respond to the rather confusing and contradictory statements from Cope. We had the hon Kganare giving a very emotional and confused statement about how there was supposed political interference in the NPA. Five minutes later, his colleague, hon Kilian, went on to say how the very same NPA was busy prosecuting leaders of the majority party. So, I don’t know which one it is. Which one is it now? Is the NPA subject to political interference or is it not? [Interjections.]
I think we need to realise that we in this country have put in place a Constitution. In terms of that Constitution we have created institutions, one of which is the National Prosecuting Authority. These institutions are working. They are demonstrating day by day that they are working in terms of the Constitution and the laws of our country ... [Interjections.] ... and they deserve our respect. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
18TH NATIONAL CONGRESS OF COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Deputy Speaker, the hon Njikelana is correct to affirm the significance and importance of the congress of the Communist Party of China, and also the significance of the fact that we as a country, and also as a majority party, have very close bilateral relations with that country and that party. [Interjections.]
China has emerged over the last 20 or more years as the most formidable economy in the world, a dynamic force for developing countries. [Interjections.] The fact that we have strong bilateral relations is important, not just because we have seen a quantitative expansion of trade and investment relations with China, but also because it gives us an opportunity to shape a pattern of relations among developing countries that is highly significant. [Interjections.]
I hope that the hon members who are baying and shouting over there will recognise the significance of this when South Africa hosts the first Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Brics, summit to be held on the African continent in March next year, and when they see that concrete and important steps have been taken, for example, towards the establishment of a Brics-led development bank which can become a significant source of development, not only within the Brics countries, but also in other developing countries. That is the kind of influence, that is the kind of relationship, that we are building with the most important economy in the developing world. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
EFFECTS OF PROPOSED ESKOM PRICE HIKE
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES: Hon Deputy Speaker, in hon Singh’s short-sightedness and overzealous desire to spew out a populist diatribe, he has neglected the fundamental necessity to ensure the security of the electricity supply for our country in order to support our economy and the Eskom build programme. Our economy is vibrant and growing, and we need more generation capacity. However, the truth is that the fiscus cannot be expected to shoulder all of this burden.
Another truth is that in Eskom’s application they have proposed an alteration in the incline block tariffs, IBT, system in order to cushion the poor even more. Our people are not so stupid as to be gullible regarding such untruth from the leader of an organisation that has been roundly and emphatically rejected by the people of KwaZulu-Natal – more with each passing election!
The National Energy Regulator of SA, Nersa, is going to open the process of public hearings in order to allow the views of our people on the Eskom tariff application to be aired. The matter will be decided after those processes. The mark-ups also need to be discussed by all the relevant stakeholders.
It is necessary that we do everything we can to support Eskom to keep the lights on and, moreover, that we congratulate it on the fact that even as the currency stream is very tight, it has succeeded in keeping the lights on.
The responsibility of those who lead is higher and more difficult than that of those who can only shout from the sidelines, knowing that they shoulder no responsibility whatsoever to do anything at all. Thank you. [Applause.]
DEATH OF FARM WORKERS IN WESTERN CAPE LABOUR DISPUTE
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. I am actually very happy that the opposition are cheering, because we did them a huge favour in solving a very volatile situation in the province which they govern, a situation which they themselves could not solve. [Applause.] When their own leader, who is also their premier, was summarily chased away by workers, we had to intervene and assist them in governing their province, a province which they profess to govern with such competence. [Interjections.]
We have condemned violence in all its different forms. However, we respect the constitutional right of workers to strike.
The evidence and complaints that workers have given us, to the effect that they had been victimised and harassed by farm owners, will be investigated and will not be swept under the carpet as you would like. [Applause.] The cheap labour which you prefer on your farms in the Western Cape at all costs will not continue any longer. Human Rights Watch, an independent international NGO, highlighted the atrocities and incidents of abuse on wine farms in the Western Cape, in particular, last year.
The Western Cape has been in denial and, according to their MEC for agriculture, there is no crisis. Also, in a meeting with the CEO of Agri Wes-Cape, Mr Carl Opperman, at the height of the protest, he clearly stated that there was no crisis. [Interjections]
Mr G G HILL-LEWIS: Deputy Speaker, will the Minister take a question? [Interjections.] Will you take a question, Minister? [Interjections.]
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: I am certainly not going to take your question. I have heard enough of them.
Mr G G HILL-LEWIS: All right! No answers ... [Interjections.]
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: There are seasonal workers that farmers have employed through labour brokers. They have brought in Zimbabwean and Lesotho foreigners. This will be regulated.
Mr I O DAVIDSON: Madam Chair, on point of order: Is the Minister not aware that all that she is talking about are national – national! – competencies? [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. Minister, can you round off your speech, because your time has expired? [Interjections.]
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: In regard to the dangerous route of cheap politicking, you will not be able to sweep this matter under the carpet. The international world will remember the strike of farm workers in the Western Cape forever! [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, hon Minister. There is still time for one response if there is a taker. There are none.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT – RECOMMENDATION OF A SUITABLE PERSON FOR APPOINTMENT AS DEPUTY PUBLIC PROTECTOR
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Landers, the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, will introduce the report. Let me correct that – I am now told that there will be no introduction.
There was no debate.
Question put: That the nomination of Mr Kevin Sifiso Malunga for appointment as Deputy Public Protector be approved.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, in terms of section 2A of the Public Protector Act of 1994 the person nominated for appointment as Deputy Public Protector must be approved by the majority of the Members of the Assembly. Although a division has not been demanded, members are required to record their support for the motion. The bell will now be rung for five minutes.
Mrs M T KUBAYI: Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: I request that the hon Kilian be asked not to use her phone in the House. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sure she will refrain from doing that. She knows it is not to be used in the House. [Interjections.] Order!
Mrs J D KILIAN: Hon Deputy Speaker, I apologise.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, hon member!
AYES - 253: Abram, S; Adams, P E; Adams, L H; Ainslie, A R; Bhengu, P; Bhengu, N R; Bhengu, F; Bikani, F C; Boinamo, G G; Bonhomme, T; Booi, M S; Borman, G M; Bosman, L L; Bothman, S G; Burgess, C V; Carrim, Y l; Carter, D; Cebekhulu, R S; Cele, M A; Chikunga, S; Chili, D O; Chiloane, T D; Chohan, F I; Coetzee, T W; Coleman, E M; Cronin, J P; Cwele, S C; Dambuza, B N; Daniels, P N; Davidson, I O; Davies, R H; De Freitas, M S F; De Lange, J H; Diale, L N; Diemu, B C; Dikgacwi, M M; Ditshetelo, I C; Dlakude, D E; Dlamini, B O; Dlamini-Zuma, N C; Dlulane, B N; Dreyer, A M; Du Toit, N D; Dube, M C; Dudley, C; Duma, N M; Dunjwa, M L; Eloff, E H; Esau, S; Ferguson, B D; Frolick, C T; Fubbs, J L; Gasebonwe, T M A; Gaum, A H; Gcwabaza, N E; Gelderblom, J P; George, D T; George, M E; Gigaba, K M N; Gololo, C L; Goqwana, M B; Greyling, L W; Gumede, D M; Hill-Lewis, G G; Holomisa, S P; Huang, C; Huang, S - B; James, W G; Jeffery, J H; Joemat-Pettersson, T M; Kalyan, S V; Kekane, C D; Kenye, T E; Kganyago, N M; Kholwane, S E; Khunou, N P; Kilian, J D; Kloppers-Lourens, J C; Kohler-Banard, D; Koornhof, N J J v R; Koornhof, G W; Kopane, S P; Kota-Fredericks, Z A; Kubayi, M T; Lamoela, H; Landers, L T; Lee, T D; Lekgetho, G; Lesoma, R M M; Line, H; Lishivha, T E; Lotriet, A; Luyenge, Z; Maake, J J; Mabasa, X; Mabedla, N R; Mabuza, M C; Madisha, W M; Madlala, N M; Madlopha, C Q; Mafolo, M V; Magagula, V V; Magama, H T; Magubane, E; Makasi, X C; Malale, M l; Malgas, H H; Maluleka, H P; Maluleke, J M; Manganye, J; Mangena, M S; Manuel, T A; Marais, E J; Marais, S J F; Mashiane, L M; Mashigo, R M; Mashishi, A C; Mathebe, P M; Mathebe, D H; Mathibela, N F; Maunye, M M; Mavunda, D W; Mayatula, S M; Maynier, D H; McIntosh, G B D; Mdaka, M N; Mdakane, M R; Mfulo, A; Mfundisi, I S; Mgabadeli, H C; Mjobo, L N; Mlambo, E M; Mlangeni, A; Mnguni, P B; Mnisi, N A; Mnqasela, M; Mocumi, P A; Mohale, M C; Mohorosi, M; Mokgalapa, S; Mokoena, A D; Molebatsi, M A; Moloto, K A; Moni, C M; Morutoa, M R; Mosimane, C K K; Motau, S C; Motimele, M S; Motlanthe, K P; Motsepe, R M; Msweli, H S; Mthethwa, E M; Mtshali, E; Mubu, K S; Mushwana, F F; Muthambi, A F; Nchabeleng, M E; Ndabandaba, L B G; Ndebele, J S; Ndlovu, V B; Nel, A C; Newhoudt-Druchen, W S; Ngcengwane, N D; Ngcobo, B T; Ngcobo, E N N; Ngonyama, L S; Ngubeni-Maluleka, J P; Ngwenya-Mabila, P C; Nhlengethwa, D G; Njikelana, S J; Njobe, M A A; Nkwinti, G E; November, N T; Ntapane, S Z; Ntuli, B M; Ntuli, Z C; Nxesi, T W; Nxumalo, M D; Nyalungu, R E; Nzimande, B E; Oliphant, G G; Ollis, I M; Paulse, S; Peters, E D; Petersen-Maduna, P; Phaliso, M N; Pilane-Majake, M C C; Pilusa-Mosoane, M E; Plaatjies, S K; Rabie, P J; Radebe, J T; Radebe, G S; Radebe, B A; Ramatlakane, L; Ramodibe, D M; Sayedali Shah, M R; Schafer, D A; Schmidt, H C; Schneemann, G D; Segale-Diswai, M J; Selau, G J; September, C C; Shinn, M R; Sibanyoni, J B; Sibiya, D; Sindane, G S; Singh, N; Sithole, S C N; Sithole, K P; Skosana, J J; Smalle, J F; Smiles, D C; Smith, V G; Smuts, M; Sogoni, E M; Sonto, M R; Sosibo, J E; Steenhuisen, J H; Steyn, A C; Steyn, A; Stubbe, D J; Suka, L; Swart, S N; Swart, M; Swathe, M M; Terblanche, J F; Thibedi, J D; Tinto, B; Tlake, M F; Trollip, R A P; Tsebe, S R; Tseke, G K; Tshabalala, J; Tshwete, P; Tsotetsi, D R; Twala, N M; Van Dalen, P; Van Den Berg, N J; Van Der Linde, J J; Van der Merwe, S C; Van der Merwe, J H; Van Der Merwe, L L; Van Dyk, S M; van Rooyen, D D; van Wyk, A; Waters, M; Watson, A; Williams, A J; Xaba, P P; Xingwana, L M; Yengeni, L E; Zikalala, C N Z; Zulu, B Z.
Question agreed to.
Mr Kevin Sifiso Malunga accordingly recommended for appointment as Deputy Public Protector in accordance with section 2A(3) of the Public Protector Act, 1994 (Act No 23 of 1994).
PREVENTION AND COMBATING OF TORTURE OF PERSONS BILL
(Decision of Question on Second Reading)
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, I wish to remind you that after the debate on the Second Reading of this Bill last Wednesday, the decision of the question on the Second Reading was postponed. That is the reason why it is before the House today.
There was no debate.
Bill read a second time.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT - REPEAL OF THE BLACK ADMINISTRATION ACT AND AMENDMENT OF CERTAIN LAWS AMENDMENT BILL
Mr L T LANDERS: Deputy Speaker, the purpose of the Bill before us is to amend the Repeal of the Black Administration Act and Amendment of Certain Laws Act of 2005 in order to delete the date of 30 December 2012 that is attached to the operations of section 12, section 20, and the Third Schedule of the Black Administration Act of 1927.
In this way the sections and the schedule referred to will remain in operation until the legislation regulating the role and functions of the institution of traditional leadership in the administration of justice is promulgated and implemented. The legislation that will regulate the role and functions of the institution of traditional leadership in the administration of justice is the Traditional Courts Bill.
As you know, the Traditional Courts Bill is presently serving before a committee of the NCOP. It is estimated that the Traditional Courts Bill will not be signed into law by the statutory deadline of 30 December 2012. The Bill before us, therefore, extends the application of sections 10 and 12 and the Third Schedule until the national legislation is implemented.
Deputy Speaker, if we fail to approve this Bill and the deadline of 30 December 2012 arrives without our having done so, it will leave the institution of traditional leadership in their administration of justice in crisis, because it will be left without the necessary legal basis to do so. We therefore commend the Bill to this House. Thank you. [Applause.]
There was no debate.
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
REPEAL OF THE BLACK ADMINISTRATION ACT AND AMENDMENT OF CERTAIN LAWS AMENDMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! As there is no speakers’ list, there will therefore be no debate.
I will now put the question in respect of the Fourth Order. Are there any objections to the Bill being read a second time? There are no objections. Agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
PRECEDENCE GIVEN TO ORDER NO 17 – CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND INDUSTRY ON STUDY TOUR TO KENYA FROM 29 JULY TO 3 AUGUST 2012
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move:
That precedence be given to Order No 17 on the Order Paper.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND INDUSTRY – STUDY TOUR TO KENYA FROM 29 JULY TO 3 AUGUST 2012
There was no debate.
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, as the contents of this report relate to the debate on co-operatives, I move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND INDUSTRY – CO-OPERATIVES AMENDMENT BILL [B 17—2012] AND CO-OPERATIVES SECOND AMENDMENT BILL [B 18—2012]
There was no debate.
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
CO-OPERATIVES AMENDMENT BILL [B 17B—2012] (INTRODUCED AS CO-OPERATIVES AMENDMENT BILL [B 17—2012]) AND CO-OPERATIVES SECOND AMENDMENT BILL [B 18—2012]
(Second Reading debate)
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Deputy Speaker, Deputy President and hon members, it is a great pleasure to me to commend to the House the Co-operatives Amendment Bill, which is an amalgamation of two amendment Bills that were introduced earlier this year. The Bill before the House broadly aims to achieve three main objectives.
Firstly, it aims to enhance governance and accountability within co-operatives, while simultaneously introducing a differentiated system of compliance that reduces the regulatory burden, particularly on small co-operatives. Secondly, the Bill introduces provisions to establish new structures, and in particular a national apex co-operative body in South Africa. Thirdly, the Bill will establish co-operative-specific support institutions so that government can dedicate support to co-operatives, born of the realisation that the defining principle of co-operatives is that they are collective forms of enterprise and we should not treat them as we have done up to now, simply as a subset of small business.
The Bill significantly embraces seven internationally endorsed principles for the operation of co-operatives. These are the principles of voluntary and open membership, of democratic member control, of member economic participation, of autonomy and independence, of education, training and information, of co-operation among co-operatives, and of concern for community. These principles are entrenched in the Bill.
The Bill seeks to strengthen governance and accountability within co-operatives through making it mandatory for co-operatives to submit annual financial reports, social and management decision reports, and so on, to the registrar. This refinement will enhance accountability and transparency by the broad management of co-operatives towards the members of co-operatives. It will also strengthen decision-making within co-operatives on a democratic basis, and thereby hopefully reduce conflicts within co-operatives and improve their sustainability.
The Bill, however, provides for a differentiated categorisation of co-operatives into survivalist and very small primary co-operatives, small to medium co-operatives, and then larger co-operatives. It differentiates the reporting and regulatory requirements according to the size of the co-operatives.
The Bill also significantly seeks to address an abuse which has been noted, where pseudo co-operatives are established as a means of evading labour law. The Bill stipulates that worker co-operatives must comply with labour legislation. However, it does allow for an exemption to be made through regulation on specified conditions.
The second point I made was that the Bill will establish, in addition to primary, secondary and tertiary co-operatives, another structure, which will be known as the National Apex Co-operative for South Africa. The South African National Apex Co-operative will unite co-operatives and provide advocacy on behalf of co-operatives as a united national co-operative movement.
The National Apex Co-Operative will be established when a minimum of three national sectoral tertiary co-operatives and five multisectoral co-operatives representing co-operatives at provincial, district and local level come together and apply for recognition as an apex co-operative. This apex body will represent South African co-operatives at both national and international levels – at the international level in organisations such as the International Co-operative Alliance and various regional and continental bodies.
Deputy Speaker, with respect to the Co-operatives Development Agency and the Co-operatives Tribunal, which are the new co-operatives-specific institutions, these have been established because, as I said earlier, the problem we have identified is that we have treated co-operatives and co-operative development as a subset of small business development, whereas the essence of a co-operative is that it is a collective form of enterprise. It may be large or it may be small, but it has particular and unique principles.
The Bill is now providing for the establishment of a Co-operatives Development Agency. This will operate as a one-stop shop. In other words, it will provide both financial and nonfinancial support for co-operatives. It will include business support services and will assist with access to information. It will facilitate market access, both locally and internationally. It will also provide such services as education, training, extension services and market intelligence.
Whilst this agency is co-operative-specific, we do not intend it to be created as a vast new bureaucracy. In practice, in fact, to begin with at least, it will use the network of the Small Enterprise Development Agency around the country, whilst providing a co-operative-specific service.
There will also be the establishment of a Co-operatives Tribunal. This will ensure compliance with legislative requirements. It will assist in matters like judicial management, and the winding up and deregistration of co-operatives.
Very importantly, it will also deal with conflict resolution matters. Quite often co-operatives are bedevilled by disputes between the co-operators. The tribunal will be able to adjudicate on matters of this sort and will hopefully be able to resolve a number of conflicts which have bedevilled the roll-out of co-operatives.
There will also, very significantly, be the creation of an Interdepartmental and Municipal Co-Ordinating Structure, so that what we can do is co-ordinate the efforts of the different spheres of government, and the different agencies involved in the different spheres of government, to support co-operatives.
Deputy Speaker, this is the gist of the Bill. If we look at the economic rationale behind this legislation, we see that at the moment in South Africa we have 58 642 registered co-operatives. Over the period between 2006 and 2011 we rolled out about R150 million worth of support for co-operatives. These co-operatives, combined, contribute about 2% to the GDP of South Africa.
I think the report resulting from the visit to Kenya indicates that many other countries, including other countries on this continent, are able to sustain and support much more significant co-operative sectors than we have in South Africa. There are many parts of our economy which are very susceptible to co-operative development.
The example which comes out of Kenya, among other places, is agroprocessing, where agricultural producers come together because they can more effectively, by pooling resources and skills, add value to their agricultural products through agroprocessing ventures through a co-operative structure, than they can on their own.
There are also examples, even in our own history, where many white farmers came together and formed winemaking co-operatives which became very significant enterprises in their own right. Many other examples of co-operatives in other manufacturing sectors could also be cited.
When we go and see exhibitions of what co-operators are producing in this country, it is an eye opener if you have never been there and seen this before. You see how many cases of small groups of people there are who come together and manage to produce high quality goods and products around the country, and it shows us what can be achieved in this regard.
We believe that this Bill will be a strong statement that we as a department are intending to up our game in regard to support for co-operatives in this country, and that we also see much more significant potential for co-operative roll-out as we move ahead.
We have already, of course, approached Treasury to seek a budget for this, and we trust that when the Budget is tabled in Parliament next year, we will see a significant support programme for co-operative development.
I have no hesitation whatsoever in commending this Bill, which I believe has commanded broad support within the portfolio committee. I want to thank the portfolio committee for the work that they have done. I want to thank the Nedlac constituencies for the important work which they did in developing the framework, and we look forward to a strengthened co-operative programme in this country. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Ms J L FUBBS: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon members, colleagues and compatriots, today, in this International Year of Co-operatives, we debate and consider the Co-operatives Amendment Bill [B 17B—2012]. This is one of the most important pieces of legislation this House has seen.
Yes, co-operatives can drive sustainable job creation where it is most needed; yes, co-operatives can expand the local economy; and yes, believe it or not, and I am sorry the Minister of Finance is not here, co-operatives can contribute significantly to the gross domestic product.
This democratic developmental institution harnesses the commitment and energies of its members for economic self-development. Cooperatives in both developed and developing countries have been used to overcome the twin scourges of unemployment and poverty. They target the youth, women and, particularly, the rural areas.
Hence, the purpose of this legislation is to support and promote the development and effective functioning of co-operatives as a unique business form. It is a business form that is determined to reduce poverty. It is determined to create jobs. It is also determined to be self-sufficient and work within the community.
The Bill therefore aims to enhance the developmental character of cooperative legislation by reducing the regulatory burden for co‑operatives. At the same time, though, it enhances compliance, co-ordination, administration and sustainability of the co-operatives.
The committee questioned the department at length in this area and was satisfied that they were going to establish, if they had not done so already, the support structures that would not develop dependency but rather independence.
The Bill introduces additional regulations for the co-operative sector in order to encourage growth. As you know, they’ve had a poor track record, in the main because of two structures that the hon Mabasa, my compatriot, will be unpacking for us. They are the tribunal and the developmental agency.
One of the main characteristics of the new co-operatives and the Co-operatives Amendment Bill are the seven socioeconomic founding principles. These principles are there to establish a robust legislative architecture. They are not in a preamble. They are not in the memorandum alone. They are an intrinsic part of this Bill. So, you can’t get away from them.
The leadership role of the Department of Trade and Industry, DTI, is evident in the decision to facilitate effective co-ordination and supervision, as well as reporting, by respective co-operatives to bring about good governance. I’ll just list these seven principles, which are also available in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports, ATC, for members to read and study.
The first one is voluntary and open membership. This is the sort of membership you can’t buy your way into. Your pocket book or your credit card won’t get you in here. There is democratic member control here. There’s no domination by anyone because they have a bigger cheque book than you have.
Furthermore, elected representatives, we know, must be accountable and transparent.
We also all know about the issue of proxies – a proxy for this, a proxy for that. You don’t even know who the new member is – let’s hope that’s not happening here in Parliament! [Laughter.] This Bill discourages all of that. It provides that if you want a proxy, you shouldn’t pick up your cellphone to arrange it, but put it in writing. Not only should you put it in writing, but you should specify the decision you want that proxy to take. We all know what proxies do when they are in a booth – they do what they like! [Laughter.]
There’s also member economic participation. As I’ve said, they are self-help institutions and not dependency institutions. There is a whole list of them, including clauses, but there are also autonomy and independence. There are many prohibitions with respect to what one would in the Companies Act call a King contract or governance, etc. In the co-operatives what we do ensure in the legislation is that you cannot accept any commission or remuneration because you learn of certain things in your position as a director or member.
Another vulnerable area, and the reason why some of the co-operatives have failed in the past, is the lack of education, training and information.
Again, there is the need to co-operate among co-operatives. As I said earlier, co‑operatives are there to develop the individual, to develop the potential, to develop the local economy through concern for the community and, of course, to develop the GDP.
The principle behind the co‑operative movement is to pool the financial and other resources of members. There’s no such thing as sleeping partners. You get in there with your hands and you work! So, none of this sleeping! This is facilitated by focusing on the strengthening of the co‑operative movement, corporate governance and access to markets, and on marketing efficiency.
The co-operatives are democratic. Do you remember that when we learnt about democracy, it was said they were run by the members for the members? That’s the real sign of democracy. It’s one of the few business institutions, if any, where this is seen. I know that not even the monasteries run in this democratic fashion ... [Laughter.] ... but the co‑operatives do! [Interjections.] Yes, that’s right.
With respect to intergovernmental relations I must agree with the Minister. For the first time we get the concretising of co-operative governance.
Mr G G HILL-LEWIS: Concretise?
Ms J L FUBBS: Yes, it’s been concretised, hon Hill-Lewis. [Applause.] That’s right. Be sure about that!
People are working together. It’s no longer “tiers”. I know it says “spheres” in the Constitution, but people edited that for themselves. It is the spheres, the circles working together – no up-and-down situation!
