Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised hansard
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 06 Jun 2000
No summary available.
TUESDAY, 6 JUNE 2000
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 10:04.
The Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS - see col 000.
WELCOMING OF MEMBERS
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Good morning, hon members. Welcome back to the National Council of Provinces. I am pleased to see so many of you survived your constituency work period. We welcome as well the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. I see he has been doing some plastic bag collection in the past few days. We welcome the Deputy Minister as well.
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mnr C ACKERMANN: Voorsitter, ek gee kennis dat ek by die volgende sitting van die Raad sal voorstel:
Dat die Raad -
(1)..... daarvan kennis neem dat -
(a)..... die ANC erken dat baie van sy amptenare hul magsposisies in die party en die Regering misbruik om hul sakebelange te bevorder; en
(b)..... onlangse opnames onder potensiële en huidige beleggers bevestig dat die omvang van korrupsie saam met die sorgwekkende hoë vlakke van ander ernstige misdaad, verlammend inwerk op die investeringsklimaat van die RSA;
(2)..... 'n beroep op die Regering doen om omvattende geldelike steun te verleen om 'n permanente onafhanklike teenkorrupsie-eenheid, tesame met 'n duidelike uitgespelde anti-korrupsiebeleid, in te stel.
(Translation of Afrikaans notice of motion follows.)
[Mr C ACKERMANN: Chairperson, I give notice that I shall move at the next sitting of the Council:
That the Council -
(1)..... notes that -
(a)..... the ANC concedes that many of its officials are abusing their positions of power within the party and the Government to promote their business interests; and
(b)..... recent surveys among potential and current investors have confirmed that the extent of corruption together with alarmingly high levels of other serious crimes is having a crippling effect on the climate for investment in the RSA; and
(2)..... appeals to the Government to render extensive financial support for the establishment of a permanent independent countercorruption unit, along with a clearly defined anticorruption policy.]
Mnr J L THERON: Voorsitter, ek gee kennis dat ek by die volgende sitting van hierdie Raad sal voorstel:
Dat die Raad -
(1)..... van mening is dat daar dringend ondersoek ingestel moet word na die registrasie van kiesers vir die komende plaaslike regeringsverkiesings;
(2)..... daarvan kennis neem dat minder as drie maande voor die spertyd vir kieserregistrasie vir die komende munisipale verkiesing bykans 'n derde van die land se potensiële kiesers nog nie die nodige stappe gedoen het om te kan stem nie; en
(3)..... daarop let dat die Demokratiese Party 'n ernstige beroep op die Minister vir Provinsiale en Plaaslike Regering, mnr Sydney Mufamadi, doen om 'n dringende verklaring in dié verband uit te reik sodat die registrasieproses drasties bespoedig kan word, en om in die verklaring aan te toon watter stappe gedoen word om die registrasieproses te bespoedig.
(Translation of Afrikaans notice of motion follows.)
[Mr J L THERON: Chairperson, I give notice that I shall move at the next sitting of this Council:
That the Council -
(1)..... is of the opinion that there should be an urgent investigation into the registration of voters for the coming local government elections;
(2)..... notes that less than three months before the deadline for voter registration for the coming municipal elections almost a third of the country's potential voters have not yet taken the necessary steps so as to be able to vote; and
(3)..... notes that the Democratic Party has made an earnest appeal to the Minister for Provincial and Local Government, Mr Sydney Mufamadi, to issue an urgent statement in this regard so that the registration process can be speeded up drastically, and to point out in this statement what steps are being taken to speed up the registration process.]
Mr K D S DURR: Chairperson, at the next sitting of the Council, I shall move:
That the Council calls upon the Government to heed the calls of Amnesty International and to desist from entering into arms contracts with China, for, in the light of China's poor human rights record, arms could be used against their own people.
Dr P J C NEL: Madam Chair, I give notice that I shall move at the next sitting of the Council:
That the Council -
(1)..... notes that, as the New NP predicted -
(a)..... many health workers refuse to assist with legal abortions;
(b)..... more illegal abortions are now being performed than before the Choice on the Termination of Pregnancy Act; and
(c)..... nobody has been investigated, charged, prosecuted or found guilty in terms of the Choice on the Termination of Pregnancy Act, reflecting a free-for-all situation; and
(2)..... further notes that -
(a)..... abortion legislation is misused by corrupt health workers;
(b)..... Misoprostol, a medicine with known teratogenic effects, is widely used as an abortifacient, in state institutions, despite it not being registered for that purpose by the patent holder;
(c)..... the Minister of Health has urged health workers to put duty before their beliefs - which is nothing else but intimidation and a threat;
(d)..... it is the right of health workers not to participate in any form of abortion for whatever reason and they can therefore ignore the Minister of Health's call;
(e)..... the New NP reiterates its position that abortion on demand without considering other factors is doomed to fail; and
(f)..... the New NP therefore calls on the Minister of Health to refrain from urging health workers to put duty before their beliefs, as it serves no purpose other than to hide the ANC's embarrassment with the failure of the idealistic, controversial abortion legislation.
Mrs A M VERSFELD: Madam Chair, I hereby give notice that I shall move at the next sitting of the Council:
That the Council resolves -
(1)..... to establish an ad hoc committee in terms of Rule 160(1)(a) of the NCOP Rules to investigate whether the hon Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has been truthful in her reply to Question No 23 on the Internal Question Paper No 7 of 2000 published on 17 March 2000;
(2)..... that the ad hoc committee must be formed and convened within two weeks of the passing of this resolution;
(3)..... that this ad hoc committee be assigned such powers in accordance with the rules as are necessary in order for it to carry out its task;
(4)..... that this ad hoc committee consists of six members; and
(5)..... that the Chairperson of the Council appoints the six members of the committee.
Mr B J MKHALIPHI: Madam Chair, I give notice that I shall move at the next sitting of the Council:
That the Council -
(1)..... notes -
(a)..... the prevalent gross abuse of farm labourers and farm dwellers in Mpumalanga and the country as a whole;
(b)..... the racist and dirty campaign against farm tenants and labourers, as well as land claims processes, through grave desecrations, assaults, intimidation and illegal evictions; and
(c)..... that there is a number of instances where labourers are still treated as slaves and subjected to abuses first seen under this country's first colonial powers 300 years ago; and
(2)..... therefore resolves that -
(a)..... a vigorous campaign be initiated, inclusive of all stakeholders, to strongly discourage and, in fact, put an end to abuse of farm labourers and dwellers;
(b)..... all cases of assaults, attacks, torture, murders and attempted murders, and the desecration of graves be referred to the National Director for Public Prosecutions for thorough investigations; and
(c)..... an indaba be arranged for all stakeholders in Mpumalanga with a view to strategising on how to put an end to both this ill-treatment of farm tenants and labourers and the killing of farmers.
Mnr A E VAN NIEKERK: Voorsitter, ek gee hiermee kennis dat ek by die volgende sitting van die Raad sal voorstel:
Dat die Raad -
(1)..... Minister Balfour se openbare uitspraak teen Noksa se standpunt om die Suid-Afrikaanse manshokkiespan daarvan te weerhou om aan die Olimpiese Spele deel te neem, ondersteun;
(2)..... van mening is dat dit skokkend is dat dieselfde Minister nou agteroorsit en toekyk hoe Noksa ``verteenwoordiging'' misbruik om Suid-Afrika en sportlui van Suid-Afrika onbillik te na te kom; en
(3)..... die Minister versoek om in te gryp ten einde geregtigheid te laat seëvier deur Noksa te oortuig om die span wel te laat deelneem.
(Translation of Afrikaans notice of motion follows.)
[Mr A E VAN NIEKERK: Chairperson, I hereby give notice that at the next sitting of the Council I shall move:
That the Council -
(1)..... supports Minister Balfour's public statement against Nocsa's stand to prevent the South African men's hockey team from participating in the Olympic Games;
(2)..... is of the opinion that it is shocking how that same Minister is now sitting back and observing how Nocsa abuses "representivity" in order to offend South Africa and the sportsmen and women of South Africa unjustly; and
(3)..... requests the Minister to intervene in order to let justice prevail by convincing Nocsa to let the team participate.]
Mnr P A MATTHEE: Voorsitter, ek gee hiermee kennis dat ek by die volgende sitting van hierdie Raad sal voorstel:
Dat die Raad -
(1)..... kennis neem van die skokkende aanval by Harrismith op 'n Poolse egpaar wat Suid-Afrika besoek het;
(2)..... 'n beroep op die Regering doen om hierdie tipe aanvalle met erns te bejeën omdat dit die beeld van Suid-Afrika binnelands en buitelands onherroeplik skade berokken;
(3)..... daarop let dat van die verdagtes nog kinders is en dat dit 'n weerspieëling is van die persepsie dat geweld en misdaad gepleeg mag word en dat daar selfs vir kinders geen afskrikmiddel bestaan in die gevolge nie;
(4)..... van mening is dat Suid-Afrika hierdie negatiewe beeld nie verder kan bekostig nie; en
(5)..... daarom die Regering versoek om alle moontlike stappe te doen om die veiligheid en sekuriteit van toeriste, maar ook alle Suid-Afrikaners, te verseker.
(Translation of Afrikaans notice of motion follows.)
[Mr P A MATTHEE: Chairperson, I hereby give notice that at the next sitting of this Council I shall move:
That the Council -
(1)..... notes the shocking attack near Harrismith on a Polish couple who were visiting South Africa;
(2)..... appeals to the Government to treat these types of attacks seriously, as they do irreparable damage to the image of South Africa domestically and abroad;
(3)..... notes that some of the suspects are still children and that this is a reflection of the perception that violence and crime may be committed and that, even for children, no deterrent exists in the consequences;
(4)..... is of the opinion that South Africa can no longer afford this negative image; and
(5)..... consequently requests the Government to take all possible steps to ensure the safety and security of tourists, but also of all South Africans.]
KILLING OF IFP LEADER AND MAYOR OF NONGOMA, MR J B SIKHONDE
Ms B THOMSON: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council -
(1)..... notes with disgust and shame the brutal killing of IFP leader and also mayor of Nongoma, Mr Joseph Bhekumuzi Sikhonde;
(2)..... notes the presence of individuals who are working against the ongoing peace process between the ANC and the IFP;
(3)..... calls on the police to leave no stone unturned in finding the killers;
(4)..... gives its full support to the leaders of the ANC and IFP for working together to achieve peace and stability in KwaZulu-Natal;
(5)..... conveys its heartfelt condolences to the Sikhonde family and the IFP; and
(6)..... wishes a speedy recovery to Mr Mhlongo, who was critically injured in the attack.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
RUMOURS REGARDING SATAN'S ACTIVITIES IN SPORTS CIRCLES
Mr N M RAJU: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council -
(1)..... expresses its doubts at the rumour gaining currency that one Mr Satan, a notorious underworld operator, recently elevated to celebrity status by a former cricket captain alleging that Mr Satan had diverted his eyes from the ball, has had anything sinister to do with a series of losses suffered by South African sportsmen and -women in recent weeks, namely -
(a)..... the Bafana Bafana soccer team losing to Uncle Sam 4-1;
(b)..... top South African women's tennis player Amanda Coetzer who lost to the relatively unknown Rosana des Rios of Paraguay at Roland Garros;
(c)..... top South African golfer Ernie Els who has performed poorly in recent tournaments; and
(d)..... South Africa's boxing idol Baby Jake Madtlala, also losing two recent bouts; and
(2)..... notes that a spokesman from the office of Mr Satan, alias the Evil Eye-Diverter, is adamant that his master has recently been to the Asian continent visiting his junior directors in the match-fixing fraternity, and denies vehemently that he had anything to do with the break-up of domestic bliss in the household of the very same pastor who had received the confessions of the above-mentioned cricket captain.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Mr Raju, do you seriously wish the House to adopt this motion? [Laughter.] Is there any objection to the motion?
Mr P A MATTHEE: Yes, Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Mr Matthee objects. The motion will therefore become a notice of motion.
RECOGNITION OF UPLIFTMENT WORK OF ROSEMARY NALDEN
Me E C GOUWS: Voorsitter, ek stel sonder kennisgewing voor:
Dat die Raad -
(1)..... kennis neem van die opheffingswerk wat Rosemary Nalden in die afgelope vyf jaar met selflose naastediens met kinders van Diepkloof in Soweto verrig het;
(2)..... sy waardering uitspreek vir die musiekopleiding wat sy verskaf met die Nuskaid Soweto String Project;
(3)..... haar gelukwens met die sukses wat sy behaal met die groep se optrede ook in die buiteland; en
(4)..... haar bedank vir die kultuur van leer wat geskep word, die opheffingswerk wat gedoen word onder die jeug en die skep van beroepsvaardighede vir jong mense in die voorheen agtergeblewe gemeenskappe.
(Translation of Afrikaans notice of motion follows.)
[Ms E C GOUWS: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council -
(1)..... notes the upliftment work that Rosemary Nalden has been performing with selfless charity over the past five years with the children of Diepkloof in Soweto;
(2)..... expresses its appreciation for the musical training provided by her with the Nuskaid Soweto String Project;
(3)..... congratulates her on the success she is achieving with the group's performances, abroad as well; and
(4)..... thanks her for the culture of learning that is being created, the upliftment that is taking place among the youth and the creation of professional skills for young people in the previously disadvantaged communities.]
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
ACCIDENT ON VANRHYNS PASS
Mev J WITBOOI: Voorsitter, ek stel sonder kennisgewing voor:
Dat die Raad -
(1)..... met groot hartseer kennis neem van die tragiese en grusame ongeluk waarin 17 mense, van wie baie nog in die fleur van hulle lewe was, gesterf het in die Vanrhynspas naby Vanrhynsdorp in die Wes-Kaap; en
(2)..... sy innige meegevoel met die naasbestaandes betuig, daar hulle hierdie komende Saterdag hul geliefdes ter ruste sal lê.
(Translation of Afrikaans draft resolution follows.)
[Mrs J WITBOOI: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council -
(1)..... notes with great sadness the tragic and terrible accident in which 17 people, many of whom were still in their prime, died on the Vanrhyns Pass near Vanrhynsdorp in the Western Cape; and
(2)..... expresses its sincere condolences towards the next of kin, as they will be laying their loved ones to rest this forthcoming Saturday.]
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
CLAMPDOWN ON PLASTIC POLLUTION
Rev P MOATSHE: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council -
(1)..... notes the widespread support for the clampdown on plastic and supports the challenge of cleaning up South Africa collectively by all sectors of society, including big business;
(2)..... notes that the attitude of plastic federations who could not care less about their product has made them part of the problem rather than of the solution;
(3)..... notes that plastic is the most visible form of pollution, which needs to be nipped in the bud;
(4)..... is of the opinion that we have to make sure that the costs of cleaning this type of pollution are no longer borne by innocent individuals and communities, but by the perpetrators themselves, according to the internationally acceptable principle of the polluter pays, whether directly or indirectly; and
(5)..... strongly believes that more jobs are likely to be created by the market for alternatives, including re-usable plastic bags, which will have value and encourage recycling.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY'S RESPONSE TO TAXI CONFLICT
Mr Z S KOLWENI: Madam Chair, I move without notice:
That the Council -
(1)..... notes that the Democratic Party has always been quick to criticise the ANC-led central and provincial governments for not doing enough to quell taxi violence in other provinces;
(2)..... wishes to draw the DP's attention to the fact that they are governing a province that is currently plagued by violent taxi conflict; and
(3)..... expresses its concern over the suffering of the innocent commuters who are caught in the middle of this continuing violent conflict.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Is there any objection to that motion? [Interjections.] [Laughter.] There are objections, and the motion will therefore become a notice of motion.
LANGUAGE POLICY OF DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Mnr A E VAN NIEKERK: Voorsitter, ek stel sonder kennisgewing voor:
Dat die Raad daarvan kennis neem dat -
(1)..... die onsekerheid oor taalbeleid wat in die Departement van Justisie geskep is, weer eens in die praktyk gemanifesteer het;
(2)..... die persepsie dat die departement se taalbeleid Engels is, 'n ondersoek tot gevolg het oor 'n prokureur wat geweier het om sy vrae in Engels te stel en dat die saak oor dié ``onprofessionele optrede'' uitgestel is;
(3)..... in die praktyk verwarring heers oor taal van prosedure en taal van verslag in die howe; en
(4)..... 'n nasionale taalbeleid en -wet nou noodsaaklik is om rigting te gee aan die verwarring.
(Translation of Afrikaans draft resolution follows.)
[Mr A E VAN NIEKERK: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council notes that -
(1)..... the uncertainty regarding language policy which has been created in the Department of Justice, has once again been manifested in practice;
(2)..... the perception that the department's language policy is English has led to an investigation regarding an attorney who refused to put his questions in English and that the case regarding this "unprofessional conduct" has been postponed;
(3)..... in practice confusion exists about the language of procedure and the language of record in courts; and
(4)..... a national language policy and Act is now essential to give direction to the confusion.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE COUNCIL: Order! Mr Van Niekerk, I seem to recall that a similar motion has been tabled previously in this regard. I think we will look at the record and establish whether in fact this is so. I will not deal with the motion procedurally until we have established this fact. We do have more sittings this week and this afternoon, and will return to this matter.
OVERPOPULATION OF PRISONS
Mr P A MATTHEE: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council -
(1)..... takes note of the unacceptable situation in respect of the overpopulation of the Pollsmoor Prison and other prisons in our country; and
(2)..... requests the Minister of Correctional Services during the debate on the Budget Vote for Correctional Services in this Council on 8 June 2000 to furnish the Council with a report -
(a)..... giving details of the position in respect of the overpopulation of the prisons in all nine provinces;
(b)..... giving details of his department's plans of action, if any, including timeframes, to address the problem of overpopulation in our prisons;
(c)..... giving details of what it will cost to address the aforesaid situation effectively; and
(d)..... indicating whether there is sufficient provision in the current budget for Correctional Services to address the problem of overpopulation in our prisons.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Is there any objection to that motion? Yes, there is an objection. The motion will therefore become a notice of motion.
