Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard (Mini plenary)
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 27 Feb 2020
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2020
PROCEEDINGS OF THE MINI-PLENARY – NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Members of the mini-plenary met in the Chamber of the National Assembly at 14:01.
The Deputy Speaker, as the Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
TRANSFORMING SOCIETY AND UNITING THE COUNTY BY CULTIVATING A SHARED RECOMMITMENT TO CONSTITUTIONAL VALUES THAT PROMOTE NATION-BUILDING, STRENGTHEN SOCIAL COHESION AND IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ALL SOUTH AFRICANS
(Subject for Discussion)
Dr N P NKABANE: Deputy Speaker, hon members in the House, guests and the broader society, in particular, those segments in our communities that are watching this debate today, we
wish to reaffirm our commitment to the ANC’s manifesto for the 2019 general elections which is “Let’s grow South Africa together”. It is our responsibility as the ANC-led government to reprogram the subconscious mind by providing it with consistent messaging that aligns with the progressive programme that we seek to achieve.
Nelson Mandela once said: “fools multiply when wise men are silent.” The President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated that and I quote: “the freedom we enjoy today was achieved through struggle, determination and great sacrifice”. He further reiterated that and I quote: “despite the challenges and setbacks, we won our freedom by working together and never giving up.”
House Chairperson, it is well known that the postapartheid state of constitutional democracy was faced with a broad spectrum of political, socioeconomic and human rights issues aimed at challenging the status core of the state that was more of a racially exclusive capitalist that benefited my people on the left; where black people who constituted the majority were excluded from the social, political and economic realms of the dominant society.
Now, the question is whether the aims and objectives of the new administration were achieved as far as transforming the society, uniting the country and improve the quality of lives of South Africans? As the current generation, we have a responsibility to define our own struggle. The answer is: since the transition to democracy we have made tremendous strides as the ruling party on the issues of transforming society, social cohesion and nation-building.
However, recent studies revealed that South Africa remains one of the unequal societies in the world. Some scholars further revealed that South Africa remains divided along class, race and ethnic lines in Africa since the advent of democratic dispensation. What may be the contributing factors to a divided society in this epoch?
Deputy Speaker, it is apparent that we mention that there are still shortcomings that are threats to transforming the society and nation-building that demands the government to employ an aggressive approach in addressing the following predicaments namely: inequality, poverty and unemployment, language barriers, cultural differences and historic boarders, multicultural education curriculum, uncertainty about
technological innovations versus the future of work, service delivery issues, the unreliability of water and electricity supply, the politics of land expropriation without compensation versus land grabs, property rights and constitutional amendments, overpopulation and the decline in the nations moral fibre and the debate that has been started by my people on the left on the open border policy.
Linked to overpopulation is the increase in the number of foreign nationals entering South Africa. The study that was conducted by Statistics SA in 2012 revealed that we are currently sitting at 14 million. I am not sure about the recent statistics. This has a negative effect on what we call periodic xenophobic outburst against perceived noncitizens or acts of criminality because we are using the words interchangeably.
On the other hand, the postapartheid developmental state is the central factor in national cohesion contested by the active engaged citizens defining and claiming political space by demonstrations, social protests and strikes. The space is again increasingly contested by the arm of the state, like
policemen who sometimes respond harshly to the protestors. This may be referred to as double autonomy of the state.
The National Development Plan, NDP, propounded all the predicaments; the National Planning Commission, NPC, document on nation-building identified fairly similar threats to national social cohesion in South Africa including institutionalized racism, social fragmentation, residential and spatial segregation, as well as the decreasing trust in politicians and the institutions of governance.
Deputy Speaker, the adoption of the Constitution in 1996 just after democratic dispensation marked the watershed at which South Africa departed from its divided history towards a common identity and future which was filled with potential and hope. Building on the Freedom Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the Constitution anchors a vision of a South Africa built on a culture of reverence for life, for human rights and a national identity founded on the values of nonsexism, nonracialism and equality. It also provides for an independent judiciary and Constitutional Court for the enforcement of the justifiable Bill of Rights; whilst establishing Chapter 9 institutions to uphold democracy.
Deputy Speaker, as the ANC-led government, our vision is to build a more equal, just and humane society where all humans are treated with respect and dignity, where all enjoy the right and protections, and no one exploits or discriminates one another as enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
The right to equality is affirmed in numerous international instruments of particular relevance in the present context in its formulation in the Philadelphia declaration, where the opening proposition is describing the goal of social justice which reads as follows and I quote: “All human beings irrespective of race, creed or sex have the right to pursue both their material wellbeing and their spiritual developments in conditions of freedom and dignity of economic security and equal opportunity.”
Deputy Speaker, we have identified secondary threats to social cohesion and nation-building. They are gender-based violence, sexual assaults and femicide, where we have witnessed the brutal killing of gogo Beauty Mtolo by his grandson in Nazareth community in Umzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal and the brutal killing of LGBTQIA, Lindokuhle Cele an activist in Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal as well as the high levels of crime.
In conclusion, the Reconstruction and Development Programme, RDP, the Constitution and the NDP place social compact as paramount for social transformation. However, there have been many attempts to implement some form of social compact. In the absence of private sector transformation and an effective and assertive developmental state, South Africa does not have a tangible social compact which really demands an aggressive approach by the government.
The solution to all these challenges is to rethink democratic agenda in a manner that makes actual meaning that impacts positively on the quality of lives of South Africans which looks holistically in all components of the democratic agenda, which are political democracy, economic democracy, social democracy and land reforms.
Lastly, the scourge of unemployment can be also addressed by rethinking, redesigning and redefining the future of work by looking holistically on the technologically innovations versus the human factor and human intelligence, which are artificial intelligence, robots and automation as to ensure that all these transformative models and systems augment the contribution of the humans rather than replacing humans.
There is an urgent need for the enforcement of affirmative action in favour of the Black African women, in particular, since the implementation of affirmative action is confronted with formidable challenges. However, the enforcement and implementation of affirmative action and employment equity should not create new casualties.
Embarking on an intensive outreach programme on the future of work clarifying the 4th Industrial Revolution and technological innovations versus jobs that are at risk including both blue and white collar jobs; developing the labour migration policy that will assist in regulating the employment of foreign nationals and to complement the Immigration Act; revitalising moral regeneration and social cohesion programmes to mitigate the risk of the decline of the nation’s moral fibre.
We have been consistent as the ANC in our pronouncement to ensure that we fast-track the promotion and implementation of indigenous languages in our country and we reaffirm our position. You must change. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Cardo, as you towards the podium, do go ahead; I would like to take a second to remind members that we are in one of the two mini-plenaries. The other is at the Old Assembly Chamber. Therefore any decisions will be taken in the full plenary session of the Assembly if necessary. [Applause.]
Dr M J CARDO: Deputy Speaker, on 8 May 1996, the Constitutional Assembly adopted our country’s founding Cabinet. This is the social compact through which the new South Africa was created. It is our own magna carta, a document offering hope and promise, yet today, the Constitution has become the object of resentment and scorn, a fading symbol of the dream deferred. So what went wrong?
The ANC has had 25 years to unite the country behind a shared commitment to constitutional values that promote nation- building and social cohesion. It has squandered opportunity after opportunity along the way. That is because the ANC always chooses party over Constitution. [Interjections.] The ANC steers by the values of the national democratic revolution rather than the values of the Constitution. And the ANC always opts for the sectarian principle of racial nationalism ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, you can’t be screaming like that; it’s out of order. There is a member speaking here.
Please, let’s keep quite. You have members who are going to represent you in the speaker’s list. Thank you very much. Go ahead, hon member.
Dr M J CARDO: The ANC always opts for the sectarian principle of racial nationalism over the constitutional precept of nonracialism. The founding values of our Constitution are human dignity, nonracialism and nonsexism, and the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law. Yet the ANC has waged a war of attrition on the dignity of ordinary South Africans.
What dignity was there for the victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy caused by the ANC provincial government’s criminal neglect of mentally ill patients in Gauteng? What dignity is there for the residents of failed ANC—run municipalities who have to use pit latrines, and who don’t have access to clean water and sanitation? And what dignity is there, Minister, for the 10,4 million South Africans who cannot find jobs because of ANC policies that destroy economic growth? [Interjections.]
The ANC likes to pay lip service to nonracialism and nonsexism, but it scapegoats minorities and weaponises gender- based violence to score cheap political points in this debating Chamber. The ANC nods in the direction of the rule of law with its gaze on the rule of power to amass power, to centralise power and to abuse power. Every day, South Africans face hardships caused by the ANC’s abuse of power. Every year, R30 billion of public funds go down the black hole of ANC fraud and corruption. ANC corruption is why the lights don’t work; why the taps run dry; why services don’t get delivered and why public transport doesn’t run on time. But the ANC stands for absolutely no consequences. [Interjections.] It’s the reason why not even one of the crooks implicated in state capture is wearing orange overalls, cooling their heels in jail. For the ANC, party always comes before Constitution.
Instead of pursuing a better life for all, ANC cadres pursue a better life for themselves, feasting on tenders, kickbacks, empowerment deals and Bosasa-sponsored booze and braai packs. The poorest South Africans, meanwhile, go hungry and jobless. South Africa’s human rights architecture is among the finest in the world, admired far and wide. The bastion is our Constitution. Its pillars are the Chapter 9 institutions
supporting constitutional democracy. And the cornerstone is our Bill of Rights.
They provide the building blocks of nationhood, social cohesion and a better quality of life for all South Africans. But, under this government, the edifice has become a house of cards. The foundations have been eroded and weakened by corruption and state capture; by the ANC’s endless factional wars that tear apart institutions like the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks; and by a crippling policy of cadre deployment that sees recycled ruling party hacks dumped into positions of power for which they are ill-suited. The result has been a prolonged onslaught over two decades on the constitutional institutions that underpin and values that infuse our nation.