It introduces many new structures in this regard, like the Interprovincial Co-ordination Committee on Co-operatives and, of course, the Provincial Interdepartmental and Municipal Co-ordinating Structure. This is no longer a Cinderella sphere! [Interjections.] This is an important sphere.
Now, with this there are many issues that have to be ensured, but one of the things I thought we should just mention – and I am so conscious of my time - ... [Laughter.] ... is what else the Bill does. The Bill actually also endeavours to grow all forms and types of co-operatives and the co-operative movement, as well as to increase their contribution to the country’s GDP, as I have said.
We want to promote co-operatives as a vehicle that can assist in creating decent employment – decent! – and reducing poverty through income-generating activities.
We want to raise the profile of co-operatives! [Interjections.] They are not spaza shops! [Interjections.] [Applause.] I heard someone ask me whether they are spaza shops. They are not spaza shops! All right? They are co-operatives! And among co-operatives, as the Minister said, you get small co-operatives, you get medium-sized ones and you get gigantic ones! [Interjections.] It’s good to know I’ve got my crowd with me! [Laughter.] [Interjections.] [Applause.] We want to raise their profile. They must be dynamic business entities. [Interjections.]
We also want to aggressively promote co-operatives. It is on this point that we asked ourselves: Where can we get an effective picture of co-operatives working in Africa? So the committee went to Kenya. Believe you me, not only did they learn more about co-operatives, but within their multiparty team they developed co-operative relations! [Laughter.] [Applause.]
Now, the role of the state should be to provide, as it does, an enabling environment. That is the role of our developmental state! [Interjections.]
HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
Ms J L FUBBS: One thing we heard about is the prevalence of bogus co-operatives, and I hope you say, “Hear, hear!” now! [Laughter.] [Interjections.] Oh yes, it’s probably numerous people emanating from my left and their ideological thrust ... [Interjections.] ... that is, on the left there ... [Laughter.] ... who actually put their capitalistic instincts first and squeeze through every piece of legislation they can find! Well, I’m telling you now that this legislation will bury bogus co-operatives! [Interjections.] [Applause.]
I want to thank the department, Jeffrey Ndumo and the director-general, Lionel October, and all of the members in that department who have worked here. Thank you very much. The ANC supports this legislation! [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I call the hon Hill-Lewis – you will have to follow great vibrancy!
Mr G G HILL-LEWIS: Deputy Speaker, that was a tough act to follow. Thank you so much, chairperson, for concretising the issues so clearly for us!
The DA supports this Bill, but not without reservations. Minister Gordhan and Deputy Minister Nene must literally lie awake at night, tossing and turning at the thought of all the new government agencies and organisations that this Parliament so frequently boasts of.
Hon members, listen carefully. The Bill we are debating today provides for the establishment of no less than a Co-Operatives Tribunal, a Co-Operatives Development Agency, a National Apex Co-operative for South Africa, an S A National Co-Operatives Council, nine provincial branches of the Co-Operatives Development Agency, a provincial interdepartmental liaison committee and provincial to national interdepartmental liaison committees. Phew! [Interjections.]
All of these things require chairpersons, offices, directors, commissioners and other equally highly paid people. They will all require flights, accommodation, trips and training, and all this before they deliver a service!
Above all, this requires a huge pot of money. If every department in government subscribed to the belief that every problem could be solved by a new government agency, we understand that it simply wouldn’t be sustainable. However, the department has assured us in committee that this is all affordable and manageable. We will take them at their word but, given Trade and Industry’s other massive responsibilities and the important work they do in connection with our economy, I certainly hope that they are right! Government budgets are in any one year a zero-sum game. In order to move money to a new programme, money must be taken from another, and so I certainly hope they can manage all of these new commitments.
The number of new government agencies created to deal with co-operatives was our first significant concern with this Bill and something we discussed often in committee. This is especially so when some of these agencies seem to duplicate functions.
This leads neatly to our second concern. The establishment of the single National Apex Co-operative for South Africa was not originally in the Bill. It was an amendment proposed by ANC members. Despite our constant enquiries, neither the department nor the ANC members who proposed the amendment could quite clarify what the point of the apex co-operative was, beyond advising on policy and playing an advocacy role.
However, the Bill also provides for the establishment of a national council to advise the Minister on policy and play an advocacy role! It would seem that the roles overlap entirely. Moreover, while the job of the council is explained in detail in the Bill, the role of the apex co-operative is not. The irony is that, while it was the intention of the ANC members on the committee to ensure that there was only one apex co-operative advocating on behalf of co-operatives at the national level, there will now be two!
When we visited Mpumalanga in the public participation process, we met one of three members of the Emakhazeni co-operative which farms with vegetables. Recently, they secured a small contract with the local Fruit and Veg City branch, which offered to buy as much produce as they could supply. This co-operative, established just to meet the basic needs of its members, now brings in an annual income of R50 000 for each of its members. This is the model we should seek to replicate, as these ladies are hardworking and industrious. However, we must also heed their caution that government often makes it too difficult for them to succeed because of complex rules and reporting requirements. Far from offering them a hand up to success, government all too often stands in the way of small entrepreneurs like these.
Another hot debate in the committee was on the imposition of labour legislation on worker co-operatives. The Bill, as it came to the committee, contained a ham-handed provision which provided no scope for exemption or leniency in cases where it would be financially impossible for small co-operatives to comply. Apparently, this provision was inserted at the personal insistence of Minister Patel, who I see has left the House, in yet another display of his profound misunderstanding of what it takes to create and keep jobs in the real world.
With those reservations there was a lot of very healthy debate and there are a lot of positives that bring clarity and proper regulation to the way in which co-operatives are governed.
I wish to thank the Chief Director, Jeffrey Ndumo; Elize Koekemoer; the Registrar of Co-operatives; Rector Rapoo; Adv Idensohn, whom I see in the gallery; and Dr Waema for their excellent and very hard work in the committee. A special word of thanks goes to the hon Xitlhangoma Mabasa for his leadership and passion in processing the Bill. Despite those reservations, the DA supports the Bill. Thank you.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I wish to inform hon members that this is the hon C-C Huang’s maiden speech. [Applause.] The protocol governing both him and hon members applies today. Hon Huang.
Mr C-C HUANG: Thank you. Deputy Speaker and hon members in the National Assembly of South Africa, today is historic for me, Chun-Chiao Huang, and my family. I stand here today as a witness to the change after liberation, and the sociopolitical growth in a climate of political renewal in our country, South Africa.
I must praise the committee, and especially the subcommittee, where I too have had the privilege of working on this Bill, not only for their hard work, time and dedication, but also for the spirit in which the various parties worked together. This was the spirit of ubuntu, working together to attain growth and sustainable economic development, with one objective in mind, to better the quality of life for all. We are certain that it is in this spirit that the work will be continued through to the co-operatives and the people they help.
As a free and proud South African Taiwanese, I testify to the achievements of government in creating opportunities through civil and state participation. Sustainability is secured by creating incentives and support for co-operatives, especially in rural areas.
Yes, disparities due to past inhumane practices created extremely large income gaps between the poor and the rich. However, the current Co-operatives Amendment Bill is an example of what will redress these injustices of the past, ensuring sustainability for co-operatives, which in turn will contribute to the economy.
We as representatives today are honoured to be among the collective few who can ensure that economic change becomes a reality and a sustainable practice to empower our nation. I am proud to serve and add my voice in order to assist in the sustainable development of economic programmes to address the apex priorities.
As co-operatives are creating opportunities for the people, allowing them as entrepreneurs to be self-empowering, I celebrate our pro-participative processes to achieve economic objectives and economic growth through participation.
One of the outstanding tools to free a nation was embodied in the Co-operatives Bill of 2005, which came into operation on 2 May 2007, introducing a new framework for the management of co-operatives in South Africa. I am proud today to be part of the momentum set, and its development now in its 2012 amendment stage. It not only serves just to empower the country’s people, but also uses the economic systems of and within South Africa as a unique creation of a new philosophy and approach to change.
As a collective we all contributed to the 2012 amendments to the Co-operatives Amendment Bill, to ensure that civil society optimised its potential through sustainable economic projects. The Co-operatives Amendment Bill takes this notion of sustainability through empowerment to a higher level of commitment, collective bargaining and collective initiative through incentives which this Bill initiates, encourages and makes possible.
The housing, workers’, financial and especially the agricultural co-operatives prove that intent can benefit a nation. May we grow from strength to strength, and may we always teach a nation to become self-supportive. Cope supports this Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]
Dr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: Madam Deputy Speaker, we do support the Bill with some reservations. I was not very involved in the processing of this Bill, but I followed it very attentively. I do know that in Bills of this nature the ANC usually does a good job, and the DA has a very effective capacity of exerting the full measure of pressure that can be exerted to correct the endemic mistakes and vices of the ANC. [Interjections.]
We have always espoused the notion of co-operatives. Those of you – and there are very few that I see – who were at the World Trade Centre will remember that in our constitutional proposals, when were trying to negotiate an economic Constitution for the country, we wanted the principle of co-operativism to be entrenched in the Constitution.
It is one of the socialist principles which are good principles. Every now and then even the socialists and the communists are right, as even a dead clock is right twice a day.
The principle of co-operativism is that of placing in the hands of those who use them the means of production, through the assistance of the state. We do endorse the notion of a second-tier co-operative. When the Co-operatives Act was passed for the first time, we made the point to the Minister of the time that what was being done was not sufficient; it was too little, and too much at the local level, to really enable the shifting of the ownership of the means of production from those who usually have them to those who are actually using them and manufacturing through them.
We endorse the fact that we have moved beyond the agricultural field to having a framework which could apply across the manufacturing spectrum of activities. It took a very long time for our suggestions, which were made to the previous Minister, to be registered and we are pleased in this respect, that they have been registered.
We are concerned about the structure. The hon Hill-Lewis spoke very eloquently about it. What he did not say was that perhaps what would have made sense was to have a Minister of Co-operatives, which I personally would have preferred to all the intermediary structures that have been put in place. In other countries Ministers of Co-operatives have been very effective, and I would, for one, vote for our Minister of Trade and Industry as a candidate for the job. He has, throughout his career as a Minister, shown a much greater inclination to work on the welfare side of trade and industry than on the actual production side.
If I were to judge by the way he is dressed in Parliament today, with his shirt outside of his trousers, I think that imagewise he fits better into the field of co-operativism than into that of trade and industry, where he should project an image which gives confidence to the international community that this is a serious place where we make serious money and we can do serious business!
What type of problems might arise with the Co-operatives Amendment Bill will depend on what type of finances and administrative capacity are put behind it. At times we adopt laws and just by doing that we can make a difference. Not on this occasion. We have created a framework that needs to be fleshed out with actual commitment and administrative capacity.
I hope that that is not going to be taken away from the present structures of the Department of Trade and Industry, which is a department that is working well. It has already shifted its attention far too much away from the need to create a South Africa Inc, a corporate structure for the country which will enable us to make money, develop social programmes and assist in their implementation.
The issue of capacitating this Bill is one that I think has not been sufficiently addressed, and we sincerely hope that it will be addressed, because otherwise we will for sure incur the huge costs that this Bill involves and not necessarily the huge profits that it could bring about for the whole of the country. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Nkul X MABASA: Muchaviseki Xandla xa Xipikira, swirho swa Huvo, Holobye Davies, Swandla swa Vaholobye na Vaholobye hinkwavo lava va nga kona na mufambisikulu, DG, wa hina, ndzi sungula hi ku khensa lava ndzi nga tirha na vona ntirho lowu. Ndzi khensa swinene mutshamaxitulu wa hina, Manana Joan Fubbs. Ndzi khensa na Dokodela Nyatichi ... (Translation of Xitsonga paragraph follows.)
[Mr X MABASA: Hon Deputy Speaker, members of the House, Minister Davis, Deputy Ministers and all Ministers present, and our director-general, DG, I start off by thanking all those with whom I worked in this regard. I thank our chairperson, Mrs Joan Fubbs, very much. I also thank Dr Nyatichi ...]
... a very wonderful person from Kenya. We found it a struggle to come back because they wanted us to stay there forever. Deputy President, it was so wonderful in Kenya. It is so good when we see an African country doing well, working to the best of its abilities. [Applause.]
When it comes to co-operatives, you don’t have to go far to see them – if you go to Kenya, you get the best. If you go to the UK, you will also get the best. [Interjections.] If you come to South Africa, we will do it together – provided you think more like the ANC! [Laughter.] [Applause.]
There are advocates that worked so hard on this Bill – Adv Van der Merwe, Adv Strydom, Adv Smalle and Adv Idensohn. There were also the officials who did so – Mr Rapoo, Mr Ndumo, Mr Zikode and Ms Koekemoer. Thank you for the hard work done. I also thank members of the task team, Mr Hill-Lewis and Mr Selau. Mr Huang, congratulations on your maiden speech!
Mphemphe e ya lapiša. Motho o kgonwa ke sa gagwe. [One must always ensure that he is self-sufficient.]
What we should move away from is finding our people standing in queues for grants day in and day out. The systems that we have to devise are systems that will make our people walk tall, systems that will enable people to earn a living. Co-operatives, which are only one of the many enterprise formations, are one of those tools.
When we talk about co-operatives in South Africa, we note that South Africa has its own traditions in regard to co-operatives. Among the white community we had the development of massive, powerful, agricultural co-operatives in wine, dairy products, meat and poultry. This caused South Africa to have some of the most developed co-operatives, but we must critique whether those were real co-operatives. They were not real, even though we can pick out some success stories among them.
Why I say that they were not real is because they did not comply with the principles that Comrade Fubbs articulated: the seven principles of co-operatives. A very obvious one is that they were formed on a racial basis. For black workers, meaning Indians, Coloureds and Africans, their only role was to work hard and be “skopped”, “skopped” and “skopped” [kicked, kicked and kicked]. They could never be part of the ownership. That was the anomaly of the co-operatives of the then apartheid regime.
In regard to the co-operatives that we seek to build today, I want to mention some countries where co-operatives have succeeded. Those beautiful cars that we see, those coming from Germany, for example Mercedes-Benz and BMW – their parts are made by co-operatives. In Cuba co-operatives are very strong. In Switzerland, Botswana, Kenya, Canada, Italy, Spain and China it is co-operatives all the way!
When the world experienced the downturn of its economies, when it was suffering, just as it is still suffering now, in the aftermath of the downturn of the economies, co-operatives stood their ground. They did not succumb like most of the other forms of enterprise, which collapsed. They stood their ground.
They have their own banks. In Kenya they have their own bank. What characterises all these countries that have successful co-operatives is that they take training and education very seriously. They have academies, universities and technikons, and government goes all out to support co-operatives. That is why they are successful in those countries. [Applause.]
Government plays a role in market opportunities. Isn’t it better to do that than to give out grants?
I heard hon member Hill-Lewis complaining about the apex. In South Africa an apex is necessary. It is necessary because we come from that horrible past of apartheid, where people were divided according to their colour. If we don’t have one apex, we shall merely be perpetuating the division of co-operatives along racial lines. An apex will unify all the co-operatives under one umbrella. That apex is the one that interacts with government and the world, and it empowers co-operatives in South Africa. [Interjections.]
When the Minister says that co-operatives are the way to go, you mustn’t think of co-operatives as being those little things at the corner.
Ningacabanga ngabomama abadayisa obhanana namapetshisi,kodwa ... [You can think of the women who sell bananas and peaches, but ...]
... kambe hi fanele hi ehleketa hi mabindzu ya nhlanganelo lawa ya rimaka masimu lamakulu, ya fuwa tihomu, ya va na mavhengele ya tlhela ya va na tisupamakete. [... we have to think about co-operatives which till big fields, keep and breed cattle, and have shops as well as supermarkets.]
What would be wrong with the people of Gugulethu’s forming a co-operative that builds up a super chain of shops that has an upward and a downward stream, so that the funds circulate within that community? We must note that when we speak of the big shopping malls that go into the townships, we still speak of Truworths going into the townships. Who owns Truworths? We still talk of Edgars going into the townships. Who owns them? With co-operatives we can have Diepkloof and Orlando combining in Soweto to form a big shopping mall, with each member having to contribute only R1 000, and this being well run by somebody that we trust. Then I can tell you that co-operatives will liberate people economically! So money must circulate where we live.
Let’s look at the taxi industry. The chairperson of the taxi industry was here. Can you imagine what it would be like if the taxi industry, in an upward and downward manner, owned filling stations, garages to repair their vehicles, and a manufacturing basis? You can imagine that the taxi owners would then not just end in being caught up in owing huge amounts to the banks. And when I speak about banks, remember that co-operatives would have their own banks so that when they borrowed money, they would borrow it from their own bank. [Interjections.]
When we came back from Kenya, Mr Radebe, I was carrying some yoghurt that was produced in Kenya. I say this because sometimes we get the impression that co-operatives cannot do wonderful things!
As we move on, Comrade Deputy Speaker, I want to say that co-operatives are not going to succeed if we do not support them with colleges, universities and academies; if we do not support them through markets and infrastructure; and if we do not support them through providing links with other co-operatives throughout the world. Co-operatives say: “Nothing about us without us!” They have learnt that ...
... ge o tsamaya o kgopela, o tlo sokola go ya go ile. Dikhoporeiti di re, rena batho bao re bego re gateletšwe ... [... if you go around begging, you will suffer for the rest of your life. According to the co-operatives, those people who were oppressed ...]
... are now going to free ourselves economically and socially. Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
Dr W G JAMES: Madam Deputy Speaker, I speak here today in favour of the Co-operatives Amendment Bill. I am of the view that the Bill has the potential to create a sound and robust governance environment within which the co-operative movement may flourish – if it is regulated as much as is necessary in an elegantly designed and appropriate set of institutions.
Deputy Speaker and hon members, the fact is that a large volume of economic transactions take place worldwide in the co-operative environment. There are production co-operatives, marketing co-operatives, buyers’ co-operatives, savings co-operatives, and credit co-operatives, a whole range of architectural inventions that have an important place in our economy.
This piece of legislation will bring all co-operatives within the protective embrace of the rule of law. As Hernando de Soto pointed out, why should the benefits of the rule of law be kept to the few who then lord it over the vulnerable and marginalised who happen to inhabit the informal sector? The rule of law protects the exploited from exploitation, and the rule of law provides resources, incentives and government support that can make a huge difference between economic failure and success.
This legislation can also provide a vehicle by which credit can be provided to those who do not hold title to land in South Africa. As we know, we have a system of communal tenure in many parts of the country and those who have communal tenure do not have access to title to land that can be used or housing that can be used as collateral in order to get credit. Therefore, what is of the greatest importance is to recognise the potential of this piece of legislation to solve the problem of credit for those who do not have legal title to land.
I also want to say that communal tenure itself is, of course, a serious problem in certain parts of the country. What we require is individual tenure, but there is enormous room for co-operative buying, co-operative credit facilities, and co-operative grazing in the case of livestock farming. It is, therefore, a powerful vehicle for agricultural development. [Interjections.]
Adv A H GAUM: Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: I would like you to rule whether it is in order for the hon Lekota to be speaking on his cellphone in the House.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Are you speaking on your cellphone?
Mr M G P LEKOTA: No. I think the hon member is mistaken. Thank you. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Okay, thank you. Continue hon member.
Dr W G JAMES: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. Before I was so rudely interrupted, I wished to say that I was therefore astounded that the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries was not present in the House at this time, when one of the most important vehicles of co-operative development in agriculture in the rural areas was being discussed! It seems to me that she does not understand her responsibilities, and that she is drifting much more towards a reckless anarcho-syndicalist tendency when she is dealing with the question of what ought to be national development in the country. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Deputy Speaker, I have very little time so, first of all, thanks to all the parties for their support of the Bill.
Secondly, I want to indicate that there is already an existing set of programmes to support co-operatives, operating at national, provincial and local government level. The main purpose of this Bill is to refocus and reorganise this support programme into a much more effective instrument to support co-operatives. It is not about creating a new bureaucracy. We are not about to create a large number of new structures and salaries, and whatever. I have indicated before that we intend, in fact, to economise by using existing infrastructure wherever possible. I can give you the assurance that it is our intention not to see a mushrooming or a ballooning of irrelevant bureaucracy.
I can’t resist responding to the comments about my shirt that were made by hon Oriani-Ambrosini. He said that I would make a good minister of welfare. Well, I think that he has just shown that he does not understand what co-operatives are about. Co-operatives are not about welfare! Co-operatives are about organising large numbers of people into productive activity, and co-operatives can have a very significant impact on the productive economy if we get them right. So, I think I just have to say that wearing a suit, a tie – and a waistcoat nogal [mind you] – doesn’t mean that you speak more sense in Parliament! Thank you very much! [Applause.] [Laughter.]
Bill read a second time.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, before we proceed to the Seventh Order, which will be read by the Secretary, and before the Table changes and there is a different presiding officer, I just need to give a ruling.
Hon members ... [Interjections.] No, I will be very nice today, provided you are nice! [Laughter.]
During the debate on the Subject for Discussion in the name of hon Koornhof on 8 November 2012, hon Oriani-Ambrosini rose on a point of order about a remark made by hon Mokoena during the debate. He contended that the reference to him by hon Mokoena as a “spoilt brat” did not only demean the intelligence of the speaker, but also the recipient of such an insult. Hon Ambrosini asked me to rule on the remark. I undertook to study the Hansard and come back to the House with a ruling. Having now had an opportunity to study the unrevised Hansard, I wish to rule as follows.
According to the unrevised Hansard, hon Mokoena said, and I quote:
Dr Ambrosini, we miss you in the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises. I respect you as a lawyer; you have a good legal brain, but you surprised me when you acted like a spoilt brat when you clashed with the previous chairperson of the portfolio committee, hon Vytjie Mentor.
The objection to the remark is based on Rule 63, which states that: “No member shall use offensive or unbecoming language.” Offensive or unbecoming language includes the making of personal attacks on members, and the use of insults and obscene language.
The expression, “spoilt brat”, refers to a child – not an adult – who is ill-mannered or unruly, and therefore it is derogatory. It is most inappropriate when used against an hon Member of Parliament. I must, therefore, ask the hon Mokoena to withdraw the remark.
Mr A D MOKOENA: Madam Deputy Speaker, the hon member is definitely anything but a “spoilt brat”. [Interjections.] [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Just withdraw the remark, hon member. [Laughter.]
Mr A D MOKOENA: Yes, I say he is anything but a “spoilt brat”. [Interjections.] I am not responsible for your large ignorance of English. [Interjections.]
Dr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: Madam Deputy Speaker, I am satisfied.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Oh! Thank you very much, hon Oriani-Ambrosini, for understanding. [Interjections.]
Mr A D MOKOENA: He understands English.
Mr D A HANEKOM: Madam Deputy Speaker, just a small point of clarification: One completely respects your ruling, but is there no distinction between saying that a member “behaves like a spoilt brat” and calling a member “a spoilt brat”. Is there no significant difference between the two? Thank you.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sure you are not expecting me to answer you now. We can have coffee and I will explain the difference. [Applause.] It is the last day for all of us today, so we must be very nice to each other! That is why I am so nice today.
There is something I failed to do earlier. I would like to welcome hon Botha amongst us. We missed you very much, hon Botha, for a very long time. [Applause.] I in particular missed you so much, because you have some effect on your neighbour when you are here! [Laughter.]
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: We are very grateful for your kind words to our colleague, who will now make sure that he is here every day! Thank you.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT – SUPERIOR COURTS BILL
There was no debate.
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
SUPERIOR COURTS BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Madam Deputy Speaker, Deputy President and hon members, I have the honour and privilege of contributing to today’s debate on the Superior Courts Bill, a debate which takes place against the backdrop of the approval by this House of the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill earlier this week. The constitutional amendments provide the constitutional basis for the enactment of the Superior Courts Bill, which will go down in history as the beginning of a new chapter in the South African legal system.
The Superior Courts Bill, similar to the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill and the Legal Practice Bill, has been in gestation for a very long time and all these Bills combined hold the key to the realisation of our constitutional imperative of access to justice and the equal protection and benefit of the law. A delay to one impacts on and affects the other.
We are indebted to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, all my predecessors, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, and former Chief Justices – Chief Justice Chaskalson, Chief Justice Langa and Chief Justice Ngcobo – for their insightful contributions and wisdom, which have helped shape this Bill that we have come to debate today.