REFERRAL OF REQUEST REGARDING APPOINTMENT OF NATIONAL YOUTH COMMISSIONERS TO JOINT MONITORING COMMITTEE
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE COUNCIL: Chairperson, I move the draft resolution printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:
That, subject to the concurrence of the National Assembly, the request from the Minister in The Presidency regarding the appointment of Commissioners to serve on the National Youth Commission be referred to the Joint Monitoring Committee on Improvement of Quality of Life and Status of Children, Youth and Disabled Persons for consideration in terms of section 4 of the National Youth Commission Act, 1996 (Act No 19 of 1996).
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I notice we have Mr Moss in the Chamber who may have come to visit us. I am not quite sure whether he is in the right place. I will be guided by the Chief Whip. [Interjections.] Could the service officers assist Mr Moss to get to the right place in the gallery. It should be accessible. The service officers will assist you, Mr Moss.
I am very pleased to see you here, but just as you would not allow me on your floor, I also could not allow you on ours. [Interjections.]
COMPOSITION OF PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION SENT TO OBSERVE ZIMBABWEAN ELECTIONS
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE COUNCIL: Chairperson, I move the draft resolution printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:
That the Council, subject to the concurrence of the National Assembly, resolves that -
(1)..... the South African parliamentary delegation being sent to observe the Zimbabwean parliamentary elections will comprise:
ANC: Benjamin, J; Chikane, M M; Dyani, M M Z; Ebrahim, E I; Lobe, M C; Louw, S K; Mapisa-Nqakula, N N; Mpehle, M; Nel, A C; Taabe, T B (NCOP); Van der Merwe, S C; Yengeni, T S (Leader of delegation);
DP: Farrow, S B; Maluleke, D K; McIntosh, G B D;
IFP: Mpontshane, A M; Mzizi, M A;
New NP: Schoeman, E A; Van Jaarsveld, A Z A; and
ACDP: Dudley, C;
(2)..... the delegation is to observe the election campaign in the run-up to the elections, the casting of votes during the elections and subsequently the counting of the votes; and
(3)..... the delegation must, after the completion of its mission, present a full report to Parliament.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
(Review of Policy)
Vote No 9 - Environmental Affairs and Tourism:
MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM: Madam Chairperson, in my address on the Review of Policy, I would like to reflect on the state of the nation address delivered by the President earlier this year in the two Houses of Parliament.
In that address he said:
At no other point of time have we ever been as well placed as we are today to take decisive forward steps towards the creation of the humane and people-centred society ... today, the nations of our common universe are confident that out of South Africa will emerge a thing of value that will contribute to the building of a more humane world.
Making the dream of a better life for all a reality is everybody's responsibility. Growing and using tourism to achieve this dream is also everybody's business. Protecting and conserving the environment in the process, is the challenge that faces us as a nation.
From offering a simple smile of welcome and friendly service, to guiding a tourist through our beautiful land, we can all contribute by sharing our ancient and unique diversity of culture and heritage. The hopes and expectations of the world are on this southern tip of Africa, as a leader in the developing world, to set an example for nation-building and share our experience in showing the way towards creating a better world for all in the new millennium.
The responsibility on us is indeed great. But we have shown that we can take up the challenge to create a better life for our people and be proud of doing so. Even more exciting is the fact that in the process of creating jobs and alleviating poverty through tourism development, we can also showcase best practice for environmental management in our country, our region and in Africa.
The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has committed itself, over the next year, to work for a better life by growing tourism and enhancing environmental quality and conservation, thereby developing the people and heritage of our land for the benefit of all. The department's plans have been aligned to ensure delivery in four key focus areas. These plans aim to, firstly, create the conditions for responsible tourism growth and development; secondly, promote the conservation and development of natural and cultural resources for sustainable and equitable use; thirdly, protect and enhance the quality and safety of the environment; and, fourthly, provide accessible environmental and tourism information for sound planning and decision-making.
In the same address, the President further said:
Consistent with the decisions taken at the Jobs Summit, both the public and the private sectors have committed the necessary funds for the promotion of the tourism sector, commonly accepted as potentially one of the most important sectors with regard to job-creation. The work has therefore begun vigorously to promote the growth of this sector.
Tourism has been significantly boosted through an ambitious international marketing campaign launched in major international markets. An additional allocation of R100 million to marketing this year will allow this campaign to be rolled out in a number of emerging markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America.
Satour will continue to consolidate market share in key source markets, that is the United Kingdom and Germany, and grow markets in the United States, the Netherlands, France and Italy by 10%, while increasing tourism arrivals by 20% from the growth markets. It will promote responsible tourism by targeting high-yield tourists rather than generating high numbers that will negatively affect ecotourism-based destinations.
At the same time, Satour is being restructured and a new board was appointed to consolidate the partnership approach with the private sector and to improve co-ordination of the marketing campaign. The reorganisation at head office will be completed by June 2000 - that is this month. The restructuring of the international offices will commence in July 2000 and will be completed by March 2001. This process will be further informed by the segmentation study of the priority international markets which will soon be under way.
Government and the private sector will continue with the Welcome campaign to highlight the important role that all South Africans play in tourism and to improve the quality and service of the industry. Partnerships between Government, the private sector and civil society are the basis for our joint success. Once again, to quote the state of the nation address:
I would like to take this opportunity once more to emphasise the importance we attach to the strategic objective of building the partnership between the public and the private sectors.
Last year the partnership between the public and private sector resulted in the biggest budget, that is R160 million, for international marketing that our country has ever seen. The challenge in the coming year is to take the marketing campaign to our emerging markets and to put in place the elements needed to welcome these new tourists to South Africa and provide them with an experience which will make them come back for more.
One of the biggest challenges that we face in the tourism sector is the need for black economic empowerment. This matter was raised quite strongly in the National Assembly Budget Vote debate, and I am happy that the chairperson of the portfolio committee is in the gallery.
The ownership patterns in this industry are particularly skewed. Too few black people are involved in senior managerial positions. Too few black people are registered as tour guides, and even fewer black people are owners of tourism enterprises. It is therefore not surprising that so few black South Africans are tourists in their own country. This is a state of affairs that needs urgent and concentrated attention.
Once again, to quote President Mbeki's state of the nation address:
The elimination of poverty remains one of the central objectives of the Government and the country ...
Our activities will also continue to focus on the important issue of the deracialisation of our economy, and, therefore the encouragement of black economic empowerment.
During the recent Tourism Indaba 2000 in Durban, the striking absence of black members of the tourism business was noted at the Minmec held on 16 May. Because of the seriousness of the matter, we have decided to devote the next meeting of Minmec to the single issue of the involvement of black South Africans in the tourism industry.
There are a number of opportunities for investment coming up. The SA National Parks Board has now placed 12 of its lodge sites on the market for proposals from prospective private-sector investors and operators. Nine of these sites are in the Kruger National Park, and as part of the Lubombo Special Development Initiative, we will be placing a string of investment sites in the greater St Lucia Wetland Park on the market in August this year.
I take this opportunity to encourage members of the disadvantaged communities to respond to these business opportunities. May I quote from the SA National Parks Board advertisement which appeared in this past weekend's newspapers and which says:
In order to reinforce its capacity to conserve South Africa's natural wildlife heritage, the SA National Parks Board is launching a programme of partnerships with private-sector investors. Under this programme, investors will be allowed to develop new private game lodges within the national parks or take over specified existing facilities and upgrade them to international standards.
The first phase of this programme consists of 13 opportunities in Kruger, Addo Elephant, Golden Gate and Kalahari Gemsbok National Parks. The vehicle for private-sector involvement will be via long-term concession contracts. At this stage, the SA National Parks Board is inviting expressions of interest from conservation-minded investors with appropriate ecotourism experience.
The advertisement then goes on to say:
South African previously disadvantaged groups are encouraged to participate in this process.
I would like to repeat that invitation in this House.
In February this year, Government and the Business Trust jointly launched the learnership training programme. The aim of the programme is to train 15 000 people over four years in all aspects of the hospitality industry. An amount of R115 million has been budgeted for, of which the Business Trust will contribute R80 million and Government, through the Department of Labour, has contributed R35 million.
In order to facilitate the establishment of small and medium emerging enterprises, the Business Trust has also earmarked a further R75 million for an enterprise development programme. This will provide invaluable and much needed technical support to aspirant emerging entrepreneurs, and therefore deserves our support.
The tourist guides Bill, which has now been tabled in the National Council of Provinces, once enacted, will allow for greater representivity in the tour-guiding fraternity. These are but a few measures. There is little doubt in my mind that the issue of black economic empowerment will have to be kept high up on our agenda for the foreseeable future.
South Africa's coastline and its coastal and ocean-related economic activity which contribute very significantly to the gross domestic product of this country must be managed and regulated in a manner which contributes to the empowerment of disadvantaged communities. An estimate made in the White Paper launched this morning is that as much as 35% of the GDP is related directly or indirectly to South Africa's coastline. This is a matter, therefore, of great importance.
I would like to repeat what I have said concerning the fishing industry in my debate recently in the National Assembly. I said that South Africa's fishing industry will receive special attention this year. This R2,5 billion industry, which provides 25 000 direct jobs and probably 60 000 indirect and casual jobs, with an additional 750 000 recreational fishers, has an urgent need for stability, certainty and transparency. On the occasion of this debate we announced the following as the way forward.
Firstly, this year we will issue medium- to long-term fishing quotas. These will be nontransferable and conditional on compliance with a set of criteria. Secondly, in July this year we will publish a policy framework for the allocation of each fish species. This will set out the relative quotas for large, medium, small and subsistence fishers. This will allow purely discretionary and ad hoc decision-making in the allocation process to be removed once and for all.
Thirdly, the grading of the players in the industry will be underscored by proper pricing of fishing rights and applications. This is to encourage small-scale and subsistence fishers, while limiting applicants for macro quotas to the genuine players in the industry. Through this we hope to start to weed out the paper quota holders so that the people genuinely interested in the industry can start fishing.
Fourthly, Cabinet has appointed Mr Horst Kleinschmidt as deputy director-general, a move which has elevated the Marine and Coastal Management chief directorate of the department to the status of a full branch.
Fifthly, a dedicated rights allocation unit will be established to drive the transformation of the industry. Sixthly, a high-powered legal unit is being established in order to ensure the establishment of a requisite capacity on the part of the department to deal with the proper implementation and upholding of the law.
May I take this opportunity to report on matters related to co-operative governance. The Minmec on tourism and the Minmec on environment have met on a regular basis over the past year, with good attendance from the MECs. The atmosphere at these meetings has always been very constructive, I must say. I would like to express my gratitude to all nine provinces for the excellent manner in which we continue to work and for the support I have received.
In an unprecedented development, the provinces decided to agree to the removal of the provincial appointees to the board of Satour. This enabled the appointment of a board which reflects the public-private partnership we have built in tourism. Other areas of co-operation have been in conservation. The Eastern Cape has consented to the transfer of the provincial Woody Cape Nature Reserve to the SA National Parks as part of the greater Addo National Park project. Discussion is now under way about the establishment of a Wild Coast national park in Pondoland with the present Mkambati provincial reserve as its core.
The Northern Province has transferred the farm Greefswald, on which the ruins of the great ancient city of Mapungubwe are situated, to the SA National Parks as part of Vhembe/Dongola National Park project. The Free State is currently considering the incorporation of the Qwaqwa National Park, which is actually a provincial park although it is called a national park, into the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. This will add more value to the Maluti Drakensberg transfrontier conservation project, which we hope will become our next World Heritage Site. This project is an example of provincial and regional co-operation as it brings KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, the Eastern Cape and Lesotho together in a common plan for tourism development and conservation.
In the North West we are collaborating on the Madikwe Tourism Corridor. This co-operation extends into the Northern Cape where we have established four tourism projects using poverty alleviation funds. With Gauteng we celebrated Sterkfontein - the cradle of humankind - becoming a World Heritage Site and look forward to co-operating on turning this into a world-class educational and information site that will attract visitors from all over the country and from across the globe.
The above follows on the successful establishment of the Cape Peninsula National Park a few years ago. We hope that the strategic planning we are doing on the Cape Floristic Kingdom, that spectacular park which forms a natural spine running through an urban area, will make it possible for us to have not only the Cape Peninsula National Park, but also the Cape Floristic Kingdom declared a World Heritage Site. We also appreciate the enthusiastic support we have received from the provinces in maintaining the 17 Ramsar wetlands of international importance. The conservation of these intricate water systems secures the natural heritage of our land.
In conclusion, I would like to say just a few words about waste management, a matter which the Deputy Minister will elaborate on later. Litter and poor waste management constitute a major social evil of our time. Rubbish and filth detract from the quality of all our lives, especially the poor. This denies us a sense of pride in our country and in ourselves. It says to the young and impressionable children of South Africa that it is okay to have a ``don't care'' attitude.
The NCOP, as an institution bringing together all three spheres of government, can make a very special contribution to this war on waste. Therefore I call on the Chairperson to raise the banner and to join this fight so that we all live a life of dignity. [Applause.]
Rev P MOATSHE: Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, hon Chief Whip, hon MECs present here this morning, chairpersons of standing committees from provinces and permanent delegates, I am grateful for this moment to participate in this debate.
We have a history which was not environmentally user-friendly and we have a history of dispossession, and if we have a history of dispossession, not everybody would be engaged in environmental issues. We have a history where many people's roots were cut off, therefore they had to die a natural death in so far as environmental issues are concerned. What happens if one is dispossessed or one's property has been taken away? If such a person got a chance, he or she would damage that property, because it does not belong to him or her any longer.
How do we speedily make the dispossessed communities of South Africa aware of their very environment? That is why what we are debating today is extremely important. South Africa is a very beautiful country, seemingly with an endless coastline, majestic mountain ranges, abundant wildlife and unique natural resources that any South African would be proud of.
If one were to visit any of the provinces, one would find them falling over themselves, bragging about the unique beauty that they have to offer. Each of the provinces could be a potential first prize winner for being the best province in the country. Ensuring that such beauty and natural resources remain intact until the next millennium requires careful nurturing and protection. It is the enormous responsibility of both the Minister and all of us here to ensure that it remains this way.
Regarding the question of pollution, part of the challenge facing this department lies in changing people's attitudes towards the environment. The environment was never a priority before 1994. But this Government has realised that for far too long we have taken our environment for granted. I can safely say that the majority of South Africans have not yet realised the need for environmental protection and preservation. When I look around in my own province, in its cities, towns, industrial parks and rural areas, I see ample evidence that none of us takes the hazards of pollution seriously. Even if we change laws to ensure the protection of the environment, but do not educate ourselves about the need for preservation, we will be constantly wasting money cleaning up messes rather than preventing messes from occurring.
Pollution will never be excusable even if it happens in our own homes. But it becomes reprehensible when companies such as Iscor blatantly ignore the rights of residents to a pollution-free, healthy and prosperous neighbourhood. It is even more reprehensible when companies in this industry pay only lip service to the protection of the environment. This is definitely an issue the hon the Minister should follow up with vigour.
The Minister should extend his investigation even further and ask all companies to give an environmental impact report on a regular basis. Provinces and local government can also play their role by collaborating with the national department in eradicating these criminals parading in their three-piece suits. However, all of us, not only the Minister and his department, have to be vigilant in our neighbourhoods in order to reduce pollution.
The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has an enormous responsibility to deliver to our people, through transformational legislation. The select committee will give serious attention to the draft regulations that will protect the sensitive dunes, home to many species of birds. My Minister will also share with hon members the concern that if left unchecked, irresponsible boat owners could potentially threaten the breeding ground of whales. We also need to commend the Minister for following the example set by a small community which outlawed plastic bags in their town.
We support the Minister in the challenge he has given us here in Parliament to make this environment a plastic-free zone. We also look forward to the White Paper on Integrated Pollution and Waste Management for SA.
This department has also proved that it cares about what happens in the SADC region through the White Paper for Sustainable Coastal Development for SA which is due for release shortly or has already been released. We have all read with concern the reports on fishing quotas. Fishing communities have spoken out at length about the inequities within the fishing allocations. They have complained that they are now unable to earn their living because of the inequities in the fishing quotas. They have also complained about the fact that others players, such as the big industries that are far removed from the coastal areas, have been granted quotas higher than theirs. These communities have been led to understand that the department has investigated this matter so as to assist subsistence fishing communities to reap the benefits of the transformation of the fishing industry.
It is long overdue, but we have read in a recent newspaper report and seen on television news how a certain Ms Meter from Hout Bay was able to start her own fishing business in her very poor fishing community. We saw this woman's achievement as a very concrete example of the transformation that this department has realised in a very polarised industry. We want to congratulate the Minister on his efforts which have allowed our disadvantaged communities, such as the Hout Bay community, to benefit. We look forward to his department keeping us informed about more success stories of this nature.
Tourism has proved to be a booming industry for South Africa since the first democratic election in 1994. It seems that almost every day we are either discovering new historical or cultural sites, or rediscovering the natural beauty of our country. These discoveries, through survey marketing, can translate into enormous economic potential for our country. However, we must be vigilant that new tourist attraction projects benefit all our people. The last thing we need is for multinationals to gain exclusive marketing rights to all of our tourist attractions and elbow out local communities.
The department needs to spend some of its budget to develop capacity in our communities which will ensure that their goods and marketing are of the high quality needed to promote international tourism.
In conclusion, I wish to thank the Minister and his department for the excellent work that they have done. We look forward to working with them to ensure that all South Africans have a better, pollution-free life, part of which, we hope, will be spent at one of our many beautiful holiday destinations. [Applause.]
Ms G S SINDANE (Mpumalanga): Thank you, Madam Chair, for giving me this opportunity to participate in this important debate.