Take the Chapter 9 institutions, for example. With the exception of Thuli Madonsela, the Public Protector has always been an ANC deflector, covering up scandals like Oilgate and Estinagate. The Commission for Gender Equality is where the superannuated matrons of the ANC Women’s League go to feather their retirement nests. The Human Rights Commission has descended into farce, issuing mad and contradictory statements
on hate speech, and exploiting the grief of the bereaved for airtime on TV.
Under the ANC, the Bill of Rights has become a paper tiger. Property rights are being undermined by the threat of expropriation without compensation and the Constitution is being blamed for the ANC’s failures on land reform. The second-generation rights conducive to social justice such as the right to housing and health care, aren’t being progressively realised. The ANC can’t build houses but it wants to build smart cities with bullet trains.
The ANC can’t ensure that public hospitals have enough medicine and bed sheets, but it wants to introduce National Health Insurance that will cripple the health care sector. Instead of building the nation and sowing social cohesion, the ANC has chosen to unstitch the fabric of our constitutional settlement with its assault on property rights and by making commitments on social justice that it will never fulfil.
Let us respect the dignity of South Africans by making sure they can find jobs. Let us rebuild the nation by focusing on genuine nonracialism and nonsexism. And let us foster social
cohesion by putting the Constitution before party. I thank you. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
Ms Y N YAKO: Deputy Speaker, the quality of live for all is jobs. The quality of life for all is education - free quality education. The quality of life for all is food on the table. The quality of life for all is a roof over the head. The quality of life for all is dignity. The quality of life is safety and a society free of gender-based violence. The quality of life for all is access to information, including access to affordable data. The quality of life for all is access to water and sanitation. There is no quality of life in pit toilets. There is no quality of life in unemployment and joblessness. There is no quality of life in unemployment and hunger.
For far too long, we spent too much time investing in reconciliation without justice; we forgave people who never asked for forgiveness. Today we celebrate racist apartheid apologists who killed our people - people who say that their party system was not a crime against humanity. We are never going to build a nation with racists who are investing all their resources in protecting ill—gotten gains. As the EFF, we
adopted a clear programme and have started implementing cardinal pillar number one. We are going to expropriate all land without compensation to equal redistribution to all. We cannot transform South Africa if we do not change property relations. We cannot build one South Africa if only few whites, mainly men, enjoy the wealth.
It is only through expropriation of land without compensation that we will transform South Africa and build one nation. That is why we are calling on all people of South Africa, from all walks of life, to go out in their numbers and make all submissions when Parliament comes to their communities for public hearings. We must share in the wealth of South Africa - all minerals resources, and we will be able to build a united South Africa. The mines must belong to workers, women and youth. How do we recommit to constitutional values and improve the lives of our people when Tshilidzini Hospital, Kalafong Hospital, Baragwanath Hospital, clinics in Alexander, KwaMashu, Emnambiti and Zululand do not have medication?
We must send our children to schools not to be fed drugs but to learn and become productive members of society; those are the constitutional values that we must commit to. Our children
are dying at school - one place where they are supposed to be safe. We must create work for our people. Only when people earn an income, participate in the economy and put the roof over their heads and their children will we be able to recommit to the constitutional values and improve the lives of our people. We must not fall into another trap wherein we make our people to recommit to a Constitution that only protected the benefits of few whites who continue to enjoy the benefits of living in South Africa today the same way they did pre- 1994.
If by recommitting to constitutional values we mean that the status quo must remain, we are not coming together to that gathering. If this is another attempt to rob black people, in particular Africans for another 25 years of their lives to continue to be landless, jobless and homeless, we are not coming to that gathering. There is no reconciliation without justice, and we should never lie to our people.
We have done it once, and it should never happen again. There can never be social cohesion when black people continue to live like visitors in their own country. [Interjections.] We can never improve the lives of our people when property
relations continue to serve a few whites. As the EFF, we are not coming to that gathering. I thank you, Deputy Speaker. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
Mr N SINGH: Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker. Hon colleagues, at the outset allow me to thank hon Nkabane for submitting this motion to address an issue in our country which I and the IFP firmly believe has the potential to either build us or break us.
Social cohesion, or rather simply togetherness, is an ideal that millions of South Africans stood for, bled for, died for and sacrificed everything in life for. Why? In order to make progress a possibility in this lifetime for the future of our country and for all South Africans.
We chose to serve not a select few of our people but all our people. We chose to serve not only the ones who have, those who had or those who are still looking towards government in order to reach a point to have, but all our people. We chose a path in which we do not marginalise, do not disenfranchise and do not divide our people ever again.
If we were to rise to this podium to only point out the problems we face — the dire poverty, unemployment and economic injustices we all face coupled with the plight and daily lived realities of millions that feel the deepening inequality only rise — we certainly will not then reach a destination of progress if we are to be divided.
The building blocks to achieve the ideals of true social justice and economic justice for all our people is through the acceptance and understanding by government of a simple truth. That truth is the fact that economic salvation promised by political freedom three decades ago has not materialised despite all the promises, all the talk shops and all the resources which have been dumped into the hands of the few and not the many.
What’s missing is the right value system. We have unfortunately moved on a path whereby we have done unto our own people almost the same as what was done to us in the past. Social cohesion is the willingness of our people to co-operate with each other in order to survive and prosper. The African principle of ubuntu speaks to the very core of social cohesion.
We are not simply individuals who work in silos and only take care of ourselves. If all in our society prosper, we all prosper. We know that this is the only way in which we can see our country move forward. Lest we forget, we chose a path towards reconciling our differences three decades ago, and we cannot divert from this path and tear our people apart, as what was done to us in the past.
However, we can choose to remain united, together and committed to the ideals and values which make up the fabric and fibre of all our people, united in our diversity. Our people want of this government only solutions and plans which are to be met with real political will, justice, and swift and strong action, over continued empty tough talk and noisy barks with no bite, and with fights that only perpetuate violence as the answer to reach consensus. I reiterate that by working together, progress is possible for all of us.
In conclusion, social cohesion starts here in this House. We have to raise the bar here and be an example to the millions of South Africans out there. We need to respect each other, show respect and we will receive respect, irrespective of
colour, creed, religion, caste and political affiliation. We all have a united task to perform. [Applause.]
Dr C P MULDER: Hon Deputy Speaker, between 1992 and 1995 more than 100 000 people died in an armed conflict in the Bosnian war. Just like South Africa, the former Yugoslavia was also artificially created ... and a very diverse state consisting of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro. What happened in the former Yugoslavia is very relevant for us and I will come back to this.
This is a very ambitious topic brought to the House by the hon Nkabane. With this discussion, the ANC strives to transform society and unite the country. How do they want to do that? By cultivating a shared recommitment to constitutional values, and in so doing, hope to promote nation-building and strengthen social cohesion, and then to improve the quality of life for all South Africans. Wow! That’s quite a mouthful and a huge challenge. If only it was that easy and that simple.
The hon Nkabane hopes to achieve this by a shared recommitment to our constitutional values. What are these constitutional values? Section 1 of the Constitution tells us it’s human
dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms, nonracialism and nonsexism, accountability, supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law.
These values are laudable, but are we really serious about them? What if our attitudes, our policies and behaviour in this House undermine these principles on a daily basis? If the hon Chief Whip of the EFF says in public that, I don’t speak to white people, what does that say about nonracialism and that party? If the policy of affirmative action tells a young free-born South African of a minority community that, you will not be appointed because of your skin colour, what does that say about human dignity? If criminals ...
Ms N V MENTE: Point of order.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: What’s the point of order?
Ms N V MENTE: The member on the podium is misleading the House. We never said we don’t speak to white people but when they continue to be racist we will not speak to them.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, that’s a political statement. I am switching off your microphone. It’s not correct. It’s not a point of order.
Dr C P MULDER: It’s not a point of order, but it’s the truth. I heard the hon Chief Whip saying that with my own ears. [Interjections.] Don’t run away from the truth.
If criminals and corrupt state employees and beneficiaries of black economic empowerment have plundered the fiscus for
25 years ...
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Order Deputy Speaker. Can the member at the podium take a question?
Dr C P MULDER: If I have enough time I’ll certainly take a question.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Is it painful if we don’t speak to you as a white person? Is it painful?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, take your seat.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: We don’t speak to white people.
An HON MEMBER: Sit down.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, take your seat and you are out of order.
Dr C P MULDER: If black economic empowerment causes people to plunder the fiscus for 25 years and there are no consequences, what does that say about accountability? If we intend to make it legal to confiscate the property of South African citizens by way of expropriation without compensation, what does that say about the rule of law?
The Freedom Charter played a pivotal role in the underlying constitutional values that you are discussing. “We the people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know”, firstly, “that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.” Do we agree with that? Do we actually say that, that is true? Remember, if something belongs to me I also have a say, and minorities should have a say.
Secondly, “that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.” Quite often from this podium we speak about the will of the people. It’s all the people.
Is there only one recipe for nation-building? Do we have the right recipe for nation-building in South Africa if we stumble from one sporting event to the next and think that will bring nation-building? No, it’s time to stop with lip service and give actual meaning to the motto, unity in diversity.
In December 1993, amidst the war in Bosnia, a joint delegation of the ANC and the forerunner of the FF Plus, the Afrikaner Volksfront [Afrikaner People's Front], went to Europe to look at constitutional morals. There we met Prof Lidija Basta- Posavec, a professor in constitutional law at the University of Belgrade. Her lived experience was the atrocities of the siege of Sarajevo and the Bosnian war. She listened to us and then she asked only one question. Are there common values?