The Superior Courts Act – should Parliament pass this Bill – will not only constitute a blueprint for the superior courts suited to the requirements of our Constitution, but also set out a framework for the transformation of magistrates’ courts and other specialised courts in our land.
In this context the Superior Courts Act sets out the fundamental principles that will inform the new Lower Courts Act that will eventually replace the out-of-sorts Magistrates’ Courts Act, as well as bring the specialised courts into conformity with the single judiciary principle contemplated in our democratic Constitution.
Initially we had intended to include certain amendments through which we sought to harmonise the magistracy with the judiciary as a way of advancing the ideal of a single judiciary. I would like to thank the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development for its guidance that we should instead come up with separate legislation that was geared to the wholesale transformation of the magistracy, thereby ensuring its full integration into the judiciary.
The envisaged Lower Courts Act will mirror the Superior Courts Bill in all material respects. We have started to engage with the lower court judiciary and the Magistrate’s Commission in anticipation of the drafting of the Lower Courts Bill, which I intend to submit to Cabinet and introduce in Parliament during 2013.
Hon members, other than setting the broad framework for all courts, the Superior Courts Bill imports two fundamental principles that constitute the thrust of the transformation of our judicial system, which I wish to focus on. These are the constitutionally mandated rationalisation of the courts and the judiciary-based courts administration.
Regarding the former, hon members will recall that the Constitution converted the former provincial and local divisions of the former Supreme Court into various High Courts, thereby implying that every province could have its own High Court.
It has now emerged that a system of establishing several High Courts in different provinces within a single judicial system not only imports federal characteristics which are not compatible with the principle of a single judiciary and the features of our unitary state, but defeats the purpose of establishing a collective leadership, which is indispensable for an effective and efficient judicial system.
In addressing this undesirable state of affairs, the Superior Courts Bill provides for the reconfiguration of the current 13 High Courts, spread out in all provinces other than Limpopo and Mpumalanga, into a single High Court. The single High Court will, in turn, comprise nine divisions, one for each province, and as many local seats under each division as may be necessary to enhance access to justice, particularly for communities in remote rural villages of the country.
It is important to remind ourselves of the reality that, 18 years into our democracy, the areas of jurisdiction of both our superior courts and lower courts are still largely premised on the pre-1994 demarcations, which were designed in accordance with the boundaries of the territories of the now defunct Republic of South Africa, the self-governing states, and the Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei Bantustans, as they were then called.
These demarcations continue to dislodge large sectors of our society and perpetuate the legacy of deprivation and denial of access to justice for the previously marginalised and underdeveloped communities living in the traditionally black areas and rural villages of our land. It is only by passing and enacting this Superior Courts Bill that the remnants of the Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei constitutions can finally be expunged from our Statute Book.
These constitutional provisions have been kept alive by the transitional provision in item 16(1) of schedule 6 to the Constitution, which states the following, and I quote:
Every court, including courts of traditional leaders, existing when the new Constitution took effect, continues to function and to exercise jurisdiction in terms of the legislation applicable to it ... subject to -
(a) any amendment ...; and
(b) consistency with the ... Constitution.
It is in this context that the superior courts define a new era in our judicial landscape, and any further delay will continue to be a black spot in our endeavour to transform the judicial system and thereby establish a system that is legitimate in the eyes of our people and consistent with the values that underpin our Constitution.
Not only will the long awaited rationalisation of the courts ensure that every province has a division of the High Court and every municipality has a magistrate’s court, but it will also increase public trust in the justice system and broaden access to justice, thereby enhancing the rule of law.
We have, in anticipation of the enactment of this Bill, commenced with the construction of the High Court in Polokwane, which is earmarked for completion by June 2013. We have also obtained land in Nelspruit for the construction of the seat of the High Court in the Mpumalanga province.
On the aspect of court administration, the Superior Courts Bill is a necessary transition towards the ultimate goal of a judiciary-based court administration. In line with this commitment, the Bill places the administration of the superior courts under the Office of the Chief Justice, thereby providing a holding mechanism through which these courts can be managed and funded separately from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
We shall continue to learn lessons from the practical implementation of these transitional measures, which will assist in shaping the ultimate end product of our desired court administration model. The implementation of the desired model of court administration will require separate legislation, which we will consider in due course.
Hon members, the Superior Courts Bill brings about important changes to our Labour Court dispensation, changes which are intended to enhance the effectiveness and independence of the Labour Court. It is important to bring to the attention of this House the fact that judges of the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court have, since the enactment of the Labour Relations Act of 1995, been appointed according to a different dispensation to that of the judges of the other courts and appointed for a fixed term of 10 years. They therefore do not enjoy the same security of tenure as that enjoyed by their peers.
This has led to an unsatisfactory state of affairs, which in turn has resulted in a high turnover of judges in the Labour Court, as a new judge has to be appointed after the expiration of their fixed term. This practice will become a thing of the past with the enactment of this Bill, as judges of the Labour Court will henceforth be appointed on similar terms and conditions to those of other judges of the High Court.
I would like to thank former justices, the Judge President of the Labour Appeal Court, Justice Mlambo, as well as Justice Zondo, my colleague in the Ministry of Labour, the department, and the National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac, for their co-operation and insight in bringing about these desired reforms.
In conclusion, let me assure this House that the Superior Courts Bill has the full support of the judiciary. The views and comments of the heads of courts, the legal profession and other role-players in the justice family were carefully considered during the process of drafting of the Bill. Both the department and the office of the Chief Justice are ready to implement the Bill if it is passed by this esteemed Parliament. The approval of the Bill by the House today will provide the required impetus and vigour to make up for lost time. May the Bill see the light of day. Thank you. [Applause.]
Nkosi S P HOLOMISA: House Chairperson, hon Deputy President and hon members, I am pleased to stand before you today to speak on behalf of the ANC in support of the Superior Courts Bill. I am pleased because the completion of this Bill by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development serves to mark yet another milestone on the road towards the transformation of the judicial system under our fairly new constitutional democracy.
A look at the various policy documents of the ANC, beginning with the pre-1994 Constitutional Guidelines for a Democratic South Africa, 1989, and moving on to the organisation’s main policy-making national conferences, shows the commitment to the creation of an egalitarian democratic order that is based on the principles of the separation of powers between the three main arms of the state, namely the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. Each one of these arms of state is crucial to the attainment of the ideal society for which we are all striving. The Constitution enjoins these arms to assist one another to attain their stated objectives while respecting one another’s terrains of operation.
To this end the executive duly introduced the Superior Courts Bill as far back as 2003. The legislature fulfilled its own responsibility by placing the Bill before the South African public and calling for the submission of views for its consideration. In the character of our democratic order, robust debate ensued, resulting in necessary delays in the finalisation of the Bill. I believe that as a committee we are all happy with the final product. Importantly, however, the members of the judiciary themselves are satisfied.
The Bill provides a legislative measure that assists and protects the superior courts in order to ensure their independence, impartiality, dignity, accessibility and effectiveness. It further addresses the question of the rationalisation and composition, as well as areas of jurisdiction, of the High Courts, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court, and makes it clear beyond a doubt that the latter is the supreme court of the land, with its head being the Chief Justice of South Africa.
As the head of the judiciary, the Chief Justice is empowered to fulfil his responsibility and exercise authority over the development of norms and standards for the exercising of judicial functions, such as the allocation of court cases and court rooms to judges. As the first among equals, he is expected to exercise his powers in conjunction with the relevant heads of court.
The interdependence of the three arms of state, separate and independent as they are, requires that the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development considers and addresses the financial and other resource needs of the supreme courts. The Bill provides a way for the discharging of this responsibility.
The secretary-general, as the officer in charge of the office of the Chief Justice, an institution considered as a department in its own right, is charged with the responsibility of accounting for the monies voted by Parliament for the administration and functioning of the superior courts. I am certain that hon members would not like to see the spectacle of the Chief Justice coming before Scopa to answer for findings of emphasis and the like by the Auditor-General.
In the view of the ANC, which is generally the view of the great majority of the people of our land, the idea of a transformed judiciary goes beyond changing its racial and gender composition. The idea of transformation is that of also changing the mindset of the judiciary to ensure that the justice system realises the goal of a unified South Africa, free of racism, sexism, poverty and general deprivation.
Understandably, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Appeal is somewhat reduced by the fact that appeals from the Labour Appeal Court and the Competition Appeal Court can be taken directly to the Constitutional Court which, as we now know, is empowered to deal also with any other matter brought before it on appeal, on the grounds of what the Bill calls arguable points of law of general public importance in the eyes of the court itself.
Of course, the compelling reason behind allowing appeals from these two specialised courts to circumvent the Supreme Court of Appeal is the need to ensure the speedy resolution of labour and economic disputes.
The seats of the various divisions of the High Court of South Africa are now clearly defined, thereby removing all grounds for doubt. Each province has one main seat, as well as local seats where necessary. While some of us would have loved to have the seats of our courts given the geographical names of the new order, the committee was constrained by fact that most of these new municipal and town names are yet to be finalised in terms of relevant legislation.
On behalf of the portfolio committee, I also wish to thank Advocates De Lange, J B Skosana and Smuts for patiently moving along with us as we debated the Bill, changing clauses and reverting to the original formulations now and again. And, as I said before, the ANC supports the Superior Courts Bill. [Applause.]
Ms M SMUTS: Chairperson, during the brief tenure of Judge Sandile Ngcobo as Chief Justice, there was a sense in the air of institution building. It was an atmosphere reminiscent of the years when the two Constitutions were being negotiated, and our new institutions were first being established.
This Bill, read together with the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, gives the first legislative effect to the plans for an institutionally independent judicial branch. These plans were long in the making among the judges, and they were driven by Judge Ngcobo, who was also the first incumbent of the newly created office of the Chief Justice. His successor, Chief Justice Mogoeng, has continued the work of preparing for a judiciary-led court administration.
A Bill will be brought, next year I trust, to create the independent administrative agency which will take over from the Department of Justice in running the courts. Judge Ngcobo did the preparatory work in looking at models in other jurisdictions for such agencies.
Former Chief Justices Chaskalson and Langa have been working on models for the office of the Chief Justice. That office is currently set up as a government department, because it was the only available way to create it in the short term. It functions in unusual conditions, however, given its independence. Sir, it remains unsatisfactory that it does not yet function on a legislated independent basis.
This Bill does, however, take the process forward in recognising the head of that office, the secretary–general, and in making the secretary-general the accounting officer. It is no longer the Director-General of Justice as the tabled Bill provided. That is more than significant. The hon Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development will still be dealing with budgetary requirements, but they will now be set by the judiciary. Parliament will, of course, continue to appropriate the funds for the running of the office and the courts, and keep account of how they are spent.
This Bill takes the place of and repeals, as the hon Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development described, almost the whole range of laws and provisions under which our courts were set up in the past. They range from the Supreme Court Act of 1959 to the provisions of the old Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei constitutions, decrees and Acts. It has taken all these years, and five Ministries of Justice since 1994, finally to achieve the rationalisation which was described and required in schedule 6(16)(6) of the final Constitution, which asks for a judicial system suited to the constitutional dispensation.
This has been a long time coming and the hon Minister will feel justifiably proud when this “sees the light of day”, as he said. I recall that the Minister has said in the past, and I think I attribute it correctly, that everything in Justice seems to take 10 years. Sir, I think we have at least brought this one in just before it hits the 10-year mark!
In addition, the Bill creates the new system of court governance by the judges themselves. Now, nobody must underestimate what a huge breakthrough this is. The Chief Justice becomes the head of the judiciary under the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution. In clause 8 of this Bill, he is given the tools for the job.
That is the task of convening forums of judges through whom he may set the norms and standards for judicial functions and for the efficiency of the courts. The one true power that he acquires is the issuing of protocols and directives on these matters. These protocols and directives may only be issued if they enjoy the majority support of the heads of court to whom they will be applicable.
Judge Mogoeng has lost no time in making work of the new approach. At a strategic planning session of the judges in August, a judicial case management system was adopted to encourage presiding officers to start dictating the pace of litigation, in order to counter postponements and case backlogs. There is already progress, it is said, at those courts where the system is being implemented.
We are, finally, after all these years of delay, beginning to move. Even the appointment of court managers and registrars will now be done in consultation with a head of court, and their functions will be determined, after our committee amendments, not by the department, but by the secretary-general and the Chief Justice. This alone will not only advance the independence of the judicial branch, but also counteract some of the things that have gone wrong in the department, as I pointed out in the Budget Vote debate. Adv Adams, I pointed it out. Jobs as court managers have been for sale in Gauteng, and the effects of corruption on appointments have inevitably been from corruption in the court administration itself.
With regard to the process of building the third pillar of the state, we are creating a truly institutional independent judicial branch. The process of building this third pillar of the state will be incremental, but this Bill makes an excellent start. This is thanks in no small measure to the work and sage advice of Adv J B Skosana and Adv Johan de Lange sitting with him, not least for interacting with the judiciary, over and above our portfolio committee meetings with the two highest courts. They are two gentlemen of very great expertise and we thank them for their work. [Applause.]
Ms L H ADAMS: Hon Chairperson and Members of Parliament, many years ago a well-known South African judge was an interpreter in court during the earlier part of his career. In a stock theft case where the accused was charged with stealing sheep, the presiding officer hearing the matter informed the interpreter that he had to translate to the accused that he had been found not guilty. After translating the verdict to the accused, the accused then asked whether “not guilty” meant that he had to return the sheep! [Laughter.]
Even though this Bill does not deal with the words that get lost in translation during court proceedings, it will ensure that administrative matters that are pre-eminently best placed within the domain of the office of the Chief Justice for the effective running of courts are indeed confirmed as being in that office. With the passing of the Bill today, the threat to the administrative independence of the judiciary will be averted, and for this reason Cope supports the Bill.
The doctrine of separation of powers, as entrenched in our Constitution, will in fact be strengthened with this Bill. Although the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development is politically responsible for the administration of justice in South Africa, this Bill will now place the Chief Justice of South Africa in the driving seat of administrative independence of the courts.
To date there is still a debate as to where the powers of the executive and judiciary are to be separated. The Constitutional Court ruled in the Treatment Action Campaign that “there are no bright lines that separate the roles of the legislature, the executive and the courts from one another”. It is for this reason that at times the courts don’t understand the politicians, and at times the politicians criticise the judiciary. Perhaps this Bill can also be used as a tool to limit the conflict between the executive and the judiciary when it comes to the administrative functions of the courts.
Today South Africans are not interested in the jobs of the registrars in the various courts, or the budget that enables effective administration of the courts. South Africans also don’t really know what the separation of powers means, and the study released by TNS South Africa has confirmed this. We just want to win in court and, if we don’t, then we easily say at times that the judge was simply biased or inefficient.
TNS South Africa reported that only 31% of the 2 000 people interviewed were of the opinion that judges are indeed impartial. The question that we should thus ask ourselves is how this Bill will influence the perception of society regarding the impartiality of our courts. Unfortunately, and for all the good reasons, this Bill is actually all about the factors in the background and behind the scenes of the court theatre that enable a judge to pass judgement sooner, rather than later. Cope supports this Bill.
Dr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: Mr Chairperson, most of what had to be said about this Bill has been said and, like Paganini, I do not repeat. All that there is for me to do is to raise a couple of concerns which are specifically relevant from our perspective.
Before I do so, I feel compelled to step back and think about the fact that this Bill is about structures and, irrespective of how we feel the structures have been structured, they are nothing but structures.
The rule of law does not depend exclusively on structures. It depends on the people who work in those structures and the culture of the people who work in those structures. The culture of the people is something that we are equally responsible for forging.
A member of this House crossed the floor earlier and he gave me these napkins, which I will preserve and return to him in 30 years. He gave them to me to wipe away my tears for the failure of the High Court of Appeal to find in favour of the opposition parties in the case against the Speaker. That was a moral triumph, lost on a technicality, which accounts for the fact that no costs were awarded.
We need to move away from the culture that might is right, and move to the culture that right is might. We need to stop and enjoy the privileges of power to understand, as has happened to this member, that power comes and power goes, and the fortunes of power change. Those who were once in power go into the opposition, and those who were in the opposition go back into power, and may go back into the opposition! [Interjections.]
The most important structure within the consolidation of the rule of law is the political body. Unless we relinquish the worship we have for the rule of man and we embrace the rule of law, to the point where we fairly and sincerely accept that no one is above the law ... [Interjections.] The rule of women? [Laughter.] Well, Mr Jeffery, let the rule be as you wish, but until we have achieved that, all that can be done in the structures of the court system will not be achieved. Hon Jeffery, I can hear that you feel much better. We were very concerned about your being unwell and we were hoping that you had nothing trivial, but it seems that that is not the case! [Laughter.]
We had reservations in regard to the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill, and we opposed it yesterday. Those reservations carry over to this Bill. I think it is a mistake to have made the Chief Justice, who should be judging in an ivory tower, look at long-term constitutional policies. We think it is a mistake to have made him the person who needs to deal with the daily administration of justice, and with the selection, as the hon Smuts said, of people as far down the ladder as registrar. That undermines constitutional adjudication. It draws those who should be the final wise referees of the dynamic of the Constitution into the terrain of the daily conflicts, daily administration and daily interpersonal exchanges. I think that weakens, rather than strengthens, the overall system of constitutional adjudication and the strength of the Constitution.
Be that as it may, this Parliament, against our best judgment, passed the constitutional amendment yesterday, and it therefore becomes necessary for that to be implemented by this Bill, and that accounts for the fact that we cannot possibly object to it.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, as this is a day on which we have not been able to oppose anything, we will support the Bill. Thank you.
Ms M C C PILANE-MAJAKE: House Chairperson, hon Deputy President, members of the House and guests in the gallery – nobody is there any more – indeed, the Superior Courts Bill is really about the change in the structure of the justice system. Of course, unlike what hon Oriani-Ambrosini has said, the change in structure is actually to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of the justice system of South Africa.
That hon member was complaining about power – power that changes, power that comes and goes. Yet it is actually all about the political party that is in leadership because of the decision of the majority, the decision of the majority of the people of this country, and that is about the democratic dispensation that we have in South Africa. [Applause.] All that we can do is wish you, in your pursuit of this, a realisation that there is this support of the majority in South Africa for the ruling party.
The 1996 Constitution provides that as soon as possible, as soon as practical, all courts must be rationalised, including their structure, composition, functioning and jurisdiction, and also all relevant legislation, in order to establish a judicial system suited to the requirements of the new Constitution. This is the focus of the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill and the Superior Courts Bill.
An overview of some of the amendments of Chapter 8 of the Constitution set out in the Constitution Seventeenth Bill provides the constitutional basis for provisions in the Superior Courts Bill and then for considering the framework provided in the Superior Courts Bill for the judicial management or, if you like, the day-to-day management of the judiciary by the judiciary in respect of the judicial functions of all courts. This is in line with broad policy guidelines on transformation of the judiciary in courts.
In this regard there was much consternation amongst the judiciary, the legal profession and others about the impact of various provisions in the Bill on judicial independence and constitutional integrity. This resulted in significant changes being made in the legislation.
Key to the judicial independence promoted by this Bill is the institutional independence of the judicial branch from the other branches of government, and the individual independence of judges, enabling them to exercise judicial functions in accordance with the law, free from any form of harassment, interference or intimidation. Any interference with judicial independence has significant implications for the rule of law, good governance and public confidence in the operation of the legal system of South Africa.
Hon Chair, there is currently no integrated judicial governance framework under the command of the Chief Justice for the effective management of judicial functions that instils the accountability required by the Constitution. The rationalisation that is needed of the previous system marks a move away from the executive control of court administration, and accounting to the legislature through the Minister responsible for the Justice portfolio.
In terms of the Constitutional Court Complementary Act, Act 13 of 1995, the Minister appoints staff such as the registrar and assistant registrars, on the request of and in consultation with the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice appoints research assistants in consultation with the Minister. An executive secretary is appointed to assist the Chief Justice to carry out administrative duties.
Section 15(2) sets out how the court’s budget is to be determined. It provides that the funding needs of the court are determined by the Chief Justice after consultation with the Minister. In other words, the Chief Justice is required to take the initiative in determining the court’s needs and thereafter to enter into discussions with the Minister regarding the appropriation of funds. The Minister must then include the amount agreed to in the budget that is tabled in Parliament, subject of course to the concurrence of the Minister of Finance. However, the director-general of the department is ultimately accountable for expenditure of these funds – quite nebulous and cumbersome.
When courts are viewed as a branch of the Ministry, and not as an independent division of government, this causes numerous practical problems.
The intention of the Superior Courts Bill is to set in motion judicial management of the solid base created through the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill. As we have indicated, the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill focuses on clearly defining the role of the Chief Justice, creating a department for the Chief Justice, changing references from magistrates’ to lower courts, providing for single High Courts, establishing the Constitutional Court as the apex court, providing the procedures for the appointment of the Deputy Chief Justice, and then regulating the composition and functions of the Judicial Service Commission.
The provisions of the former Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei legislation have not yet been completely repealed, seeing that some relate to traditional courts, and repealing them now could affect the tagging of and consultation on the Bill. Towns and courts with old names have not as yet concluded the formal legislative process with the Minister of Arts and Culture. The Bill before the House today makes provision for administrative and budgetary matters relating to the superior courts. It provides that spending in connection with superior courts must be appropriated by the Parliament. The ANC supports this Bill. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, the ACDP supports the Superior Courts Bill, which must be read together with the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill that was passed earlier this week.
I must say, I was born in 1959 and what is quite significant is that we are repealing the Supreme Court Act, Act 59 of 1959 – it is quite a significant date. The Bill is also a vast improvement, which the ACDP does support. It has been in the making for some 10 years and it has been improved substantially. [Laughter.]
The significance is the fact that the proposed integration of the existing specialised courts, such as the Labour Court, the Electoral Court, the Competition Appeal Court and the Land Claims Court, into the High Court was not continued with and they are not special divisions. That we support as well.
As we know, the Bill has established the Constitutional Court as the highest court in the land and expanded its jurisdiction. The administration of the courts is placed firmly in the hands of the Chief Justice, which will, as we know, promote judicial independence. He will exercise responsibility over the establishment and monitoring of norms and standards for the exercise of judicial functions of all courts.
The portfolio committee repeated their expressed concerns about the declining court performance. Hon Minister, you are aware of that and I understand that the Chief Justice has already begun streamlining the case flow management process. We also believe that the establishment of the office of the Chief Justice as a stand-alone independent department will assist and enhance judicial independence.
As we said earlier, this process has come a long way and it is a far cry from earlier drafts which sought to cement the administration and running of the courts in the hands of the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and not the Chief Justice. This would clearly have presented a certain threat to judicial independence and was thankfully jettisoned by the Minister himself, after consultation with the judiciary and the legal fraternity. This Bill aims to rationalise, consolidate and amend the laws relating to the Constitutional Court.
The Supreme Court of Appeal, SCA, expressed its opposition to obligatory circuit courts. This was a very interesting concept – compulsion for it to sit in other areas as well – and it said that this would be unnecessary and undesirable. The rationale was access to justice, but it believed that this would cause huge logistical difficulties with severe, adverse financial implications. We as the portfolio committee were persuaded that it was not necessary to make this obligatory, but to leave it to the discretion of the President of the SCA, as is the case with the Constitutional Court. How many MPs know that the Constitutional Court can sit elsewhere as well, at the discretion of the Chief Justice?
The ACDP also welcomes the provision that requires that any draft legislation dealing with the establishment or functioning of the courts may be introduced only after consultation with the Minister of Justice.
So, we say goodbye to the Supreme Court Act, Act 59 of 1959. Viva, the Superior Courts Bill! Viva! [Applause.]
Mr J B SIBANYONI: Hon Chair, ... [Interjections.] ... I will keep it short! Hon Deputy President, hon Ministers and hon Members of Parliament, firstly, this debate takes place against the backdrop of the fact that this is an important day, the day on which the Cape High Court delivered a particular judgment. I will deal with this briefly at a later stage in my speech.