As an ANC Government we have been given a second chance by the overwhelming majority of our people to further deepen the process of transformation, particularly the question of economic transformation. Guided by the RDP framework and Gear principle, I am convinced that we will not fail our people. We dare not fail in our noble cause.
Already, the past six years traversed by the democratic Government bear testimony to our unwavering commitment to the betterment of the lives of our people. We have managed within a short space of time to turn around an economy heading towards a meltdown into one that is geared towards an economic growth path. It is within this spirit that, as a democratic Government, we continue to seek viable economic options aimed at enhancing economic growth and development.
The realisation of tourism as one of the vehicles that could be utilised to spur economic growth that would lead to economic development is not accidental. It is the product of difficult policy choices and extensive research work carried out by the democratic Government. I might as well add that tourism is not only an engine of economic growth and development, but also a source of employment.
Failure to expedite this process would undoubtedly undermine our good intentions. Therefore, the restructuring of this industry must ensure that the racial demographics of this country are equitably reflected.
Another issue that calls for attention is funding. We can develop wonderful strategies, comprehensive implementation programmes and well-packaged projects, but if we are not going to direct enough financial resources into this industry, we are definitely doomed to failure.
The issue of capacity-building, which the disadvantaged people desperately need in order to make a meaningful contribution to this industry and to get projects off the ground, requires financial assistance.
In conclusion, as the Mpumalanga province, we wish to see more resources pumped into the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, considering that tourism is currently the only industry that is better placed to address the issues of economic growth, job creation and delivery of basic needs to our people. Although as a province we have developed tourism plans, we require resources. [Applause.]
Mrs C M CRONJÉ (KwaZulu-Natal): Chairperson, I will confine my comments to tourism because my colleague from KwaZulu-Natal, MEC Singh, will deal with the environmental aspects.
When one reads the aim of this department, it becomes clear just how appropriate it is to combine environmental affairs and tourism in one department. The aim is stated as follows: ``Leading environmental management and tourism in the interest of sustainable development for all.''
Environmental management and tourism go hand in hand. In fact, one could say that a clean, healthy environment in South Africa is the sine qua non, that is, it is the essential precondition, for a healthy tourism industry in the country. We should always remember that tourists perform a voluntary activity. Thus, tourists will only visit a particular destination if they have a reasonable prospect of having a pleasant experience at that destination; tourists cannot be forced to go to a particular destination; tourists cannot be penalised for not going to a particular destination; tourists will not visit a destination that is polluted, degraded and harmful to their health or wellbeing; tourists will not go to a destination they perceive to be unsafe and tourists expect the residents of the host destination to be friendly and helpful. In short, tourists will only go to a particular place or country if they can expect to have a safe, pleasant and aesthetically satisfying experience at that destination, without plastic bags - I direct this to the Minister.
When the department expounds on its main aim by stating that it wants to lead and ensure the development of responsible tourism for the benefit of all the people of South Africa, we need to ask ourselves whether we would come to South Africa if we were international tourists. And if not, why not? And if we were domestic tourists, which we all potentially are, where would we go, and where not, and what are the reasons for that?
What I am asking in essence is: How good is our product and how good is our marketing? Which areas can we improve on to make South Africa a first-class destination for the benefit of all the people of South Africa?
A lot has been said about tourism being used for job creation. Now, the reason that these questions are of such fundamental importance is that it is generally acknowledged that tourism can, in fact, be a major generator of wealth in the country. However, it is also of fundamental importance that that wealth does not only benefit the same people who have benefited historically, and I am very grateful for the comments that the Minister has made in that regard.
Tourism can be a powerful tool for economic empowerment, but we must take care that we do not continue to empower the already empowered, because one then gets into the spiral of the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer. It is imperative that tourism contributes in a meaningful way to the alleviation of poverty in South Africa. Therefore, as Government, we have an obligation to ensuring that new entrants into the tourism industry have the necessary access to capital and the required support, training and mentoring to become successful entrepreneurs.
Capital and skills development are fundamental to ensuring that the tourism industry does not only provide jobs to employees of big operators, welcome as that may be, but that it is possible for new entrants to break into that tightly-controlled market.
Tourism has, for many years, been considered an elitist pastime. In fact, that is exactly what it was, and what it still is, to a large extent. And unless we become very creative and imaginative in our thinking, that is what it will continue to be. For instance, why do we not make a far greater effort to ensure that every child who has not been to a game reserve visits one before the end of the year? Can we not find a way to ensure that every child who has not seen the sea sees it before the end of the year 2000?
Let us encourage owners of big tourist plants to become involved in giving opportunities to poor people to visit them at reduced rates or even for free, as part of their social obligation. This could be done during the off-season when many beds are empty, in any event.
But of course, there are also many South Africans who have the means to travel and to become tourists in their own country who, for a variety of reasons, do not do so. We can think of the historical restrictions on the movement of people. How good is our research on this market sector, and how good is our marketing to attract them?
Turning to the actual Tourism budget, it is, indeed, heartening to see that this budget has nearly doubled - that is called putting one's money where one's mouth is.
So, in conclusion, I would like to say more strength to the Minister's arm - he is doing a marvellous job. When he spoke on the Tim Modise show yesterday morning, I wanted to phone in, but I thought it would be much nicer to say that to him in person today.
Finally, I invite all those members who do not come from KwaZulu-Natal to visit the province because it is definitely the most beautiful province and the best tourist destination. [Applause.]
Mr S M BONOKWANE (Northern Cape): Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members of the House, the strategic approach of the Northern Cape Department of Economic Affairs and Tourism is guided by the national priorities of job creation and economic growth, poverty alleviation, transformation of the tourism industry and the creation of a better living environment.
The Northern Cape is the largest province in South Africa and has a special charm of its own. Travelling over long distances through a rugged and sparsely populated countryside painted with rock art by the San has served to bring many back to earth and remind them of their place in the universe. It has been discovered that tourism is one of the fastest-growing industries, and continues to expand at a rate faster than the global economy. In the area of job losses, it does become our responsibility to ensure that tourism promotion and development is given our fullest commitment.
Satour has calculated that 5% of foreign tourists visited the Northern Cape, spending almost R3,9 million. Whilst this is a welcome contribution to the provincial economy, it is our intention to increase both the percentage of foreign tourists visiting the Northern Cape, and the amount of money that they spend in the province.
The Northern Cape has a negligible share of the domestic travel market. The domestic tourism market makes up a significantly large proportion of the total tourism market. I believe it is time the rest of South Africa discovered the rich heritage of the Northern Cape. Let us not forget that it was the diamonds of the now famous Kimberley big hole that funded the exploitation of the Witwatersrand gold fields and the subsequent industrialisation of South Africa. Whilst the rest of South Africa's town and cities were shrouded in darkness, the streets of Kimberley were lit by electric lamps, the first in South Africa. The first electric tram was found in Kimberley. Today there is still a working tram operating between the city centre and the Kimberley museum.
Africa's first transfrontier park, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, is partly situated in the Northern Cape. This 3 million-hectare park straddles South Africa and Botswana, making it even bigger than the Kruger National Park, and giving our people opportunities for job creation and economic development. The greater challenge, however, is to ensure that our historically disadvantaged communities, both in Botswana and South Africa, benefit from this process that has been launched recently.
The tourism vision of the Northern Cape is to promote and develop our tourism in an economically effective, environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable manner, whilst developing the province as a leading niche market destination.
The Northern Cape is in full support of the national Government's policy that states that tourism will be private-sector driven, but Government led; and that tourism will be used as a development tool for the empowerment of previously neglected communities by focusing investment, infrastructure, development and improvement in visitor management programmes in underdeveloped areas with proven tourism potential. In order to diversify the product base, we need to remove bottlenecks and distribute resources. This policy will ensure that, in the words of Minister Moosa, ``No stone is left unturned in the quest to unlock the full potential of tourism.''
The Northern Cape applauds the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism for the number of initiatives it has launched and for working together with all stakeholders to grow the benefits that the country derives from domestic, regional and international tourism. The Northern Cape is completely grateful for the poverty relief programme of the department and is confident that its application for tourism infrastructural projects will be approved. The hon the Minister will notice that I am a little bit opportunistic about that. [Laughter.] These projects are essential if local, provincial and national Government are to achieve the full potential of tourism. It is only with collective resources and effort that we will achieve our goal of a better life for all.
We support the Minister's campaign to rid our society of harmful waste and to protect our environment. Douglas, a small town in the Northern Cape, has taken this campaign very seriously by outlawing plastic bags and producing cotton bags. Therefore, I think we need to encourage such initiatives in our communities to ensure that we protect our environment and create wealth for our people. The Northern Cape, therefore, is in full support of the Budget Vote for the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. [Applause.]
Mr K TSHIVHASE (Northern Province): Chairperson, hon Minister and hon Deputy Minister, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to say something about my province in this august House.
In terms of the published market survey carried out by Satour the characteristics and tourism performance of the Northern Province in relation to its neighbouring provinces and its overall performance are the following. The Northern Province is a large and diversely populated province, with an extremely low gross geographic product. Tourism makes up a higher percentage of its GDP than that of any of the neighbouring provinces. Of the total of nearly 1,5 million international arrivals in South Africa in 1996, only 4,5% visited the Northern Province, and its share of income from overseas visitors was estimated at only 2,3%.
In 1997 international tourist arrivals were estimated at 98 000. The province has 71% of all game lodges in South Africa, comprising over 2 000 lodges with 6 000 rooms and nearly 13 000 beds, and it also comprises 40% of the 404 hunting venues in the country, with 2 553 beds.
Tourism is a people-delivered activity and thus an intensive creator of jobs. The World Travel and Tourism Organisation states that tourism is one of the largest creators of direct and indirect employment worldwide. This same impact is apparent today from the South African satellite account, with 250 000 jobs in the travel and tourism industry, and nearly 740 000 in the broader economy whose livelihood depends on the tourism sector.
Over the next decade it is estimated that there is the potential of an additional 175 000 new jobs in the industry and more than 500 000 across the economy, and that, optimistically, there will be an additional 800 000 new jobs in the economy at large. The figures mentioned above show the impact and the future of tourism in South Africa, while 54% of all the totals are, and will be, the impact of tourism in the Northern Province.
The tourist attractions of the Northern Province reside not only in its diverse natural scenery and wildlife, but also in its diversity of cultures, friendly people, and in their unique traditions, legends and history, which make this place unique. The contrasts of its diverse natural features vary from the Waterberg and the Bushveld, the Lowveld, subtropical areas of the Northern Drakensberg and Soutpansberg catchments, to the dry mopani and baobab tree-studded parkland north of the Soutpansberg, and to the Limpopo.
Geographically its location is strategic as it is South Africa's gateway to the rest of Africa, sharing borders with three neighbouring countries. The warm climate makes the Northern Province a pleasant year-round holiday destination.
There are five major cultures in the province, and a rich history which may interest visitors. Traditional arts and crafts, and singing and dancing all form part of the everyday lifestyle of the people. Apart from everyday dancing, there are dances for special occasions, such as the rain dance of the Modjadji, and the tshikona, malende and domba of the Vha Venda.
Even the numerous fruit stalls decorating the roadsides are part of the culture. History, legends and superstitions add colour and a dimension of mystique to the traveller's experience.
The area known as Venda, which means ``pleasant land'', is particularly famous for all the legends and superstitions of the Vha Venda who stay there, which gave cause for it to become known as the land of legend. Certain cultures have a special fascination for visitors, because of their uniqueness, such as that of the Modjadji - the Lobedu tribe, staying in the mountainous Bolobedy near Duiwelskloof and ruled by successive generations of rain queens with their mysterious rain-making powers.
Many people living in the traditional rural areas throughout the province still stay and live in the traditional way, some virtually unaffected by the technology of our time, such as the Maleboho tribe who stay on the Blouberg. However, these areas are not freely accessible to visitors.
A few examples of traditional villages, presented as open-air museums, portraying the traditional lifestyles of different ethnic cultures, exist in the province. These examples include the Bakone Malapa, a Pedi kraal, at Pietersburg; a Tsonga kraal in the Hans Marensky Nature Reserve; and the Masorini in the Kruger National Park near Phalaborwa.
Ruins of historical settlements occur throughout the province, but some, such as Dzata in Venda - which also has a museum, the museum of the drum - are better known, the history being well known and accessible to visitors.
Archeological sites of special significance occur at Mapungubwe in the Vhembe/Douza National Park on the Limpopo River, and also at the Makapans Cave in the Strydpoort mountains near Potgietersrus. Rock art occurs in abundance, especially in the Waterberg area. Examples can be seen in the Masebe Nature Reserve ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr R TOOLEY (Northern Province): Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister and hon delegates of the Council, I indeed appreciate the privilege of addressing this august House. I will confine myself to the environment, as the hon member of the Northern Province legislature has already spoken about tourism. Regarding the environment and quality of life, there is an ongoing debate regarding quality of life and poverty alleviation. It is something that we debate continually, and I would urge the Minister and his department to come out clearly on the issue of biospheres.
Biospheres seem to be spreading everywhere within our country, and yet there seems to be a focus on land ownership where there should be a focus on poverty alleviation. We would urge the Minister to come out on that particular issue. However, I have been mandated by the standing committee of the legislature to talk particularly on solid waste management.
We would like to start by considering the lack of personnel in the environment department. There are only two appointed members for waste management, while 17 posts are recognised. This may sound as if nothing is being done in the waste fraternity. However, an audit has been done and a needs assessment has been concluded. The outcome indicates blatantly that what is needed is empowerment. Most waste management is done at a local government level. In a province like ours, which is very rural, the management of solid waste may be problematic if clear lines of communication are not established between local government and provincial government.
Owing to the ruralness of our province, as I have mentioned, and to small villages spread amongst vast areas, numbering 2000, it has been suggested that a collective solid waste site would be necessary. These particular sites would have to be identified by scientists, and local governments would have to manage these landfill sites. Here, again, we refer to empowerment. We cannot have landfill sites without particular councils having the ability to manage them.
Our limiting factor is the lack of personnel at rural government level. However, with the new demarcation and the establishment of district councils, this shortage of personnel may be resolved to a point, but empowerment should still be the focus of the department, empowerment in the management of solid waste and landfill sites by local rural governments.
With the assistance of its scientists, the department is currently empowering the inspectorate division regarding waste management and what the current legal framework stipulates. This means the inspectorate division will know what constitutes transgression of the law concerning solid waste, and act accordingly. We must place the emphasis regarding solid waste management on the issue of empowerment. We must ensure that personnel dealing with this crucial service know what they are up to.
The selection of a correct landfill site is crucial owing to leaching, and leaching from rain. Should the incorrect soil be chosen, we could be condemning our ground water, and what with this source becoming more and more accessed by local governments, we must ensure that solid waste issues are dealt with correctly, thereby ensuring that there is clean potable water for future generations.
There is no doubt that both tiers of government have a role to play. Where there is a lack of strategy in this regard, the provincial department must and should assist in establishing a strategy. One method suggested is to engage local governments and councillors, in particular, to discuss waste management and the consequences of noncompliance.
The biggest amount of waste created in our country, as far as we are concerned, is packaging, packaging meaning tin cans and plastic bags. Whether it be a plastic bag or a tin can, the packaging industry is definitely the biggest culprit in the creation of waste. When one thinks of recycling, those who make the primary products, who make the plastic bags and cans, are also the ones who recycle. One would hasten to add, the recyclers are the Mondis, the Sappis and the Metal Boxes of the country. Hence, the slowness of communities to become vigilant regarding recycling.
Recycling, surely, should be seen as a job creator. However, those who are the major role-players in the recycling industry, as mentioned, do not see this as an opportunity, but rather as a threat to their profit margins. Let us create opportunities in the recycling industry, and, at the same time, protect our environment for our future generations.
The Northern Province therefore supports the hon the Minister and his department in the current policy adopted by his department. [Applause.]
Mr A E VAN NIEKERK: Chairperson, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, it surely is a privilege to be the Minister of these two portfolios, for they smell of potential and vibrate with success and challenges.
Although South Africa attracts only 0,2% of the annual estimated 300 million tourists in the world, they bring an estimated R20 billion a year into our economy. Although we have had a 40% growth in foreign arrivals since 1994, it is clear that we have only started. We have not even started with really developing the Africa tourist industry, and this is exciting. With all this excitement and enthusiasm, the hon the Minister must also be cautioned not to be seduced by the many new possible ventures while turning a blind eye to what already exists.
Let me give hon members an example. I understand that investigations are under way to look at the Kei River area as a possible national park for the Eastern Cape. I do not understand this, because very close to this area are three very neglected and ignored parks. What is needed is for them to be formed into one national park. I am referring to the Ciskei Park, the Andre Vosloo Kudu Reserve and the Sam Knott Nature Reserve. The latter 14 farms of the Sam Knott Reserve were donated to the province. There is thus no need to start from scratch, or to buy additional land. It is all there just for the taking by the Minister.
This also poses an ideal situation in which to engage the private sector as in the case of the Kruger National Park and the other parks. Let the people who know the business and whose business it is to develop, manage and market such tourist attractions do it. The Minister and his department have many other loose strings that need tightening, and we will refer to them later on. This suggestion of the proposed expansion of the Addo Elephant National Park will have so much to offer the tourists and the environment.
Ek wil vandag eer betoon aan 'n persoon wat teen die einde van verlede jaar die Internasionale Biobeleidsorganisasie se ‑``Eerste Bioprys vir die nuwe Millennium'' ontvang het vir ongeëwenaarde prestasie op omgewingsgebied. Dr Anton Rupert van Suid-Afrika het hierdie welverdiende erkenning ontvang. Wat die toekenning nog meer merkwaardig maak, is die visie van dr Rupert met die bevordering en totstandbrenging van die wêreld se eerste oorgrens-vredesparke, waarvan die Kgalagadi, soos my agb kollega hier genoem het, die heel eerste was.