If you want to successfully build a state you need common values. Without common values you will not succeed. We need to go back to that discussion because it seems that some of us
have an idea of what those values are but they do not believe in those values. Thank you.
Mr K L JACOBS: Hon Deputy Speaker, let me start by highlighting the dire impact that the colonial and apartheid projects had on the social fabric of this nation. In the main, they were founded on the identity and social constructs that deliberately undermined and treated others, for example African culture, heritage, religion and identity as inferior.
The unfortunate reality is that, from the perspective of social cohesion and nation-building the apartheid project was successful in so far as it produced fragmented communities.
The attainment of a truly democratic society has come under threat in recent years, with the rise of narrow national tendencies that tend to hijack this august House, in an effort to dislodge the ANC’s programme of truly building a united nonracial and nonsexist society. And yes, hon Mulder, this nonracial part says that we talk to everybody as the ANC including the white people.
This nation-building programme is the reason that the social transformation programme of the ANC is underpinned by the principles of people centeredness, a people driven state and a value system based on human solidarity.
The strategy and tactics of the ANC correctly characterises the cause of social transformation in South Africa as one that is taking place in a global environment.
To the hon Cardo, yes the ANC does strive towards a national democratic revolution in order to achieve a national democratic society precisely, because the previous regime did not. Ultimately, a national democratic society constitutes the ideal state we aspire to as the ANC. Regardless of the progress made; we are concerned that it is inadequate and that the inequitable social relations that defined colonialism remain largely in place.
Our radical socioeconomic policies, through collective participation are geared towards managing equitable distribution and equal opportunities and providing funds to social imperatives.
To illustrate this point we note that the Minister of Finance proposed a total consolidated spending of R1,95 trillion, which is definitely not an austerity budget as some would want to put it out there.
Of this budget, 396,4 billion will be spent on learning and culture, R229,7 billion will be spent on health and
R309,5 billion will be spent on social development.
We need to note that these spending were not there previously. [Applause.]
And that certain societies were not allowed in. So this is the reason that huge amounts are being spent in order to correct those injustices and building our national democratic society. [Applause.]
Inclusive policies and programmes that are sensitive to and cater to the less advantaged and vulnerable are put in place in all areas and sectors of our communities.
We are a society that celebrates multiple and diverse expressions of identities. By celebrating diversity, we
recognise and affirm the differences between and among members of society.
Contrary to the apartheid regime, the ANC has endeavoured and worked hard at providing universal access to public infrastructure and facilities such as community centres, recreational facilities, public libraries, resource centres with Internet facilities, well maintained public schools, clinics, water supplies and sanitation.
It is for this reason that education, at a foundational phase, ought to encompass these ideals. In the main, education plays a critical role in the creation of an inclusive society. It will provide opportunities to learn the history and culture of one’s own and other societies, which will cultivate the understanding and appreciation of other societies, cultures and religions.
It will provide the opportunity to instil values of respect and appreciation of diversity and it will empower those who are marginalised or excluded from participating in discussions and decision-making.
The focus remains on progressively realising the provision of quality, basic, higher education and training.
Education remains an apex priority of the ANC and government, which is a critical component of building a democracy with social content, as well as contributing to the developmental state and the national democratic society.
The National Development Plan pointed out that our education system was in need of urgent and rapid attention where, and I quote, “Building national capabilities requires quality early childhood development, basic education, further and higher education.”
Early childhood development plays a pivotal role in re- establishing and altering our education system, as it will foster a better child developed from birth, and when the child develop later in the primary school years.
Our democratic government is committed to cultivating a thriving and self-sufficient youth that actively participates and contributes to the country’s economy.
The National Growth Path, the National Development Plan, the Industrial Policy Action Plan, the Sector Skills Plan and the White Paper for Post School Education and Training underpin this.
The Skills Development Act of 1998 laid the foundation for a skills framework and programmes to benefit all young people in South Africa. It is worthy to note that this was also not there before. These skills are set out in the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology’s National Skills Development Strategy.
The youth are one of the pillars of the future and are reflected as one of the priorities for development and empowerment in the ANC’s economic transformation programmes. This is a government that desires to see young people reach their full potential.
The ANC has sought to address the dual health system and supports the establishment of the Universal Health Coverage through transforming our health system. Progressively realising the Universal Health Coverage will contribute to a healthy population that benefits the entire nation.
Ultimately, the National Health Insurance, NHI, reflects the kind of society we wish to live in - one based on the values of justice, fairness and social solidarity. [Applause.]
The National Development Plan recognises that reducing the cost of living is essential for broadening economic participation and eliminating poverty. Alongside the economic wage earned through work, the social wage provided by government represents a steadily rising contribution to improved living conditions of working people and their families. Investment is made in the social wage comprising of education, health services, social development, public transport, housing and local amenities. This investment lowers the cost of living for poor and working class households.
Further support is provided to vulnerable households through the Old Age Grant, the Child Support Grant and other social assistance grants. Other forms of support include contributions to social security, including unemployment insurance, injury compensation and death or disability benefits.
Hon Deputy Speaker in conclusion, the task on society in general and us as parliamentarians in particular, is to create positive narratives of an inclusive society for the future. To the hon Singh, yes you are correct that social cohesion starts in this House and that us, will be then be able to enable each member of society to share, understand and contribute to these narratives.
As we grapple with the many socioeconomic issues that plague our people and as we look for answers to our challenges, we are reminded of the vision as explained in the book of Isaiah, Chapter 1. I would really urge all of us to go and read that chapter, because it speaks to where we are right now in South Africa. In that particular verse God says, and I quote, “Come now, let us reason together.” It means let us put aside our differences. Let us not grandstand here at this podium, let us participate meaningfully in the building of our nation and not do political standing. [Applause.]
Let us redress the wrongs of the past and accept that they need to be redressed. Together seeking the greater good for all and of all at the cost of none! Again thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
Mr C H SIBISI: Hon Deputy Speaker, one cannot talk of social cohesion without talking about economic injustice. We see widening inequality, growing unemployment, and persistent racial inequalities negatively impacting our nation. The inequalities that persist today have largely been attributed to apartheid policies limiting access to quality education and formal labour market participation, which served to keep people trapped in poverty.
Opportunities for black people to secure management positions or become owners of companies were minimal. Black people were denied access to clean water, sanitation, electricity and safe transport. However we have seen more opportunities available for young black South Africans and more opportunities must be made available to decrease the inequality gap.
Income inequality in South Africa has sadly deepened. According to the latest figures from the World Inequality Database, the top 1% of South African earners take home almost 20% of all income in the country, while the top 10% take home 65%. The World Bank stated that South Africa's richest households are almost 10 times wealthier than poor households.
To improve social cohesion the NFP calls for government; to seek a deeper understanding of our communities and measure social cohesion; engage with communities and build partnerships between key stakeholders; prevent and respond to incidents of racism or conflict between groups; and strategically plan for the needs of communities now and into the future.
However, we unfortunately do not have a tool to measure social cohesion. The potential key determinants that are most important among a large number of factors that influence social cohesion like inequality, poverty, violence, gender and conflicts remain hidden, making it difficult to formulate policies that can be expected to materially improve social cohesion and achieve inclusive development.
The NFP believes that peace, development and social cohesion cannot be achieved if women are sidelined and undermined.
Women play a vital role in developing communities. We must protect our women and provide the necessary tools for women to actively participate in the economy without discrimination and threat of being alienated.
The issue of social cohesion essentially comes down to whether we trust our democratic institutions or not, The National Freedom Party believes that we should not allow racial division and economic inequality to undermine the substance and meaning of the rainbow nation.
With this being said, I would like to quote a piece from Puleng Segalo’s article on, Gender, social cohesion and everyday struggles in South Africa.
When millions continue to live below the poverty line, how can cohesion be possible? When many stomachs continue to make a hollow sound, while others swim in abundance, we cannot begin to claim a socially cohesive society
The task of transforming societies and establishing the constitutional values in developing communities is an ongoing task which will need serious commitment from not only government but change agents. We commend the ambitious leaders, gifted individuals, creative ideas and cultures, who play an important role taking decisive roles as agents of change to force trans- formation in our society. I thank you
Mr M P GALO: In the Journal of Social Philosophy published in 2010, Prof Samantha Vice writes on, How Do I Live in This Strange Place? The moral authority of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Mandela’s original conciliatory approach to whites when he came to power dependent partly on whites being prepared to take up the burden of reparation and moral rejuvenation.
They must be able to say, black people, you are poor because of what our forefathers inflicted upon you, something which was further escalated by the apartheid regime. Part of taking up this burden includes acknowledging that apartheid was a heinous crime against humanity.
Hon Members, our quest to social cohesion and national reconciliation must be underpinned by transformational tools such as affirmative action, broad based black economic empowerment and land reform. The project of national building can only stall if South Africans still exist as compartments.
To forge national unity, we should urgently address both social and economic justice. No one should be left behind, even the pseudo intellectuals and African chauvinists who are
stoking racial hate among South Africans. But we cannot dent the legacy of the past and cohere as a nation if we have not addressed both the remnants and legacy of the past. I thank you.
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Thank you, Speaker. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Deputy!
Mr M G P LEKOTA: I think that as long as we do not understand how we came to be looking at each other as different, we will not understand how to correct that. Very few of us realise or remember that once upon a time in this country, there was qualified franchise. Which meant: It didn’t matter what your colour was; although it mattered what your gender was. It didn’t matter what your colour was. You qualified to vote or not to vote on the basis of what education level you had; how much wealth you owned; and so on.
It explains how it came to pass that the Cape Colony could have that qualified franchise delivering unto it a nonracial management of affairs. Indeed, when the Emancipation Act of 1833 was passed, some of the members of society in the Cape
left the Cape in protest of why those who were of a different complexion were now emancipated from being subject to others. It explains why later we would have the north provinces with racial policies when the Cape was still with qualified franchise.