The second important factor that I want to mention is with regard to 2011 Statistics SA. The results of Census 2011 revealed that there had been a decrease in the use of official languages, except for three of them. One of those exceptions is isiNdebele, which is the language that I sometimes use in this House. Thus, some portions of my speech today will be in isiNdebele or isiKhethu.
Njengomaswaphela, gadesi umsebenzi engizowenza kuthanyela. Ekuthanyeleni kwami ngifuna ukutjheja ubujamo bamakhotho namhlanjesi. Abanengi sele bakhulumile ekulumenipikiswano le, kanti-ke okuvezwe mnqopho namkha ihloso yomThetholingwa lo, ngisazokukudzubhula. Kodwana ngifuna bona sitjheje iintjhijilo ezilanelako egade zibakhona lokha umThethomlingwa lo ungakabi khona.
Sokuthoma isitjhijilo kube kuphaphatha. Amakhotho nawasebenza nomNyango wezoBulungiswa nokuThuthukiswa komThethosisekelo bekubonakala bona kufanele bonyana aphaphathe, okutjho bona kufanele aphile ngokubawa. Kwesibili, sizwile nokobana eMangawung kwabakhona isilinghi eyapheze yawela phezu kwehloko yejaji.
Kwesithathu, mutjhiso okhona ngaphakathi kwemakhiwo yekhotho. Sizwile bona eThekwini kwabakhona ijaji elingakghoni ukusebenzela ngaphakathi komakhiwo wekhotho ngebanga lokurhagala komtjhiso obangelwa kungasebenzi kwemitjhini elawula izinga lokutjhisa. Kanti begodu sizwe nangesitjhijilo esibekhona eKhotho eKulu yeKapa, lapho kuthiwa lokha nakufanele kuthengwe iinsetjenziswa zangekhotho, kutholakale bonyana isabelo seemali sitlhayele. Alo-ke kumele bonyana kulindelwe isAbelo seeMali somnyaka olandelako.
Alo-ke, nawutjhejisisa umqopho namkha ihloso yomThethomlingwa lo, nanyana zikhulumile ngawo iinkhulumi esele zikhulume ngaphambili kwami kodwana, ngithanda bonyana nami, hlangana nokhunye khengidzubhule kafitjhani ngalokhu okulandelako: (Translation of isiNdebele paragraphs follows.)
[As the last speaker my work is to summarise, and in my summary I would like to look into the status of the courts today. Many have made their statements in this debate in respect of the aims of this Bill or what the Bill proposes, and I will quote. But I want us to look at some of the challenges that were encountered before this Bill was crafted.
The first challenge was that of begging. When courts were working with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development it was clear that they were supposed to beg, which means that they had to survive by begging. Secondly, we have heard that in Mangaung there was a ceiling that nearly fell on top of the head of the judge.
Thirdly, there is the heat inside the court buildings. We have heard that in eThekwini there was a judge that could not conduct the court proceedings inside the court building as a result of excessive heat that was caused by the malfunctioning of the air conditioners. And also we have heard about the challenge in the Cape Town High Court, were they say that when they had to procure the court resources it was found that there was insufficient budget. And therefore they have to wait for the next financial year.
Now when you consider the objectives or what the Bill proposes, other speakers that came before me spoke about this Bill, and I too would like, among other things, to shortly quote the following:]
Rationalise, consolidate and amend the laws relating to the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the High Courts in a single Act of Parliament; unite the various High Courts into a single High Court of South Africa; make provision for the administration of the judicial functions of all courts; and make provision for administrative and budgetary matters relating to the superior courts.
Angekhe ngangena ngokunabile ngombana selengitjhwile bona iikhulumi ezinengi sele zikubekile lokho. Alo-ke, njengesikhulumi samaswaphela begodu naleso umsebenzi waso kukuthanyela, bengisoloko ngilalele lokho okubekwa ziinkhulumi, khulukhulu lezo ezingesandleni sami sangesinceleni. Kodwana akakho ekhe ngamizwa akhuluma okulumelako engingakhuluma ngakho khulu.
Umhlonitjhwa uSmuts khewatshwaya kancani mayelana nendaba yoMnqophisimazombe okunguye obikako ngokuya ngomNyango wezoBulungiswa nokuThuthukiswa komThethosisekelo, kodwana umThethomlingwa lo ukhuluma ngoNobhalamazombe okunguye ozakuvela phambili kwePalamende azokubika mayelana nokusetjenziswa kweemali.
Boke bakhulume kuhle okufakahlangana nabomhlonitjhwa u-Adams. Kanti-ke, nakungu-Ambrosini yena, ngifuna bona khengibuyele kuye ngithi, ... (Translation of isiNdebele paragraphs follows.)
[I am not going to dwell on this much, as I have alluded before to the fact that many speakers have mentioned that. Now as a last speaker my task is to sweep. As I was listening to what was said by other speakers, especially those from the left, I did not hear any one of them speaking negatively about this Bill. Therefore I have not much to say.
Hon Smuts briefly said something about the issue of the director-general who is the accounting officer, and is responsible for reporting on behalf of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, but this Bill refers to the secretary-general who is going to come before this Parliament to report about the departmental spending.
All of them spoke very well, including Hon Adams. But, when it comes to Ambrosini, I want to go back to him and say the following.]
Hon Ambrosini said that the decision of the Cape High Court today is regarded as a failure of the court to make a ruling against the Speaker. I say, no, that is an incorrect interpretation of this decision. The effect of this decision is an assertion of the separation of powers. That is the principle.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Chairperson, on a point of order: Hon Oriani-Ambrosini denies that he said what the hon member is saying.
Mr J B SIBANYONI: That’s how I understood him.
Right, it is an assertion of the doctrine of the separation of powers. We must regard this as a gleam of hope, and this is what we expect from our courts. It is an assertion that there should be a separation of roles between what we as Parliament or the legislature, the executive or Cabinet, and the judiciary are doing. Therefore, we as parliamentarians or politicians will respect the independence of the judiciary. The ANC supports this Bill. I thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: I just want to thank all the members for unanimously supporting this Bill. Thank you.
Bill read a second time.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): The Bill will be sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COMMUNICATIONS –REQUEST FOR RECOMMENDATION OF CANDIDATE TO FILL A VACANCY ON MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AND DIVERSITY AGENCY, MDDA, BOARD
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COMMUNICATIONS –REQUEST FOR RECOMMENDATION OF CANDIDATE TO FILL A VACANCY ON MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AND DIVERSITY AGENCY, MDDA, BOARD
Mr S E KHOLWANE: House Chairperson, Deputy President and Members of Parliament, the committee has considered the request from the Minister in the Presidency – Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration, to recommend a suitable candidate to serve on the Media Development and Diversity Agency Board to fill a vacancy that will exist from the end of December 2012 due to the expiry of the term of Ms Gugu Msibi.
Before I go on to the next issue, Chair, I must say that under Ms Gugu Msibi, the Media Development and Diversity Agency, MDDA, repeatedly received unqualified audit reports, successfully completed its performance targets against predetermined objectives, and had sound management.
In her five years of heading the agency, there were no reports of noncompliance with laws and regulations, and they never appeared before either the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, SCOPA, or the Standing Committee on Appropriations, SCOA. The MDDA is one of the few state organs or entities that are well-governed and managed. It has achieved a lot with a very limited budget and resources.
As we bid farewell to Ms Gugu Msibi, we congratulate her on her good leadership record at the MDDA and hope she will remain an ambassador of the MDDA, and continue to mobilise support for it to ensure that the MDDA achieves its mandate of media diversity in South Africa.
On 15 November 2012 the committee interviewed the following candidates: Ms Fadila Lagadien, Mr Robert Dangisa Nkuna and Ms Denise Roodt.
After the said process, the committee resolved that we should recommend to the House, in accordance with section 4(1)(b) of the Media Development and Diversity Agency Act, Act 14 of 2002, that it recommend to the President that Mr Robert Nkuna be appointed to serve on the MDDA Board.
In the same vein there was the resignation of Ms Lewis Vale. As a committee we recommended that she ensure that there was no possibility of conflict of interest. She decided that she had to resign from the MDDA Board.
Accordingly, we interviewed five candidates for that particular position, Ms Nothando Zainab Migogo, Ms Noxolo Mtana, Ms Rachel Kalidass and Mr Molefe Mokgatle. After that process, which we embarked upon on 15 November 2012, the committee recommends to the House that, in accordance with section 4(1)(b) of the Media Development and Diversity Agency Act, Act 14 of 2002, it recommends to the President that Ms Nothando Migogo be appointed to serve on the MDDA Board for the remainder of the unexpired term. Thank you very much.
There was no debate.
Question put: That the House recommends Ms Nothando Migogo and Mr Robert Dangisa Nkuna for appointment to the Media Development and Diversity Agency Board.
Question agreed to.
Ms Nothando Migogo and Mr Robert Dangisa Nkuna accordingly recommended for appointment to the Media Development and Diversity Agency Board.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): The names of the persons recommended for appointment will be forwarded to the President.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COMMUNICATIONS –REQUEST FOR APPROVAL OF THREE CANDIDATES RECOMMENDED FOR APPOINTMENT TO COUNCIL OF INDEPENDENT COMMUNICATIONS AUTHORITY OF SOUTH AFRICA, ICASA
Mr S E KHOLWANE: Thank you, House Chairperson. Hon members, in terms of section 5(1)(b) of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act, Act 13 of 2000 as amended, the Minister of Communications is required to do the following after receiving the recommended names from this House. In this case the House recommended five names to the Minister, namely, Mr Manyara Rubben Mohlaloga, Ms Nomvuyiso Batyi, Ms Nomonde Gongxeka, Ms Katharina Gloria Shirley Pillay and Mr Khulile Boqwana. After the Minister had considered the five names which were forwarded to her – it is required by legislation that we should submit such names – she was required to nominate three out of the five.
However, before I come to the recommendation of the committee, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Thabo Makgage and Mr Sibanda for making themselves available to serve the nation as Icasa councillors. We hope their contribution to the sector won’t be lost.
Yesterday, 21 November 2012, the committee met to consider the Minister’s recommendations in terms of section 5(1)(b) of the Icasa Act of 2000 as amended. The committee resolved to recommend that the House approve the appointment of Mr Manyara Rubben Mohlaloga, Ms Nomvuyiso Batyi and Ms Katharina Gloria Shirley Pillay to serve as Icasa Councillors. Thank you. [Applause.]
There was no debate.
Question Put: That the House approve the Minister’s recommendation of Mr Manyara Rubben Mohlaloga, Ms Nomvuyiso Batyi and Ms Katharina Gloria Shirley Pillay for appointment to serve on the Council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.
Question agreed to.
Mr Manyara Rubben Mohlaloga, Ms Nomvuyiso Batyi and Ms Katharina Gloria Shirley Pillay accordingly recommended for appointment to serve on the Council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT –
TRANSPORT LAWS AND RELATED MATTERS AMENDMENT BILL
TRANSPORT LAWS AND RELATED MATTERS AMENDMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
There was no debate.
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move:
That the report and the Bill be referred back to the Portfolio Committee on Transport and that permission be given to the Portfolio Committee on Transport in terms of Rule 249(3)(b) to inquire into amending other provisions of the legislation.
Motion agreed to.
Permission accordingly granted to the Portfolio Committee on Transport to inquire into amending other provisions of the legislation in terms of Rule 249(3)(b).
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS – JOINT WORKSHOP OF JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS HELD IN ARNISTON ON SATURDAY, 19 MAY 2012
There was no debate.
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: House Chair, I move:
That the Report be referred to the Joint Rules Committee and the National Assembly Rules Committee for consideration.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly referred to the Joint Rules Committee and the National Assembly Rules Committee for consideration.
CONSIDERATION OF PROGRESS REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE ON FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF PARLIAMENT ACT, ACT 10 OF 2009
Mr D D VAN ROOYEN: Hon House Chair, hon Ministers and hon members, in the implementation of the Financial Management of Parliament Act, Act 10 of 2009, it has become apparent to the presiding officers, parliamentarians, Oversight Authority and Speakers’ Forum that Parliament is experiencing specific technical challenges with regard to the implementation of this Act. Consequently, this House instructed our committee, that is, the Standing Committee on Finance, to review the Act with a view to introducing amending legislation if necessary.
The resolution of the House required the committee, firstly, to evaluate the application of the legislation, including the provisions relating to the authority of provinces to enact financial management legislation, and the timeframes associated with various reporting mechanisms. Secondly, the committee was required to take account of the work done by the Speakers’ Forum. Thirdly, the committee was to report to the National Assembly by 22 November 2012.
The committee began its work and in particular took a brief from Parliament’s legal advisers. Out of these discussions the aligning of the provision in section 4 of the Act, which contemplates the oversight mechanism, to the government structures existing in Parliament is necessary. The committee was also advised that the procedures dealing with unspent funds of Parliament and the timeframes in respect of the submission of the annual report, including the audited financial statement, may require a review.
The committee unanimously resolved to convene a workshop in the first term of 2013 to receive and discuss inputs from all stakeholders, including the executive authority of Parliament, the Minister of Finance, speakers of provincial legislatures, members of executive councils responsible for finance in provinces, the Secretary to Parliament, the secretaries of provincial legislatures, and other officials concerned. On behalf of the Standing Committee on Finance, I submit this report for consideration. I thank you.
There was no debate.
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: House Chair, I move:
That the report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
CONSIDERATION OF THIRD REPORT OF RULES COMMITTEE OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, 2012
There was no debate.
The ACTING DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move:
That the Report be adopted.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): Are there any objections?
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Yes, there is an objection.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): I didn’t hear you.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: I said, yes, there is an objection.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): The IFP has an objection.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Will you kindly ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): Would you like to make a declaration?
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: No, we just want you to note our objection. Oh, the hon Oriani-Ambrosini wants to make a declaration. [Interjections.]
Declarations of vote:
Dr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: Come, this is something serious! Please bear with me. Madam Chairperson, this Parliament has not yet snapped out of the Westminster system. Just apply your minds to this Report for a couple of minutes. This report does not contain anything but an interim arrangement on private member’s Bills, and at the end it says, “To be considered”.
The Constitution tells us that this Parliament must operate in terms of Rules adopted by this Parliament. These are the Rules. Can any of you tell me what it is that we are doing? Are we adopting a Rule? Rule 4 speaks of a “convention or a Rule of practice”. What is this interim arrangement? We cannot continue to legislate our proceedings the way the Westminster parliament used to do and as we have done up to now. We are again going straight into the type of trouble which was highlighted in the case brought by President Lekota. It is ... [Interjections.] Well, give him time! [Laughter.] The hon Lekota is the president of Cope. We cannot support this because it is a procedural aberration. If we want to make a Rule, let’s make a Rule. If we want to make a temporary Rule, let’s make a temporary Rule. Until somebody tells me what it is that we are doing, we cannot support it.
Then we have to “consider” it! What does it mean to consider an interim arrangement? It is only we as the National Assembly who can make Rules, and not the Rules Committee. Are we approving it? That’s not what it says. It says we will “consider” it. Are we noting it? Are these going to become the Rules under which we operate? This is not how a Parliament can operate. This is fuzzy logic, fuzzy legalities.
On the merits, what this interim arrangement tells us, and we opposed it in the Rules Committee, is that there cannot be a First Reading debate on a private member’s Bill, where there can be a First Reading debate on a Minister’s Bill. Our point is: Don’t tie your hands! There might be a very meritorious private member’s Bill, which is worth discussing in a First Reading debate. Leave the discretion to the Programming Committee.
Why do we have a second-rate category for private members’ Bills, as opposed to Ministers’ Bills when the Constitutional Court tells us that they are on the same footing and they must be treated on the same basis? This really leaves the feeling that while this Parliament has defined the Constitutional Court, as soon as the Constitutional Court decides on something, we backtrack and go around it. We create a nice little interim arrangement to detract from the very nature of what the Constitutional Court has given us. This is wrong.
I know that this is not the right time – it is the last session of Parliament – to apply one’s mind to technical issues but, please, do try. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mrs J D KILIAN: Hon Chairperson, after having considered the input of the hon Oriani-Ambrosini, I believe we do have a problem. I would like to ask if we cannot refer this matter back to the Rules Committee for further scrutiny and deliberation. Would you be prepared to ask the hon Acting Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party if they would be willing to consider this? If not, we would like to make a declaration. Thank you.
The ACTING CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: House Chair, let me first clarify issues. Yes, this is an interim arrangement following the court decision. While we cannot rush through developing Rules that will deal with this matter specifically, it was noted that there was a need to have some mechanism to allow for members to be able to introduce private members’ legislation in the House. Hence we have this.
Are we noting this? Are we doing this? That is what the hon Ambrosini was asking. What we are doing is adopting. That is why I stood up and said that we were adopting this, as a mechanism to be able to allow members to introduce legislation currently, and directly in the House. We do not have anything that allows members to introduce legislation. If we don’t, we will still be standing with the proposals that were referred to the Committee on Private Members’ Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions.
Hence it is important for us to move now, while we still have an opportunity and while we are still developing the Rules that are going to be extensively consulted upon, in order to be able even to cover the matters that the court has raised. We cannot rush to get there because the court’s decision was quite extensive and we have to go through it and understand what we are required to do.
In the meantime, we cannot fold our arms and not allow members to introduce Bills in this House. Hence, we have to move and adopt. That is why we brought this Report to the House for adoption so that the mechanisms can be put in place.
Dr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: Madam House Chair, on a point of order: I am sorry, but what has been said is plainly untrue. I have already introduced a Bill in this House and the Constitutional Court judgment is self-fulfilling. There is no legal need to adopt anything. This is misleading the House. It is plainly untrue.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): Dr Oriani-Ambrosini, you rose on a point of order and that is certainly not a point of order. You had already mentioned what you have said now. Are there any other declarations or objections?
Mrs S V KALYAN: Yes, Madam. The DA also finds the term “interim” problematic. There is already a decision by the Constitutional Court and I think the term “interim” is a way of getting around the true interpretation of what the court is ordering.
The DA also does not agree that the Bill, upon introduction, will be deemed to have been read a first time. We would clearly like to see the option of a First Reading debate specifically reflected in the Report.
Hon Ambrosini asked why it is that there are separate Rules for a First Reading debate when the executive introduce a Bill, as opposed to when a private member does it. On this basis we object to this report.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): I think what we will have to do is to put the question.
Mrs J D KILIAN: Hon Chair, will you then give me an opportunity to make a declaration thereafter?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): Yes, all right – let’s hear your declaration now.
Mrs J D KILIAN: Hon House Chair, having considered a part of the judgment that was before the court today, in which several aspects of the ruling in regard to Oriani-Ambrosini, MP v Sisulu, MP Speaker of the National Assembly were, in fact, highlighted, it is important for us to note that he vigorously emphasised that there was no difference in the right of a member to introduce a Bill, just as there is no difference in a motion being introduced by an individual member, and especially one from a minority party.
He also emphasised the fact that we live in a multiparty democracy where the voices of other opposition parties must be heard, and that we are not in a parliamentary majoritarian Parliament. Therefore, it is critically important for us to consider this.
Now, in the Rules Committee meeting that was held we considered the interim arrangement but, something which hon Ambrosini raised today, it is setting a dangerous precedent. Consequently, on behalf of my party, Cope, I have to raise our objections and ask that this matter be dealt with in such a manner that we are really treating all pieces of legislation and all other matters that are brought before the House on an equal footing.
For that reason we would like to propose again that we refer it back to the committee. If the majority wants to take a decision today, we would like to record our objection in the strongest terms. Thank you.
Mrs S V KALYAN: I would like to second that proposal, Madam.
Mr J H JEFFERY: I am making a declaration of vote on behalf of the ANC.
Hon House Chairperson, I am not sure if everybody has read the judgment. I know hon Dr Oriani-Ambrosini has, but he would obviously like to refer to it in the form and give it the spin that he wants. One of the things that Dr Oriani-Ambrosini asked was that his Bill on trade and industry be treated the same way as a Minister’s Bill would be, and that the court should order that the Bill be treated in the same way. The court said it wasn’t going to do that, and stated that it was up to the National Assembly and Parliament in general to decide how they would deal with private members’ Bills.
The key requirement is that private members’ Bills need to be introduced, they need to be reflected in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports, and they need to be referred to a committee and deliberated on.
As the Acting Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party said, this is an interim measure and it is for us to see how things go, because at the moment, Dr Oriani-Ambrosini, our Rules don’t actually provide specifically for the introduction of a private member’s Bill. You say you have introduced a Bill, but I haven’t seen any reference to it or seen it on the Order Paper or anything. Maybe it is there, but I don’t know.
What is most surprising is that this document that we are debating now in these declarations was put to the Rules Committee. Everybody was there. Dr Oriani-Ambrosini came late, because he said he hadn’t been notified, but everybody else came and everybody else supported it. I remember the hon Kilian saying that she accepted it for now. Now she has changed her mind. Hon Kalyan from the DA supported it. [Interjections.]
Mrs S V KALYAN: Madam House Chairperson, on a point of order: I suggest that hon Jeffery is actually misleading the House. I raised that exact objection in that committee.
Mr J H JEFFERY: One would need to check who is actually misleading the House, because at the end everybody, with the exception of Dr Oriani-Ambrosini, accepted it. That is a fact. All right? The Rules Committee agreed that this would be tabled. Now suddenly we have this strange grouping – maybe it is because of the alliance or whatever – all now deciding that they are going against it. This document went to the Rules Committee and it was agreed upon.
We therefore propose its adoption by the House as an interim measure to deal with the introduction of private members’ Bills. Thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): Dr Oriani-Ambrosini, hon Kilian and hon Kalyan, do you want to say anything further before I go to the voting. Nothing? [Interjections.]
Question put: That the Report be adopted.
The House divided.
AYES - 149: Adams, P E; Ainslie, A R; Bhengu, P; Bhengu, F; Bhengu, N R; Bikani, F C; Booi, M S; Borman, G M; Bothman, S G; Burgess, C V; Chikunga, S; Chili, D O; Chiloane, T D; Chohan, F I; Coleman, E M; Dambuza, B N; Daniels, P N; Davies, R H; De Lange, J H; Diale, L N; Dikgacwi, M M; Ditshetelo, I C; Dlakude, D E; Dlamini, B O; Dlamini-Zuma, N C; Dube, M C; Dudley, C; Duma, N M; Dunjwa, M L; Fubbs, J L; Gasebonwe, T M A; Gcwabaza, N E; Gelderblom, J P; Gina, N; Gololo, C L; Gumede, D M; Huang, S - B; Jeffery, J H; Kekane, C D; Kenye, T E; Kholwane, S E; Khumalo, F E; Khunou, N P; Koornhof, G W; Kota-Fredericks, Z A; Kubayi, M T; Lekgetho, G; Lesoma, R M M; Lishivha, T E; Luyenge, Z; 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; Makasi, X C; Makhubele, Z S; Malgas, H H; Maluleka, H P; Maluleke, J M; Manganye, J; Mangena, M S; Mapisa-Nqakula, N N; Mashigo, R M; Mashishi, A C; Mathebe, P M; Mathebe, D H; Mathibela, N F; Matshoba, J M; Maunye, M M; Mavunda, D W; Mdaka, M N; Mdakane, M R; Mfeketo, N C; Mfulo, A; Mjobo, L N; Mkhulusi, N N P; Mlangeni, A; Mnisi, N A; Mocumi, P A; Mohale, M C; Mohorosi, M; Mokoena, A D; Molebatsi, M A; Moloto, K A; Moni, C M; Morutoa, M R; Motimele, M S; Motsepe, R M; Mthethwa, E M; Mtshali, E; Mushwana, F F; Nchabeleng, M E; Nel, A C; Newhoudt-Druchen, W S; Ngcengwane, N D; Ngcobo, B T; Ngcobo, E N N; Ngubeni-Maluleka, J P; Ngwenya-Mabila, P C; Njikelana, S J; Nkwinti, G E; November, N T; Ntapane, S Z; Ntuli, B M; Ntuli, Z C; Nxesi, T W; Nxumalo, M D; Nyalungu, R E; Oliphant, G G; Petersen-Maduna, P; Phaahia, M J; Phaliso, M N; Pilane-Majake, M C C; Pilusa-Mosoane, M E; Radebe, G S; Radebe, B A; Schneemann, G D; Segale-Diswai, M J; Selau, G J; September, C C; Sibanyoni, J B; Sibiya, D; Sindane, G S; Sithole, S C N; Skosana, J J; Snell, G T; Sonto, M R; Sosibo, J E; Suka, L; Thibedi, J D; Tinto, B; Tlake, M F; Tseke, G K; Tshabalala, J; Tsotetsi, D R; Twala, N M; van Rooyen, D D; Van Schalkwyk, M C J; Williams, A J; Xaba, P P; Xasa, T; Xingwana, L M; Zulu, B Z.