Hierdie konsep skep nie net moontlikhede vir die verwesenliking van ons president Mbeki se Afrika-renaissancedroom nie, maar het ook die wêreld se verbeelding aangegryp. Daar is pas 'n soortgelyke park aangekondig tussen onder meer Macedonië, Griekeland en Albanië. Daar word verder gekyk na die potensiaal van 'n park tussen Frankryk, Luxemburg en Duitsland, en ook tussen Oostenryk en Hongarye. Dit is wonderlik dat ons die voortou neem met die bevordering van waardes om 'n selfonderhoudende samelewing te verseker. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Today I want to pay tribute to a person who at the end of last year received the International Bio-policy Organisation's ``First Bio Prize for the new Millennium'' for unequalled achievements with regard to the environment. Dr Anton Rupert from South Africa received this well-deserved award. What makes the award even more remarkable, is Dr Rupert's vision with the promotion and introduction of the world's first cross-border peace parks, of which the Kgalagadi, as my colleague here mentioned, was the very first.
This concept does not only create possibilities for the realisation of our President Mbeki's dream of an African renaissance, but has also gripped the world's imagination. Recently a similar park has been announced between, inter alia, Macedonia, Greece and Albania. Furthermore, investigations are under way into the potential of a park between France, Luxemburg and Germany, and also between Austria and Hungary. It is wonderful that we are taking the lead in the promotion of values to ensure a self-sustaining society.]
It is, however, a fact that everything overall is not as good as it seems, as reflected in the World Wildlife Foundation's Living Planet campaign report that was released in September last year. It states that South Africa generates 8,5 tons of carbon dioxide per person per year, which is almost as bad as Western Europe's 8,6 tons.
Planet earth relies upon her forests to suck up the carbon dioxide and to turn it back into oxygen and carbon, but South Africa has already lost about 73% of its forests.
Dié situasie moet gehanteer word, en daarom word die Minister se oorlog teen besoedeling verwelkom, maar wat gaan gedoen word met die steenkool by Witbank, wat steeds brand en gasse in die lug vrystel, en wat word beoog vir die bekamping van lugbesoedeling in die algemeen? Het die agb Minister die kapasiteit om lugbesoedeling, die storting van gifstowwe in riviere en die see en besoedeling in die algemeen te moniteer en te reguleer? Ek sien dit nie gereflekteer in sy begroting nie. Hoewel die agb Minister sterk uitsprake maak oor die groot sondaars van besoedeling, is hy baie versigtig oor die miljoene klein oortreders. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[This situation must be dealt with, and for that reason the Minister's war against pollution is welcomed, but what is going to be done with the coal at Witbank, which is still burning and releasing gases into the air, and what is envisaged for the combating of air pollution in general? Does the hon the Minister have the capacity to monitor and regulate air pollution, the dumping of poisonous substances in rivers and the sea, and pollution in general? I do not see this reflected in his budget. Although the hon the Minister makes strong statements about the big perpetrators of pollution, he is very careful about the millions of small offenders.]
We have accepted the fact that shoplifting is a crime but littering is also a crime. He who litters, and it does not matter how much litter it is, whether it is a factory dumping masses of waste, or the driver of a car or a taxi throwing an empty can out of the window, or a kid throwing gum or a piece of paper on the pavement, or a smoker leaving a stompie on the driveway, that person is committing a crime. It should be regarded as an offence because that individual is not only stealing from the taxpayer who has to pay millions to tidy up this mess, but he or she is also stealing the beauty of the country and, with that, stealing the good experiences of our country's tourists and also stealing a better life for all.
I acknowledge the Minister's educational project and his own involvement, but let us fast-track the process and discipline the offenders, for littering is a crime.
Die agb Minister is nou al byna 'n jaar in die portefeulje en hy het reeds talle goeie ondernemings gegee en ook self die voorbeeld gestel. Hy het ook al sekere optredes begin implementeer, maar die tyd vir verskonings oor die chaos in die visbedryf is nou verby. Daar is verskeie sake oor die visbedryf wat die Minister vandag toegelig het, en ons is dankbaar vir die stappe wat in die vooruitsig gestel word en vir die aanstelling van mnr Kleinschmidt, maar ons sal ons taak versaak as ons nie net op die volgende wys nie.
Die geskarrel in die bedryf is vererger toe besluit is om mense wat voorheen nie toegang tot die bedryf gehad het nie, te bevoordeel. Nou is dit juis hulle en veral die gevestigde vissers wat moet ly. Daar is mense wat geslagte lank al vissers is, wat net die see ken, maar wat sonder werk sit, terwyl daar steeds mense bevoordeel word wat seesiek word as hulle 'n skuit op die see sien. Ons weet mos van die handel in papierkwotas wat die Minister nou sê aangepak gaan word, maar hierdie chaos veroorsaak dat stropery hoogty vier. Die Minister kan net sowel die regulasies en beperkings ophef, want die stropers steur hulle nie daaraan nie. Dit lyk egter ook of die Minister nie genoeg tyd daaraan spandeer nie. [Tyd verstreke.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[The hon the Minister has now been in the portfolio for nearly a year and he has already given numerous good undertakings and has set a good example. He has also already begun implementing certain activities, but the time for excuses about the chaos in the fishing industry is now over. There are various issues regarding the fishing industry which the Minister highlighted today, and we are grateful for the steps envisaged and for the appointment of Mr Kleinschmidt, but we would be neglecting our duty if we did not just point out the following.
The scrabbling in the industry was exacerbated when a decision was taken to favour people who did not previously have access to the industry. Now it is precisely them and the established fishermen in particular who have to suffer. There are people who have been fishermen for generations, who only know the sea, but who are unemployed, while there are still people being favoured who become seasick if they see a boat on the sea. Of course we know about the trade in paper quotas which the Minister has now said will be addressed, but this chaos leads to poaching being the order of the day. The Minister may just as well abolish the regulations and restrictions, because the poachers do not pay attention to them. However, it would appear that the Minister does not spend enough time on this. [Time expired.]]
Mrs J N VILAKAZI: Chairperson, hon Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, hon MECs and hon members, it gave me pleasure to listen to the hon the Minister's address and to all the speakers before me.
Echoing some of them, I wish to mention the following on behalf of my party, the IFP, and also my province, the kingdom of Kwazulu-Natal. After six years of talking, I want to ponder the question of what marks or percentage we should give to ourselves in this respect. I honestly believe that we only deserve two out of 10 or approximately 20%. Why? Firstly, we need tourism to halt inflation, beat crime, create jobs and boost the rand. Secondly, crime is rampant, joblessness is rising, inflation is on the rise, day after day, and interest rate hikes are threatening. The borrowers are soon going to have sleepless nights, being strangulated by bond rates and so forth.
We do not need to wait for a catastrophe similar to that in Zimbabwe to happen in South Africa, our beloved country. We do not have to wait for what occurred in Congo or Rwanda to occur in South Africa. Tourism is a lifeline. We need to resuscitate the economy in this country. It is very sad that we are failing ourselves in this regard. We need it now. This must be the highest priority, and anyone who harms a tourist or creates negative publicity to keep away tourists should be seen as committing a serious crime against the state.
Each and every province, I believe, has several resources that could attract tourist attention in a big way. Unfortunately, a lot of these resources are not developed. When I think of the province that I come from, the kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal, I can name just a few of these. Firstly, close to my birthplace, there is a natural tunnel in a rocky place which is one kilometre long. It is one of the wonders of creation and is known as Ezinkonjeni. Secondly, the largest stone in Kranskop, known as iTshe likaNtunjambili, has had several places named after it because of its existence. The town itself Kranskop was named because of this rock. Thirdly, some places have warm water which are known as warm baths and are not well-developed enough to attract tourists in their numbers.
Environmental Affairs and Tourism should do a community diagnosis in each province to identify these places which have such a rich potential to attract tourists. This is just food for thought for the department and also for all members who serve in this portfolio in all provinces.
Every segment of society should be putting up a welcome sign for tourists. Every city, every region, every district and every province should make the promotion of tourism its highest priority. Provinces that do well should get a bonus budget supplement. [Applause.]
Ms B N DLULANE: Chairperson, hon members, the main objectives of the environmental affairs programmes are to ensure the conservation of biodiversity and to protect the environment through the ecologically sustainable, economically efficient and socially equitable use of the environment in the Eastern Cape.
This is in line with the destiny of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism as depicted in the budget presented by the hon the Minister. Of the nine provinces the Eastern Cape is currently the third most popular summer holiday destination for domestic tourists and the fifth most popular winter holiday destination for foreign tourists from southern Europe, with the majority of visitors coming from the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
A tourism indaba was held late last year with the intention of bringing together all role-players to identify critical issues pertaining to the province, especially where these hinder growth in tourism. We managed to develop a way forward which will be easily monitored and evaluated. This is the task of the Eastern Cape Tourism Board, as they are the ring leaders in tourism.
The role of the provincial government is to formulate policies conducive to prosperity in tourism. This may be achieved by developing further our draft Green Paper on Tourism into at least a White Paper. It will also play a facilitating role by devising mechanisms for safety and security, providing incentives for the private sector to invest in tourism and providing assistance to emerging entrepreneurs.
Local government is responsible for land-use planning in urban and rural areas, the provision and maintenance of tourist service sites and attractions, the marketing and promotion of local attractions, the provision of road signage and facilitating the participation of our local communities.
Currently, interaction with other provinces is minimal. However, the national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and members of the South African tourism industry convene meetings and co-ordinate issues, thus making it possible for an exchange of ideas on issues of common interest.
This province had a well-established commercial fishing sector worth about R566 million in 1997. The economic potential of inshore or coastal living marine resources is, however, underdeveloped and offers significant potential to improve the livelihoods of coastal communities in the Eastern Cape. Outside of the coastal cities and towns, the coastal economy is essentially nature-based, and comprised of agriculture, tourism, fishing and mariculture.
Sustainable environmental management and development support to these sectors is essential for economic development. Sustainable resource utilisation support to these sectors is essential, for economic benefit is currently threatened by weak environmental management and noncompliance, for example poaching, a lack of institutional support for economic development based on these resources, poor institutional co-ordination and a lack of strategic sector development planning.
Under apartheid commercial access to marine resources was denied to black South Africans, and a clear policy to develop coastal communities based on marine resources did not exist. Policies to address the imbalances of the past and to promote sustainable resource utilisation are contained in the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998, and the White Paper for Sustainable Coastal Development.
These policies create opportunities for the development of coastal communities and the coastal economy. However, delivery on the goals of this Act has been limited due to a lack of policy on strategies for implementation. In particular, policy on the roles of various Government departments and institutions is lacking.
The economic growth potential of the Eastern Cape living marine resources is substantial. Opportunities include the development of small-scale entrepreneurs from coastal communities and optimising the benefits of our natural endowment to promote tourism, and the associated job-creation opportunities.
The wellbeing and sustainability of living marine resources is essential to the growth of tourism. Mariculture is an undeveloped opportunity that requires commitment to technological development and transfer. The sustainability of the economic potential of the endowment of living marine resources in the Eastern Cape province is threatened by poor environmental management, noncompliance, poaching and a lack of institutional support for development based on these resources.
Yiyo loo nto sivuya namhlanje xa uMphathiswa esixelela ukuba kukho abantu abazizigidi ezine abahlala kufutshane nonxweme, izityebi, ooSambuntsuntsu bezityebi, kwakunye nabo bahlwempuzeke ngeyona ndlela. Sibe novuyo ngale ntsasa xa simva esithi iSebe lizimisele ukuyilungisa loo nto. (Translation of Xhosa paragraph follows.)
[That is why we are happy today when the hon the Minister tells us that there are four million people staying along the coast, rich people at that, whose wealth is immeasurable, as well as those who are very poor. We were very happy this morning to hear that the Department is determined to correct this anomaly.]
Policy and strategy in the form of sector development plans are required in order to create the necessary framework and institutional support for optimising the economic potential of the province's living marine resources.
Xa ndigqibezela [In conclusion], we have no doubt that the challenges ahead of us are both complex and immense, but we believe that the holistic approach that we have adopted will work for the Eastern Cape. [Applause.]
Ms M METCALFE (Gauteng): Chairperson, I want to congratulate the Minister on his budget speech. Gauteng will be supporting him.
We particularly want to congratulate him on the excellent work that he is doing in tourism. That issue will be addressed by the other special delegate from Gauteng, Sheila Weinberg.
The complexity of this portfolio makes it, I am sure, a very challenging and interesting one for the Minister. There is a very complex set of issues relating to the interdependency of tourism and the environment. He has shown particular initiative and we want to congratulate him on the energy that he has brought to this portfolio. As he has told the House today, he has taken very active steps to extend to areas that are committed to conservation in this country.
Recently I heard him say, and I think that he is completely correct, that never in the history of this country has there been so much attention given to extending the conservation status of land across the length and breadth of the country.
With the support of the Deputy Minister, he has consistently taken our commitments very seriously and entered into international protocols. This has seen South Africa increasingly become a very important player and take leadership positions in the debates, and international conventions and structures that lead to those protocols.
We also want to congratulate him today on the launch of his White Paper for Sustainable Coastal Development and for the principles that are contained within that document. We need to balance stewardship and caring for our very valuable and beautiful coastline with the opportunities and benefits that those resources can bring in a socially responsible way.
The Minister is most famous, at the moment, for his war against the national flower of the plastic bag. I will be talking a little bit more about that later in my speech.
My main concern, and the subject that I will restrict myself to in my comments in this debate, is the issue of the environment. This is Environment Week; yesterday we celebrated World Environment Day.
I do not think that there is anyone in this House who needs to be reminded that there are very serious consequences for our resources in terms of the exploitative patterns of the past. Massive environmental degradation has taken place across the length and breadth of the country, but particularly in those areas where there has been mining, agricultural and industrial activity. It has very serious consequences for all of us in terms of a degraded and polluted environment and also in terms of the way that our resources have been exploited and depleted.
The Minister faces several key challenges and those challenges, for me, can be summarised in terms of how he takes forward our national and constitutional commitments to sustainable development in a way in which we mainstream that, so that the responsibility for sustainable development is not seen as his alone or that of particularly related environmental ministries.
Environmental concerns should be mainstreamed in our housing and health policies and the development of infrastructure in our local governments, thereby including all our parliamentarians, our chairpersons of portfolio committees and everyone who participates in decision-making around the development of infrastructure, so that they deeply understand the environmental consequences of the decisions that they are taking. So the first challenge to the Minister is to see that environmental concerns and the viability of our country for the following generations are mainstreamed across development in all Government portfolios.
The second area in which I believe that the Minister has enormous responsibility - and people have spoken very eloquently about that today - is in the field of educating the public about the importance of our environmental commitments. Rev Moatshe spoke about a history of dispossession and the reality that so many South Africans live in deeply degraded environments, and where the opportunities to appreciate and enjoy the beauty that we have all spoken about so eloquently is not the experience of the majority of South Africans, but the experience of the visitors that we bring to this country. It is our responsibility to increase access so that people begin to understand much more meaningfully what it is that we are cherishing in our conservation areas.
In Gauteng we have been working with the Gauteng Institute of Curriculum Development to prepare learning materials for teachers and students in all schools in Gauteng, to ensure that environmental education becomes a very deep part of the curriculum experiences of children in Gauteng. I will be returning to the issue of public understanding again and again in the other issues that I raise.
The third responsibility, in addition to mainstreaming and educating, is the responsibility that I believe that the Minister holds centrally in co-ordinating intergovernmental and interministerial relations in terms of environmental matters. We are all aware that the National Environmental Management Act gave him the authority to establish the committee on environmental co-ordination. I feel very strongly that the responsibility that he must take in leading that committee is to ensure that the possible existing fragmentation of environmental responsibilities across the different affected Ministries is effectively managed by the person who holds the portfolio responsible for the environment in this country.
Clearly those environmental responsibilities constitutionally cut across both local, provincial and national government. But I am particularly concerned about the environmental consequences of previous mining activity in Gauteng. I am particularly concerned about the way in which dust pollution and run-off water seriously affect the health and wellbeing of citizens, often particularly the most disadvantaged and poorest people in Gauteng.
It is clear that there has been inadequate rehabilitation of mining activity in Gauteng over hundreds of years. This is causing erosion of the rights of people in Gauteng, the erosion of their access to a safe and healthy environment and, very seriously, degrades their living conditions. We in the province are experiencing enormous pressure to use the National Environmental Management Act and the provisions that it contains in defence of the constitutional rights of people living in the province.
Clearly I am not comfortable in doing so. I would rather look to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism to ensure that we, indeed, have a well-functioning system of co-operative governance so that, across those Ministries that are responsible for environmental matters, there is dedicated attention paid to such environmental degradation, and that the leadership role that he plays spanning the different provinces is well co-ordinated because, understandably, environment is a function that is properly co-ordinated at national level.
This is also an issue that cuts across not only the Department of Minerals and Energy, but also the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. Minister Kasrils has been extraordinarily supportive of our province in the way in which he has responded to environmental degradation that falls within the responsibility of his portfolio. But today there has been a great deal of discussion, and the Minister himself has raised the challenges of waste management. I want to congratulate the Minister on the public initiative that he has taken on the issue of raising public debate around waste management, recycling and the way in which our consumerist behaviour is contributing to pollution. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr M OELRICH (Free State): Chairperson, hon Minister, Deputy Minister, MECs and hon members, it is indeed a pleasure for me to rise in this House representing the province and, in particular, the ANC in our province. I would appeal to the members of this House to grant me a moment's nostalgia. My father stood in this House for a period of 20 years representing the then United Party. For 16 of those years he was the leader of the Minority Party in this House. I thank the House for granting me that moment of nostalgia. [Applause.] [Interjections.] Let me add that my late father fortunately did see our new democracy and he fully supported my venture into the ANC. [Laughter.] [Applause.]