Today, if we want to correct things, we have to educate each other on the attitudes, because that was the attitude that was taught that time. We have to educate each other on the attitude, not starting in this House on a scene. We must start in our homes, where we say to our children in the little schools and so on: You are all the children of South Africa.
When the children learn at that age and we the parents reinforce that education, I promise you that the first thing that is going to happen is that we will respect each other on the basis of the content of character rather than what your colour is or how much money you have. That is what our own people in the mother tongue say:
Motho ke motho ka batho ba bang!
This is because you must respect others if you expect them to respect you. And we don’t teach that! Our society today says: You know, well, I am Mr so and so’s son and I have a Mercedes Benz or I drive that and so on. [Time expired.] That’s what makes for people ... [Interjections.] ... and the ones we respect are the ones with money. [Interjections.] I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon Deputy Speaker, I must thank hon Nkabane for this debate. I think it comes at a very appropriate time. We know that the Constitution was as a result of a negotiated settlement. So, many of us may not agree with all the clauses in the Constitution. That is why the Constitution is up for review every year. Some clauses while standing our say there is provision for a reasonable accommodation - for example, the religious managers.
Yes, some hon members have blinkers. For example, the Constitution crumbs major religions in matters of faith. So, I want to ask hon members to take their blinkers off. The Constitution itself tells you to do so with its reasonable
accommodation provision, in this particular case, for religious managers.
So, a matter of faith in the Islamic religion must not be easily rejected, like the Minister of Home Affairs did last week on SAFM. If it seems to have differences with the Constitution, a case in point is inheritance in an interstate matter where no will was left. The Muslim faith says a male child will then get twice the inheritance of a female child.
The reasonable accommodation comes into place. The compensation for female children is that the males are 100% responsible for their needs – the needs of the children if a marriage for example breaks down and the many other reasons why there is conflict. This is a matter of faith and why God in His wisdom decided to make it a matter of faith. So, if the spouse – especially the spouse - does not support the females, then the males have extra responsibility.
While we hold the Constitution in high esteem, it is not cast in stone; it does not crumb matters of faith, especially of major religions. It is a matter of faith. For example, on the Islamic religion, 60% of Africans in Africa are Muslims. You
can’t say that the Constitution with all its flaws must trump matters of faith. Thank you very much.
USEKELA MPHATHISWA WEZOBUGCISA NENKCUBEKO: Sekela Somlomo,
abaPhathiswa nooSekela baPhathiswa abakhoyo apha, amaLungu ePalamente nabantu boMzantsi Afrika ngokubanzi, ndiyanibulisa. Kulo nyaka we-100 lokuzalwa kukabawo uRaymond Mhlaba nakule nyanga yokubhiyozela umhla wakhe wokuzalwa, kwabo bangayaziyo ukuba wazalwa ngomhla we-12 kweyoMdumba kunyaka we-1920. Kule nyanga yokukhumbula umhla wokungcwatywa kwakhe, kwabo bangayaziyo le mini, ngumhla wama-27 kweyoMdumba wama-2005.
Yena noogxa bakhe, amagorha omzabalazo, kuyamangalisa abakwenzela eli lizwe kunye nabantu balo ukutshintsha impilo yabo. Xa sithetha ngokwakha isizwe asikwazi ukungabakhumbuli. Ingaba thina senza ntoni na ngesi sipho basishiyela sona?
Impilo yabantu boMzantsi Afrika siyitshintsha njani na singala malungu ahleli apha? Kubalulekile nokuzazi ukuba singoobani na? Sizalwa ngoobani na? Awukwazi ukuthetha ngokwakha uMzantsi Afrika omtsha ungazazi ukuba ungubani na.
Xa iintatheli, amaphepha-ndaba kunye nababhali jikelele bethetha ngathi, bathetha ngabantu abathanda ubundlongo-
ndlongo(prone to violence),abantu abaphatha gadalala abantwana namabhinqa, abaphethwe yindlala, ukungasebenzi nokungalingani, kwaye abaphelelwe bubuntu. Ithi ke imbongi yaseAmerica uMaya Angelou, kodwa kunjalo asingabo oosathana okanye amalungisa, singabantu...
... “we are neither devils nor divines” ...
Ukuze siye phambili kufuneka singavumi ukuba ngaba bantu uJames Baldwin wathi wabhala ngabo ngomnye unyaka esithi:
“nobody knows my name”.
Asilwela thina amagorha afana noo Oom Ray, siyawazi amagama ethu kwaye siyazazi ukuba songoobani na. Ukuba besingenawo amaqhawe afana nabo, aphile ubomi bawo bonke betshintsha imeko abantu beli lizwe ababephila phantsi kwayo, ngesifana naba bantu wabhala ngabo uJames Baldwin esithi...
... nobody knows my name.
Ukuze sibakhumbule kufuneka sonke sithathe inxaxheba ekwakheni uMzantsi Afrika obalulekileyo. Isivumelwano soluntu (social contract) sisisekelo somzabalazo. Ukuba awuyazi loo nto, abantu yiANC, iANC ngabantu [Kwaqhwatywa.] Umzekelo, xa iANC yayisekwa ngonyaka we-1912 yayisivumelwano nabantu boMzantsi Afrika eso. Ukuba awuwazi amabango eAfrika onyaka we-1943 (African claims), yasisivumelwano neso.
UMqulu weNkululeko (Freedom Charter) wonyaka we-1955, yinkqubela phambili yesivumelwano. uMzantsi Afrika ngowabo bonke abantu abahlala kuwo, omnyama nomhlophe. Bonke abantu banamalungelo afanayo nalingayo. Sisiseko ke esi sazo zonke iinkqubo zikarhulumente ekwakheni isizwe nokubambisana.
Imvula-mlomo yoMgaqo-siseko welizwe (preamble) ivumelana nokuthi ukulingana ngokwebala, ngokobuni, inkululeko yabantu, mazibe sisiseko. IsiCwangciso sokuPhuhliswa kweSizwe (National Development Plan) sithetha ngesizwe esibona ukungafani kwethu nje ngamandla ethu, endaweni yokuba ibe yinto
enokusahlukanisa. Siphinda sigxininise ekubeni sibe ngabantu abathatha inxaxheba ekwakheni isizwe sethu sonke ngokulinganayo, omnyama nomhlophe, osweleyo nosisityebi.
Ithi ke le nto, xa sikhumbula iimini zesizwe (national days) kumele ukuba zibe zezesizwe sonke ngokubanzi. Umbutho wesizwe iANC uyibethelele le nto kwizithembiso zolonyulo (election manifesto) zawo zonyaka wama-2009. Sikhankanye uluntu olubambiseneyo noluhluma kunye(cohesive and sustainable communities). Ngowama-2014 sathi, ukusebenzisana kwawo onke amacandelo oluntu ekwakheni isizwe esibambiseneyo nesiyakuba nenkxaso ekuphuculeni ilizwekazi iAfrika kwakunye nelizwe ngokubanzi, apho kuya kulawula khona ubulungisa. Xa siyikhumsha sithi ...
...working with all sectors of society to create conditions for the promotion of social cohesion and nation building and contribute to a better Africa and a just world.
Ngonyaka wama-2019 sithe masikhulise uMzantsi Afrika kunye. Umgaqo-nkqubo karhulumente ugxininisa ukubaluleka koluntu
olubambiseneyo nolukhuselelekileyo (social cohesion and safer communities).
Phakathi kweenkqubo ezikhoyo zikarhulumente kukho i ...
... Moral Regeneration Programme ...
...egxile kuphuhliso lwendlela yokuziphatha nezimilo phakathi koluntu. Sikubonile ukubambisana kwesizwe kwinkxaso yaso yeqela leli lombhoxo xa belithe labuya ligqwesile kwimidlalo yendebe yehlabathi. Siphinde salubona uluntu lubumbene xa intombazana esaze ngobuso elizweni yakuTsolo, uZozibini Tunzi unobuhle weli ephumelela isithsaba sehlabathi kwezonobuhle.
Ngomhla wesithandathu nowesixhenxe kule yoMdumba iSebe lezeMidlalo iNkcubeko namaSiko lihlanganise abantu phaya ePitoli libonisana ngeendlela zokwakha isizwe (social compact for social cohesion and nation building). Imibutho yezopolitiko eyahlukeneyo nabameli bamacandelo ohlukeneyo esizwe ebekhona, umzekelo, ulutsha, amakhosikazi, iinkokeli zemveli,abezeenkolo, nabantu abakhubazekileyo.
Siye savumelana ukuba okwethu kukwakha isizwe apho wonke umntu eya kuthabatha inxaxheba (social integrated and social inclusivity). Okubalulekileyo kukuba iingxoxo ziqhube ukuqinisekisa ukuba wonke umntu uthabatha inxaxheba. Zintlanu iingongoma ekuxoxwe phezu kwazo, eyokuqala ithi, ingxoxo mpikiswano (social dialogue). Eyesibini ithi, ukusonjululwa kwempixwano (conflict resolution). Eyesithathu ithi, uqoqosho oluzinze eluntwini (inclusive economy). Eyesine ithi, umgaqo- nkqubo ongophuhliso lwabantu, umzekelo izibonelelo zoluntu, NHI, njl njl. Eyokugqibela ithi, umthamo wokuqinisekisa ukuba ezi zindululo ziyaphumelela (institutional capacity) Ziye zathathwa ke izindululo, esokuqala sithe, ukusekwa kweqonga elifana neNedlac apho abantu bonke bazakwazi ukuthatha inxaxheba kwiingxoxo, bekhokelwa nguMongameli wesizwe.