NOES - 55: Adams, L H; Buthelezi, M G; Cebekhulu, R S; Diemu, B C; Du Toit, N D; Eloff, E H; Esau, S; Ferguson, B D; George, D T; George, M E; James, W G; Kalyan, S V; Kganyago, N M; Kilian, J D; Kloppers-Lourens, J C; Kohler-Banard, D; Koornhof, N J J v R; Lamoela, H; Lee, T D; Lekota, M G P; Lotriet, A; Madisha, W M; Marais, E J; Maynier, D H; McIntosh, G B D; Mnguni, P B; Mnqasela, M; Mosimane, C K K; Motau, S C; Msweli, H S; Mubu, K S; Ndlovu, V B; Ngonyama, L S; Njobe, M A A; Ntshiqela, P; Ollis, I M; Oriani-Ambrosini, M G; Paulse, S; Plaatjies, S K; Ramatlakane, L; Sayedali Shah, M R; Singh, N; Sithole, K P; Smalle, J F; Smiles, D C; Smuts, M; Steenhuisen, J H; Swathe, M M; Van Dalen, P; Van Der Linde, J J; Van der Merwe, J H; Van Dyk, S M; Van Schalkwyk, H C; Watson, A; Zikalala, C N Z.
Mrs J D KILIAN: Madam House Chairperson, can we just make sure of whether we had a quorum for the vote? [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): Yes, we have a quorum. We have a quorum.
Mr J H JEFFERY: Hon House Chairperson, the hon member Kilian must please read her Constitution. A quorum for matters other than legislation is one third. The majority in favour of the report was more than the quorum needed. [Interjections.]
Mrs J D KILIAN: Thank you. Now we all know. Thank you, hon member.
Question agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
DEBATE ON 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM FOR NO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN: ELIMINATION AND PREVENTION OF ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Hon Chairperson, hon George is still dreaming about the ANC Women’s League!
This year the global theme for the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women!” As a subtheme, South Africa will focus on the theme of the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which is “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”. The campaign strapline remains: Don’t look away, act against abuse.
The launch of the campaign will be held at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley in the Northern Cape this year. As we have said, we will be focusing particularly on preventing all forms of violence against women and children. The main activity on 25 November will be raising awareness in communities, especially around the Northern Cape, of the causes of abuse and violence against women, including drug and alcohol abuse.
Militarisation and violence are major challenges, particularly in regions affected by violence and war. Domestic violence becomes even more deadly when guns, legal or illegal, are present in the home, because they can be used to threaten, injure or even kill women and children. Indeed, women are three times more likely to die violently if there is a gun in the house.
We are cautiously encouraged by the crime statistics released recently by the Minister of Police. For the 2011-12 financial year, sexual offences or crimes decreased by 3,7% and rape decreased by 1,9%, but the levels of these crimes are still unacceptably high. We believe that the introduction of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units, FCS units, has contributed positively to the fight against the scourge of violence and the abuse of women and children. Despite these encouraging figures, we believe that the levels of crime committed against women and children remain very high, and that more needs to be done to ensure that we eliminate this scourge.
The success of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign is dependent on the partnership between government and various sectors of society, including the media. There is greater recognition that by working together we are more likely to make an impact and contribute to eradicating violent crimes against women and children.
Given the stubborn persistence of violence against women and children, the department is reviewing the 365 Day National Action Plan to End Violence against Women and Children. This campaign will be monitored by the National Council against Gender-Based Violence, which is a multisectoral structure capable of providing authoritative leadership as we confront violence against women and children. The seriousness with which government views gender-based violence and its impact on individuals, communities and society has been the driving force behind the establishment of this council. This approach is meant to ensure that there is a coherent strategy to deal with this scourge.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Cedaw, defines violence against women as:
... any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.
As a department we will be focusing on the systemic factors fuelling the scourge, by engaging with experts in the sector during a two-day summit on gender-based violence on 26 and 27 November 2012. The focus of the summit will be gender-based violence within the global theme: “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women”. This will also take into consideration Resolution 1325 of the United Nations Commission on Women, Peace and Development.
Since 1994, South Africa has made significant progress in putting in place legislative policies and other measures for advancing equality and the empowerment of women, children and people with disabilities. Through the Constitution and various other statutory provisions, South Africa has sought to protect and promote human rights. South Africa is party to and signatory to the international conventions and protocols that call upon us to take appropriate measures to eradicate gender-based violence.
In this regard the following has been done to date: Firstly, we passed the Domestic Violence Act, Act 116 of 1998; the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, Act 32 of 2007; and the Protection from Harassment Act, Act 17 of 2011. The Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill [B 7—2010] is being finalised in Parliament, and it will ensure that the gap in our law currently when it comes to dealing with human trafficking as an offence is bridged.
The National Prosecuting Authority has established over 40 Thuthuzela Care Centres for rape victims. The efforts of the Minister of Police to strengthen and resource the FCS units are highly applauded, as these will expedite responses to these crimes. We also commend the Minister of Health for recruiting and training forensic technicians to staff the fourth, additional, forensic laboratory. This will go a long way in processing vital evidence on sexual offences.
We remain convinced that empowering women will help us win the war against poverty, inequality, unemployment and abuse. We are confident that the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill will help address the underlying causes of gender-based violence. The Bill seeks to give concrete expression to our collective commitment to gender equality. Among other things, it will clarify and define the institutional mechanisms for gender transformation. We have taken this route because we are convinced that it is critical for South Africa to have a gender policy with a legally binding status that is enforceable. This legislation will give effect to the equality clause in the Constitution to promote gender equality as a fundamental human right in all areas of social life.
As a department, we have been vocal in calling for the justice system to deal with violence against women and children as serious crimes. We have called for the heaviest possible sentences and no bail for offenders, so that our courts can send a clear message that those who harm women and children have no place in our democratic society. We are happy to learn that the task team set up by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development has recommended that sexual offences courts, as well as children’s courts, be re-established to speed up convictions and cut out the huge backlogs in these cases.
The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign seeks to mobilise all of us, as members of the community, also to join in this effort. Therefore, I invite all hon members to join in the fight. We know that when someone is being abused in our own homes or in our neighbourhood, we have a duty to report that. We also have a duty to stand in court as witnesses, to make sure that these abusers are prosecuted successfully. Domestic violence is not something that should be left to families or treated as a private affair. We must all be involved.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): Hon Minister, your time has expired. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Lastly, on 4 December President Zuma will embark on the 9th Siyahlola Presidential Monitoring Campaign in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, where he will commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with people with disabilities from all over the country.
We will close the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign in Rustenburg, in the North West, on 10 December ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): Minister, your time has expired.
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: ... where the Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, will launch the National Council against Gender-based Violence. Working together we can do more ...
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Madam Chair, I have a point of order. [Interjections.] I have a point of order.
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: ... to eradicate this scourge. I thank you. [Time expired.][Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): Hon members, I allowed the Minister a few more minutes extra because she was outlining where these campaigns were going to be, for the information of all of us. Thank you. [Interjections.]
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Madam, she didn’t obey your order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): I call upon the hon Lamoela.
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: I apologise to the Chairperson and to the House. Thank you for giving another minute to apologise.
Mrs H LAMOELA: House Chair, today I want to start off by paying tribute to all our social workers, auxiliary social workers and community development workers who, with minimal resources, huge challenges and brave intentions, fight diligently to implement and monitor legislation made by us in this House. I want to sincerely thank all non-governmental organisations, NGOs, faith-based organisations, FBOs, and other civil society organisations, on whom we rely for 60% of welfare services and who tirelessly protect women and children against discriminatory action.
Equality is both a founding value of the Constitution and a fundamental right. But what does this equality mean in practice, and what does it mean for women and children?
This year we want to draw attention to the perpetual cycles of inequality and vulnerability that women and children continue to face despite the existence of excellent legislation. Vulnerability and inequality expose women and children in particular to pervasive levels of violence and abuse.
It is therefore crucial that government identifies these groups of vulnerable women and children, and ensures that policies and programmes are established to create an environment where they are better equipped to deal with and overcome these challenges.
South African legislation and policies set out important principles related to gender-based violence and the protection, safety and wellbeing of women and children. However, many South African women and children are not enjoying a safe environment in which their rights are a reality and are protected, especially those in rural areas. Important legislation in this regard includes the Children’s Act and the Domestic Violence Act.
Here we can just allude to the tremendous shortage of social workers, workers who could have helped to implement the Act. The problem is that government has failed to ensure that the necessary resources are in place to implement these policies and achieve the desired outcomes. As a result, levels of violence and abuse against women and children still continue to rise.
There is an urgent need for educational programmes and awareness campaigns to address the attitudes and biases that lead to these abhorrent crimes, to provide support to individuals and communities affected by them, especially in the rural areas, and to empower people to stand together and demand support and change to a system that is failing them.
Here, I need to refer to the rape and murder of Sihle Sikoji from Gugulethu, who will be laid to rest on Saturday. Our sincere condolences go to her family, and particularly her mother, Ntombizanele. This is only one of the many incidents that would never have happened if legislation and proper enforcement had been in place. Where was the task team that was supposed to investigate these hate crimes? What were the findings and the recommendations?
The Domestic Violence Act is an excellent piece of legislation. However, the fact that the SA Police Service does not consider domestic violence a stand-alone crime when it compiles statistics, means that they cannot track trends and develop effective policy strategies to combat domestic violence.
I have some recommendations to help the elimination of violence against women and children. Firstly, a five-year plan for the effective policing of domestic violence must be developed. In this plan clear goals, timelines and targets for the effective implementation of the Act need to be set. Also, the role of the SAPS evaluation service in monitoring whether these targets are being met or not, should be clearly stated.
Secondly, the referral of victims of domestic violence to health care centres for service and counselling by police officers must be closely monitored, as our public hearing revealed that this was not being implemented – and this was recently done.
Thirdly, it is imperative that domestic violence registers are maintained and monitored at all police stations. To this end, the officials responsible for monitoring and maintaining the registers must be held to account.
Fourthly, a mechanism should be developed to deal with withdrawals, or situations where women do not wish to lay charges but nonetheless still require help and protection.
Lastly, it is imperative that sufficient resources, such as specialised personnel, forensic specialists and forensic laboratories, should be allocated for evidence collected.
More than educating women on their role and value, I think it is absolutely crucial that men are sensitised as to their role in society. Some men are confused about their role as they are led by the example inadvertently set by their absent or abusive fathers. Some men are confused about their role and they experience pressure from other men who model ill-behaviour.
It is indeed a vicious cycle and can only be changed by a definite mind-set, a mind-set that teaches men about their value and worth – a clear definition of what it means to be a real man and a message so clear that it silences the messages of bad role models. In other words, this is a mind-set that knows that, firstly, real men don’t hurt women; then, a real man takes responsibility for his children and does not abandon them and so repeat the cycle; and, lastly, a real man does not rape.
As it is the mandate of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities to promote, facilitate, co-ordinate and mentor in regard to making the rights of women, children and people with disabilities a reality, I call on the Minister please to leave no stone unturned in fostering a dignified and secure environment for both women and children in our country. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms C K K MOSIMANE: Hon Speaker, something has gone terribly wrong in our society. In 2006, Zoliswa Nkonyana of Khayelitsha, at the age of 19, was clubbed, stoned and beaten to death by a mob of young men. The only “crime” she had committed was her sexual orientation, recognised and protected in our highly esteemed Constitution.
In 2012, more than five lesbians have been murdered. This number includes the 19-year-old Sihle Skotshi, who was attacked and murdered on 9 November in Kosovo, an informal settlement in Philippi, Cape Town. Sihle was stabbed in the chest with a mini spear. Her friend, who was also a victim of corrective rape, was stabbed in the arm when she tried to intervene. She did not report the rape, nor did she go for a medical checkup in regard to sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, for fear that the perpetrators would receive bail and go after her.
How long will these young women live in fear? What will it take for women and girls to progressively see their human rights, which are violated daily, become a reality?
According to a study by Interpol, South Africa leads the world in the number of rape incidents. Rape violates human rights and causes immediate and long-term health problems for the victims. It is estimated that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read. It is also estimated that 500 000 rapes are committed annually in South Africa.
A 2010 study led by the government-funded Medical Research Foundation states that in Gauteng province, home to South Africa’s most populous city, Johannesburg, more than 37% of the men said they had raped a woman. Nearly 7% of the 487 men surveyed said they had participated in a gang rape.
The South African sociolinguist Buntu Mfenyana defines “ubuntu” as “the quality of being human”. It is a spirit of participatory humanism. In its practical manifestation, ubuntu includes any actions that express an individual, organisational, corporate or governmental commitment to expressing compassion, caring, sharing and responsiveness to the community as a whole. Ubuntu embraces and requires justice. It inspires, and therefore creates, a firm foundation for our common humanity. Sadly, the eclipse of ubuntu has darkened the spirit of our country. The raping of a 94-year-old woman in front of her great-grandchildren demonstrates this.
Cope reiterates its call to all South Africans to join hands and fight this moral decay. In his reply last week President Zuma said there was leadership in government. Where is this leadership when elderly women are raped; when lesbians are brutally murdered; and when infants are gang-raped? [Interjections.]
Harry Truman once said: “Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” Let us not end here with this debate, but continue with education and with awareness programmes in all public places and where people meet to have fun. Thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): Thank you. I now call upon the hon Zikalala. [Interjections.] Members, this is a very important and serious debate. Let us treat it as such.
Mrs C N Z ZIKALALA: Hon Chairperson, South Africa has failed and is still failing to protect its women and children from violence.
It is gut-wrenching to have to admit that our country has the highest incidence of rape in the world, but even more sickening is the fact that a quarter of sexual offences involve children aged between nought and 10 years of age. Chair, 500 000 rapes are committed annually in South Africa. This means that a woman in South Africa is more likely to get raped than educated! This is a great shame for any country.
The origin of this problem can only be a lack of education on sexuality and HIV itself. In this day and age in South Africa, how can we still be battling with the myths associated with HIV, with boys and men believing that they will be cured of HIV by raping a young child, the virgin cleansing myth; with their blaming their behaviour on a patriarchal system as a result of apartheid; with their believing that sexual harassment and forms of sexual coercion are normal male behaviour; and their believing that it is not violent to force sex upon someone they know?
What this shows is that our country is failing its people and that we as a nation do not have moral fibre.
There is a blatant lack of respect for women and children, and there is a blatant lack of education on HIV. We know only too well that those who are not educated act negligently towards themselves and others because of their own ignorance.
In a survey conducted among 1 500 school children in the Johannesburg township of Soweto, a quarter of all the boys interviewed said that “jackrolling”, a term for gang rape, was fun. Furthermore, more than half of those interviewed insisted that when a girl says no to sex she really means yes.
We live in a society in which 10% of men condone a man’s beating a woman, and a quarter of them believe that a woman does not have the right to say no to sex. Of South African men who know somebody who has been raped, 16% believe that the rape survivor enjoyed the experience and had asked for it.
In a study led by the Medical Research Foundation in Gauteng province, more than 37% of the men had raped a woman, and 7% of them had participated in a gang rape. The SA Police Service estimated that only one in 36 rape cases was reported and of those only 15% culminated in a conviction.
The statistics are vast and horrifying. The psychology of our women and children is being crippled. We cannot even measure the consequences thereof.
Hon Chairperson, the IFP would like effective education on HIV and rape to be its foremost concern. It is long overdue. [Time expired.]
I thank you.
Mrs S U PAULSE: Hon Chairperson, every year this House comes together and debates the 16 days of activism. While I believe that our discussions carry significant weight, I think it is time to stop and ask ourselves when we will move from talking, marching, meeting and reflecting to action.
We have an entire department, backed by a budget of approximately R143 million per year, to co-ordinate, facilitate and monitor the rights of vulnerable people, including women and children, and to make them a reality.
A number of significant pieces of legislation, including the Domestic Violence Act and the Children’s Act, are in place, but every year we are faced with the same challenges.
Violence against women is often misinterpreted as being one- dimensional. We need to come together to change this perspective. Violence occurs on multiple levels – physical, emotional, financial and sexual – and women and children are faced with numerous simultaneous challenges, depending on individual circumstances.
The Department of Social Development is the primary department responsible for improving the livelihoods of vulnerable women and children. Their mandate is to provide comprehensive, integrated, sustainable and quality social development services.
The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities should be taking the lead in promoting, facilitating, co-ordinating and monitoring the rights of the vulnerable people, including women and children, and making those rights a reality.
In conclusion, Chairperson, let us start joining hands with non-governmental organisations and civil society, who are rendering an invaluable service in the social welfare sector of this country, but are not being adequately resourced to carry out those services. This would go a long way in eliminating and preventing all forms of violence against women and girls. Thank you.
Mr N M KGANYAGO: Thank you very much, Chairperson. Ka segagešu re re sekata ke lenaba le legolo la setšhaba. I repeat: Sekata ke lenaba le legolo la setšhaba. A rapist is an enemy to the nation. I repeat: A rapist is an enemy to the nation.
Great strides have been made in dealing with the high levels of inequality in South Africa. The South African Constitution provides for equality in all respects, including issues relating to gender equality.
Despite our progressive Constitution, however, we live in a country where gender-based violence has become an everyday occurrence. I am sure we have been listening to the speeches here. A number of examples have been given of things that we do not like in our communities regarding the way women are treated by men. In fact, we should not be shy to say that there are a lot of men who are actually guilty of violence against women. Some are even proud to be experts in giving their wives a hiding! We do not want to hear such things.
Gender violence is the most pervasive yet least recognised human rights abuse in the world. Its main characteristic is that it involves power imbalances where, more often than not, men are the perpetrators and women are the victims. Every day we read and hear stories of men raping women and girls. The media is also littered with stories of men ill-treating and physically abusing their partners.
For example, during this debate last year I shared with the House the shocking story of a pregnant 16-year-old girl, Simphiwe Mmola, a Grade 10 pupil from Mankweng village in Limpopo, who was allegedly stabbed to death by her jealous 26-year-old boyfriend. Yesterday’s Star newspaper ran a front-page story of an incident that happened on 3 January 2012, when a woman was allegedly tortured before being gang-raped by three men on the instructions of her husband! We know the story.
These despicable crimes show disdain for ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): Hon Kganyago, your time has expired.
Mr N M KGANYAGO: Oh, give me one more minute please! [Laughter.] Asseblief! [Please!]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): All right.
Mr N M KGANYAGO: Give me just half a minute please, just to finish.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): All right. Ek gee u een minuut. [I will give you one minute.] [Interjections.]
Mr N M KGANYAGO: But there is hope. The pockets of success gained in regard to gender-based violence thus far, which are all documented, show that it can be defeated. The multisectoral approach we have been using has helped us to do away with certain cultural norms which may have unintentionally condoned gender-based violence. I will leave the rest – you will have to guess what I wanted to say! Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms P MADUNA: Hon House Chairperson, the ANC’s abhorrence of violence against and the abuse of children is well recorded. Delegates at the 52nd National Conference of the ANC expressed this abhorrence sharply when they declared that the best interests of the child should be paramount, with child-headed households a priority for protection and care. Furthermore, the existing safety nets which deal with poverty, ongoing murders, disappearance, abuse and neglect should be strengthened, and the perpetrators of all these evil deeds should be brought to book.
South Africans have the right to freedom and security of the person, as enshrined in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of our country, Act 108 of 1996. This right includes the right to be free from all forms of violence from public or private sources. This right is violated when a child is exposed to violence, such as rape, gun violence and domestic violence.
The goal of child protection is to promote, protect and fulfil children’s right to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence, as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and other human rights, humanitarian treaties, conventions, and national laws.
Child protection aims to prevent, respond to and resolve the abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence experienced by children in all settings. Child protection is a specialised sector in its own right, and it is necessary to work very closely with other sectors. It requires a multidisciplinary and multisectoral approach, with work in education, health and justice.
Increasing the effective protection of children also involves working with a wide range of formal and informal bodies, including governments, multilateral agencies, donors, communities, caregivers and families. Importantly it also requires close partnership with children, including initiatives to strengthen their capacity to protect themselves.
The government has to ensure the protection of children from violence through various instruments. These instruments include the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, General Comment No 10: Children’s Rights in Juvenile Justice, and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice.
These international instruments clearly stipulate the recognition of a child as being a person below the age of 18 years, whose rights are to be protected and fulfilled. These instruments and laws would improve the lives of children across the world, but they are dependent on the extent to which the state parties implement them and adopt domestic measures to comply with the relevant obligations.
These obligations would include, firstly, providing clear constitutional provisions that give expression to child rights in section 28 of our Constitution.
Secondly, other key pieces of legislation include: the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, Act 34 of 1995; the Domestic Violence Act, Act 116 of 1998; the Criminal Law Amendment Act, Act 105 of 1997; the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, Act 121 of 1998; the Sexual Offences Amendment Act of 2008; and the Children’s Act, Act 38 of 2005.
Furthermore policies, norms and standards, guidelines and programmes have been developed to assist victims of gender-based violence, for example, the Victim Empowerment Programme.
Despite all the significant strides that have been made, at least one in three South African women can be expected to be raped in her lifetime, and one in four will be beaten by her domestic partner. These figures, as well as the failure of South Africa’s overburdened criminal justice and health systems to respond appropriately to the crisis, suggest an unacknowledged gender civil war.
The South African government has in turn responded to the protection of children in the country in various ways. In regard to a legislative framework, the Constitution, Act 108 of 1996, has a specific part to play that deals with children’s socioeconomic rights, namely in section 28.
Moreover, the following laws have a particular bearing on the protection of children. The state has various layers of obligations. In terms of section 7(2) of the Constitution the state has a duty to “respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights”. Specific laws that are currently in place that protect children from maltreatment, abuse, neglect and degradation include, but are not limited to, the following: the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, Act 32 of 2007; the Children’s Act, Act 38 of 2005; and the Child Justice Act, Act 75 of 2008. [Time expired.] Thank you, Chair. [Applause.]
Mrs C DUDLEY: Thank you, Chair. I have to admit that when this campaign was first launched I was sceptical. I was concerned that the real issues would be lost in the hype! The 16-day focus on violence against women and children does, however, appear to have made a difference. It is welcomed by those involved with delivering social services in communities, who say it is really important, as it is highlighting the issues, and making it a little easier for women to come out and reveal their plight.
It is, however, an enormous concern that there is not enough help or facilities in South Africa for abused women and children, nor is there adequate provision for interventions with perpetrators. Domestic violence, which is a major problem in South Africa, is a specialised field, and it is extremely complex. While it may be helpful in some cases, it is often not enough for a woman to be encouraged just to get a protection order. To break the cycle of continued abuse, professional intervention for an abused woman and her children - and the perpetrator - is crucial.
With 80% of people in South Africa claiming to be Christian, another 2% Muslim, and more people claiming other faiths, the religious platform is where people look for guidance. Religious leaders are powerful agents in setting the moral tone in communities, whether in synagogues, mosques, churches, temples or African traditional meeting places. It is these leaders that shape belief and how it is played out in family life.
Few religious leaders are ever taught how to cope with the social problems encountered in their ministry. They are flooded with women and children in distress – from the devastating consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, to the abuse of wives justified on many grounds, including lobola. Many leaders have very little idea how to respond and simply do not cope. At worst, they send women back to be submissive in abusive relationships and, at best, acquire restriction orders or jail terms.
The SA Faith and Family Institute, Saffi, recommends an approach that incorporates into the training the recognition that both parties are human and can change. In other words, it humanises the perpetrator. Abused women often say they do not want divorce; they just want the violence to stop. Many times the perpetrator is both father and provider. Locking him up makes things worse!
In order to stop the cycle of abuse and bring about change, Saffi is doing unique work in training religious leaders with denominationally specific resources to build capacity. They train people in congregations to set up support groups and accountability programmes, and to establish policy guidelines. They provide 10-day training for religious leaders which unpacks all of the issues, giving them confidence to intervene in a helpful way.