Latest world tourism trends indicate a preference amongst tourists to meet local people face to face. This trend is particularly exciting for the Free State which has limited physical tourist attractions compared to South Africa's coastal regions. On a recent visit to Europe, I was made very aware of the fact that after being there for a week or two, when one is out in the street all one would like to hear is somebody just saying; ``Hi! It's great to have you here.'' That is how we Free Staters are.
It is a recognised fact in South Africa that the hospitality and warmth of the Free State people have no equal and cannot be beaten. I would particularly like to make reference to our hospitable farm folk, be they workers or owners. I single out the Sesotho and Setswana-speaking Free Staters in particular, who are known for their friendly and spontaneous disposition.
Many urban inhabitants can testify to the pleasurable visits they have enjoyed on Free State farms, whether they are from the ``beskawing'' [civilised places], across the Hex River mountains, coastal dwellers or miners returning to their ancestral environments, they are always made to feel more than welcome.
Overseas visitors are being encouraged to become acquainted with township life by visiting places such as Intabazwe in Harrismith, which shows off an accurate presentation of day-to-day activities.
The previously mentioned aspects make our province ideal for hands-on agritourism and meet-the-people tourism - this my own phraseology. This is something that we have recently identified and instructed the Free State tourism and marketing board to prioritise. We discourage bus drives through townships, which only skims the surface of what the life is really like, and without meeting the people, experiencing the heartbeat of the throbbing environment on a personal level.
The marketing of the Free State to the rest of the world will increasingly be left in the capable hands of Satour. We in the Free State would like to extend our congratulations to Mr Valli Moosa on the quality appointments made to the board of Satour. As a country and a province, we are competing for tourists against other strong economies and democracies backed by hundreds of years' experience in the industry. Although our six-year old democracy is doing well and is striving to normalise the South African society, we are still far from the ideal and the zenith of our goals.
During the second half of the twentieth century, when Europe was rebuilding its infrastructure and creating wealth, we in South Africa had a government which was hellbent on dividing our people and squandering the wealth generated by inexpensively mined gold and diamonds, by maintaining 14 parliaments in order to keep up the artificial front. Politicians, however, do not add value with their salaries, but tend to spend their money, and when that dries up, they like to ask for more. To keep the suppressed quiet, Pretoria kept on pouring more and more money into a bottomless pit until the country had virtually bled dry.
In addition, the country got itself dragged into border conflicts under the smoke screen cover of fighting communism.
That minority government controlled by a clique called the Broederbond were only buying more time for themselves to govern at the expense of the wellbeing of all South Africans and developing this country. European countries did not ban communism as we had in South Africa. Instead, some countries such as West Germany successfully built on nationalism and communism to combine capitalism and socialism into a wealthy social welfare state.
This background of a previously-divided South African nation is making it difficult for us to normalise, adequately enough, our society into one nation, which is essential if we are to make a success of people-to-people tourism. Safe tourism means that all communities should be involved, take responsibility and subsequently benefit. The Free State currently has too many white product owners who are hesitant to bring on board new product owners from traditionally disadvantaged communities. There are still too many incidents of tourists being focused on as soft targets by the criminal element. The recent horrendous attack on the Polish couple is such an example, which we should all be decrying. It is only going to be when all citizens are adequately educated about the advantages of the tourist trade for each one of them that these attacks will stop.
Too many of our newly-established tourist forums have a life span of approximately six months before intolerance sets in. Representatives stop attending meetings, and eventually, the forums are steered only by white members. To change the scenario, the Free State has established a link between local government and tourism forums to build capacity and provide accountability for funding and racial issues. These structures, in turn, link up to the provincial tourism department and the Free State tourism marketing board, which in turn links to the national Tourism department and Satour. This constant communication should limit the present costly duplication taking place at those various spheres.
In conclusion, we need specialised actions to create a climate for tourism because of the legacy of the past that divided our nation and sowed mistrust among our people, to the extent that strangers and tourists are not safe in our society. Farm attacks, rape and murder have become everyday occurences. We as Government need to act just as vigorously against these evils as we do in our campaign against HIV-Aids. Let us all motivate our fellow citizens to reclaim the streets from criminals, the highways from horrific evildoers.
Let us teach and educate our brothers and sisters that each tourist is not only a potential job creator, but also an uplifter of our individuality as, in the process of selling our country and our provinces, we ourselves are enhanced by something greater than ourselves - our love and loyalty towards the province and our beloved country. The Free State is determined to address these challenges not next year, but today and now. How? Because we have the support of a caring Government led by the ANC, a people's government. The Free State supports the Minister in his endeavours to promote tourism in South Africa. Finally, I invite all members to visit our friendly, beautiful Free State. Come and experience our friendly, winning smiles. [Applause.]
Ms M M KHUNWANA (North West): Chairperson, hon Minister, Chief Whip, MECs from different provinces, NCOP members, chairpersons of the standing committees, special delegates, I greet all members in the name of democracy.
Tourism is a vital component of the North West province's economy, earning an estimated income of R1,1 billion from 112 000 international tourists and 1 211 000 trips by local tourists as per the latest research undertaken by Satour in 1995.
If these figures were correct, it would translate into approximately 10 120 direct jobs being created then. This is not visible due to the fact that there is massive unemployment in our province. We are aware that statistics are very poor in this field, a matter that is currently being vigorously pursued by the national department. The department is also hoping to pursue its own research programmes but is thwarted by the absence of resources to undertake such exercises. It is estimated that tourism employs about 4% of the workforce nationally, and has enormous potential to create opportunities for the SMME sector, especially for the previously disadvantaged communities.
The North West province is ranked very low in terms of the tourism receipts in the country due the existing state of underdeveloped tourism attractions and facilities. It has the potential to become very competitive within the SADC region. To achieve this, the department of economic development and tourism is working hard to implement the recently adopted North West province tourism development strategy which was initiated by the MEC for economic development and tourism, Mrs Edna Molewa, in conjunction with the North West Parks and Tourism Board.
The key issues in this regard are aimed at job creation and empowerment of the previously disenfranchised majority tourism and economic policy implications for the province, investment towards tourism development, and market and information analyses which should inform such developments. Promoting tourism amongst the indigenous people in South Africa and in the province is done in various ways. This, of course, also conforms to the imperatives of the national White Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism. It is also embodied in the North West policy document that this industry will be government-led, private sector-driven and community-based. A number of initiatives are currently being undertaken to ensure that the previously disadvantaged will be acculturalised in this industry in the not so distant future. This applies to their being hosts and entrepreneurs.
The North West also aligns itself with the current national Welcome Campaign 2000, which is being spearheaded by the national department to create an understanding amongst all South Africans of the importance of tourism, encourage all South Africans to get involved in the industry, encourage all South Africans to help and respect tourists and to encourage all South Africans to respect the physical and social environment of the country.
The department has established an SMME desk, whose primary task is to assist our people to have a meaningful and rewarding involvement in this industry. The department, together with its agency, the North West Parks and Tourism Board, is looking at creating about 6 400 jobs in the next two years, if circumstances permit. This, of course, will depend on various factors such our access to the Poverty Relief Fund and the extent of investment that will take place in the province.
A lot of effort is currently being expended to ensure that the province will benefit adequately from the exposure that it will be getting through professional marketing exercises including the Satour/private sector partnership marketing strategy currently being implemented. However, the province is also embarking on the process of establishing the Invest North West institution whose mandate will be to cover both the tourism and industrial investments and promotion.
As regards the water management programme, the North West province subscribes to the principle that ``cleanliness is next to godliness''. It also recognises some of the opportunities available for job creation through waste management programmes. It should also be realised that whilst this industry thrives on the environment in its various forms of presentation, environmental management is a key factor for purposes of preventing outbreaks of disease which can impact negatively on tourism receipts once it hits the media.
It is also for these reasons that the North West supports the stance taken by the national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism to outlaw some forms of plastic products that litter our environment. Needless to say, it is very important to create the necessary awareness amongst the rest of the South African population to be environmentally conscious. It is known that some countries such as Germany does not encourage their citizens to travel to those countries which do not take care of their environment, and the North West cannot afford such adverse publicity.
The standing committee in the North West is particularly concerned about medical waste management which is a medicolegal hazard in our province. We wish this to be given serious consideration.
Tourism is a complex and cross-cutting sector which impacts on most other economic sectors at different spatial levels and also affects various sectors of society. Thus, in institutional terms, sustainable tourism development requires a complete understanding of the range of functions necessary across all spheres of government for the successful management of the tourism system.
The national institutional framework for the management of the tourism system on a financial basis also requires a lot of resources, both human and financial. It is said that tourism as an economic activity is most successful if managed by a partnership. We should also recognise that the national tourism industry is underpinned by both the provinces and local authorities, which are the pinnacles of the tourism industry in terms of facilities and geographical attributes. This implies automatically that integrated management, where resources are pooled together and plans integrated matters. This cannot for any reason be underestimated. Once it is accepted that the national structures hold the reins in terms of national policy guidelines and the allocation of resources, it is also imperative that this must be done in consultation with the grass-roots authorities where things are happening. This will prevent parallel and ad hoc developments that are brought about by poor consultation amongst the three spheres of government.
It is for these reasons and others that there was a need to establish cluster working groups, for the purpose of co-ordinating plans towards maximising resource utilisation. This is strongly encouraged by the North West Province government.
In conclusion, I wish to congratulate the Minister on his environmental campaign which is aimed at improving the lives of our people, and request the Minister to continue as a revolutionary cadre to fight the environmental cleanliness campaign to the advantage of the disadvantaged. Therefore, the North West Province wishes to see and receive financial support from the Minister to promote tourism in our province. [Time expired.]
Mrs A M VERSFELD: Voorsitter, swak administrasie en bestuur het 'n direkte invloed op mense se lewens en is veral sigbaar in die visbedryf. Verskonings van te min geld en te min mense is nie meer geldig nie. [Chairperson, poor administration and management have a direct impact on people's lives and are especially visible in the fishing industry. Excuses of a lack of money and too few people are no longer valid.]
It is no use having a so-called cheap government. At what cost?
Op die oomblik het ons ongeveer 55 heffings en belastings in die Hoofdirektoraat: Mariene- en Kusbestuur, maar ons het nie die mense om dit in te vorder nie. Wat help dit dus? [At the moment we have approximately 55 levies and taxes in the Chief Directorate: Marine and Coastal Management, but we do not have the people to collect the money. Of what use is that?]
The best way to have effective streamlined administration is to have a skills audit: What is needed? What have we got? For example, it has come to my attention that, although MCM spent a total number of 2 000 hours on the allocation on hake longline, MCM has no legal adviser. I am very glad to hear that the Minister said that he was going for a high-power legal entity. This post has been advertised but what is the salary of the person going to be?
Ek gaan nie ten opsigte van salarisse die gesegde gebruik van ``peanuts'' en ``monkeys'' nie. Ek sal liewer die staaltjie gebruik wat ons in die wynbedryf het. Iemand moes kies tussen twee bottels wyn. Hy besluit toe op die goedkoper een, toe sê sy vriend vir hom: ``Jy sal proe wat jy nie betaal het nie.'' Dieselfde geld vir hierdie departement.
Die direkte gevolge van swak administrasie en bestuur verwoes die kusgemeenskappe, en ook nie net deur die toekenning van visvangregte nie. Daar is byvoorbeeld die seewierkonsessies, die netvispermitte en die sogenaamde ``subsistence fishermen''. Die seewierkonsessies het al in 1998 verval en daar is nog nie weer nuwes uitgereik nie, of dit is so onlangs soos hierdie week uitgereik, maar ek is nie bewus daarvan nie. Die netvispermitte is nou nog nie toegeken nie.
Dit bring my by die sogenaamde ``subsistence fishermen''. Ek het dokumente en bewyse in my besit: sedert 21 Maart stuur ek name deur, kry ons vorms, vul die mense in - die mense van Hawston, Langebaan ensovoorts ry en bring vir ons vorms in. Daar gebeur niks nie en die seisoen het gesluit. So vir sekere ``subsistence fishermen'' het dit wel gehelp, maar vir ander nie. Ek wonder waar word die lyn getrek.
Dit bring my ook by die persoon wat verantwoordelik is vir die ``subsistence fishermen''. Volgens antwoorde aan my gegee in 'n vraag gestel in hierdie Huis is daar tydelike aanstellings wat net intern geadverteer is. Ek wil vandag die vraag vra: hoe het mnr Noel Williams, 'n voormalige ANC-parlementslid, 'n pos in Seevisserye gekry as die pos net intern geadverteer is? Die agb Minister kan verseker wees dat die DP hierop sal ingaan.
Ek wil my vandag spesifiek bepaal by die hawens. Werkskepping is seker een van die belangrikste doelwitte van die Regering. ``Job summits'' word gehou en geld word afgetrek van mense se salarisse, maar as gevolg van swak administrasie en bestuur gaan werk by die hawens verlore, veral aan die Weskus - ek gaan grotendeels op die Weskus konsentreer. Die vervangingswaarde van Suid-Afrika se hawens is verlede jaar bereken op R1 miljard en dit sluit die Portnet-hawens uit. Samsa het die naweek nog 'n waarskuwing uitgereik dat hulle in die nuwe jaar geen lisensies of veiligheidsertifikate gaan toeken aan bote wat nie op die sleephellings was nie. Ons beskik nie op die oomblik oor sleephellings wat bedryf word nie. Hoe lank gaan dit nog vat voor hulle in werking kom? In die besigheidsplan wat die Minister vroeër die jaar aan ons gegee het, maak hy ons daarop attent dat hy gaan konsentreer op ``public-private partnerships''.
Daar is egter ander goed waaraan ons intussen al kan aandag skenk, terwyl ons ons voorberei op hierdie proses. Op die oomblik is die privaatsektor besig om die sleephelling in Saldanhabaai op eie onkoste te herstel. Ek dink dit is 'n skande vir die staat dat die privaatsektor voel, ter wille van oorlewing, ter wille van werkskepping, ter wille van internasionale ooreenkomste, moet hulle maar inspring en dit self regmaak. Presies 'n jaar gelede het mnr Brown van die firma Boats getender om die sleephelling in Saldanha teen 'n koste van R104 000 te herstel. Dit is van die hand gewys, maar dan word daar R558 000 betaal aan 'n privaatspeurder vir 31 dae se werk.
Wat betref St Helenabaai en Sandy Point, asook die daarmee gepaardgaande werkskepping, verwys ek na Tully Marine, 'n voormalige pryswenner van die Argus-Sanlam Job Creator of the Year 1998-toekenning, asook een van die drie entrepreneurs van daardie jaar. In April vanjaar moes Tully Marine 40 van hul permanente geskoolde werkers afdank. Waarom? As gevolg van die feit dat daar nie meer 'n sleephelling in St Helenabaai en by Sandy Point is nie. Vyf jaar gelede het 80% van hul inkomste bestaan uit herstelwerk. Vandag is dit minimaal. Dit is slegs 7% omdat daar nie 'n sleephelling is nie. Die mense is op die oomblik besig om self 'n sleephelling te bou om die bote wat hul bou net uit die fabriek in die water te kry. Hulle mag nie bote van die water af inkry nie, want die staat het 'n sleephelling, maar dit werk nie.
Dit bring my by die hawetariewe. In 1999 is die hawetariewe aangepas met tot 4185%. Die verskoning is dat daar sedert 1993 geen tariewe gehef is nie, maar wie se skuld is dit? Dit is swak administrasie en bestuur, maar nou moet die gewone man daarvoor opdok. Wat meer is, die mense is bereid om te betaal. Die gemiddelde inflasie oor die tydperk is deur kundiges bereken op 72%. Hulle is bereid om dit te betaal, maar nie hierdie abnormale verhoging nie.
Hierdie hawe kan hulle nie eens ten volle benut nie. Daar is een kaai wat al twee jaar lank gesluit is. Een snoekkaai is al byna heeltemal verrot. Derdens is die toegangsfooi by St Helenabaai abnormaal hoog. Daar is nie eens ablusiegeriewe vir een mens nie. [Tussenwerpsels.]
Op die oomblik lê daar in St Helenabaai 'n boot van Lambertsbaai. Sy herstelkoste beloop R60 000. Sy hawetariewe vir die maand beloop R88 000. Hierdie mense kry nie eens kwotas nie. Hoe moet hulle hul bote regmaak? [Tussenwerpsels.] Dit is 'n skande.
Dan is daar ook nog die driedubbele heffing op die herstel van buitelandse bote. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[With regard to salaries, I am not going to use the saying of ``peanuts'' and ``monkeys''. I would rather make use of the analogy we have in the wine industry. Somebody had to choose between two bottles of wine. When he decided on the cheaper one, his friend said to him: ``You will taste what you did not pay for.'' The same applies to this department.
The direct consequences of poor administration and management are destroying the coastal communities, and not only through the allocation of fishing rights. There are, for example, the concessions for seaweed, the netting permits and the so-called subsistence fishermen. The concessions for seaweed expired in 1998 and new ones have not yet been issued, or they have been issued as recently as this week, but I am not aware of that having happened. The netting permits have still not been allocated.
This brings me to the so-called subsistence fishermen. I have proof and documents in my possession: since 21 March I have sent names through, acquired forms, filled in by the people - the people of Hawston, Langebaan, and so forth, went and brought us forms. Nothing has happened and the season has come to an end. Thus, certain subsistence fishermen did benefit, whilst others did not. I wonder where the line is drawn.
This also brings me to the person responsible for the subsistence fishermen. In response to a question I had asked in this House I was given the reply that there were temporary appointments which were only advertised internally. Today I want to ask the question: How did Mr Noel Williams, a former ANC member, acquire a post in Sea Fisheries if that post was only advertised internally? The hon the Minister can be sure of the fact that the DP will investigate the matter.