Okwesibini, sivumelene ukuba sibe nentlanganiso nabaphathi bobutyebi (captains of industry), kuba siyavuma ukuba ukwakhiwa kwesizwe akunakwenzeka ukuba ubutyebi beli lizwe busaphethwe ligcuntswana. Okwesithathu, siyavumelana ukuba ukusekwa kwequmrhu labantu abahlonitshwayo esizweni (eminent persons group) abazakwazi ukujongana nolu xanduva.
Ezi ngxoxo mazihlele ezantsi abantwini kusetyenziwa i ...
... District Development Model.
Isiziba ke ziviwa ngodondolo, abo basaziyo isiXhosa bayayazi ukuba ithetha ukuthini le ntetho. Xa uza kuwela umlambo, uthatha udondolo ukuze uve ukuba unzulu kangakanani na khona ukuze ungatshoni emanzini. Uyabona ke, abantu abafana noobawo uRaymond Mhlaba nezinye iinkokeli nabanye ababephambi kwabo, babeludondolo lwesizwe. Into abayenzileyo kukulwela mna nawe ukuze namhlanje sikwazi ukuthetha into esiyithandayo kweli qonga.
Into ebalulekileyo kukuzibuza ukuba silulo kusini na udondolo? Siyakwazi na ukwenza ukuba uMzantsi afrika uye phambili singawubuyiseli emva? Kuninzi ke okuhle okwenziwe ziinkokheli ezikhoyo nezidlulileyo, kodwa kusekuninzi ekufuneka sikwenze kwaye sisonke sinoxanduva. Ndiyaliva ilungu elihlonophekileyo uCardo xa lisithi ibeliphupha elingakhange liphumelele. Abantu boMzantsi Afrika bona babona iphupha elaphumelelayo kuba kaloku bakwazi ukuvota okokuqala ngowe-1994. Liphupha elibalulekileyo elo kuthi.
Uyabona ke, enye into ekufuneka siyivume yile yokuba, ukwakha isizwe akunakho ukwenzeka ngobusuku obunye, yinto eza kwenzeka kuba sonke kufuneka siqiniseke ngeenxaxheba zethu, siyazazi ukuba singoobani na kwaye siyazazi ukuba kufuneka senze ntoni na. Yiyo loo nto namhlanje xa sixoxa sivumelana ukuba uMzantsi Afrika wona awuzukwazi ukwakheka ukuba kusekho abantu abafuna ukuwuthatha bawuchithe, bawuse ngapha nangapha. Kufuneka sonke siwuqokelele siwubhekise phambili kuba sikule Ndlu siziswe ngabantu, basibeka kule ndawo, ngesingekho apha ukuba bebengakhange basebenze. Masisebenze ke sakhe isizwe singakhathazeki ukuba mna nawe sifuna ukwenzani.
Okubalulekileyo kukuba abazukulwana kunye nabo basezayo kufuneka bafumane uMzantsi Afrika obumbeneyo. Ndiyabulela [Kwaqhwatywa.]
Ms B S MASANGO: Hon Speaker, it is high time that our presence in this House becomes more than a ritual attendance of meetings, delivering speeches and scoring political points. It should be a permanent reminder that we are here to serve all the people of our country. In doing so, we have an obligation to fulfil our duties in line with the Constitution.
One most powerful way to “promote nation-building and strengthen social cohesion” is for us serving in government to deliver services, serve honestly and be united in fighting corruption at all times, regardless of who it involves.
Otherwise all these noble declarations for a better life for all will continue to gradually sink into the cesspool of corruption.
As public representatives we have the responsibility to break down the inequalities that continue to divide our nation. The work we do in this House and in our communities must give meaning to the aspirations of all the struggling vulnerable South Africans.
Our number one obsession must be to seek and rescue the dignity and humanity of more than 18 million beneficiaries of social grants; most of whom are youth-rendered dependent on the state because of crippling unemployment.
Real transformation demands a mind-set change, culture and ethos change and, of course, political and executive will. It is for this reason, hon Deputy Speaker, that, to transform a society, the DA espouses a promise of an equal opportunity
society for all based on principles of freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity.
Where we govern, we offer a glimpse of what it is like to translate vision into reality; the recent safety plan in the Western Cape is a translation of a constitutional value of guaranteeing safety for citizens into reality. The open doors to investment initiative by the Western Cape government is yet another attempt to create the enabling environment for investments that will create jobs.
Where we govern, hon Deputy Speaker, we provide the broadest basket of subsidized basic services to provide relief to the indigent.
The recommitment called for in the topic of our debate today will mean nothing if we don’t commit individually to partner across political lines for one purpose only, and that is to reignite hope by translating the provisions of the country’s Constitution into a lived reality for many South Africans.
Freedom can’t be limited to voting only. For our fellow country men and women who have nothing tangible to show to
remain hopeful about a better future, they expect more from all of us here. They want jobs to provide for their families. They want basic services without unnecessary interruptions.
They want a government they can trust. They want leaders who can unite us despite our diversity. And they want our country to belong to all who live in it. That’s not too much to ask for. Thank you, Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
Ms N P NKABANE: Deputy Speaker, firstly, I will take this opportunity and thank the Deputy Minister, hon Mafu, for providing free lecture in this House. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
AN HON MEMBER: To who?
Ms N P NKABANE: To you.
Deputy Speaker, I was hoping that Dr Cardo is going to unpack...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, allow the member to reply to your debate.
Ms N P NKABANE: ... the programs, the interventions that the DA has to correct the imbalances of the past, but he decided to keep quiet. The only thing that he has decided to do is to campaign for the ANC because he knows that it is the only organisation that can take the people of South Africa moving forward. [Applause.]
Hon Speaker, my own philosophy of leadership is that as Members of Parliament we are all leaders in our own right since we are public representatives whether one has a title or not.
Recent studies revealed that although democratically elected parties begets legitimacy to rule, there is an emergence of politicians who are bent on pursuing selfish political agendas and self interests to such an extent that they forget the needs of the people who elected them.
We should always remember that we are here not to represent ourselves but the voters who voted us in these positions. We ought to lead by example and adhere to the principles of democracy, social justice and human rights.
Good Leadership should be underpinned by gaining knowledge and wisdom to move forward, plans from obscurity to excellence; leaders are always on the learning curve and be willing to sharpen their skills and competencies in order to be the better version of themselves.
Hon Speaker, in the recent past we have witnessed unbecoming behaviour from the members in this House. Where we come from we were taught by the elders to respect the departed. Today, again, we witnessed this behaviour from the members in red and that behaviour has a very negative impact to our society.
Let’s adhere [Interjections.]
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: On a point of order, Deputy Speaker!
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: What’s the point of order? Hon member take your seat. Yes, what’s your point of order?
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Hon Deputy Speaker, we have been sitting here and listening to this debate...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: What’s the point of order? You are debating...Ms E N NTLANGWINI: This member ... no ... can you listen, all of you, nawe man [you too]?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, you must mention the principle or the rule.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: We have been very respectful to the member...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, that’s not a point of order. Take your seat.
Ms N P NKABANE: Let’s adhere to our customs, values and beliefs as Africans. What kind of future are we intending to build and what kind of the legacy that we want to leave behind as this generation?
We want to appeal to the members not to pull each others’ legs with sensitive personal and societal matters for political point scoring. Members must stop degenerating and deteriorating the decorum of the House.
We are also calling for the mobilization of the broader society to recommit to the constitutional values to Work together with the government authorities to build a caring society which is proud of its heritage based on shared values and vision.
We appeal to the nation to recommit in ensuring that we reconverge and collectively work towards building a national democratic society that is nonracial, nonsexist, democratic, united and prosperous; a nation that is more conscious of the topical issues that unite them instead of their differences. Ndiyabulela kakhulu [Thank you very much]. [Applause.]
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ON COLLOQUIM OF FUNDING OF POST-SCHOOL EDUCATION AND TRAINING SECTOR
The SPEAKER: Is the Chair not here.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Speaker, we wish to do a declaration in the absence of the Chair.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is a list. Hon Nodada of the DA.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Sorry Deputy Speaker, the Report should be tabled first before making declarations. That is what needs to happen. Can you do your job properly?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, to do my job, just take your seat and follow my instructions, okay. [Laughter.]
Mnu B B NODADA: Sekela Somlomo, malungu ahloniphekileyo ...
... fellow South Africans ...
... ndiyanibulisa ngale njikalanga, molweni.
The colloquium on funding of the postschool education and training sector was based on three themes, namely; the impact of funding on student access and success; funding for infrastructure development and maintenance; and funding for research and development and academic offerings.
Education has long been recognised as providing a route out of poverty for individuals, and as a way of promoting equality of opportunity. Moreover, the achievement of greater socioeconomic justice is dependent on equitable access by all sections of the population to quality education and training opportunities.
We do however note as the DA that 38% of the population did not finish secondary school and the throughput rate of learners who qualify for a bachelor’s pass or to access an institution of higher learning is very low. We have
3,2 million young people who are not in employment, education and training. Only 6,4 per cent are enrolled at institutions of higher learning.
The curriculum we fund often perpetuates unemployment through over saturated courses rather than setting up young people for success, for example human resources, HR and technical, vocation and training, Tvet colleges. BA degree as one of those courses that are over saturated not offering students’ relevant skills for the market.
The Tvet colleges limit enrolments due to poor infrastructure and buildings not maintained due to lack of funding and capacity to use existing funding. Capricorn Tvet college in Seshego campus lost 26 classrooms and at Eastcape Midlands college they can’t utilise the infrastructure budget because of capacity. As a result the ANC government has taken away 400 million unspent to maintain existing buildings, which is actually shocking.
Historically disadvantaged institutions are poorly maintained due to political interference in the tendering processes. A rector at Walter Sisulu University told us that the buildings were last built by Matanzima.