The ACDP applauds the work being done by organisations like this ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs F Hajaig): Your time has expired, Mrs Dudley.
Mrs C DUDLEY: I’ll need three seconds, Chair. The ACDP calls on government to support and fund the expansion of programmes that are successful, and also to help create public awareness where resources are available. Thank you! [Applause.]
Mr G LEKGETHO: House Chair, hon members, and ladies and gentlemen, it gives me pleasure to stand before you today to discuss the elimination of violence against women and children. The ANC has always advanced the philosophy of women’s rights as human rights. This progressive and human approach has also been incorporated in our Constitution.
The ANC recognises that legislation is not the only strategy that should be used to empower women in our struggle for gender equality and against gender-based violence. However, it is important that existing legislation is used whilst ongoing attempts are made to plug whatever gaps may exist in it.
In February 1994 the ANC approved the Women’s Charter for Effective Equality. Through this critical milestone the ANC reiterated its historic commitment to realising equality as envisaged in its aspiration to a nonsexist South Africa. The ANC said the following, among other things, about the principles that should underpin legislation and the administration of justice to empower women against gender-based violence:
At all times the law, and its application, interpretation, adjudication and enforcement, shall promote and ensure the practical realisation of equality for women. ...
Positive and practical measures shall be taken to ensure equality for women complainants in the criminal justice system ...
There shall be educational programmes to address gender bias and stereotypes and to promote equality for women in the legal system.
The legislation to address violence against women should aim at addressing violence comprehensively and multidimensionally. In this regard, the United Nations General Assembly urges members to do the following: revise their laws to ensure that all acts of violence against women are prohibited; revise their criminal procedures to ensure that primary responsibility for initiating prosecution lies with the authorities; ensure that acts of violence are responded to and that police procedures take into account the need for the safety of the victim; and adopt measures to protect the safety of victims and witnesses before, during and after criminal proceedings.
As a country, we do not have a scarcity of laws. Our challenge is that we are sometimes overwhelmed by these laws. We have little or no knowledge of their existence and therefore we may fail to insist on seeing them implemented. That is where it becomes important to join networks where we can empower one another and conduct joint advocacy.
Examples of laws that we can invoke include: the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, Act 120 of 1998; Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, Act 4 of 2000; Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, Act 32 of 2007; and the recently gazetted Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, which is currently being discussed.
Perhaps the most pertinent tool in our hands is a strategy for mainstreaming issues of gender, disability, children and youth rights for governance, implementation, monitoring and evaluation in government. This strategy is expressed in a policy called South Africa’s National Policy Framework for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality. The policy includes the focus area of reducing inequality faced by women based on sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, class and urban-rural geography. It also includes a focus area on eliminating the barriers that limit women’s full participation in society and the economy as equals.
In conclusion, House Chair, as a country we have made significant strides in the area of enacting legislation which will bring us ever so close to the aspirations of the Freedom Charter, which promised a society where there would be peace, security and comfort for all. We need to step up our campaigns to ensure that the benefits of these laws are enjoyed by those for whom the laws are intended.
However, there are significant gaps in the legal framework. Also, too many perpetrators are not held accountable, and still too many others destroy women’s and children’s lives with impunity. Furthermore, sometimes women are revictimised through the legal system. The ANC says that we can do more to improve quality of the lives of women, children and people with disabilities.
I wish to make a call on us as men that we, as the men of this country, should stand firm and resolute in word and deed in saying that gender inequality, and the abuse of women and children, cannot be done in our name. [Applause.] That will portray South African men as humane, nurturing to children, and progressive. We should be custodians of ubuntu. Our children must grow up with father figures who will set an example. I thank you. Amandla! [Power to the people.][Applause.]
Mrs I C DITSHETELO: Chairperson, the painful time of the year has arrived yet again when we all appear to focus our energies on one of the worst scourges in our society, which is violence against women and children. This is the commencement of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children. We will all talk the talk and attempt to walk the walk.
The media will feed us stories of all forms of abuse against these vulnerable groups. At the end of the 16 days decision-makers will make new promises and pledges, and we shall then all go back to living the other 349 days in a patriarchal system that just refuses to protect its women and children.
During the 16 days most of our men will make politically correct statements condemning violence against women and children, and then they will go back to their homes, churches and work places and continue to entrench patriarchal values. Sad indeed!
A few lucky women, extremely few in fact, will go on in oblivion of the extent of the violence against women. But the majority will go on to live the 349 days in absolute fear – fear of being raped by someone close to them or by a stranger they have never seen; fear of being killed; fear of bringing children into a world where they cannot protect them; fear of the violence and abuse they face every day from intimate partners; and fear of being made to feel inferior at home, in church and at their workplace.
It is a sad scenario when research points out that one in four women is raped in South Africa, yet only one in 25 rapes will be reported to the police, and the conviction rate in these cases remains disappointingly low.
One columnist wrote that it is difficult to have the freedom to choose when you do not have freedom from systematic advantage. It is difficult to have the freedom to act when you don’t have freedom from violence. It is difficult to have freedom to speak your mind when you don’t have freedom from stigma, shame and social suspicion.
So, while we have beautifully written rights on perfectly prepared parchment, these are the reasons why women are not free.
The irony of the world we live in is that we all want the same things. I believe that victims and perpetrators, deep within their human souls, want the same things. We all want to be safe in our streets and we all want to be carefree.
I therefore urge all of us here, men and women, to make it an individual commitment, one person at a time, one day at time, one family at a time, to work to achieve a society where mothers can take their daughters to school knowing they will be safe on the road; where children witness no violence between their parents; where it is safe to send children out to play, with no fear; where nurses never have to treat children that have been raped; and where our girls can wear what they want to without thinking that they are inviting rape.
I believe it is achievable if we can commit ourselves to this for 365 days a year, instead of 16 days.
Motlotlegi Modulasetilo, ga go na selo se se botlhoko mo botshelong jwa rona jaaka go bona motho wa mme a sotlwa ke rre. Bana ba rona ba sia malapa a bona ka ntlha ya matshelo a go sotliwa. Ke a leboga. [Nako e fedile.] [Legofi.] (Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.)
[Hon Chairperson, there is nothing more painful in life than seeing a man abusing a woman. Our children leave their homes as a result of abuse. Thank you.] [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms M F TLAKE: Hon Speaker, hon Ministers, hon Deputy Ministers and hon members, the ANC’s aspirations to an equal society are unparalleled in history. The Freedom Charter envisages a society where everyone will live in security, peace and comfort. It promises that the children will be cared for by the state. In fact, the very founding principles of the ANC struggle, enunciated in the National Democratic Revolution literature, are a commitment to the genuine equality of all people. Key to this is the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the country’s citizens.
Furthermore, South Africa has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which provides for protection from all forms of violence and discrimination. Article 9 states that children have a right to be protected from being hurt physically and mentally.
Against this background, the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities is charged with the obligation to undertake oversight visits to departments and provinces. This is to ensure that the rights of children and people with disabilities are upheld and protected, as enforced by the legislation, which prescribes access to opportunities for children with regard to skills development, and empowerment opportunities.
The oversight revealed that the impact of the combined effects of both gender and disabilities has not gained sufficient attention. Children with disabilities experience specific forms of violence associated with their disabilities, for example children with mental disability or intellectual disability. Research has shown that perpetrators of violence are often caregivers – be they at home or in institutional settings – or relatives or other children.
The lack of understanding of the situation during a sexual assault, due to their inability to say no, can be perceived as their consent to sexual abuse by the perpetrator. The burdens experienced by children with disabilities wanting to denounce violence include lack of information and communication in accessible formats.
Universal access design is still a huge challenge, and causes more impediments to them in using their full potential.
In response to the hon member from the opposition, who said that gender violence is perpetuated by a lack of leadership, I want to say that if we as Members of Parliament feel that we are not performing our leadership duties, we should not be here. We are paid to be here so as to give direction and leadership to our society. So, if we come here and say there is no leadership and criticise, as if we are tourists and not citizens of this country, I think we should leave, because we are getting salaries to serve the community. [Applause.]
In conclusion, Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General, once said:
There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.
Thank you. [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon members, before we proceed to the last Order of the Day, I would like to dispense with a number of outstanding rulings.
Firstly, during questions to the Deputy President on Wednesday, 7 November, hon Masutha put a point of order about a statement made by the hon Leader of the Opposition. Hon Masutha contended that hon Mazibuko had cast aspersions on the National Prosecuting Authority and made disparaging remarks against the institution, an institution in which removal from office depends on Parliament. Hon Masutha asked me to rule on the matter.
I undertook to study the Hansard and return to the House with a ruling. Having now had the opportunity to study the unrevised Hansard, I wish to rule as follows.
According to Hansard, the Leader of the Opposition said, and I quote:
From the police force’s abuse of power at Marikana to the unconstitutional decision by the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, not to hand over the spy tapes as mandated by an order of the Supreme Court of Appeals, the respect of our Constitution has been eroded.
Hon Masutha’s objection to this statement by the Leader of the Opposition was based on his interpretation of Rule 66. Rule 66 states that, and I quote again:
No member shall reflect upon the competence or honour of a judge of a superior court, or of the holder of an office ... whose removal from such office is dependent upon a decision of this House, except upon a substantive motion in this House alleging facts which, if true, would in the opinion of the Speaker prima facie warrant such a decision.
Remarks by members can only be regarded as unparliamentary if they are made against an office bearer whose removal from office is dependent upon a decision of the House. A reflection on the actions of an office, as perceived by a member, is not out of order, as long as that member does not cast aspersions on the character of such office holder. In this case, the hon Leader of the Opposition’s statement reflected on the office and not on any particular office holder and is therefore not unparliamentary.
ALLEDGED MISLEADING OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The SPEAKER: Hon members, on 13 November during Minister’s Responses to Members’ Statements, the Minister for the Public Service and Administration rose on a point of order to suggest that hon Bhanga had misled the Assembly when he claimed that the President had rejected the outcome of the National Census.
I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm that presiding officers cannot be expected to adjudicate on the accuracy or otherwise of statements, as this would indeed lead to endless disputes regarding the facts. Members must be allowed to present different interpretations of events in political discourse as, of course, it is the right of Ministers to have a different interpretation. Hon Bhanga’s statement therefore stands.
The SPEAKER: In response to a member’s statement, the Minister for the Public Service and Administration also referred to the hon Maynier as possessing “a flea-infested body”. I think that with hindsight the Minister will accept that her remarks reflected on the character of the member, and cannot therefore be appropriate.
Hon members, the hon Minister is not present in the House today, but I have decided to deliver this ruling now in the interest of discharging the responsibility of the Speaker to rule timeously on points of order. I will ask the Minister to formally withdraw her statement at the first opportunity in 2013.
Hon members, recently the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, hon Fransman, referred to the leader of DA in the Western Cape as being “soos ’n werfbobbejaan” [like a lackey]. [Laughter.] I hope my Afrikaans is all right. Hon Farrow enquired whether it was parliamentary to refer to a member this way. I must indicate that the Rule only applies to members of the House, and the leader of the DA in the Western Cape is not a member of the National Assembly. [Laughter.] Order!
Consequently, while I find the remark in question, and indeed all references to people as less than human, distasteful, it is not strictly unparliamentary, as it would have been if directed at another member. I would, nevertheless, urge members to refrain from using insulting language, as it does not contribute to the quality of the debate.
The SPEAKER: Finally, during question time on Thursday, 15 November 2012, hon Masutha put a point of order requesting a ruling on the purported use of offensive language in this House. The hon member requested the Presiding Officer to rule a statement made by hon James out of order, in accordance with National Assembly Rule 63.
According to the unrevised Hansard, hon James said the following, and I quote:
So, why, Mr President, instead of investing in rural areas everywhere, millions of rand is wasted on the indulgence and luxurious quarters fit for the emperor without clothes, which is you, sir, to sit in the pseudomonarchic seat of Nkandla.
Having now had an opportunity to study the Hansard, I wish to rule as follows.
Rule 63 and the rules governing offensive or unparliamentary language are broadly framed in order to allow hon members to enjoy their constitutional right to freedom of speech. However, well established practice also dictates that any statement or remark which impairs the dignity of the person to whom it is directed or affronts the person’s honour must place a limitation on that right.
Hans Christian Andersen’s fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes, is often used in political and social contexts as criticism against the rule of heads of state or heads of government. Criticism and opposition are normal and accepted practice in democratic parliaments all over the world. I find that hon James’s expression constitutes political criticism against the hon President, which happens in the normal course of politics.
His use of the metaphor of the emperor without clothes to reflect on the hon President does not make his expression offensive per se. It is his reflection, politically speaking, on how he perceived the hon President to be doing his job. His expression remains his political opinion, which may be countered by other political views or opinions, which may reflect positively on how the hon President is doing his job. Accordingly, the statement made by the hon James is not unparliamentary in terms of National Assembly Rule 63. Thank you. [Applause.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr Speaker ... [Interjections.] I’m not covered. With so few people in the House I did not expect “dawerende applous” [rousing applause]. However, let me attend to my speech. [Applause.]
Speaker, I want to contend that, instead of making farewell speeches, we should be taking this time to debate the very important matter of a vote of no confidence in the President. [Interjections.] But, because the Chief Whip of the ANC decided to block the motion, as being frivolous – just like the people who are shouting now – a massive controversy has erupted. [Interjections.]
Today, the ANC ululated and cheered because the judge did not rule in our favour. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members! Order!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: But, as usual, Speaker, the devil is in the detail. I will come to that detail in a minute. [Interjections.]
Let me pause for a minute to say that we always have copycats in politics and as soon as we had moved our motion, we also had a motion of no confidence in the Premier of the Western Cape, which was moved by the very ANC who blocked this motion! Well, instead of blocking it in the Western Cape, we invited a debate on that motion. It was done today, and the achievements of the DA government in the Western Cape were highlighted. The debate took place and was concluded, and the motion was defeated. That is the way it should happen in a democracy. [Applause.]
However, Speaker, let me tell you that the judge today did not fault our application. On the contrary, he emphasised that it was the right of the opposition to do so, stating that debating a motion of no confidence was the very essence of a deliberative democracy. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members! Order!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: So, while it was not in the judge’s power to rule that the debate should take place today, he said that the motion must be debated. That is what he said, and he said that it must be debated urgently. So now, laugh your heart out! [Interjections.]
The judge went on to make it extremely clear, Speaker, that it was not for the Chief Whip of the ANC to block our motion of no confidence because he thought it was frivolous. The judge made that very, very clear. He also made other encouraging remarks. So it may be advisable for the Acting Deputy Chief Whip of the ANC to study the judgment before promoting herself to being the self-appointed cheerleader of the House. [Interjections.]
The farewell speeches should have been scheduled to follow the debate on the motion of no confidence. So, hon Speaker, I will therefore refrain, in this instance, from participating in the convention of saying nice things to one other, particularly because the ANC shows no respect ... [Interjections.] ...
The SPEAKER: Hon members, order!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: ... for the fundamental convention and constitutional right that we have as an opposition to have a debate on a motion of no confidence, when we believe the Presidency is failing the people of this country. [Interjections.]
The ANC is making a mockery of the entire parliamentary system. [Interjections.] It is using it, Speaker, only to serve their own purpose and for promoting one single viewpoint. That is particularly true of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party. I cannot stand here today and pretend that I feel a sense of pride in the institution. I am not proud of what we have done this annual session. I am embarrassed and I am ashamed. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon members, order!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: In its performance as a Parliament of the people, this institution is an absolute disgrace. It is being run by an ANC Chief Whip who has done his level best to undermine the democratic authority of this institution in order to promote his own failing political career.
Under this ANC Chief Whip we have had our constitutional right to initiate a debate of no confidence in the President belittled and undermined, whilst this same Chief Whip went and spent R2,1 million of taxpayers’ money – he misappropriated it – on an illegitimately organised event to promote President Zuma for re-election! [Interjections.]
In 60 days this House has debated only 5 issues which were initiated by members as being of topical importance. A mere 0,08% – for those who don’t understand that, it is less than 1% – of the time in this House has been spent allowing members to talk on the issues of the day. This is absolutely unacceptable! This is exactly why this Parliament is failing to be a Parliament of the people. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members! Allow the speaker to be heard. Order!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Speaker, I can allude to many more inconsistencies, but while I stand here I want to retain a bit of the integrity of this House. [Interjections.] Whilst we cannot congratulate ourselves on the achievements of Parliament as such, all is not doom and gloom, because the leaders and members of the opposition, who are rising to the call of the voters to ensure that Parliament at least again becomes relevant, and that the government is called to order, must be applauded and congratulated. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members! Order!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Speaker, in conclusion, I wish to thank you as the leader of this House, together with the Deputy Speaker and the House Chairpersons, for your efforts. I particularly thank the administration and the staff, who work tirelessly to make a Parliament that has been ambushed by the ANC work. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs J D KILIAN: Firstly, we want to thank the hon Speaker for the rulings he made today. He showed significant wisdom, and we believe that if we allow a kind of “balanced” approach in the National Assembly, we can all keep the debate of the country hot and representative of the different constituencies. So, I repeat that I thank the hon Speaker. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon members, please, order!
Mrs J D KILIAN: Secondly, if we consider the past year, I think we had highs and lows. We had times when we were unanimous in passing certain specific pieces of legislation and in dealing with matters before us in the different committees, and on occasion we also crossed swords, in more than one way.
Of particular importance, I believe, was the fact that on critical matters we moved closer to opposition co-operation on matters of principle. On that basis I think we should say that there has been a victory for democracy that we have seen over the past year. This has been in three important respects.
One was on the secrecy Bill, the Protection of State Information Bill. Secondly, I believe that it was a wise decision of the hon Acting Deputy Chief Whip to withdraw the e-toll Bill, the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill, today. Thirdly, irrespective of whether or not the court ruled today on when the motion of no confidence should take place, the fact is that the important matter that was before the court was the right of the opposition to bring a motion of no confidence, and the fact that it should be debated as a matter of urgency. I think that was important.
Then, Speaker, we must never take ourselves too seriously. This is especially true of politicians. So let us also laugh a little at what happened during the past year. [Interjections.]
First of all, we had a very amusing incident, and the hon Speaker ruled on it. The hon DA shadow minister of defence, who is also regarded by some as a prophet of doom, exceeded the built-in tolerance levels of our former hon Minister of Defence and Military Veterans. She then exploded in a way that only she can, spouted a mixture of venom and red-hot chilli, and advised the hon shadow minister from the DA to run for cover! In fact she also advised him that he should take his Doom – this time a spray can of Doom – and get rid of the rather irritating fleas upon his body! It was good that there was a ruling by the hon Speaker, but we must also understand that we need freedom of debate.
What was also significant was the fact that the hon Fransman became a very serious specialist on farm workers in the Boland! From the opposition side I think it’s necessary for us to make a remark, and we did, in fact, make such a remark to him yesterday. We said that perhaps the President should send him on a special mission to Georgia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, and elsewhere where South African farmers have got involved in the agricultural sector. Maybe he can also give some good advice on farm worker conditions in those areas, since he is the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation.
Lastly, we would like to come to the hon Chief Whip of the Majority Party. Fortunately, some of us have known him over many, many years, dating back to the Gauteng legislature. We actually love him, despite the serious concerns that we have to express on occasion about his interpretation of the Rules.
However, we felt that we would forgive him for that, especially if we had the expertise of the hon J J here. [Interjections.] It’s just a pity that he’s not also acting as a lecturer, as we were considering some form of fundraising effort in order to see if we couldn’t send him on some or other course where he could be taught the difference between a constitutional democracy and a parliamentary democracy, and especially the details of the National Assembly Rules, because sometimes his points of order have really taken us by surprise. [Interjections.] That, of course, was just in lighter vein.
Then, I would just like to say to members that perhaps we should look at quotes used by Sir Winston Churchill. Some of them may not be parliamentary, but they contain elements of undeniable truth.
One is this. “Do not argue with an idiot: he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.” [Laughter.]
He also said this. “Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.” [Laughter.]
Something else that he said was this. “If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.”
Perhaps we should sometimes also take the middle road and not always be too rigid in our approaches, because the best legislation and the best reports are written when compromises are made. I think we should perhaps desist from just sticking to very serious positions, and talk to one another more definitely and more seriously. I say this because in war and in politics the same applies. War does not determine who is right; it actually determines who is left. In politics we must remember, if you live by the sword, you will die by the sword, also as far as that is concerned. [Interjections.]
In conclusion, on behalf of Cope, I want to wish everybody a blessed and surely deserved rest period going forward. We want to say to you: “Travel home safely,” and for those of you who believe that the opposition in Parliament are great, we want to say: Travel safely and, particularly, come back safely!” To the others we say: Travel safely to Mangaung, but who are we to tell you how to travel back?” [Interjections.] So, going forward ...
The SPEAKER: Hon member, you time has expired. [Interjections.] Order, hon members! Order!
Mrs J D KILIAN: ... we thank you for participating, and may all go well for everybody who is going back to their families over this period. Thank you. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Mr Speaker, as this is the last parliamentary day of 2012, I prefer to speak to you in the spirit of Christmas. We wish to express our sincerest appreciation to all members – all of you – whether you go to Mangaung or not! [Laughter.] We wish to thank you and the staff for assisting to make 2012 such a wonderful year. We wish all of you a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year, and may you return next year – all of you – well rested and ready to continue here to serve our country.
Next Friday, 30 November, I shall be celebrating 35 years of uninterrupted service as a Member of Parliament. [Applause.] I can assure you that 35 years is a long time! In fact, I arrived here in 1977 and I saw the whole movie of moving from the old dispensation to the new one. There are 16 Members of Parliament who were born only after I arrived here, and one of them is the hon and beautiful Liezl van der Merwe, who is the youngest of all the female members.
Many members have asked me: “Koos, what have you learnt in the 35 years?” I want to say that the first lesson to learn is to be careful of VIP fever. That is the fever where you think that now that you are an MP, you are a very important person. Let me warn you, that fever has cut short many careers in Parliament. Therefore be humble and just remain yourself. I was just Koos when I arrived here, and I am still just that same Koos. [Applause.]
The second lesson is respect. One must respect other members. Everyone must respect everyone in this place. Respect members, no matter what party they belong to. Remember to respect the staff. Respect your seniors, elderly people, your parents, your teachers and, in particular, rulings by the Speaker and other presiding officers. Obey them. I remember what my teacher told us when I started playing rugby at the age of eight. He said:
Koos, die ref [skeidsregter] is altyd reg. [Koos, the referee is always right.]
Remember, the Speaker is always right.
The SPEAKER: Repeat that, hon Koos. [Laughter.] [Applause.]
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: It includes the Deputy Speaker! [Laughter.]
The third and last lesson is discipline. I shall never forget how Mr P W Botha drilled this into us new members 35 years ago. “Be a disciplined member,” he said, pointing that finger.
Pasop vir julle. [Beware, you lot.]
So be disciplined. Attend all your committee and other meetings. Never be late. A disciplined and successful member never arrives at a meeting without being properly prepared. Then you will make meaningful contributions and you will earn respect.
In conclusion, if we as Members of Parliament, going into the festive season, remain humble, live lives of respect for others and are really disciplined people, we will be able to accomplish huge successes in the service of our fatherland. After 35 years in Parliament, I now look forward to the next 35! [Laughter.] [Applause.]
Mr S Z NTAPANE: Hon Speaker, members and colleagues, we have once again reached the end of another year. This was without a doubt a very busy and tumultuous political year. We got down to business as early as possible, to ensure that the work of this House was completed on time.
Cabinet reshuffles and consequent parliamentary changes have added a further level of complexity to our parliamentary work. Nevertheless, as a collective we have managed to deal with a great deal of business and addressed many important matters.
We wish everyone farewell for the year. We hope that you will find joy over the festive season in the company of family, friends and loved ones. In a month’s time we will be celebrating Christmas. We would like to wish all of you a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. To our Muslim colleagues, we hope that you merrily celebrated Eid recently and wish you a prosperous New Year.
We salute all the late hon members who worked hard to make a difference in our country. May their souls rest in peace. We appeal to everyone to drive safely on our roads. Let us spread the message of the responsible and safe use of our roads.