Today I especially want to focus on ports. Job creation is certainly one of the most important aims of the Government. Job summits are held and money is deducted from people's salaries, but due to poor administration and management, jobs at ports are being lost, especially on the West Coast - I am mainly going to focus on the West Coast. The replacement value of South Africa's ports was calculated at R1 billion last year and this excluded the Portnet harbours. Samsa issued another warning this weekend that in the new year they will not be issuing any licences or safety certificates to boats that were not on the slipways. At present we do not have operational slipways. How long will it still be before they are operational? In the business plan that the Minister gave us earlier this year, he drew our attention to the fact that he will focus on public-private partnerships.
However, there are other matters to which we can in the meantime devote our attention, while we prepare ourselves for this process. At the moment the private sector is busy repairing the slipway at Saldanha Bay at its own expense. I think it is a disgrace for the state that the private sector feels that, for the sake of survival, job creation and international agreements, they have to jump in themselves and repair it.
Precisely a year ago Mr Brown of the firm Boats put in a tender to repair the slipway at Saldanha at a cost of R104 000. It was refused, but then a private investigator was paid R558 000 for 31 days' work.
With regard to St Helena Bay and Sandy Point, together with the concomitant job creation, I want to refer to Tully Marine, a former prize-winner of the Argus-Sanlam Job Creator of the Year 1998 award, as well as one of the three entrepreneurs of that year. In April this year Tully Marine had to dismiss 40 of their permanent skilled workers. Why? Owing to the fact that there are no longer slipways at St Helena Bay and at Sandy Point. Five years ago 80% of their income consisted of repairs. Today that is minimal. It is only 7%, because there is no slipway. At present the people are busy building a slipway themselves, just to get the boats which they are building out of the factory and into the water. They are not allowed to get boats out of the water and onto dry land, because the state has a slipway, but it is not working.
This brings me to port tariffs. In 1999 port tariffs were adjusted by as much as 4185%. The excuse was that since 1993 no tariffs were imposed, but whose fault is that? That is poor administration and management, but now the man in the street has to foot the bill. What is more, the people are prepared to pay. The average inflation over that period has been calculated by experts at 72%. They are prepared to pay, but not this abnormal increase.
They cannot even utilise this port fully. There is one quay that has been closed for two years now. One snoek quay has already almost rotted away. Thirdly, the entrance fee at St Helena Bay is abnormally high. There are not even ablution facilities for a single person. [Interjections.]
At the moment a boat from Lamberts Bay is lying at anchor at St Helena Bay. Its repair costs amount to R60 000. Its port tariffs amount to R88 000 for the month. These people do not even get quotas. How must they repair their boats? [Interjections.] It is a disgrace.
Then there is also the triple levy on the repair of foreign boats.]
I am not going to take a question.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! On what point of order are you rising, hon member?
Mrs E N LUBIDLA: Chairperson, will the hon member take a question?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Hon member, are you prepared to take a question?
Mrs A M VERSVELD: No, I am absolutely not prepared to do so. If I get four extra minutes, I will take a question.
Dan is daar ook nog driedubbele heffings op die herstel van buitelandse bote asook R2 000 per dag om aan die kaai te lê. Die gevolg hiervan is dat die buitelandse bote nie meer by ons hawens aandoen nie. Ons verloor baie belangrike buitelandse valuta en meer nog, ons verloor werkgeleenthede.
Dit is nie die enigste probleme nie. Daar is ook probleme met die grond, want mense in St Helenabaai kan die grond net vyf jaar lank huur. Ons vriend mnr Dickie Meter in Houtbaai kan egter met die goedkeuring van die Houtbaai-ontwikkelingstrust 25 jaar lank grond huur waarop daar nog geen investering gedoen is nie.
Ek besef ek nader die einde van my spreektyd, en ek sluit graag af.
[Then there is also the triple levy on the repair of foreign boats, as well as R2 000 per day to be anchored at the quay. The result of this is that the foreign boats do not call at our ports any more. We are losing very important foreign exchange and what is more, we are losing job opportunities.
These are not the only problems. There are also problems with land, because people in St Helena Bay can only rent land for five years. Our friend Mr Dickie Meter in Hout Bay can, however, with the approval of the Hout Bay Development Trust, rent land for 25 years, on which no investment has been done yet.
I realise that I am nearing the end of my speaking time, and I would like to conclude.]
I gave a notice of motion this morning to the effect that the integrity of this House is at stake. The seriousness with which I view this issue will be reflected in the letters to the Chairperson and the Chief Whip, which I will send to them through the Table. [Applause.]
Mr T B TAABE: Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, members of this august House, special delegates from provinces and MECs present here today, I am privileged to, once again, address this House, particularly on this occasion of the policy review debate on Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
The purpose of my address will be to set out some of the key areas, particularly in the field of tourism, that this department will have to grapple with much more seriously, and how this should relate to the broader issues of tourism as a creator of sustainable jobs in the economy and the largest foreign currency earner.
As we emerge from the pariah state that South Africa had become through successive gangster regimes that had blindly defended the morally repugnant system of apartheid, we are now confidently and proudly into the second term of our democratic order, ably led by the glorious army of the majority of the people of this country, the ANC. This has brought with it increased societal awareness of the strategic importance of tourism, although it is not the panacea for all the social ills in our country.
The question should therefore be asked whether we have, indeed, done enough as a nation to unlock the tremendous potential that tourism has for South Africa in relation to the all-important matter of job creation, thus dealing with some of the social ills in our country, particularly the colossal unemployment and abject poverty which I referred to earlier on.
Our ability, therefore, to effectively unlock this potential depends, to a very large extent, on our ability to have a shared patriotism, commitment and a shared vision in terms of how we want to turn this industry into South Africa's single biggest creator of jobs in the economy to benefit the most vulnerable in society, particularly women in rural communities and young people.
This industry must deliberately create an entrepreneurial class of young men and women who must, in turn, contribute to the development of a vibrant SMME sector to provide much-needed jobs for school-leavers and first-time job seekers in the country. It should therefore not be seen as a sole preserve or exclusive domain of the historically advantaged - who still are in this position - and its business and its professional class.
It must be said that the collective minds of those that planned and defended apartheid colonialism for decades in this country must now be used progressively to unlock and promote the tourism industry in South Africa on an unprecedented scale to eliminate poverty and thus create a better life for all. It is through all of us genuinely confronting these realities that we can boldly declare, as young people do, that yesterday is, indeed, a foreign country, and that tomorrow belongs to us all.
Having said that, I must also point out that tourism, as a source of job creation, should be Government's priority in view of the sector's potential for foreign currency earnings and employment, as I indicated earlier on. It must also be borne in mind that it is this sector that has a substantial flow-through effect which touches all sectors of the economy. It has a great potential as a catalyst for future economic and social development throughout our SADC region.
All our people, particularly the majority on whose behalf I speak in this Chamber, must benefit from the much-talked-about ``world's greatest tourist attractions'' which South Africa boasts, with regard to both the natural and the cultural heritage, ranging from game parks and pristine scenery to beaches and traditional villages. We should make it possible for low-income earners to marvel with pride at the beauty of these attractions, while equally engaging the unemployed in this sector, using it as a launching pad for economic development, particularly among rural communities.
Tourism development's major preoccupation should, therefore, be to raise the wellbeing of local communities, to promote mutual understanding in order to achieve peace, to conserve nature and the environment, and to preserve traditions as well as the social and cultural values of our country. The interests of local people must, therefore, be taken care of so that a peaceful atmosphere within which tourism can thrive can then prevail.
If South Africa attracts 0,2% of the annual estimated 300 million tourists in the world - and we rank number 42 when it comes to tourism earners in the world - then we need to do much more in the area of marketing our precious country. We need to have the best marketing strategies, through partnerships with the private sector, so that we can become serious world players in world tourism.
Our ability to achieve all of these things also depends on the capacity of provinces to market their various attractions among local people and to build local economies. Local government, being the confluence of delivery, must then begin to find, in a much more concrete way, innovative strategies for creating a local tourism corps to develop tourism-related products at a local level. In this way we will be able to showcase certain attractions at a local level and bring the richness of the history to tourists and thus effectively create sustainable jobs locally and provide local authorities with much-needed revenue. This tourism corps must also become the first line of defence for tourists against criminal elements in areas where these elements are to be found.
If the number of jobs in the trade, catering and accommodation sectors of the economy grew by 9% last year as a result of growth in tourism and if tourism currently brings an estimated R20 billion a year into the economy, second only to mining and manufacturing in its contribution to the GDP, then with our renewed determination, commitment and energy, we could effectively be in a position to double if not treble the statistics.
As South Africans, we must again do what we are capable of doing, and that is to give tourists a friendly smile when they visit this country. We should stop and talk to them whenever we meet them. We should be positive about our cultures, our country and its future, and be proud of our facilities, keep our environment litter-free and say no to plastic bags. We should also be able to talk about these cultures, our customs and say a big no to crime, and above all, be proud of being South African.
The Minister has touched on a number of critical areas, which I feel I must also comment on, in relation to the whole issue of us as Government creating strategic partnerships with the private sector. A case in point relates to SAA's recent global partnership with Delta airlines which promises to bring an additional 26 000 visitors per year to South Africa. This view was reinforced by the Minister in his most recent address at the Indaba 2000 travel showcase, which this industry holds almost annually, where the Minister spoke of the strategic importance of all of us working as a nation to make South Africa one of the hottest destinations on the globe. If this is the approach of the Minister, there honestly is not even a shade of doubt in my mind that this industry is going through its own renaissance. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr N SINGH (KwaZulu-Natal): Hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, colleagues in the Council, it is a pleasure for me to participate in this policy debate on Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
The hon the Deputy Minister is not only a finger-wagging Deputy Minister, but has also become a fist-wagging Deputy Minister in today's editorial of the Business Day. She must keep it up! [Laughter.] As my colleague Mrs Cronjé indicated to the House, I will focus on environmental issues. She has touched on some of the tourism issues. However, I must also state that some of the issues that I am going to touch on have been discussed at Minmec, but I thought it would be wise for me to share some of the information with my colleagues here in this honourable Council of ours.
I do not know if it was an act of omission, and I would like to think that it was so, where, on the last page of the hon the Minister's speech which I have just read, he referred to the celebration which he had with the province of Gauteng with regard to the Sterkfontein caves. I must remind the hon the Minister that we also celebrated the declaration of the Greater St Lucia Wetland park as a World Heritage site with him, and I am sure that it was an omission. We are also looking forward to the declaration of the Drakensberg-Ukhalamba range as having World Heritage status for both the cultural and natural beauty that it offers.
I just want to make a few remarks on tourism. I was delighted to learn, a few days ago, that the Global Environment Facility, via the World Bank, has approved a loan or grant totalling some R15 million which will go towards a project to protect the exceptional biodiversity of the Maluti-Drakensberg mountains through conservation-sustainable resource use and land use, and development planning. I think what is exciting about this particular project, as the hon Minister indicated to us, is that it is not only South Africa and three provinces within South Africa that are involved in this project, but that it also involves the neighbouring country of Lesotho. I am sure that the national department will do everything that it has to do to ensure that we get this particular loan.
My colleague Mrs Cronjé spoke about tourism, and others spoke about some of the factors that would negatively influence tourism in our country. However, I would also like for us to remember that poor waste management will also impact negatively on visitors' experiences and, consequently, damage the image that tourism marketing campaigns endeavour to project of South Africa as an international destination. I will be reflecting on waste management later on. However, since this is Environment Week and we celebrated World Environment Day yesterday, I am very pleased that the national department and the Minister and Deputy Minister have taken the opportunity to extend the awareness campaign for ten days, and not only celebrate and make people aware on World Environment Day.
Now, we have various challenges that we face in KwaZulu-Natal, and I thought I would share some of these challenges with hon members. Land fertility is declining. Land degradation is increasing. The rapid growth of urbanisation is causing massive air pollution. Marine fisheries are being overexploited to the point that their ability to quickly recover is in doubt. Wetlands are under considerable pressure as a result of predominantly agricultural and commercial forestry development. When it comes to industrial development, although monitoring seems to indicate that there are no major problems with air quality in areas of complex development, I believe there is considerable public concern about air pollution from industries operating in the province, and I will refer to this a little later as well.
I would like to say to members of this Council, that as the department of environmental affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, we have engaged in various activities over the last few days, some of which have been visits to schools and conducting environmental awareness campaigns - the eradication of alien plants within and outside school premises and the planting of indigenous trees - and the propagation and planting of medicinal plants with traditional healers. We promoted an anti-litter campaign involving local communities and schools. We had live talk shows, and it was a pleasure for me to participate in a talk show with the hon Deputy Minister last night. We have encouraged art competitions aimed at learners and adults, and we offered cash prizes and awarded prizes for the best functional art and best visual art entries using waste materials. So these are just some of the activities that we have engaged in in the province.
Turning to waste management and environmental affairs, I would like to discuss the responsibility that we as provinces have in this sphere of environmental affairs, especially in respect of pollution control. The Constitution provides for the right of the individual to live in a clean and healthy environment. Natural law probably confers the same right on him or her. The Constitution also clearly provides that protection of the environment should be a concurrent responsibility of national and provincial Government. It is a basic responsibility that neither sphere of Government can shirk. We have to decide where the division of responsibilities should lie, which functions of protecting the environment are most effectively provided by which sphere of government, and here I refer to the three spheres of Government that we have. I believe that everything has to mesh at the end of the day, whether it is the provincial government, or the local government that carries out the functions. Everything has to mesh with the national framework of standards and procedures.
We also have to decide how such functions are to be funded. As I said, the Constitution places on Government the responsibility for environmental care, but the Constitution does not provide the funding for the task.
We in Government have a serious mandate which is inadequately funded. I think that is true of both spheres of government, national and provincial. We simply do not have the trained personnel, and I think the Northern Province referred to that. We simply do not have the trained personnel in sufficient numbers, nor the budgets, to provide the environmental protection mandated to us by the Constitution. We cannot allow this kind of scenario to continue.
KwaZulu-Natal has been giving attention to this anomaly. We take seriously, as I am sure other colleagues would, the responsibilities toward the environment and human society. Early in April we organised a workshop in Durban to discuss the responsibility of various spheres of government, national, provincial and local. We were delighted that there were colleagues of ours from five other provinces present at this workshop, where we engaged in a full-day workshop to try to fathom from the National Environmental Management Act what exactly our responsibilities are.
The report has been given to the hon the Minister, and I am sure that the national department will take this forward so that there is clarity on who has to do what and when. To this end we are concerned about the levels of pollution, particularly in the Southern Durban area, and I want to thank the hon the Minister and the Deputy Minister for the proactive steps that they have taken to come to the province to try to sort out this problem.
Unfortunately what does tend to happen is that, because my portfolio title is ``MEC for Environmental Affairs'', the first port of call is my office. So, I think here again we have to sort out, particularly when it comes to disasters, who goes in and acts. I would like to think that any sphere of government which is available at that moment when there is a disaster, should be able to act, as we did when it came to a sulphur dioxide leak at one of the factories recently. We had problems there. We instituted a committee which investigated the matter.
I am looking forward to the investigating committee on the polythene chlorine leaks as well. I understand that a panel has been put together, and I hope that this investigation can start soon, because the hon the Minister did indicate publicly that there would be an investigation into this matter. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr G C ADAMS (Western Cape): Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, colleagues and members of this House, it is an honour for me to be here today to address this House in the debate on the national policy review.
Before I start I would like to say that I met with the Minister yesterday at a clean-up project, and I spoke to him about funding a project in the Western Cape that is very dear to my heart. He was quite agreeable about it. What happened was that I then had to go back and redraft my speech. So, my speech today, if anything, is well considered. [Laughter.]
Yesterday was World Environment Day. It is thus fitting that the budget debate on the environmental portfolio should be held today, because the Unep theme for this year is: ``The Environment Millennium, Time to Act''. One's will to act is evidenced by one's will to spend. In this instance it is taxpayers' money we are spending. The question that therefore arises is not only how much we are prepared to commit, but also whether that expenditure is effective.
It is correct to target poverty alleviation and job creation as priority goals in the environmental budget, but what must also be recognised is the role that privileged people play in our society in the generation of waste and pollution. Almost inevitably, although it is not the intention, poor people get the blame for our environmental woes. The sooner poverty alleviation is linked to the causes of waste pollution, and the consumption of resources through privilege, the more balanced the budgetary approach will be. In other words, the causes of poverty and the causes of environmental degradation must be linked, not the results.
The expenditure on the development of an integrated waste management strategy must be fast-tracked, and not be held hostage by the popular issues in the environmental budget. By this I mean that the Minister has gained himself superhero status with his intention to combat plastic bags as litter. I agree with him, and will give 100% support to his initiatives, but the problem must be seen for what it is. It is a litter problem along with all the filth and litter we encounter. Whilst the plastic bag issue merits the national priority that it is enjoying, one can similarly wage a war on paper products, cans, glass and tyres. An integrated waste management strategy is needed wherein plastic bags, all the other litter problems, and incentive-linked recycling projects must be situated and be accorded relative priority. We cannot wait two or three years to implement an integrated national waste management policy.
I turn to the issue of 4x4 vehicles, and note the Minister's public statement in this regard. Whilst I feel just as strongly about 4x4 vehicles on our beaches as he does, I think that this matter has to be reconsidered. Instead of 4x4 vehicles being banned from the beaches, beaches should be graded according to their sensitivity and the impact the projected volume of 4x4 vehicles would have on that area. In some instances, one might opt for controlled access, and in others, no access whatsoever by 4x4 vehicles. A total ban is too blunt an instrument. [Interjections.]
I fully endorse the hon the Minister's stance on industrial pollution. I agree that there is rampant lawlessness amongst industrial operators who pollute without regard. They tend to have the public relations machinery to sanitise their public image whilst their pollution affects the health of our children and degrades our environment. The sooner the regulations he is drafting sees the light of day, the better off we will be.
Related to this is the ubiquitous foreign investor. Whenever any decision is made on the environment, we are threatened that we will scare away one or other foreign investor. Whilst I acknowledge the importance of foreign investment, we cannot be held hostage to their demands, nor can we allow ourselves to become the dumping ground of their capital expenditure. Investment must be conducted in an environmentally sustainable manner, otherwise it will migrate anyway, but only after it has wreaked havoc in our land.