Ukuba animazi uMatanzima hambani niyokwenza uphando ngaye.
There has never been any building built at the Water Sisulu University as we speak today. [Interjections.] As a result,
350 million has been unspent, yet roofs fall on students at residences and science lecture halls. The shortage of student housing in higher education remains an ongoing concern given
that 20% of the student population is accommodated in university-owned residences and it’s far worse for Tvet students whom are mostly back room dwellers. There is no funding plan for the 192 000 missing middle students who can’t register as we speak. Fort Hare is burning if you don’t know. University of KwaZulu Natal is burning, but the Minister is not even here to listen to some of our suggestions. [Interjections.]
The Minister and the ANC government must take these proposed solutions seriously and immediately implement to ensure access and success, maximise spending on infrastructure while putting more money and properly fund postgraduate students by doing the following - and hopefully he is listening wherever he is: stipulate a clear funding plan for youth not in education, employment and training to access school education and training, PEST system; conclude on the 2018 curriculum review to establish value for money, for the students funded to plough back to the countries economy.
It’s no use to fund students on the wrong skills set to solve our country’s problems. We are just planting money thinking
that we are going to solve the problem. Yet, we are perpetuating the problem; hence we got a high employment.
Clear funding plan for missing middle students and historic debts to avoid financial exclusion. Completely overhaul the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS. I am not even going to touch that. I am going to come back and speak about that right here. Review the Tvet funding model considering that Tvet colleges remain the access point for most poor black students. We cannot keep letting these students down if we are serious about skills development relevant for the industry, job market, entrepreneurship and innovation. We need to be able to give allowances that the same for Tvet students as well as university students.
Engage the National Treasury and the Department of Higher Education to manage the infrastructure development projects to avoid political interference when ANC members in different regions and localities want to interfere in the tendering process of institutions to maintain existing buildings.
The demand for student housing exceeds the planned provision of 300 000 new beds for the PSET sector over the 10 year
period. As a cost cutting measure immediately engages Public Works, Human Settlements and local municipalities for unused buildings, hand over these two Tvet colleges and universities for the purposes of lecture hall and student accommodation. [Applause.] As part of the merger give the Department of Science and Innovation a greater role in developing financial management systems.
The department in collaboration with the NSFAS should standardise student allowances as indicated. Equally important, the skills programmes offered by sector education and training authorities, Setas, need to be responsive to the skills challenges. With these proposals noted, we however do support the report. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr K CEZA: Deputy Speaker, in the year 2016 there was a commission of enquiry into the higher education funding and amongst other things there was a firm believe that the application fee and registration fee should be scrapped. This has not materialised to date majority of universities do demand the registration fee and in most cases, the fees are too exorbitant to afford for the student of the poor and working class.
There was a commitment from the department to build 13 Tvet colleges and refurbish three existing Tvet colleges. As things stand, we are unable to identify the 13 campuses and these three existing campuses that were supposedly refurbished. In twenty eighteen the department then led by Naledi Pandor had made mouth watering announcements on the historical debts of students and they have agreed to allocate more funding on top of the amount they have allocated then. Unfortunately, the sum of the amount that was allocated was not enough to even deal with at least 10% of the problems. Perhaps, the department should take us into confidence as to when will the affected students get their debts cleared.
Every year since 2017, there has been additional funding from government to NSFAS; however the entity still remains the same like it was under the disbanded leadership before this current one. Many of our students often enter the exam rooms without any study materials because the NSFAS doesn’t have the capacity to disburse funding for students, Deputy Speaker.
Now in closing, Amilcar Cabral says that we must not hide our weaknesses in place of believing in miracles. So, we must not peddle lies and pretence policies here. We must deal with free
quality education in earnest and not implement pretence policies like NSFAS that you have been doing since 1994 in line with the ruling class of the economy in South Africa. The majority that you have is useless. We know that you are led by the Ruperts and Rothschild to make minor decisions that are in line with them. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION:
Chair, I did not want to disturb the Speaker but he appears in the list as the member of the IFP. So, I am not sure whether he is. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Go ahead, hon Ngcobo.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Hon Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Hon Deputy Speaker, no wonder service delivery is like that because they have a Deputy Minister of that nature.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no, hon member, can’t you just for a change read the rules and behave yourself. Hon members, order please! Let us give hon Ngcobo a chance to speak.
Mr S L NGCOBO: Speaker, the education sector in South Africa is in dire need of development and capacity to address the needs of our citizens. Access to education across the country is still inadequate. However, this problem is ever more apparent in the tertiary phase of education.
The committee recommendations on the colloquium on postschool funding, has found its roots in the IFP’s policy on education. The IFP has always maintained its position that education is the route to end the poverty cycle. However, we have seen that without the proper programmes designed to redress poverty through education, we will not see the true benefits of educational programmes. Government’s programmes ... must be responsive enough to fund education curricula that are relevant to the labour and job market demands of our economy.
There is no use funding education and skills development if people are not able to use their skills to earn living wages. Currently, we are seeing a mismatch between the demands for
skills relevant to our economy and graduates of tertiary education.
Therefore, we welcome the committee’s resolution to develop a comprehensive and reliable system of data collection. The system will track and monitor skills development programmes and the absorption of graduates into the labour market.
Government and department investments into the education of skills aligned to the labour market must not end once a student graduates.
Government has invested money into these learners and is a stakeholder of the career growth of individuals.
Municipalities or government who outsources contracts must compel contractors to permanently employ graduates into their companies if they are to qualify for future government work. This will ensure that learners who graduate under the assistance of state funds find work which benefits the economy of our state. It is unreasonable for the state to invest money in graduates and leave them sitting at home.
Uhulumeni akalekelele ukuthi izingane esezitholile iziqu zazo zingahlali emakhaya zigcine zixhashazwa osokontileka laba abaqashwayo ukuzosetshenziswa.
This approach is warranted as we see private companies exploiting this situation. They only provide short-term contracts for those who were previously disadvantaged, leaving them in a constant cycle of insecurity of income and slow career growth.
USIHLALO WENDLU (Nk M G BOROTO): Bab’uNgcobo imonitha [monitor] yakho ibovu.
Mnu S L NGCOBO: Yebo [Uhleko.]
We call for the alignment of National Qualifications Framework, NQF, levels with specific reference to Tvet colleges – to align properly Grade 12 learners. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms N MKHATSHWA: Hon Chairperson, hon members, citizens of South Africa, student representative council, SRC, presidents, vice-chancellors of institutions, not forgetting principals of community education and training, CET, and technical and vocational education and training, TVET, colleges, our collective ability to listen attentively, to engage critically and creatively to solve our most pressing challenges must be honest. Therefore, we must commend our chairperson, hon Phillemon Mapulane for conceptualising the idea of a colloquium for the Portfolio committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology. “Mushayeleni izandla!” [Give him a round of applause].
The colloquium aims to discuss matters affecting postschool education as well as science and innovation. What makes a colloquium different from any other portfolio meeting? A colloquium allows for a panel of experts, academics and those passionate on certain subject matters to lead conversations on pertinent antithetic issues relating to the sector.
Furthermore, members of society are able to engage in colloquiums as opposite to their inability in ordinary portfolio committee meetings. These colloquiums allow various stakeholders room to engage in a healthy contestation of ideas
and sharpening our positions on various matters. It allows for a collaborative approach to addressing matters in the sector but also allow members to gain a better and broader understanding of matters thus equipping them to better performed oversight.
The report brought forth to the House today speaks specifically to the colloquium on funding of the postschool education and training sector which set on 6 November 2020. It was important for the portfolio committee to have a colloquium on this matter as higher education has been reaffirmed by the ANC to be an apex priority of government’s pro-poor policies. It is essential to our fight against the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment as outlined in the National Development Plan Vision 2030, and it is critical to our success in this new digital age.
The failure to accelerate inclusive access to higher education and training directly threatens the achievement of this key objective. We acknowledge the increased efforts to make higher education accessible to thousands of young South Africans however the sector continues to experience pressing challenges. We sometimes forget the sheer size of our higher
education sector. It comprises 26 universities, 50 public, technical and vocational education and training, Tvet, colleges, nine community education and training colleges which have satellites - so it’s more than nine, 21 sector education and training authorities, private school’s institutions and quality councils.
However, we still need to increase access and therefore we welcome the university of science, technology and technology innovation which will be in Ekurhuleni.
One must also state that since 2015, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFas, allocations have increased by almost 452% and there has been a substantial increase of young people into the sector. It is vital that we implement new policies. Monitoring and evaluation continuously takes place with the clear stakeholders-centric approach where all key stakeholders take responsibility and ensure that their constituencies are well represented, well informed on the new policies and are kept abreast of the requirements and ongoing developments. That way we are able to monitor challenges and new opportunities towards a fully resourced and functional sector.
The colloquium highlighted and received presentations on three main issues. Firstly, it was the issue around the impact of funding on student access and success; secondly, it was funding for infrastructure development and laitance; and lastly, it was funding for research and development as well as academic offerings.
On funding for student access and success, there has been a significant amount of resources directed to achieving increased financial access to higher education. The colloquium noted that under administration NSFas has started improving at its disbursement processes which significantly reduced its regular expenditure, but at no point would we ever allow any irregular expenditure. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme has been able to improve its information technology, IT, performance. It has been able to pay funds directly into students’ accounts and has increased its administration capacity for Tvet colleges.
This is not to say at all that NSFas does not continue to face serious challenges on a daily basis. We implore the administrators to continue enhancing the governance and operational structures within NSFas. In response to this I
want to echo the sentiments of the President when he says we can succumb to the many difficult and protracted problems they confront us, or we can confine them with resolved determination and action.