Finally, we express a warm message of thanks to the many staff members in the administration of this institution and the political parties, who enable us to do our jobs. We are eternally grateful to you all. May we return refreshed and inspired in the new year to proceed with our work. Thank you. [Applause.]
Dr C P MULDER: Hon Speaker and colleagues, there is a huge temptation to read the feeling in the House, to play to that feeling, to just be friendly and jovial, and to just say all the nice things. That’s a temptation.
However, I think we should look at ourselves in a very serious manner today. I had the opportunity to attend the court application that we are all talking about, and that we have all known about for the last couple of days. I also attended the judgment today. I would suggest to all members of the House – all members of the House – that they make a point of getting that judgment and reading it, because, although the application was dismissed, the contents of the judgment have a huge impact on us as Parliament, and that goes for all of us. I think we should take it very, very seriously. I am not going to go into any further details, but we must really go and look at exactly what is being said there, and I can assure you that what happened today will not be the end of the process in terms of that judgment.
Be that as it may, I would like to use the opportunity to say thank you to all colleagues for the year that we have all been in Parliament, and for the opportunity to serve on different committees, to serve with the Whips and to serve with all the people from the Chief Whips’ Forum, the programme committee, and so on.
Ons het almal saam ’n reuse verantwoordelikheid as parlementslede. Dit is nie net die taak van die opposisie om die waardigheid van die Huis te probeer instand hou nie. Dit is ook die taak van alle parlementslede. Dit is nie net die taak van die opposisie of die regerende party om na die bepalings van die Grondwet om te sien nie. Die mense daar buite ... Ons moet weer gaan kyk na artikel 42. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[We have a huge responsibility, together as Members of Parliament. It is not only the task of the opposition to try and maintain the dignity of the House. That is also the task of all Members of Parliament. It is not only the task of the opposition or of the ruling party to pay attention to the provisions of the Constitution. The people out there ... We should take another look at section 42.]
We are elected by the people to represent the people, and that means all the people. It cannot mean only one part of the people. It means all the people, and we should act in that respect in all instances and at all times. In conclusion ...
... waar ons in hierdie tyd uitmekaar gaan, wens ek u almal ’n veilige en rustige tyd voor, dat ons rustig gaan ontspan en uitrus, want ons almal weet dat ... [... whereas we are adjourning at this time, I wish you all a safe and peaceful time, that we may all unwind and take a rest, because we all know that ...]
... 2013 is the year before the next election, and we will all start electioneering in 2013, I guess, if we have not started already.
Ek wens u almal ’n veilige en geseënde tyd by die huis toe. [I wish you all a safe and blessed time at home.]
Go and think about our role as Members of Parliament in upholding the institution and the Constitution. I can assure you that we all know this. The people out there are expecting that of us, and nothing less. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs C DUDLEY: Hon Speaker, with all that has been on our minds in this busy year, we’ll probably go into our oversight and constituency periods, and eventually our recess for the Christmas holiday, with thoughts of our President vying for top spot! How Christmassy does that sound?
Jerome K Jerome once said:
It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.
Now, I think that our President would disagree. I imagine that he would say that it is simply not a lie if you believe it!
To be fair, however, I must say I have been determined to cut this controversial figure a huge amount of slack, mostly because he has tried to cut others a lot of slack, and, by comparison with the Mbeki denial era, we have experienced freedom across this House to do the oversight that we are meant to do, with real solutions in mind. I won’t lie – this has impressed me.
Perhaps our President, like the renowned Mark Twain once said, just has –
too much respect for the truth to drag it out on every trifling occasion.
Oh, come on! That was funny! [Laughter.]
Of course, all of us in this House, like it or not, are expected to lie, not because of President Zuma, but because of our career choice. Winston Churchill explained it like this:
Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.
I know that we think we are different, but the people of South Africa? Not so much!
Our President is like a super optimist. Optimists see the light at the end of the tunnel. He sees the light, but he swears blind that there is no tunnel. The DA and Cope’s reaction is to call for the light at the end of the tunnel to be turned off until further notice, due to, well, you know they have their reasons. [Laughter.]
Actually, I think our President is a man of great principle. But what those principles are, mostly it’s hard to tell. Being an optimist myself, I’m keen to see and stay a little longer. Weighing up the pros and cons, it may just turn out to be, well, let’s not be too crazy and say “a good thing”, but certainly better than what we have had. And we have no idea what is to come – anything could happen!
I guess “comedian” is not going to be on my résumé at any time soon! So, maybe we should change the subject. Having said those words, “change the subject”, guess what comes to mind. No, it’s not the ANC but social media. Have you noticed how people just throw out any random thought? Like many philosophers, they give helpful advice to people who are way happier than they are. Now that makes me think of Voltaire when he said, and this is very good:
When he who hears doesn’t know what he who speaks means, and when he who speaks doesn’t know what he himself means, that is philosophy.
So do you think maybe our President is a philosopher? I’m just saying. [Laughter.]
Actually, to my surprise I’ve been challenged, encouraged and inspired by many amazing people through social media and have decided to leave you with the words of one of these Facebook scribes, and I think our President would be impressed:
The same sun that melts wax hardens clay.
Think about it. And thank you, Biggy Moruti, for this wisdom.
My colleagues and I in the ACDP would like to wish you all, and the staff of Parliament, a happy Christmas, safe travelling and a wonderful time with family and friends. We pray that we will all experience God’s love, His joy and His peace, not only as this year draws to a close and the new year begins, but always. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs I C DITSHETELO: Hon Speaker, with only a few weeks left before 2012 ends, time truly is an illusion, as Einstein put it. Just as the beginning of the year usually marks new commitments, resolutions, plans, etc, at the end of the year we have an opportunity to reflect on the year past.
This is an opportunity for this Parliament, collectively and as individuals, to ponder on virtues and faults. How have we fared in living up to the mandate given to us? Can we hold our heads high and say that we have tried to forge our way forward and that we gave this year our best shot?
We must reflect upon and assess the decisions we’ve made collectively and as individuals in various offices. We must use our reflections as an opportunity to make profound, constructive and positive changes.
We must have the courage to evaluate what motivated our thoughts, our actions, our attitudes and our behaviour. Were we selfless or were we selfish? Were we modest or were we proud? Did we serve or did we take? Did we counsel or did we judge? Have we sought to build or have we sought to crucify? Did we stand for the truth, and what is that truth? Were we tolerant or did we allow our hearts to manifest condemnation?
It is necessary for each of us to reflect on these things, because life is often short and it passes briefly before we’ve had an opportunity to make amends – amends even to ourselves, as we are often too hard on ourselves.
The year 2012 saw us say goodbye and farewell to a number of people who would have loved to continue to share this space with us, which makes it much more of a privilege to be able to stand here and say farewell.
With humility and love, I wish all of you a serene festive season, a joyous time with your families and a constructive period with your constituencies.
Lastly, I would like to share these few lines from a poem by Kolabomi Adeko, Goodbye, Farewell:
Farewell is beautiful
A glimpse into the future
Farewell is wonderful
It sets for Adventure
As we say farewell, let us also look forward to coming back here at the beginning of next year, all of us, safe and sound, ready to tackle the next adventure, ready to start afresh, ready to commit ourselves to democracy and a better South Africa. May you all fare well. Thank you.
Mrs M T KUBAYI: Hon Speaker, the year 2012 is coming to an end. Firstly, on behalf of the ANC I would like to thank all members, and I specifically mention the presiding officers, the staff members, and the National Assembly Table, for a year that has gone well. It is through co-operation, commitment, and dedication that we have been able to achieve all that we have achieved.
Once again, I would like to congratulate Mr Coetzee on his appointment as the Secretary to Parliament this year. [Applause.] We really look forward to working with him in the coming years.
This has been the year that the ANC has celebrated its centenary. Through our work here in Parliament we have managed to reflect the existence of this gallant organisation which has a mandate from the majority of our citizens to lead this country. The celebration continues, under the themes, “Unity in diversity” and “100 years of selfless struggle”. This has given us as the ANC the opportunity to celebrate all our presidents, and share the history of this organisation with many in our society through the presidential commemorative lectures.
It is important to highlight the successes that we have been able to achieve in this House this year. We have passed important Bills, such as the Further Education and Training Colleges Amendment Bill, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill, the Use of Official Languages Bill, the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill, and other critical Bills that we passed today.
Robust oversight over the executive has been exercised to ensure that it is held accountable by the legislature. It is important, as well, to welcome the fact that Ministers have been available to answer oral questions in the House. Unlike in other years, we have not had difficulties with members of the executive being unavailable to answer questions. So, we really commend their commitment to honouring their responsibilities. [Applause.]
We again observed our losing serving members and former members of the House during this year – may their souls rest in peace.
It is important that we emphasise the importance of maintaining the decorum of the House. We have seen instances that have really called for all of us to pause and reflect on why we are here and the fact that nothing is about us. The integrity of the House needs to be maintained.
Working relations with other parties have been good, but I think more effort could be made to increase co-operation and tolerance amongst parties, in order to ensure the smooth running of the House.
On the same note, we have seen members of this House approaching the court, and this matter specifically related to the Rules of the House. More effort needs to be made by all parties and all members, to ensure that we fast-track the review of the Rules, which is currently under way under the leadership of hon Masutha. Members are urged to find time and make submissions to the Subcommittee on Review of the National Assembly Rules, so that these court challenges can be avoided.
It is important to reflect that while we respect our judicial system, and we respect the right of anyone to take any matter to the court, opposition parties must not use this as a tool to rule from the back door. [Applause.] The ANC has been given a majority percentage of votes by voters to implement what it has highlighted in its manifesto, and we have the responsibility to do exactly that.
Others have set a precedent, and I am also going to try to respond to certain things and might not stick to the conventions. I think that at times we forget that we are not a government of national unity. A particular party has been declared the ruling party and therefore it has to implement its agenda – it can’t make excuses to its voters. [Applause.] In all democracies across the globe the majority party sets the agenda, and that must be understood clearly.
The Speaker, together with the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, agreed to increase the time allocation to smaller parties to a minimum of three minutes in all debates. This was done in the spirit of enhancing democracy and ensuring that all parties had a voice and could make meaningful contributions to the debate. So, I am not sure why an issue that we are not allowing the voices of the minorities to be heard in the House has arisen – it is not factually correct. While the Chief Whips’ Forum is still seized with finalising the global timeframes, we think this is one of the signs that show that the ANC is committed to the multiparty political system that is enshrined in our Constitution.
Hon members, please take time to rest during your holiday period. Spend time with your loved ones, as there isn’t enough time during the year to do so. On behalf of the leadership of the ANC, I bring you the season’s greetings.
Be safe on the roads. Don’t drink and drive. The high number of fatalities on our roads is worrying. Today Minister Ben Martins launched South Africa’s 2012 festive season road safety programme, with the theme, “Together we can save millions of lives”. Government and the Department of Transport have called on all of us to assist in achieving a 25% target for a reduction in road traffic offences and casualties during this festive season. As from 1 December all of us, as licensed drivers, are expected to have our headlights on at all times as a sign to ensure that we are all safe. [Applause.]
I am not going to use my full 25 minutes. So, as I conclude, I just want to tell the hon Watson that I am not a self-appointed cheerleader. I am a legitimate leader of the ANC who has been entrusted with the responsibility of doing what I am doing. I am not suffering from illegitimacy. I understand why I’m here, and I am a very legitimate leader. I do not need another party to assist me to be regarded as who I am in my party. [Applause.] [Interjections.] I am not a self-appointed cheerleader. I am a leader, and have hence been given the responsibility of being Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party. The responsibility issue is oor, oom! [has been dealt with, uncle!] We can continue.
Hon Dudley worried me when she said that we were all expected to lie! I got worried. I thought that some of us should clear our names of that. We are not expected to lie. I was not taught to lie, and being a Christian I can’t. We are expected to be truthful, and that’s the oath that we as members have taken.
Hon Kilian mentioned the issue of co-operation by the opposition parties on critical matters. We will expect that continuously, even in the next year – not only when it suits them, but on matters that are critical for society to improve the lives of ordinary people. Moreover, hon Kilian, there is unfortunately nothing called the secrecy Bill in the records of Parliament. [Interjections.] There isn’t anything that is called that. I think we should be able to understand that.
Without spoiling the mood, I just want to wish you well. Enjoy your holidays! [Interjections.]
Hon Kilian, we are responding to what your Chief Whip raised. You know that I have enough time – so, if you provoke me, I am going to respond to you! Your Chief Whip raised issues about the debate and what the judgment said. However, what is clear is that you lost the case! We as the ANC said that we couldn’t have that debate this week because the programme was tight. We even gave you a date! After we issued a statement yesterday, the opposition declined this offer and issued a statement to say that it didn’t want it next year; it wanted it now. The court was very specific.
We reiterated the issue of promoting democracy and respecting the Constitution. If you listened to my statement, you will have heard that I even made a commitment that the ANC would recommit itself to respecting the rule of law and the Constitution.
We were the champions of drafting that Constitution. We will never abandon it. It is the crux of what has placed us where we are. It is out of the sufferings and pains of the past that we pushed for that Constitution. We will never abandon it. It is the crux of who we are and of our fundamental policies. It is derived from the Freedom Charter, and that’s why we have this Constitution. It arises from what we as the ANC felt. We championed it and said enough was enough – we wanted a Constitution that had a Bill of Rights and all the other things that are there. [Applause.] We as the ANC will never abandon that Constitution. We still abide by it, and we will continue to do so.
An example of this is that from 2009 until today we have amended the Constitution only once. If we were so obsessed with the Constitution, we would have amended it many times. We have not done that. That is a sign that the ANC is committed to upholding the rule of law and respecting the Constitution, and all institutions. I thank you. [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Hon members, you will realise that the Speaker normally doesn’t speak in the House. This is one of those rare occasions on which he would like to make use of the opportunity while it lasts, so bear with me! [Laughter.]
Madam Deputy Speaker, as the year draws to a close, it is once again time for us to review progress made thus far and bid a fond farewell to members as they go back home. This has indeed been an eventful year, a long year and, I dare say, an exhausting year.
This Fourth Session of the Fourth Parliament has been engaging and interesting, and has produced its own moments of drama and excitement. The debates are certainly becoming more captivating, and perhaps dramatic in some instances. The number of points of order put by members in the House and the rulings that presiding officers have had to make are indications of a vibrant and growing democracy. The robust and engaging debates in the House bear testimony to the seriousness with which members carry out their representative role. As public representatives, let us continue to ensure that we fully represent the needs of our people and that their hopes and aspirations are realised.
I am encouraged by the number of debates on matters of importance that have been scheduled lately, although I do think it is important that we facilitate regular debates of this nature.
Hon members, as you know, we have also embarked on a review of the Rules. This is a necessary process to ensure that our Rules are aligned with our constitutional requirements. The Rules must facilitate the smooth functioning of the House and assist us to deliver on our legislative and oversight functions. The Subcommittee on Review of the National Assembly Rules has started with this process. However, we need to ensure that the work is completed sooner rather than later, considering the gaps that have been exposed over time, but especially most recently.
We will deploy more resources to assist with the technical work of the subcommittee to ensure that the work continues in earnest. As we have agreed in our NA Rules Committee, we also need to engage former Members of Parliament to assist, as they have the necessary experience, knowledge and expertise, and will certainly benefit this process. We have identified former members and we have already started with some of them. The former members identified thus far include Mr Mike Ellis, Dr Pallo Jordan, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica, Mr Mosibudi Mangena and Ms Sybil Seaton.
Hon members, 2012 was also the year in which London hosted the most successful Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are very pleased to have hosted both South African teams at Parliament and to have had the opportunity to congratulate them on behalf of our people. In fact, Parliament held three special joint sittings this year. The first was on the occasion of the President’s receiving the National Development Plan, the second was to congratulate the South African Olympic Team, and the third was to congratulate our Paralympic Team.
Yesterday members of the National Assembly were briefed by the Minister and the Statistician-General – the man in the yellow suit! – on the results of Census 2011. The census results are quite important for our planning as Parliament and, more importantly, as committees for the conduct of their oversight work.
With respect to legislation passed, 34 Bills were passed by the House, which is four more than the last session. There was great interest from the public in the Bills before Parliament, which in some instances was expressed in the form of demonstrations and marches to Parliament. This signifies the level of public interest and involvement in the work of Parliament and the vibrancy of our democracy.
In keeping with the objectives of our strategic plan, Parliament’s focus on international relations began in March with the incoming visit of the vice-president of the standing committee of the national people’s congress of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Huan Jan-min, who met with the Deputy Speaker.
In April a delegation of the Parliamentary Oversight Authority visited the European Parliament in Brussels with the aim of forging stronger links between our respective parliaments and, more importantly, learning from their years of experience about how they conduct oversight. It was a fruitful study visit and what we have learnt will inform our activities in our Parliament.
In May the visiting president of India, Mrs Pratibha Patil, and her delegation paid a visit to Parliament and met with both Mr Mahlangu and me. As you know, Mrs Patil’s term of office came to an end quite soon thereafter. Her visit paved the way for a visit to India in July by both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. The primary focus of this visit was to strengthen parliament-to-parliament relations and co-operation, with a view to identifying specific areas of focus for co-operation.
In August the speaker of the House of Commons in the UK, Mr John Bercow, visited our Parliament and was followed in the same month by the deputy speaker of the Palestine legislative council. In September the speaker of the house of representatives of the Japanese national legislature visited Parliament. He was followed by a delegation from legislatures of India who paid a goodwill visit to the presiding officers. On 6 November the president of Namibia, Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba, addressed a plenary sitting of the National Assembly.
These interactions with other parliaments and countries are necessary as a component of expanding the role of Parliament in the bilateral and multilateral forums.
It is with sadness that we remember the untimely passing of serving members Sicelo Shiceka, Ntombizodwa Florence Nyanda and Mandlenkosi Enoch Mbili, who all passed away this year.
In May this year we announced the appointment of Prof Jahed to assist with the establishment of a parliamentary budget office. I’m pleased to report that a proposed model has been developed and approved by the political task team and the process of political consultation is at an advanced stage.
In August this year the Auditor-General once again gave Parliament an unqualified opinion for our 2011-12 annual report. Thank you, Secretary! Although there were specific matters of noncompliance, which received the attention of the Secretary to Parliament, we can be pleased with the unqualified opinion received.
This year has also been one of transition for the administration of Parliament. Mr Michael Coetzee took over the reins as Secretary to Parliament, and we wish him well on his new appointment. [Applause.]
As you will all know by now, following the judgment of the Constitutional Court individual members will now be allowed to introduce legislation in the National Assembly without the permission of the House. As a consequence we have decided that Parliament needs its own legislative drafting capacity beefed up and therefore we are in the process of recruiting seven additional legislative drafters. I would like to assure the House that we will endeavour to respond to any further challenges as they arise.
Hon members, recently Parliament launched an initiative to develop a public participation framework, which is aimed at making public participation an integral part of our legislative and oversight processes. The objective is to ensure that adequate avenues are provided for the people to participate in the business of Parliament and that the public inputs are integrated in the parliamentary programme processes. I hope that by now you will have found in your pigeonholes copies of the questionnaire which you must take home with you. I urge you all to become champions of this campaign by engaging with constituents to seek their contribution to this important initiative.
The presiding officers have also decided to extend and standardise the speaking time for smaller parties in parliamentary debates from the current one minute to three minutes. This action benefits the FF Plus, the ID, the UDM, the ACDP, the UCDP, the APC, Azapo, the MF and the PAC. We anticipate that debates will now be longer to accommodate the longer speaking times, but I’m sure you will all be happy to stay in the House until well into the evening!
Other members who died while serving are the hon Matladi and hon Roy Padayachie.
On a happier note, let me wish you all the very best in the coming festive season. We would like to thank the staff, the Table staff and all those who have made our work that much better. I would like to say: go well, be safe and enjoy the break – it is well deserved. I thank you. [Applause.]
The House adjourned at 19:44.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
1. Bill recommitted
(1) The Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill [B 30B – 2012] (National Assembly – sec 75) has been recommitted to the Portfolio Committee on Transport.
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
1. The Speaker and the Chairperson
(a) Report of the South African parliamentary delegation to the 18th South African‑European Union Inter‑Parliamentary Meetings from 27 to 29 September 2011 in Strasbourg, France, as adopted by the Parliamentary Group on International Relations on 16 October 2012:
Report of the South African parliamentary delegation to the 18th South African‑European Union Inter‑Parliamentary Meetings from 27 to 29 September 2011 in Strasbourg, France, as adopted by the Parliamentary Group on International Relations on 16 October 2012:
The 18th SA-EU Inter-Parliamentary Meetings took place in Strasbourg, France, from 27 to 29 September 2011.
The objectives of the meetings were to:
* develop a sound, informed parliamentary position on Africa’s vision vis-à-vis regional integration, development and peace;
* use the SA-EU platform to share experience and knowledge;
* strengthen relations with the European Union;
* fulfill Parliament’s oversight mandate, ie to ensure that government is accountable to the people;
* ensure accountable and transparent governance; and
* ensure that Parliament delivers on people’s expectations.
A delegation of seven (7) members of Parliament led by Ms J L Fubbs, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry and Co-Chairperson of the 18th SA-EU Inter-Parliamentary Meetings, interacted with European Union Members of Parliament.
The other delegation members were:
Ms F Hajaig, House Chairperson (International Relations), National Assembly;
Ms N Magadla, House Chairperson (International Relations), National Council of Provinces;
Mr H T Magama, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation;
Mr K B Manamela, MP (ANC);
Mr I O Davidson, Chief Whip of the Opposition; and
Mr N J J van R Koornhof, MP (Cope).
Ms Fubbs introduced Ms Hajaig and Ms Magadla before the commencement of Session I.
3. Session I
EU-South Africa Relations
Session I was chaired by Mr Cashman, Co-Chairperson, 18th SA-EU Inter-Parliamentary Meetings. He welcomed members and introduced the delegation from the European Union Parliament.
* Ms J Sargentini, First Vice-Chair (Greens/ALE)
* Mr A Svensson, Second Vice-Chair (EPP)
* Mr A Cadec, MEP (EPP)
* Ms V Fontagne, MEP (EPP)
* Ms M Sanchez-Schmid, MEP (EPP)
* Ms S Verheyen, MEP (EPP)
* Ms E Gardiazabal Rubial, MEP (S&D)
* Mr B Lange, MEP (S&D)
* Mr M Lokkegaard, MEP (ALDE)
* Mr G Chichester, MEP (ECR)
* Ms S Losing, MEP (GUE/NGL)
* Mr P De Villiers, MEP (EFD)
The following substantive items were discussed during Session I:
* Outcome of the EU South Africa Joint Cooperation Council (JCC), 20 July 2011;
* Outcome of the 4th EU-South Africa Summit, 15 September 2011;
* Modernised EU development policy;
* EU economic crisis – impact on South Africa and the region; and
* SADC-Economic Partnership Agreement – an update.
Ambassador Sooklal presented an input on the outcome of the Joint Cooperation Council (JCC) that took place on 20 July 2011. He indicated that the Joint Cooperation Council (JCC) meeting was a success and the South African delegation was pleased with the outcomes. Joint progress reports were adopted by the plenary meeting on 11 areas of cooperation, including Development, Trade, Migration, Environment and Sustainable Development, Science and Technology, Space, Health and Customs. He advised that the Energy Dialogue remained the only one facing challenges in maintaining focus.
Overall, the Joint Cooperation Council (JCC) highlighted the importance of the Dialogue Forums in achieving concrete results for the Strategic Partnership. Weaknesses were also identified in some of the Forums which would be addressed. He also recommended that this item should be a standing item for every Inter-Parliamentary Meeting after the Joint Cooperation Council.
He proceeded to present on the outcomes of the 4th SA-EU Summit that took place on 15 September 2011. The outcomes of the Summit highlighted the depth of the Strategic Partnership. They also highlighted that South Africa and the EU had many common interests, despite differing opinions on some issues.
Discussions included the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Durban, ongoing Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations, Infrastructure Development in Africa, Africa-EU Radio Astronomy Cooperation, the G20, as well as political and security issues, including North Africa and the Middle East. The long-term importance of the Strategic Partnership was reaffirmed by both parties.