I am further pleased to see the Minister's support for local agenda 21 coming through and I trust with each successive budget more resources can be allocated to our obligations on agenda 21 issues. So, too, must our international obligations on biodiversity, climate change, transport of hazardous goods, nuclear waste, etc, be monitored and implemented.
Now I am done with the compliments. If ever there was a blot on the Minister's fine record in his portfolio up to now - and I say up to now, because I was encouraged by his words this morning - then it must be the fishing industry. It is time that the Minister concedes failure in the current marine resources management system and redesigns it. We in the Western Cape, where nearly 90% of the industry is concentrated, had the ear of the role-players, and can see that the present system is profoundly dysfunctional.
When one sees flagship empowerment initiatives being boasted about on the SABC news, and knows that a family member was a member of the Fisheries Transformation Council, then one does not need a private investigator to tell one that nepotism is rife. When the Deputy Minister stands up in Parliament and declares that the private investigator found nothing wrong, and a few days later one reads that the same private investigator is threatening to go public and uncover compromising information, then the system is seriously and profoundly corrupt. [Interjections.]
Look at the so-called transformation in the industry which is almost synonymous with an old cronies club. Very poor and desperate people are suffering because the ruling party is keen to dish out patronage. This is wrong. Please bring an end to it. If Minister Kader Asmal can rethink Curriculum 2005, then the Minister can redesign the quota system. Perhaps it is time to consider sharing the responsibility of marine and coastal management with the other spheres of government.
Finally, environmentalists understand the difficulties that are inherent in this portfolio. The Minister has done much to raise the profile of sustainable environmental management in this country. The challenge will be to see whether the legacy of this new approach will be one that meets the profile.
The Minister and I share a common vision. We will work together to realise this vision, but we will agree to differ over issues where the environment is used as a political football. The environmental challenges facing us are much bigger than the politics of the day. Let us not lose sight of the bigger picture. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Thank you, hon member. You have perhaps set a good example. When we allocate time, it does not mean that you must exhaust it. [Laughter.]
Mr R M NYAKANE: Mr Chair, Minister and the House at large, section 24(a) of our Constitution provides that every person has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing. Flowing from that provision, I would like to share with the Minister and this House a few observations connected to the environmental problems I have experienced in the Northern Province.
We have a problem with the state of disrepair of the security fences along the Kruger National Park. These fences are commonly known there as ``10 heights''. The problems related to these are as follows: Firstly, these fences are very dilapidated. Wild animals and predators often leave the park and enter villages, causing problems and destroying livestock. A month ago, we had a terrible situation. Seven lions, along with one cheetah and one buffalo escaped from the Kruger National Park. Later on, these lions were tracked down and four were shot dead. Three are still at large along with the cheetah and the buffalo. One other shocking experience in that area is that a certain gentleman called Judas Baloyi was knocked down by a buffalo and became unconscious, and he eventually recovered in hospital.
I am just trying to indicate to the Minister the problems that we experience in the unfriendly environment in that particular area. The state of affairs is definitely not pleasing in that particular area, and is mainly due to the fencing which is quite loose. This might not fall within the competency of the Minister, but I think it is worth mentioning because it is connected to the environment.
One other observation about a problem is that the environment there becomes so unfriendly that some people lose livestock. Hence, I would like to know from the Minister if there is an intention to establish a compensation policy because a lot of the livestock in those areas serve as a means of income for the rural people there. I know of a lot of youths that have gone to universities and technikons because of the fact that their parents reared livestock, and this is very important.
One other observation that I wish to make is that, especially at the ranches where people come to see the animals and some come for professional hunting purposes, and there is a pile of stores and goods that are going to waste. For example, at the Letaba ranch, we have hides and skins that were left there by the former homeland governments which are piling up and rotting. These could be sold and this money could go into the government coffers.
We also have equipment, machinery and other items in those areas. They are lying there unused. I would request that, if this particular matter falls within the competency of the Minister, it should please receive very urgent attention.
It is a pity that, in most cases, I do not have much time. I always have only four minutes. Otherwise, I could have told him more stories about baboons and other things that are moving around there that are creating an unfriendly environment in those areas. [Laughter.] [Applause.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Thank you, we will hear more about baboons later. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM: Chair, hon members and delegates, I think as responsible political leaders of this country, we must put the citizens first on our agendas and make positive contributions to their lives, because we feel that cheap politicking or vote-touting make no positive contribution to our people. It is usually those who have no programmes or anything to offer to our people who try to distract us from the real visions and real and noble cause of this new democratic Government.
It is our people who suffered in the past and, even now, are being made to suffer in a very subtle way. The communities are getting confused and we should please not rub salt on the open wounds that are there. We definitely would like to focus on assisting our people and making a difference in their lives, and what we hear, we will take as noise pollution and nothing else. [Laughter.]
To make some comments on what has been said, it is true that certain harbours have been repaired by private businesses. That is true. The businesses offered to do so and, anyway, the deputy director-general is on his way to thank them. They offered to do it, and it is good. We are working in partnership with business and civil society, and there is nothing wrong with that. We have now budgeted R10 million to repair those harbours.
Coming to Noel Williams, he was appointed within the legal parameters. We can go on investigating, but we do not have the time. We want to deliver to our people. [Interjections.]
With regard to harbour fees, we have had a meeting. We have discussed this, and we have said that the people who are involved in fishing must come and tell us about it. We are waiting for them to bring their proposals and we are going to sit down with them. In fact, those harbour fees were set by those hon members' government because they were in government. I think we must not waste our time. [Interjections.] Please listen to what we want to do. We are acting on those plans.
This year, the theme of World Environment Week has a clear message that it is time to act and clean up our country to create a better life. Our country is getting dirtier every day and our people's lives are endangered. Our environment is degraded by ill-managed and hazardous waste, and our children are in constant danger of contracting diseases. Because of air pollution, as a world, we are faced with the real possibility of global warming and similar dangers emanating from atmospheric changes, and our enormous coastline is threatened by irresponsible human behaviour. We have resolved to get a foothold on all these issues through clear policies and firm action in order to entrench the principles of sustainable development geared towards the improvement of our people's quality of life.
To do this, an integrated strategy is indispensable. A forum such as the NCOP, that brings all the spheres of government together, is tasked with a role that can make or break our endeavours to carry this vision forward. If provinces and local governments do not localise and implement these policies that we have set out here, those policies remain meaningless to the poor majority we purport to serve.
Pollution and waste management issues are foremost on our agenda. Just two weeks ago, we unveiled the White Paper on Integrated Pollution and Waste Management for SA. We are determined to turn this policy into reality. To this end, we have published, for public comment, regulations that spell out our intention to ban the use of plastic carrier bags. Let me hasten to say that the ban is not on all plastics, but we will only ban the thin carrier bags that have 79 microns or less that are given free of charge in all the supermarkets, and that are always visible in our country's landscape. Everyone uses plastic, and therefore we strongly believe that this issue will help us reach every South African and encourage a culture of cleanliness.
Visible action is being taken to establish waste management infrastructure in townships dealing with medical waste - this is what was raised by the hon member from the North West who was worried about medical waste. We had a lot of incidents even in the Western Cape and all over the country, and we need to deal with it, and other hazardous waste which continues to threaten our communities and is contributing to increased poverty and the degradation of the environment.
To this end, in August this year, we will be publishing guidelines for integrated waste management planning for local government. Local government has a key role to play in the community awareness campaigns, the designing of alternative collection systems and the creation of community-based waste collection systems.
It is the role of local government to put in place local by-laws, ordinances and regulations that are effective. It is appropriate to acknowledge the steps taken by the Northern Cape town of Douglas, as has already been mentioned, of banning plastic carrier bags well ahead of this becoming law. Last weekend some shops in Pretoria also announced to their customers and to the communities that, as from next month, they would not be using any plastic bags; people must bring their own carrier bags. We are proud of these initiatives. The city of Cape Town will also soon be launching a huge campaign against litter in the Mother City. This is the type of initiative we expect from local government if we are to succeed in defeating the scourge of waste that threatens to drown us all.
The state of health care waste management in South Africa is very poor. Contributing to this state of affairs is a lack of training and awareness, and limited financial resources, particularly at the provincial health care level. Add to this the lack of capacity at authority level, and one has a situation where the disposal of health care waste to inappropriate landfills and informal dumps becomes commonplace in our country.
Whilst some institutions are managing infectious waste in an unacceptable manner, almost none has acceptable procedures and management systems in place for chemical, including pharmaceutical, waste and low-level radioactive waste. A brief study into the current status of health care waste management, the approach used internationally and the needs in South Africa has been conducted by our department. We will shortly be publishing regulations that will serve as guidelines for health care waste management to correct this scary situation.
Over the past few months, concern has been expressed about air pollution. Some corporate citizens have been less than responsible in their commitment to limit emission levels to acceptable and hazard-free levels.
Government, on its side, has been consistent over the past six years in enforcing sustained emission reduction programmes at each of the four refineries in our country. We are confident that this will result in significant improvement in ambient air pollution levels in the vicinity of these plants. In fact, the results of our independently audited monitoring reveals that the emission levels which residents are exposed to are well below the standards of the World Health Organisation. However, we are still concerned that these levels have not yet been reached everywhere, because communities are still suffering in these areas. We are determined to continue monitoring this.
The hon member Mr Van Niekerk is indeed correct in saying that littering is a crime. In fact, people in some areas have already implemented certain initiatives. The other day I launched a buy-back centre in Thohoyandou. There the youth have volunteered to enforce this. They wore T-shirts with the words ``littering is a crime''. There are initiatives that we do not know about. We encourage people to go on with this. Littering really is a crime.
Despite these improvements, Government is committed to heed the calls of our people who have, over the years, moved closer to sites near refineries and in some instances, of course, the refineries were built near them. We have stated, on a number of occasions, that we have no tolerance for companies that harm the health of residents and workers through their activities. We will not hesitate to prosecute and recover damages from companies that disregard environmental norms and standards.
We have agreed to start negotiations with the refineries on putting in place co-operative agreements in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, which will entail the operation of ambient and emission monitoring, independent auditing of monitoring results and agreeing on emission reduction programmes. These negotiations do not preclude more drastic action against the major pollutors in this country, we will still prosecute them. Polluters will be made to pay to clean up their mess. They will have to pay for all the expenses incurred by the communities.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Could the hon the Deputy Minister wrap up?
The DEPUTY MINISTER: Yes.
Internationally we are playing our part in these areas. South Africa has been mandated to host the Basel Regional Training Centre on behalf of the English speaking countries, which is intended to build capacity in hazardous waste management and the transboundary movement of waste.
We are well aware of the problems of asbestos. The case will be heard in London on 19 June and we are all supporting this. We must definitely all do this.
Concerning climate change, we in South Africa have joined a convention on climate change to get a solution to the escalating greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Because South Africa's economy is coal based, we will still have problems in this regard. We need alternatives in our townships to supply electricity or alternative means of energy.
This morning we launched the White Paper for Sustainable Coastal Development in South Africa. It comes at a very good time, because this week we celebrate World Environment Week.
It is estimated that these resources contribute R168 billion annually to the national economy, approximately 35% of the gross domestic product. The coastal population of approximately 13,7 million people includes some of South Africa's poorest and most overcrowded communities. It is our challenge as politicians to assist those communities. They must have access to our resources, but they must know how to conserve and take care of these coastal areas so as not to degrade them continuously.
This policy is aimed at maximising and sustaining the social, economic and environmental benefits provided by coastal resources. In a partnership between Government and civil society, the department will initiate a course of action that will unlock the full potential of our coast whilst maintaining the wealth, diversity and productivity of coastal ecosystems.
Central to this strategy is support for local demonstration projects aimed at fostering shared responsibility of coastal resources between Government and coastal communities. Certain communities are joining the Blue Flag campaign. This means that that particular community is able to keep the coast clean. Communities which achieve this, will get a Blue Flag. All coastal communities must strive to do that. Durban is the first recipient of the Blue Flag, and I am proud of that. All communities, right up to here in the Western Cape, should join.
With the help of this White Paper, we can establish ``one-stop-shops'' for obtaining planning, environmental and other approvals for coastal development applications. We need to support these ...
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Hon Deputy Minister, you are three minutes over your time.
The DEPUTY MINISTER: All right.
All these initiatives are challenges to all of us here as political leaders and we need to take them seriously. [Applause.]
Ms S WEINBERG (Gauteng): Chairperson, I would like to make some introductory remarks just to say that it is a real honour for me to be speaking in the NCOP. I fought long and hard for the struggle to be here. [Applause.]
Gauteng is the most industrialised province in this country and contributes at least 39% of the GDP. Being industrialised, the generation of waste is greatest in our province of all provinces. We are accordingly extremely enthusiastic about the national waste management strategy and were encouraged by the recently released White Paper. We look forward to the regulations mentioned by the Deputy Minister. We wish great strength to the elbows of the department.
There is much criticism out there of this ANC-led Government, and much praise, praise for the way in which we have formulated plans, strategies and White Papers. Here we have the best minds in the world, creative thinkers, people experienced in the ways of the world. The question and problem we are now faced with in the second five years of government is simply how to implement these wonderful plans. The critics are waiting for us to fail, but they will wait in vain.
The Gauteng provincial government is committed to implementing the national waste management strategy in order to make a decisive difference to the lives of ordinary people in our province. People should not have to live near rubbish heaps where they are exposed to the effluent of mining and industrial operations. We see the enforcement of environmental protection regulations as a prime priority of the province. We are aware of who the polluters are and are determined to make them pay for the disaster they are creating.
With regard to medical waste, which is a major problem when children playing in the vicinity of household rubbish dumps are found with used syringes and other immensely dangerous medical waste, the Gauteng provincial government has embarked on a process of education and consultation which will arrive at a sustainable medical waste management system. We are confident that the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism will take the role as lead agent on pollution management with dedication and verve, and will co-ordinate other departments in the drive for a clean and safe world for ourselves, our children and grandchildren.
When it comes to tourism, we are proud to acknowledge that the Gauteng Tourism Authority, established in terms of our provincial legislation, has been launched. Recently passed regulations will allow for the registration and levying of all accommodation facilities, and an estimated R2,5 million will be raised. We are well on track with sophisticated computer software to undertake the registration and marketing of all tourism facilities, from the lowliest community tourist guide to the largest hotel.
We acknowledge that Gauteng does not have the oceans, mountains and major wilderness areas of other provinces. So we see ourselves as a conference and convention destination, with opportunities for emerging operators in day tours to interesting places. Soweto, for instance, is the 10th most visited destination in South Africa. Also, tourists are interested in our struggle for liberation, and places of interest such as Alexandra township, where ex-President Mandela stayed when he first came to Johannesburg, and the homes of the likes of Alfred Nzo, Wally Serote and many others from our liberation struggle whose roots are in Alexandra, will become part of our tourist product. We also boast, as has been mentioned, a World Heritage site known as the Cradle of Humankind.
However, before Alexandra and other townships and, indeed, the country as a whole can become a serious mass tourist destination, there is much that must be cleaned up. I refer not only to waste management and plastic bags, which are the challenges I have already mentioned, but also to tourism safety, to be achieved in conjunction with the SA Police Service and, more importantly, the challenge of beginning to turn around the perceptions which people hold about South Africa, and Gauteng in particular, as a dangerous place to come to. Gauteng is no more dangerous than London, Rome or New York for tourists.
The price of the rand in relation to the dollar and the pound sterling certainly makes our country an attractive destination, even for budget tourists and backpackers. However, we do call on the private sector to avoid the temptation of greed, and to set their prices at a level which is also accessible for local tourists, and, hence, encourage the overall growth of the industry. What we and Government need to do now is to create an industry that is coherent, service-oriented, clean and bright. [Applause.]
Mr K D S DURR: Chairperson, I have to say to the Minister that I have been highly impressed, and I hope he has too, by the high standard of speeches that we have heard here today. It really encourages one for the future. I want to say to the Minister that we too wish to be responsible and wise custodians of our God-given environment. We wish to promote policy that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet those needs, that is, the principle of sustainability.
We need not only a vision that is shared and pursued by all inhabitants of all the provinces, but also a vision which is understood and supported at every level of society. How do we achieve these lofty goals? Unless ordinary people buy into the lofty intentions we have, there is not going to be sustainable environmental protection. We feel the shortcoming on the development agenda is that we are dealing with functional and physical considerations only, and that we are ignoring too much in a real sense the norms, values and ethics which should underpin and uphold our environment.
Having identified and agreed on these norms, values and ethical standards where possible, we need to link them to the Constitution. Two of these values are democratic representivity and the inclusion of the individual, the community and the local area in the planning process and sustainability. Through effective communication and education, we need to disseminate those shared norms and values to the whole nation so that everybody can identify with them, because if they do not seek to do that and feel that these things have no meaning, value or relevance to them, they will become alienated and the environment will become an object of envy.
Finally, the public benefit of good environmental management needs to be understood by everybody, the public and the Government alike. Tourism is a wonderful thing, but if it is to be promoted and encouraged - and I congratulate the Minister on what he is doing in outsourcing and privatising as these are wonderful things - we cannot have a new apartheid between hard-currency visitors, who come to wonder at our pristine and natural areas, and those of us in our own country who are left out because they cannot afford access to that environment. I am echoing what several of our colleagues, such as Ms Metcalf and others, have said.
We, all of us, must not become commercially excluded in our own country. A balance has to be struck and access ensured for all South Africans. Access is absolutely vital. We also need to find together those norms, values and ethics that should underlie our wish to preserve and conserve our environment for all our people. So we need to identify with what we find - the norms and values that we find together - to communicate, to educate, and finally, to experience our environment, and understand and feel the benefits of the wild stewardship that the God-given environment brings.