One of the most frustrating parts of this sector is the fact that from the national level to local level people do not do what they have been told to do. It cannot be that the Minister meets with student leaders, there’s resolved and there are concessions that are made, but they are not implemented by the university managements. So we must decisively deal with the issue of institutional autonomy.
We also welcome social compacts. At the colloquium there was a society initiative, the Phoenix Society, which essentially tries to assist students with crowd funding mechanisms, particularly students from the missing middle. These are students who have a household income of R600 000 and less. We welcome social compacts as the President always says.
Also, I would like to say to our young people that are out there. It’s real that hon Nodada wants the Minister to be in the House today. The Minister is out there making sure that
issues regarding challenges that are faced in campuses are being addressed. The information that I have, hon Nodsadsa, is that there has been an intervention from the department to ensure that the vice-chancellor meet with the students at Fort Hare. It can’t be that vice-chancellors make themselves inaccessible to students.
We are also calling on hon Cele to make sure that he investigates the images we saw on social media yesterday. Students were already tied up and being shot at by police. We cannot accept that. Unlike some people in this portfolio committee we don’t want to only go and look for issues and just come and boast how well we are aware of these issues, but we want to make sure that these issues are addressed. [Applause.]
It is important that we acknowledge the strides that have been made in this sector. For example, there are 300 000 beds that are going to be rolled out over the next 10 years. This is not enough. We must call on the private sector. Each and every one of us must put pressure on private sector to play their part. This country is a country of every single South African. The government cannot do it on its own. We must emphasise that we
acknowledge the 300 000 beds that will be included over the next 10 years. A luta continua! We adopt the report. [Applause.]
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ON NATIONAL STUDENT FINANCIAL AID SCHEME 2018-19 FINANCIAL AND SERVICE DELIVERY PERFORMANCE
Mr B B NODADA: Chairperson, I think that we should start with something very important. It is one thing to go and compel the Vice-Chancellor to meet with the University of Fort Hare, but the Minister must honour the invitation by the students of Fort Hare to go and deal with the issues directly. He’s the one elected to make sure that students have a better well- being. Therefore, they can register and be safe on the campuses. [Applause.]
The second point I want to highlight is that, we must not come here and paint a different picture. I’ve been to these campuses, I’ve seen the issues and I have provided you with
solutions. All you need to do is just to implement them. The ANC government boasts about spending their budget mostly on education, but often, has little to show for it. During my oversight visits at these institutions, I engaged with management and students at these universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training, TVET, campuses, who must make a success of their tertiary education under dreadful conditions.
The list of issues that students face are numerous and serious in nature. National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, is at the core of them all. We can’t come here and stand, trying to applaud a better mess just because NSFAS is under administration. The reality is that NSFAS has dismally failed in its mandate for the better utilisation of financial resources and to advise the Minister, who is never in our meetings, by the way, nor on the ground in our institutions, like he’s not as we speak, today.
However, because of the following issues, for the 2018-19 financial year, NSFAS obtained a qualified audit opinion with findings for the second consecutive year. We should be worried about that. Secondly, the entity had a total of 16 key
performance indicators, but only two were achieved, which is a dismal performance. Thirdly, irregular expenditure incurred by the entity significantly increased from R284 million to over R7,6 billion, which is money meant for tuition, food, accommodation, books allowances for poor students. Yet, you want to come and applaud the administration.
What is more alarming is that there is still more undeclared irregular expenditure, meaning that, it couldn’t be more than this. It was also reported in the Auditor-General’s report that NSFAS did not investigate irregular expenditure, which is the ANC’s culture of letting corruption go by. Note that 30 of the Auditor-General’s report indicated a financial loss amounting to R5,3 million in asset management. If you don’t read the report I can give it to you, where the entity invested in the Venda Building Society, VBS, Mutual Bank. The National Treasury did not approve of some of these things that were done.
Fourthly, the lack of capacity by the majority of TVET colleges to administer disbursements of allowances to the NSFAS beneficiaries was concerning. Equally, the utilisation of funds meant for student allowances, was used for operations
in these institutions, about 21 TVET colleges are culprits of the irregular expenditure. The current Information and communications technology, ICT, systems capabilities at NSFAS are not reliable.
Go visit the institutions on the ground like the TVET colleges. They will tell you that the Cotech system is failing, that’s why they can’t disburse allowances of students. Therefore, don’t come here with the information that you don’t know. Lastly, I visited Nelson Mandela University where students living with disabilities have to wait over a year for their assistive devices. This means that they fail in these institutions because they can’t access equipment for them to get quality education.
The current business model of the NSFAS is not adequately serving the needs of the beneficiaries, therefore we must take decisive action for the sake of our brothers and sisters ...
... abangathathi’ntweni phofu ...
... whom are trying to change their lives for the better as the first to access institutions of higher learning at home. Therefore, the Minister must do the following:
Nazi izisombululo kwakhona ndiyanipha.
Firstly, announce the complete overhaul of NSFAS, reimagine how it operates and do a full staff audit before new appointments, to avoid the corruption that has been taking place. The people that are being jailed as NSFAS staff members, is a clear sign that it is a mess. Don’t come and create a different picture. Secondly, investigate irregular expenditure to institute consequence management and jail officials that are stealing from poor students to the likes of those who transferred R14 million to students and those that invested in VBS Mutual Bank.
Thirdly, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, and State Information Technology Agencies, SITAs, can help establish a cyber secure ICT system to curb corruption and ensure the timeous distribution of allowances. Fourthly,
standardise allowances for TVET and university students because they are accommodated in the same space, they eat the same food and they commute on the same transport. I don’t know why they are treated differently.
Fifthly, capacitate universities and TVETs for proper data harvesting and direct distribution of student allowances to avoid late payments. Closely investigate the access of 61%. This is tax South Africa. From 61% of the people that access institutions of higher learning using NSFAS, but there is only 4,2% throughput rate, meaning, it’s only 4,2 that graduates.
We therefore need to be able to investigate that.
Also, there should be enhancement collaboration and capacity between NSFAS and institutions for a faster turnaround time for the appeals process. Lastly, the Minister must acknowledge the letters that I write to him all the time. I’ve got a moria of solutions that you can implement. Furthermore, we only do this because we are obsessed of trying to change the lives of people. Also, students at Fort Hare University are still waiting for the Minister. Thank you so much. [Applause.] [Time expired.]
Ms A M SIWISA: Hon Chairperson, it’s a pity that the Minister is not here. The report clearly states that right students were funded, but we still have to find post-graduates and honours students who are not being funded because tertiaries states that they do not have enough resources and thus can only accommodate those who can afford payment. Yet, your report states that the right students are being funded.
These students are denied registration and left stranded at the universities. They are closed out due to missing registration date, with no tuition or accommodation available to them. At present, students with historical debt are demanded to have 15% payments upfront. Because there are no clear plans to assist them, they are being closed out, and thus are denied education.
These students are requested to settle their debts. We are talking about 80% NSFAS beneficiaries who are being denied education. Students are at the mercy of security guards and police on tertiary premises. They are harassed, shot at, worse with handcuffs on, as the case is at the University of Fort Hare. At present, students are being locked at like in the
University of KwaZulu-Natal, we’ve got Thethwayo and in Durban University of Technology we’ve got Faku.
These students are in custody for fighting this unfair system that denies the black child free quality education. Minister, in your absence, your silence is deafening and it’s of a concern. There’s no intervention from your office and you are no where to be found when our children are being violated.
There is only one solution and that is, free quality education because at present, the NSFAS is failing the most disadvantaged.
Hon Mkhatshwa, when we talk about intervention, we don’t talk about air-condition office meetings where Ministers will be told that they are shocked that this is happening in our campuses. We talk about being on the ground. We don’t talk about relying on social media. We talk about being there, attending to those students. On that note, we reject this report. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S L NGCOBO: Hon Chairperson and House Speaker, this Bill seeks to promote accountability and transparency of boards and councils regarding science and technology. We note that there
are many technical amendments of this Bill in providing sufficient powers to ensure accountability and transparency in the boards and councils. The boards and councils oversee the work of various entities in the department and act at strategic mechanisms to ensure functionality.
The IFP believes in making amendments that speak to appointing those ... [Interjections.]
USIHLALO WENDLU (Nk M G Boroto): Baba uNgcobo, ungahlala phantsi kancane.
Why are you rising, hon member?
Mr M P MAPULANE: I am rising because it looks like hon Ngcobo is reading the speech that is relevant to the Science Laws Amendment Act.
THE HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, can you allow the debate to continue, I am not taking your point of order. Continue, Mr Ngcobo.
Mnu S L NGCOBO: Kahle Sihlalo.
The IFP believes in making amendments that speak to appointing those who are fit and proper. We are glad to see the board and Minister being compelled to engage each other in this regard as the first step in appointing people who are fit and proper through this Amendment Bill. The consultation between both parties will reduce the potential for an individual to abuse their power.
Hon Chair, nothing is as important to as to make sure that there is proper look at the way in which NSFAS is accounted for. It’s very important, Chairperson that, we make sure that the learners who should be getting proper attention do really get the attention they deserve, because there are many learners who cannot afford. Therefore, we have to make sure that they are catered for.
In actual fact, it will be a shame to find out that there are learners who actually end up sitting at home simply because the entity which was suppose to be assisting them is failing
to do so due to some problems which are well-known and are very old. Therefore, it is important that as the administration is coming to an end, proper people who are fit for the purpose are actually appointed into the board as that work has begun, and we have to make sure that there is proper accountability going forward. I thank you, Chair.