He pointed out that the dialogue has progressed to the implementation stage and that outstanding programmes needed to be kick-started. Both parties agreed that the dialogue forums are critical to develop best practice. He reminded the meeting that the process was still in an infancy stage, since it has only been four (4) years since signing the agreements and it would take a while for tangible results in terms of programme deliverables. He indicated that the dialogue forum provided a platform for issues that were critical to South Africa and Africa to be addressed.
Mr Cashman agreed that the development cooperation, trade and migration working groups had been composed and were bearing fruit.
The representative of the EU Commission, Mr M Morentinni, pointed out the importance of the discussions and emphasized that some energy needed to be injected into the political and policy discussions of some areas. The platform provided opportunities for bilateral exchanges and the joint cooperation council exchanged views on development cooperation, mobility and migration.
Mr Cashman informed the meeting of the flagship initiatives by the Investment Bank in South Africa, while the deliberations held during July with Investment Bank were of immense value.
The European Union Members of Parliament led the discussion on the modernised EU development policy. Mr Cashman presented the background and indicated that over the past 10 years, the EU had worked hard to improve the impact of its development cooperation on poverty reduction and the other important goals established by the EU's founding treaties, federating Member States around shared policy approaches and the aid effectiveness agenda, modernising its partnerships and cooperation agreements as well as its financial instruments, and putting in place mechanisms to ensure greater policy coherence for development.
The current economic crisis notwithstanding, the EU had recently reaffirmed its commitments and adopted an ambitious position in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Several recent developments, specifically the global financial crises and the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, necessitated a review of EU development policy.
He indicated that an inclusive consultative process had been followed and over two-hundred (200) contributions were received. The final document was still outstanding, since the EU would consider all the contributions during its communiqué. The members agreed on the need for a high‑impact development policy.
The EU Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador van de Geer, indicated that the nature of development cooperation in South Africa was part of discussions and debate at the European Union. He indicated that it is important to note the different nature of EU development cooperation, for example in Mozambique donor money is essential to run their country. He explained that as South Africa is a middle income country, it should receive aid in a different way, namely, in a more specific, targeted manner. It is therefore necessary for the development of solutions that were creative, innovative and of a pioneering nature, not only for South Africa, but for the continent as a whole, EU budget support provides much needed funds for most African countries and specific interventions, jointly for South Africa which make it possible for the South African Government to meet the tremendous challenges of bringing Cape Town and the third world conditions that exist for instance in Limpopo together.
He pointed that South Africa is a middle‑income country and development cooperation in a pure way argues that development assistance should not be considered for South Africa. He did, however, indicate that the European Union considers South Africa as a special case, for instance other projects that are funded by the European Union, for example the Erasmus Mundo project that funded one-hundred-thirty (130) students on a global programmes to the European Union. He argued that the European Union supports programmes that add value in primary education and that the EU political leaders will continue some form of development cooperation for South Africa.
Mr H Magama indicated that the different levels of development within South Africa is of concern and that South Africa required the injection of development assistance to deal with some of the fundamental contradictions existing in South Africa, ie social and class structures. He was encouraged by Commissioner Piebalgs statement of South Africa being a special case.
Ambassador van de Geer pointed out the nature of the third world/first world conditions within our country, projecting the old divisions of the past and that this legacy has not fundamentally changed from the past. South Africa has to deal with the mammoth task of the inequalities within the country. Other challenges such as regional status also had to be considered and he reaffirmed that the EU would pursue South Africa as a special case.
Ms Fubbs chaired the session on the EU economic crises, the impact on South Africa and the region. Mr Davidson presented an understanding of the EU economic crises and raised several questions regarding the impact on South Africa and the region. He indicated that more than likely during the Nineties the EU would have negotiated and developed a monetary policy on a set of rules, but that these rules were not for fiscal union. The current debt crises is therefore a problem and it was clear that the rules of public debt had been broken. No member country would be bailed out by the European Commission, but what about, for example, Greece who would evidently have to be bailed out? He argued that since 5% of overseas funding came from our banks and 28% of our exports went to Europe, South Africa would be impacted. The question remained how?
It had to be considered that lack of trade resulted in less development cooperation funding and companies active in European markets would be less likely to invest in foreign direct investment (FDI). The economic challenges required the EU leadership to resolve and understand the difficulties that the EU was facing politically, for example elections, the Northern European countries subsidising the South and due to this the politicians in the North were not popular with their electorate. He requested an understanding as to how MEPs predicted the whole scenario evolving. He indicated that Europe had more than likely only six weeks to sort itself out.
Mr Magama indicated that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region felt the impact of the EU economic downturn, for instance it had influenced the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). He pointed out that there was a sizeable reduction in the revenue with the decrease in trade. Most of the SACU members received more than 70% of their income from SACU revenue. Reduced income meant greater deficit, for instance Swaziland’s economic challenges were due to the loss of revenue from SACU. The situation within SACU impacted on the regional dynamics of peace and security between SACU partners. Security and other risks, given the instability, underdevelopment and poverty, also come into play. We were susceptible to the challenges of instability of our own country, so there were a plethora of ramifications flowing from the crises in Europe.
The Co-Chairperson highlighted the ramifications of the EU economic crises and the fact that it threatened to derail a lot of systems. Mr Cashman made a commitment to continue informing South Africa, through Ambassador van de Geer and Ambassador Sooklal, of the developments of the EU economic crises and agreed with his Co-Chair that not only did the crises present a threat to the fabric of the EU, but to the 17 EU member countries. In addition, the EU was aware that it was worrisome for developing countries that were reliant on development aid. The leadership understood that the policy on aid would be neglected if the risk were unmanaged and that they understood that the resolution required collective effort.
Mr R Sturdy, Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, was invited to present an update on the SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). He pointed out that he had been part of the process almost from the beginning. He found the lack of information from the EU Commission to the committee disturbing and was therefore grateful to address this gathering so that he could receive information from South Africa.
He met with Minister Davies, after the 2010 process failed – SADC and EPA MPs had agreed to adopt a conclusive EPA by 2011. The outstanding challenges for the European Commission (EC) and EPA members were negotiations on development trade, an MFN clause, market access and the liberalisation of EU textile imports. The liberalisation of the textile industry was a stalemate, but the EC had agreed to be more flexible on the EPA agreements, as well as consider a sustainable economic development EPA and aid for trade packages.
The EC indicated that they would attempt to negotiate a SADC EPA and consider best scenarios for a possible conclusion of an agreement by the end of 2011. The EU Committee on Trade had agreed to engage the Commission to get a satisfactory result and a strong commitment for trade agreements. He pointed out that it was evident that the SADC region was anxious to ensure economic integration, but that the EPAs were not a priority for the EU International Trade Committee.
Ambassador Sooklal made a commitment to keep Mr Sturdy in the loop and meet with him to present an update. Ambassador Sooklal indicated that Commissioner de Gucht’s presence was due to South Africa’s insistence that he attend since Dr Davies, South African Minister of Trade and Industry, would be at the Summit. The Namibian Trade Minister met with Commissioner De Gucht and reported to the region the flexible and giving mood. That report was promising, since parties met for a full session a year ago.
The offensive approach by the European Commission had been noted by the region and the SADC EPA group realized that a lot of work still had to be done and that they were far from ready for another round of negotiations. The next meeting would be in October 2011, in Maputo. The region had expressed confidence that they would be able to narrow down the issues to be agreed, ie most favoured nations (MFN), definition of parties, geographical indication (GI,) custom issues and infant industry protection. It was positive that the European Commission (EU) would be willing to reconsider some of the positions.
The export tax for the SADC region was critical and Commissioner de Gucht had shown that the EC would be flexible on some of the issues, but it had been noted that an agreement was not forthcoming. Ambassador Sooklal indicated that the region agreed with Mr Sturdy that an agreement would not be concluded by the end of 2011.
Mr Cashman pointed out that the new approach was exactly the political commitment that the MEPs, through that engagement, were pushing for. Ambassador van de Geer warned that the political and trade issues should not be diluted. He advised that EU-SA trade relations were huge. One-third of South Africa’s trade was with the EU, more than all the Brics trade together and that had shown how big the interest of South Africa was in that regard.
He referred to the diagnostic report by the National Planning Commission of South Africa and indicated that the EU would have to come to a comprehensive conclusion to assist South Africa. He agreed that the unemployment figures were not encouraging and that there was an understanding for a political and economic need to reach to better trade agreements.
Ms Fubbs indicated that a developmental resolution as a basic platform was required. She added that agricultural issues always arose and that beneficiated agricultural products, as expressed by the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, to create jobs in the agricultural sector were a key sector for the generation of jobs. Just over 65 per cent of South Africa’s products are exported, about 30 per cent to Europe. In Chile there was no issue of tariffs, while South Africa went in with all the tariffs and the negative impact on jobs was high. There needed to be some way of underpinning an expansion in that sector, otherwise it would continue to influence the jobs in that sector negatively.
Premium quality South African goods were supplied to the EU. That was less than 1% of EU consumption, but Europe is our major trading partner. It was pointed out that the MEPs should continue to raise that in the forums they engaged in, for example, in the agriculture challenges, especially sugar. Ms Fubbs pointed to the challenges faced by the Southern African Customs Union. She added that South Africa’s neighbours were under trade pressure and forced to find work in South Africa due to a lack of jobs in their countries.
Mr Sturdy indicated that the failures of the Doha Round were resulting in a lot of bilateral agreements and that the Sugar Protocol was good for those who were a part of it. He advised the meeting that he would express the concern of the South Africans vis-à-vis trade and the impacts of the opening up of the markets to the Director-General of the External Action Services. He agreed, however, with the argument that protectionism was not the correct approach.
Mr Cashman proposed a joint letter from the SA-EU IPM for a joint assessment enquiry from the EU Commission.
4. Session II
Global governance and multilateralism
Session II was chaired by Ms Fubbs.
The following substantive items were discussed under Session II:
* The reform of the UN; and
* global trade and the WTO.
Mr Magama did a presentation on global governance and multilateralism. He indicated that there was a critical need for the reform of the UN and the entire reform of the global multilateral system. The UN agenda did not speak to the needs of the poor and the current situation promoted the uneven distribution of global power.
The primary focus for Africa was to have a crucial voice in the matter of global governance; the procedures/working methods/unequal power distribution of the UN system was at the heart of that challenge, as well as the countries represented at the UN Security Council. The industrialised countries used that platform for the attainment of their narrow economic interests. He argued that the equality deficit was a situation that could not continue. This brought the legitimacy and credibility of the UN into question. The African Union (AU), Ezulweni Consensus and UN charter called on the equal recognition of parties. The reality was the United Nations’ unequal treatment of parties. He called on the EU to support the call for global reform, inclusiveness and social justice and to apply pressure to undertake meaningful negotiation for the furtherance of that agenda item.
The MEPs pointed out that the EU Parliament had not formed a position on the matter. When the United Nations had been established half a century ago the world was a different place and therefore there was a strong case for saying that the structure and working methods should be reviewed.
They agreed with the argument that the systems needed to be changed and reaffirmed so that both parties could find common ground. They did however remind the meeting of the political dynamic of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members, ie permanent seats, rotating seats and the fact that neither of the two European countries would be willing to relinquish their permanent seats. That was a matter of considerable debate, because it is necessary for the EU to have a seat on the UNSC. That approach subsumed those two European countries and neither one of the two countries, ie UK and France, was willing to do so.
They pointed out that they shared South Africa’s view for a bigger voice. However, the form it should take was a matter they would be willing to discuss. They pointed out that it was a reality that China/Russia would not want to share their veto with a bigger block like the EU.
Ms Fubbs introduced the discussion on global trade and the WTO. The South African MPs argued for the consideration of EU assistance for Nepad programmes and projects. Nepad’s goal was to build a number of institutions and infrastructure in Africa so that Africa could stand on its own feet. The request was for the EU to review how it could assist, not only with resources, including technical support, capacity support and financial support, but in promoting the African agenda.
The EU had to consider that most of the conflicts that arose within Africa were due to the manipulation of resources. Women bear the brunt of those conflicts, since about 70% of agriculture is produced by women in Africa. The MEPs agreed that they would be prepared to assist South Africa more in terms of development and that the South African/EU trade relations contributed to development. The MEPs presented an understanding that the progress of the Doha Round did not lie within the EU’s control. They were, however, prepared to present a case for the least developed countries at the WTO Platform.
5. Session III
The way to the COP17 Climate Change Conference in Durban
Session III was chaired by the Deputy Co-Chairperson, Ms Sargentinni. The topic was introduced by South Africa as the host of the upcoming COP17 Conference in Durban in November/December 2011.
The South African Members of Parliament indicated that South Africa was committed to finding an effective, lasting and affordable solution to environmental challenges. As incoming COP President, South Africa was working towards a credible, ambitious, balanced and legally binding outcome in Durban. However, it had to be kept in mind that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process was a member‑country‑driven process. They pointed out that while countries had different historical responsibilities for emissions, a common responsibility existed for the future. That balance goes to the heart of the current negotiations on the future of the climate regime.
Therefore, our global response had to be rooted in the principles and objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, particularly the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. They argued for a two-track approach, which envisaged an ambitious and comprehensive outcome for the negotiations under both the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments by Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol. The MEPs valued the input and presentation and agreed that what was required was a unified commitment by all countries. They pointed out, however, that it was highly unlikely that an agreement would be reached. They further advised that the issue of long-term financing would present a challenge, in the light of the Eurozone crisis and the US debt, for the attainment of an agreement by all parties. They would, however, remain committed to achieving a sustainable solution.
6. Session IV
Current political issues in Africa
The session was chaired by Ms Fubbs. Mr Magama indicated that the political instability that Northern Africa and some Arab countries were experiencing was of grave concern to South Africa. The failure of the UN Security Council process in respect of the Monirso mission in Western Sahara presented the double standard followed by UN and Western partners. The Western Sahara had to be liberated from the shackles of Morocco. He appealed for the EU to apply pressure on their governments, especially France, for a solution.
The engagement on Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, the Arab Spring, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Somalia resulted in a political standoff between some members of the EU and South Africa. During the briefing on Swaziland, Ms Magadla, indicated that the country continued to face socio-economic and political challenges, a situation compounded by a shortfall of revenue. She indicated that the political challenges dated back from a judgment passed in 1973. She pointed that out Swaziland needed assistance, given the current economic crises, and it was unlikely that Swaziland would recover unless there was sufficient funding from an external donor.
Mr Manamela requested the EU to admit that they apply double standards when dealing with the political instability of some of those countries, for instance Cote d’Ivoire. He called further on the MEPs to admit that resource manipulation was the main reason for the EU interfering politically in some countries, for instance Libya and the role France played vis-à-vis the UN resolution on the no‑fly zone. The MEPs took exception to the line of discussion and pointed out that their approach had always been centered around the human rights of the affected countries and the support of citizens who spoke against the dictators of undemocratic countries.
7. Session V
Current political issues in Europe
The Session was chaired by Deputy Co-Chairperson Svensson. The item introduced by Mr Svensson focused on the rise and challenge of right-wing extremism in Europe. The MEPs referred to the shooting incident in Norway and the possibility that it could be attributed to the rise of some form of right-wing extremism. The MEPs pointed out that the incident was of grave concern to them politically and they had been shocked by the incident.
Ms Fubbs agreed that in general the incident raised international concern and offered several reasons that could have contributed to the situation, ie unemployment, economic crises, immigration and dysfunctional social systems. Mr Davidson pointed out that the incident allowed one to reflect on two issues, ie the rise of the right in the context of socio-economic development in Europe and the rise of smaller parties throughout Europe. He indicated that within that framework, challenges such as immigration and xenophobic tension exacerbated political conditions. The inadequacy of political and social institutions to deal with that resulted in manifestations of sporadic terrorism.
Ms Hajaig reiterated that the trend was worrisome for all in the North and South. She indicated that countries should guard against religious fundamentalism. She advocated for the education of young people before fundamentalism becomes an accepted practice. She gave the example of the essential ethos of all religions being the same but right‑wing fundamentalism focusing on divisive perceptions of each other.
Mr Koornhof surmised that Europe was in a survival mood at present and therefore EU countries were looking after themselves, Germany, for instance, was funding a bailout, since it was in their interest to do so. He agreed that joblessness amongst the youth was a challenge and pointed out that a survey done amongst South African youth concluded that they would be starting their own enterprises. He was however keen to gain an understanding of what EU youth concerns were being raised. They agreed that it was a matter that had to be addressed and solutions sought before another incident of that nature happened. The members discussed the matter at length and agreed that it was a challenge that should be addressed through further debates within Parliaments and children being educated to be tolerant towards each other.
8. Session VI
Dialogue facility – EU‑funded programme
The Session was chaired by Ms Fubbs and she requested Ambassador Sooklal to present on the EU Dialogue Facility funded programme. He pointed out that the perception that the SA-EU dialogue did not have a oversight mechanism was incorrect, since the Joint Cooperation Council reported to every forum of that nature. The EU appealed for the consideration of the development of the proposal by Dialogue Facility.
Ambassador Sooklal indicated that the South African members would study the proposal and comment at a later stage. He pointed out that South Africa agreed with the principle, but pointed out that the draft terms of reference did not have South Africa’s agreement and yet the Programme Management Unit (PMU) of the Dialogue Facility was functioning. He informed the meeting that the Director-General of the Joint Cooperation Council had informed the EU that South Africa would suspend interaction with the PMU until such stage as an agreement on the terms of reference has been developed.
9. Adoption of joint statement on 18th SA-EU IPM
The item was chaired by Deputy Co-Chairperson, Ms Sargentinni. The meeting adopted the joint statement of the 18th SA-EU Inter-Parliamentary Meetings. The joint statement was a proclamation of fruitful engagement by the South African and European Union Members of Parliament on matters of common interest.
The members of the European Union reaffirmed the need for the continuation of dialogue with South Africa and thanked the South Africans for traveling to Europe to ensure that the dialogue continued. The members of the South African delegation thanked the MEPs for their hospitality and taking time to engage them on international, regional and national matters of grave concern to both South Africa and Europe.
The Co-Chairpersons agreed that they would consult regarding the date for the 19th SA-EU IPM. It was anticipated that it would take place during February/March 2012.
1. The Speaker
(a) The President of the Republic submitted the following letter dated 16 November 2012 to the Speaker of the National Assembly, informing members of the Assembly of the employment of the South African National Defence Force for Service in co-operation with the South African Police Service.
EMPLOYMENT OP THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE FORCE FOR SERVICE IN CO-OPERATION WITH THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE
This serves to inform the National Assembly that I have employed One Hundred and Ten (110) South African National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel for service in co-operation with the South African Police Service to prevent Security Breaches at National Key Points of Relevance to the Greenpeace Movement and Associated Environmental Groups.
This employment is authorised in accordance with the provisions of section 201(2)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
The employment of the SANDF was for the period 19 August to 24 August 2012. The expenditure expected to be incurred for this employment is R 1, 999, 872, 60.
I will communicate this report to members of the National Council of Provinces and wish to request that you bring the contents hereof to the attention of the National Assembly.
Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma
President of the Republic of South Africa
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3. REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS ON THE AFRICAN CONVENTION ON THE CONSERVATION OF NATURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES OF 2003 IN TERMS OF SECTION 231 (2) OF THE CONSTITUTION OF 1996
The Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs (the Portfolio Committee), having considered the request for approval by Parliament of the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (previously known as the Algiers Convention) of 2003, referred to the Portfolio Committee on 15 May 2012, in terms of section 231 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, of 1996 (Constitution), reports as follows:
The Department of Environmental Affairs (the Department), on 4 September 2012, briefed the Portfolio Committee, on the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (the Convention or ACCNNR), originally known as the Algiers Convention, was initially formulated in 1968, revised, and adopted by the African Union, in Maputo, in July 2003. The Convention has, however, yet to come into force. The purpose of the Convention is to take into account more modern international developments in approaches to the management of biological diversity and natural resources, such as the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The main objective of the Convention is to encourage individual and joint action for the conservation, utilisation and development of soil, water, flora and fauna, for the present and future welfare of humankind.
The Convention provides details on its strategic focus, implementation and implications. The status of the Convention currently is that it is not yet in force, and requires 15 countries to ratify it to come into force. The Convention falls within the scope of section 231(2) of our Constitution and consequently requires Parliamentary approval.
Members raised a number of concerns around specifically the financial implications of the Convention for South Africa; the appointment of a national authority given that the Convention straddles several Ministerial mandates; the effective implementation of the Convention in the absence of a Secretariat; possible duplications or obligations already existing under other Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEA’s); and especially the possible future implications of a liability and compensation for damages clause (Article XXIV).
In principle, the Committee recommends that the House ratify the Convention, but draws the attention of the House to Article XXIV, as this may become a challenge in the future, as it has possible constitutional, legal, political and monetary consequences.
Subsequently, the Portfolio Committee requested legal advice in relation to concerns raised in respect of the possible implications of Article XXIV of the Convention, regarding possible liability and payment of compensation by our country. A legal opinion was received from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), in response to the Portfolio Committee’s request.
Article XXIV of the Convention provides as follows:
“The Parties shall, as soon as possible, adopt rules and procedures concerning liability and compensation of damages related to matters covered by Convention.”
The Committee heard that similar clauses exist in the Basel Convention and the Cartagena Protocol, as follows:
The Basel Convention:
Consultations on liability
The Parties shall co-operate with a view to adopting, as soon as practicable, a protocol which sets out appropriate rules and procedures in the field of liability and compensation for damage resulting from the transboundary movement and disposal of hazardous wastes and other wastes”.
The Cartagena Protocol:
“Article 27: Liability and Redress
The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Protocol shall, at its first meeting, adopt a process with respect to the appropriate elaboration of international rules and procedures in the field of liability and redress for damages resulting from transboundary movements of living modified organisms.”
The Portfolio Committee also noted that article 17 of the Stockholm Convention and article 18 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change contain clauses, which may create similar obligations for our country.
The DIRCO opinion states that this article refers “to a State’s liability at an international level, and indicates that, once the Convention enters into force, the States Parties to the Convention will meet to negotiate the rules and procedures, which will govern liability and compensation of damage for acts in contravention of a State Party’s obligations in terms of the Convention, which causes damage to another State Party.”
“As the standards for liability and compensation of damage vary from treaty to treaty in the field of environmental law, it is not possible to predict the actual implications of this article for South Africa at this stage. Should South Africa ratify the Convention, it will be a State Party when the Convention enters into force, and it will be represented when the rules and procedures are negotiated.” (our emphasis)
On 7 November 2012, the Portfolio Committee considered the above opinion and concurred with the opinion, especially the statement that “it is not possible to predict the actual implications of this article for South Africa at this stage”. The Portfolio Committee also understood that once the Convention enters into force, the States Parties to the Convention “will meet to negotiate the rules and procedure which will govern liability and the compensation of damages…” The Portfolio Committee was of the view that matters of liability and the payment of compensation of damages are usually best dealt with in a Court of Law, and not in International Treaties, through a process dealt with in “rules and procedures”. However, the Portfolio Committee is also mindful of the fact that an international precedent exists in the environmental arena to provide for such clauses “which will govern liability and the compensation of damages”, between States, arising out of the substance of a Treaty.
If ratified, South Africa obviously must assist in giving full effect to this clause, hopefully, in a manner, which will not violate our sovereignty, our Constitution, our laws and our national interest.
Therefore, the contents of the “rules and procedures” which will be negotiated, in the future, to set the parameters and prescripts of the liability and possible payment of damages are of vital importance, to establish the assessment of risk South Africa may face.
The Portfolio Committee, therefore, recommends that the Department and DIRCO brief the Portfolio Committee:
1. on the South African negotiations mandates, before the negotiations commence, as well as before the adoption takes place, of the final rules and procedures pertaining to the liability and compensation for damages clause of the African Convention on Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, as well as article 12 of the Basel Convention and article 27 of the Cartagena Protocol; and
2. on the South African negotiations mandates, before the adoption takes place of the “procedures and institutional mechanisms for determining non-compliance with .........the Convention”, referred to in article 17 of the Stockholm Convention and article 18 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Portfolio Committee recommends that the House ratifies the Convention.
The Portfolio Committee recommends that this Report be adopted accordingly.
Report to be considered.
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