Mnu C H SIBISI: Sihlalo weNdlu ohloniphekile namalungu ahloniphekile eNdlu eshaya umthetho, ekuqaleni kwaMasingana kuwo lonyaka, uNgqongqoshe Wezemfundo Ephakeme, Ezesayensi Nezobuchwepheshe wenze isethembiso sokuthi zonke izinkinga ezikhungethe u-National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, zizolungiseka ngokushesha kodwa kubukeka sengathi u-NSFAS ulokho eqhubekile ekhungethwe yizinkinga ezifanayo futhi ubonakala engathi uyahluleka ukuthola isisombululo kulezi zinkinga abhekene nazo.
Abafundi abakuma-TVET colleges babonakala sebelahlekelwe yithemba nekusasa labo ngenxa yokuthi abakwazi ukubona noma ukungena baqonde ukuthi u-NSFAS uthini kuma-akhawunti abo ukuthi ngabe uyabemukela ukuze ubanikeze usizo ngokwezimali ukuze bakwazi nokubona ukuthi izicelo zabo zime kuphi. Kuze
kube namuhla abafundi abaningi basantunta. Lana sikhuluma ngabafundi abavela emakhaya antulayo, adla imbuya ngothi. Emakhaya abasuka kuwona bengenabo abantu abangabasiza ukuze baqhubeke phambili, sebethathe ithemba labo noma amathemba abo wonke bawabeka kulesiya sikhwama sika-NSFAS.
Ngu-NSFAS kuphela obonakala ezokwazi ukubasiza ukuze bakwazi bathuthukise izimpilo zabo kanye nemindeni yabo. Ngakhoke sikubona lokhu njenge-NFP noma sinxuse uMnyango Wezemfundo Ephakeme, Esesayensi Nezobuchwepheshe ukuba usheshise usizo ukuze lemiphefumulo engenacala ikwazi ukuthola ukusizakala ekutheni ikwazi ukufeza amaphupho ayo.
Sinxusa futhi lemali etholakala kulesi sikhwama sika-NSFAS ayifakwe phela kuma-akhawunti ezikhungo ukuze idluliselwe kulaba bafundi ngokushesha ukuze bangabi besaphazamiseka. Siphinde sinxusa ukuba umnyango ukuqonde noma ukubheke ukuthi u-NSFAS, ubanike ngokulingana yini abafundi.
Kubonakala engathi u-NSFAS ukhokhela abahlala ngaphakathi ezindaweni zezikhungo bese kuthi laba abangayitholanga indawo yokuhlala ungakwazi ukuthi ubakhokhele ngesikhathi kanti nabo
baseyingxenye yabafundi baseNingizimu Afrika. Bayingxenye yabafundi okudinga ukuba basizakale.
Bese siphinda sinxusa ukuthi nabafundi uma sebeyitholile phela lemali abangabe-ke sebeyothenga izidakamizwa noma bebonakala sebeyohamba beyokwenza izidingo okungazona zokuthi zikhokhele ezemfundo. Ngakho, njenge-NFP siwaseka lo mbiko, siyawemukela. Siyabonga. [Ihlombe.]
Mr L M NTSHAYISA: Hon House Chairperson, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme Act came into operation in 1999, therefore a creature of statute, and its Preamble seeks to:
redress past discrimination and ensure representivity and equal access; respond to human resource development needs of the nation; and establish an expanded national student financial aid scheme that is affordable and sustainable.
Despite these noble aspirations, the scheme has been rocked by a rift of challenges. Firstly, Randall Carolissen who is the scheme administrator has been mired in controversy over the alleged R8 million redirected to futile projects. Secondly, the committee reported that:
Irregular expenditure incurred by the entity increased significantly from R284 million identified in 2017-2018 to R7,6 billion in 2018-2019., mainly due to disbursements with respect to noncompliance to laws and regulations.
Thirdly, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, as the Committee reported, obtained a qualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General for the 2018-19 financial year. This is a second qualified audit in two consecutive years. NSFAS has also recorded tremendous breakthroughs, especially in scaling up the funding of poor learners from the disadvantaged communities. But; this is not really an achievement if one considers the legislative mandate of the fund.
In addition to the committee’s recommendations that the scheme must “develop an action plan to address the internal control deficiencies identified by the Auditor-General”, including initiating the process to “investigate the irregular expenditure”, we urge the administrator to enlist the service of a person with good experience, a technocrat and a shrewd administrator with huge experience in the public service.
However, as the AIC, we do support this report because it is of good advantage to our people. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon House Chair, students are given financial assistance and many of them graduate to only stay at home. That is money down the drain while we have limited resources. It is time for South Africa to work towards a state that has full employment. This means that graduates must be guaranteed a job when they qualify which is the case in countries where full employment is on the radar and a national strategy.
This is not on the radar of South Africa which is very sad. Even in some other African countries they work towards full employment. The Minister must put his money where his mouth is and make it clear to his department and universities that he has agreed that there are no deadlines to apply for financial assistance. Further that the students who qualify don’t have to pay registrations fees for example.
The Minister took political parties in his confidence at the special colloquium. The undertaking reached must not be thunder but no lightning. Thank you very much House Chair.
Mr W T LETSIE: Hon House Chairperson, Members of Parliament, students at home and at institutions of higher learning, maybe
hon House Chair I must start by wishing my wife a happy four- year anniversary today. [Applause.] But I will also start by saying that maybe we need to bring breathalysers for Members of Parliament because they come here and bring things we have never heard in committees before.
The ANC moves in support of the adoption of this NSFAS 2018- 2019 Financial and Service Delivery Report. The committee considered the 2018-2019 annual report of NSFAS IN November last year as was referred by the Speaker for consideration and reporting in terms of the National Assembly Rules 339 and 340, respectively.
The National Development Plan, NDP, commits NSFAS to support and increase its participation rates at TVET colleges and higher education institutions. It states that all students who qualify for NSFAS should be provided with access to full funding through loans and bursaries to cover the cost of tuition, accommodation and other living expenses. The entity is very crucial to ensuring the realisation of the constitutional right to further education, which the state through reasonable measures must make progressive and accessible.
We cannot fold our arms and let this fail. The challenges that the entity faced prior to being placed under administration have largely contributed to poor audit findings and performance for the 2018-19 financial year. In scrutinising the entity’s report we made observations and key findings amongst other;
The 2018-19 financial year the entity achieved 12,5% of the 16 predetermined targets. NSFAS obtained a qualified audit opinion for the second consecutive year; the entity incurred a cumulative regular expenditure of R7,6 billion which increased from a reported R284 million identified in the previous financial year. The NSFAS incurred a financial loss amounting to R5,3 million in asset management fees due to investments made with institutions that were not approved by National Treasury, the likes of VBS; NSFAS did not have the appropriate ICT to deliver on their mandate. We are mindful that students were negatively impacted by this and as the committee we made the following recommendations; that NSFAS should develop an action plan to address internal control deficiencies identified by the Auditor-General; furthermore, we should investigate the irregular expenditure and implement consequence management as per Public Finance Management Act,
PFMA requirements; the entity should report quarterly to the committee on progress made in the implementation of the action plan.
We also recommended that the NSFAS administrator should expedite the establishment of the new audit committee and fast-track the approval of policies and procedural documents and key areas of the NSFAS internal businesses and the broader value chain. The Minister should expedite the process towards the establishment of the Ministerial task team to review the business process of the entity which will make a long-term recommendation on future model structure systems and business processes necessary for an effective and efficient NSFAS.
The ICT system challenges should be given higher priority especially the weaknesses of cyber security systems and the lack of integration between the NSFAS systems and that of universities and TVET colleges. In addition, NSFAS should look into the possibilities of partnering with the Department of Science and Innovation and the private sector to develop good data systems, especially with young emerging ICT companies. As this committee we undertook an oversight visit at post-school education and training institutions and the Public Service
Education and Training Authority, PSETA, in Gauteng in February, we met with the administrator and officials of NSFAS and the University of South Africa, Unisa.
Vice chancellors informed the committee that NSFAS is working much better than before, despite some systems articulation issues between NSFAS and a few universities. Our government is fully committed to expanding access to education and training, the implementation of the fee-free education policy is in its third year.
I am delighted to inform this august House that the number of applicants has drastically improved. It is important to note and appreciate that females constitute the highest number of applicants in 2020, 203 000 versus the 61 000 odd male applicants. Indeed, this is proof that women are a force to be reckoned with in this country.
HON MEMBERS: Malibongwe!
Mr W T LETSIE: Not withstanding the challenges and experiences with NSFAS in 2019, the 2020 academic year started fairly smoothly. The scheme has paid a total of R5,2 billion as
upfront cash flow to assist NSFAS students with registration and allowances. I should also inform this House that historic debt of NSFAS students is being taken care of by the government.
Contrary to the narrative out there, NSFAS funded students with debt were allowed to register despite other universities creating problems for us in this regard. The majority of students who are protesting are those that are outside the NSFAS threshold.
We are informed that student debt at universities is sitting at R9 billion. Work is underway at NSFAS to fill vacancies at the executive levels even though a lot ... I will commend the work of the administrator and his team in turning around this important entity even though a lot of work still needs to be done. But I think maybe I must end here and respond to some of the few things that have been said. Hon Nodada, we really appreciate your letters to the Minister but the Ministers, remember, are appointed by the President after having been elected, after having been given a mandate by the voters of this country. So, those when you go and lobby voters, it will be based on a piece of paper that we the people have bought
into ours, secondly, the university that you are speaking about is coming on Tuesday, we have called all of them; we have called NSFAS, students, the University of KwaZulu-Natal as well to come here ... [Interjections.]
Mr M S MALATSI: Point of order House Chair!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you very much. [Interjections.] No! I was going to say that your time has expired, my brother. [Interjections.]
Mr W T LETSIE: Okay. The ANC moves for the adoption of this report. Thank you. [Applause.]
The mini-plenary session rose at 16:07.