Finally, may I say to the Minister - and I do not want to be flippant about this - that if he and his colleagues can halve the crime rate, they will double the tourism intake in this country. [Applause.]
Ms B THOMSON: Chairperson, hon Ministers and Deputy Minister, hon MECs, hon members and special delegates, section 24 of the Constitution guarantees that everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing; and also to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation, promote conservation, and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.
The benefit of environmental conservation of our natural resources, trees being one of them, is invaluable. The value of trees is often underestimated. Apart form the fact that trees supply our timber and fire wood needs, trees enrich our environment, therefore they need to be conserved.
The progress in industrial development is degrading the quality of life, and the productive capacity of the environment will soon run into bankruptcy. Humanity needs a sense of kinship between people and nature, and there is a moral responsibility to protect the environment from abuse. Economically speaking, we need to utilise our tree resources on a sustainable basis on the one hand. On the other hand, there is a social and moral decay that is crippling.
Although preserving trees is important because of their economic value, their ecological value is not always fully appreciated. Trees release an enormous amount of oxygen which is responsible for our human survival. The leaves of trees filter dust from the air, thus creating a healthy environment. The careless neglect and destruction of trees may result in an as yet unknown risk or damage to the quality of human life. Their photosynthesis properties benefit not only humans, but animals, birds and insects. Fruits and nuts borne by the trees provide food for these species, while flowers produce nectar and pollen, from which bees make honey. This preserves animal species by providing not only food but a habitat as well.
Within and enclosed in the crown of a tree, a beneficial microclimate is created where birds and insects are protected from the extremes of weather and climate. These micro-organisms, such as insects, also need to be protected. They are just as important to human welfare as the black rhino, and also play an important role in the ecosystem. The issue is not that we should preserve certain species like the rhino, the issue is that we should preserve life-giving ecosystems and, in this sense, a rhino is not more important than a bird or an insect.
Soil erosion is another problem that threatens our environment. Every year millions of tons of soil are washed or blown away from the farmlands of South Africa. With the world population doubling every 40 years soil will become an even more crucial resource for the provision of food and homes. As pressure on soil resources increases it becomes vitally important that the existing resources are correctly and efficiently used.
The best soil is completely exposed to rain drops and the scouring of running water. Soil cover intercepts this energy and dissipates it before it reaches the ground. Old tree leaves which fall to the ground protect the soil from erosion, and provide cover and food for many small animals and insects. The humus improves the texture and fertility of the soil, stores moisture and makes it easier for water to enter the soil. The roots of trees can help to hold the soil together, thus reducing erosion. Roots penetrate deeply into the soil and the underlying rock, opening channels for air and water and also promoting the formation of new soil.
The effects of erosion are long-lasting and more serious than is often imagined. The removal of topsoil leaves behind the less productive subsoil layers. Soil nutrients are washed away and this results in reduced and low-quality yields. Eroded soil may contain pesticides which can pollute streams and smother estuarine and lake ecosystems. The washed-away sediment settles in dams and lakes, thus reducing their capacity to carry water, resulting in flooding.
Trees also act as windbreaks, thus reducing the effects of wind erosion and damage. We therefore need an increasing awareness of the enormity of the effects of wind and water erosion. We must also become aware that the purpose of conservation is the protection of resources to serve humanity. Although a resource is not always directly measurable in monetary terms, its function does, however, possess a particular value in an ecosystem. A sustainable tourist industry is measured through its conservation of the environment.
In conclusion, we must instil in the minds and hearts of people that conservation is not something that is carried out by the Government in a nature reserve, for example, but can happen in our back yards. [Time expired] [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM: Chairperson, I would like to express my gratitude to all those who participated in this debate. It is quite clear that a tremendous amount of preparation has gone into this debate, and I really enjoyed listening to everybody. I think that there was quite a lot for all of us to learn. I have taken note very carefully of the comments that everybody has made. May I assure you, Chairperson, that we will sift through the large number of suggestions that have been made in the debate here and all of them will receive our serious attention.
As I do not want to keep members from their lunch I will not respond to every detail of what many of the speakers have said. However, because of the time I should perhaps just then say to the Chairperson that we have received very good co-operation generally from the select committee under the leadership of Rev Moatshe. I would like to use this opportunity to express my appreciation for the manner in which we have worked together, and for the support that he has given both the Ministry and the department. I hope that we will continue along these lines for the rest of the year. [Applause.]
I want to use this opportunity to express my gratitude for and give my congratulations to the Northern Cape province, particularly the people of Douglas, on having taken their own initiative to stop the use of plastic bags in their town. That is an initiative that they have taken on their own. Nobody has given them the funding to do it. They did not ask anybody for permission to do it. The community, on their own, decided to do this, and I think it sets a wonderful example for the rest of South Africa. [Applause.] I hope that we will be able to use that as a way of challenging towns and cities and the rest of the country to follow the same example.
The only final point then which I would like to make is that a number of people have spoken about the need for us to mainstream the environment and environmental issues in this country. Members will know that much of what we do, much of the philosophy and the direction that we follow on environmental questions flow out of Agenda 21, which really is the product of the Earth Summit which was held in Rio in 1992. It was only after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio that a range of international protocols were entered into. Members will know, for example, that recently negotiations around a biosafety protocol, which regulates GMOs and other sorts of things, were concluded successfully. The Rio Earth Summit really produced what was a comprehensive agenda for the global community to follow on environmental questions, such as CSD questions related to climate change and global warming, matters related to local governance - all of those things.
The next earth summit, referred to loosely as ``Rio plus 10'', takes place in 2002, which is 10 years from the Rio summit, and is convened by the United Nations itself, as members know. The United Nations General Assembly will take a decision pretty soon on where that earth summit is to be held. I thought we should use this opportunity to inform Parliament that Cabinet has decided that South Africa will make itself available to host ``Rio plus 10'', in other words, the next earth summit. [Applause.]
We are reasonably confident that we will be chosen as the venue for a whole range of reasons, which I am not going to go into here. Many countries around the world have indicated that in their view we would be the ideal host for the earth summit.
The magnitude and significance of that summit are difficult to actually go into in a few minutes. However, one can expect that it will be attended by scores of heads of state, that it will be attended by literally tens of thousands of delegates from around the world, and that there will be a string of satellite summits of all sorts that will be associated with that summit. When we get to know, in a month or two, whether we will be hosting it, we would like to involve Parliament, the provinces and, in particularly, local governments in a massive effort to ensure not only that South Africa is used as a venue, but that the mere fact of the earth summit being held here leaves a lasting impact on South Africa and on environmental questions in this country, in the region and certainly in Africa also. [Applause.]
Business suspended at 13:30 and resumed at 14:34.
(Review of Policy)
Vote No 35 - Welfare:
The MINISTER FOR WELFARE AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT: Hon Chairperson of the NCOP, hon members, representatives of the welfare community, distinguished guests, comrades and friends, I am pleased to present the Budget Vote of the Department of Welfare and Population Development to the National Council of Provinces. In making this Budget speech, I would like to reiterate a statement made by President Mbeki during his opening address to Parliament in February this year. He stated that whereas in the past suffering and degradation were the only things that were certain in the lives of millions of our people, hope has now taken the place of despair.
In my Budget Vote speech today I wish to focus on the steps that the national department and provincial governments have taken in the field of social welfare and development to ensure that hope takes the place of despair.
When I introduced the Welfare debate in the National Assembly on 18 April I indicated that during the first period of democratic government the foundations were laid for a restructuring of the welfare system. My predecessor led the introduction of significant policy and legislative changes within the framework of the Constitution and the Reconstruction and Development Programme. The White Paper on Social Welfare as well as a number of other policies provide examples of policy changes in social welfare since 1994.
The fact that there have been sweeping changes that have touched the lives of millions of people in our country is unquestionable, but touching the lives of the poorest of the poor is not enough. As Government, and especially as the Department of Welfare, we have to ensure that the way we work at national, provincial and local levels does not lead to the alienation and further marginalisation of the most vulnerable sectors of our communities.
How do we transform our approaches, our welfare systems, our work behaviour, and organise our departments at national and provincial levels to begin to make a real difference to the people who matter? How do we ensure that we do not squeeze out care, the invisible heart of human development and social transformation, in the way we work?
To do this we have to understand our constitutional mandate as well as our relationship with provincial governments. Moreover, we need to translate the principle of co-operative governance into reality so that there is clarity on what people can expect of us as we attempt to respond to their needs. Today I will share with hon members how we are giving effect to this.
Within the policy and legislative environment that has been established to deal with the legacy of apartheid and social welfare provisions, we are, at both national and provincial level, required to implement national legislation, and policy and programme initiatives to address poverty, social disintegration and other persistent social problems and ills.
The national department is obliged to assist each provincial welfare department to understand the legislative and programme imperatives that drive the work of the Government. To do this, we have undertaken to work together, all of us, both at national and provincial levels, to implement a 10-point programme that has come out of national and provincial processes of engagement with people and organisations of civil society.
The members of the council of Welfare Ministers are, like me, new entrants in the welfare field in this term of government. However, let me add that we are not new to the issues of poverty we are grappling with. We are working together, with me as an invaluable and crucial link to those we serve.
In our engagement on the wide-ranging problems that need to be dealt with to provide an effective welfare and development service, the council of Welfare Ministers is challenged to, firstly, implement the 10-point plan in a strategic programme of action within the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and provincial budget allocations. Secondly, their task is to identify the blocks in the way of the implementation of welfare services and to devise ways of addressing these. Thirdly, they must monitor the implementation of the programmes and the performance of provincial welfare departments in fulfilling constitutional obligations and reaching performance targets. Fourthly, they must mobilise action with our stakeholders, civil society organisations and the welfare sector to accelerate social delivery to those most at risk and in need. Fifthly, they must support the implementation of the national Government's priorities, undertake such corrective measures as may be required to deal with the backlogs in welfare services, and function as a forum for collective executive decision-making on related matters.
I have visited almost all the provinces, with the exception of the Northern Cape, to gain an understanding of the state of welfare, and monitor what is happening. My MECs have joined me in my visits and meetings to expose some of the problems and to find ways to address these.
We are determined that systematic attempts be made to root out inefficiency, corruption and indifference. In this we are all united. We may not be able to see the type of changes that we want as quickly as is needed, but let me assure hon members that we must and will change the way we work in welfare and development.
These are not just promises. As hon members are aware, during the debate on the Poverty Relief Programme on 9 March in the NCOP, I detailed the many problems that had bedevilled the programme. Today I would like to report on the actions we have taken to bring the principles of human development and social protection into welfare practice.
We continue to implement an integrated poverty eradication strategy that provides direct benefits to those who are in greatest need within a sustainable development approach. During the past year we supported 1 933 projects in provinces and 15 national programmes. These projects assisted approximately 11 197 women, 2 904 men, and 2 055 youths and disabled persons. Detailed information on the projects that have received funds is available on the Department of Welfare's website. This can be found at www.welfare.gov.za.
Corrective measures have been instituted to deal with problems related to the initial delays in the disbursement of welfare and poverty relief funds. These measures include, firstly, a financial audit of the poverty relief disbursements made in the 1997-98 and 1998-99 financial years. Secondly, the responsibilities and roles of national and provincial departments have been clarified. In the Minmec we have established a committee, which I chair, to ensure the alignment of all projects with programme objectives. Provinces have been assigned a larger role in project selection, and the national department will be responsible for co-ordinating the monitoring and evaluation of the programme. Accountability structures with detailed guidelines are being established for all sectors.
In addition, we have established a partnership with a number of faith-based organisations and NGOs working in the area of poverty relief. Based on these consultations, guidelines are being drawn up on ways of improving the programme management processes in the poverty relief fund.
The role of the Independent Development Trust, or IDT, as a disbursement agency has been invaluable in the poverty relief programme. Its disbursement role will be enhanced to encompass a monitoring and capacity-building function. This monitoring and evaluation will include a central role for the NGO and faith-based sectors.
These protocols need to have acceptable guidelines for the selection of projects, disbursement procedures, financial and professional accountability and evaluation. We will ensure that national and provincial departments of welfare have the requisite procedures and systems for effective financial control, management, monitoring and accountability.
Further initiatives, as part of the integrated poverty eradication strategy, include the community empowerment programmes currently being piloted in the North West province. Plans are under way to extend this programme to Mpumalanga. The main aim of this programme is to build community capacity to plan and manage a range of locally-based development initiatives.
The micro-save programme in KwaZulu-Natal, the Northern Province and the Eastern Cape, as part of the Integrated and Sustainable Rural Development Strategy, is being improved. These programmes aim to strengthen the stokvel-type savings collectives to promote a culture of saving and the economic viability of microenterprises for poor households, and especially for women. We have forged new partnerships with organisations such as People's Dialogue and appreciate the technical support provided by the United Nations Development Programme and the International Labour Organisation in these programmes.
I would like to address the issue of social security. A key policy objective of our social security system is to provide social assistance to those citizens who are not able to provide for themselves. The social assistance programme provides benefits to approximately 3 million of the most vulnerable people in our society, namely older persons, persons with disabilities, and children under the age of seven years.
The intake roll of the child support grant has increased from 36 000 in April 1999 to 334 000 in March 2000. This represents an increase of almost 1 000%. In seven of the provinces the re-registration process is almost complete. This process is designed to clean the database and eliminate fraud from the system.
The South African Constitution grants everyone the right to have access to social security and appropriate social assistance for those individuals who are unable to support themselves. It also obliges the state to implement measures to ensure the progressive realisation of these rights. Cabinet has therefore established a committee of investigation into social security. This committee will make a proposal on how we develop a comprehensive social security system that links contributory and noncontributory schemes and prioritises the most vulnerable households. The Department of Welfare is leading this critical process.
An important part of its brief includes an investigation into the extension of social protection to the working poor, unwaged workers and all those currently not covered by any form of assistance. Furthermore, it has been charged with the task of working on the proposal from the Jobs Summit for a basic income grant, or what I prefer to call a development grant.
The committee has already held two meeetings to take forward its brief. It has met with both national and international experts in the field of social security and has worked out a detailed plan on how it will involve the provinces, civil society, Government departments and relevant stakeholders, including workers' organisations and business in its deliberations.
A progress report on what has been done by this committee thus far will be given to me in the next two weeks. I will ensure that the provinces and this House get the report as soon as possible. Since the committee's work has major significance for us, as we attempt to promote national interests and provide for the poorest people, we will ensure that the process is thorough and comprehensive. As such, the work of the committee will be conducted over a period of at least 12 to 18 months and will involve vigorous investigation, debate and proposals based on South African realities.
A new welfare payment and information service is also being established to improve the operational efficiency of the welfare system. However, all these initiatives need to be supported by appropriate infrastructural development at provincial level to ensure that pensioners do not suffer in long queues.
Another issue of concern is the increase in the number of litigation cases against the provinces with regard to their implementation of the regulations of the Social Assistance Act of 1992. We are actively working with the provinces to ensure that this situation is addressed speedily.
We have strengthened programmes to respond to the brutal effects of all forms of violence against women and children and older persons. The department has established 60 one-stop service centres through which abused women and children can receive assistance. The high level of abuse against elderly persons is unacceptable and is being urgently addressed. The committee of inquiry into the abuse of the elderly which was established at the end of March 2000 will be submitting its report by September. The committee has visited traditional leaders in the Northern Province, the North West and the Eastern Cape to secure their support. Provincial visits and public hearings have been held in the Free State, the Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape.
Negotiations with the Minister of Safety and Security are under way to ensure the protection of older persons when they receive their pension payments. The free reign that criminals and loan sharks have had to harass and intimidate older persons on pension payment days will soon come to an end. A national audit of the physical infrastructure used for the disbursement of welfare grant payments is being commissioned. The infrastructure and associated working conditions make it extremely difficult for staff to render an efficient service.
Discussions with the Minister of Health to ensure the provision of adequate first aid and medical services for older persons, when they go to receive their pension payments, are also to be held.
Urgent attention has been given to the development of a national strategy to reduce the number of young people in trouble with the law and to promote youth development. Our prevention and remedial services for youth have sought to accelerate the transformation of the youth and child care system to ensure that our interventions are developmental. We have introduced 15 child and youth care service projects in 8 provinces with development assistance from the Netherlands government. One of these projects, ``Stepping Stones'' in the Eastern Cape, won an award for innovative service delivery. The Netherlands government recommended that it should become an international learning site. I wish to congratulate those involved in this project in the provincial department of welfare in the Eastern Cape. These projects have provided best-practice models for ongoing work in this field.
While the national and provincial departments are concerned about the increasing number of children in prisons and police cells, most provinces are in the process of establishing secure care facilities that meet the specified minimum requirements. I would like to single out two provinces. The Northern Cape now has two secure care centres - one in Kimberley and the other in Upington. The Free State is exploring the feasibility of combining its exemplary secure care facilities with a one-stop youth justice centre.
The most critical aspect of our work with young people is our response to one of the fastest growing incidence of HIV-Aids in the world. Our response to the HIV-Aids epidemic requires that we confront the denial, fear and stigmatisation associated with the disease. All of this is not possible without greater involvement from people living with and/or affected by HIV-Aids. One of the challenges for the Department of Welfare is to create an enabling and supportive environment for children infected and affected by HIV-Aids. A particular challenge is to ensure the rights and development of Aids orphans.
We have engaged in extensive consultation with the provinces and have collectively drawn up a national integrated plan for children infected and affected by HIV-Aids. The plan is a joint venture and is an effort between the departments of Welfare, Education and Health. In order to accelerate the implementation of the plan, the departments of Welfare and Health have held a joint Minmec meeting to assess the most effective ways of supporting community and home-based care. The Government has allocated an amount of R6 million to Welfare for this programme over the next year. The child protection week campaign which took place between 28 May and 3 June 2000 under the leadership of the Department of Welfare has once again served to ensure that this issue remains in the public spotlight.
It is very significant that, for the first time in our nation's history, we have also been able to spearhead and implement an Angolan solidarity programme. We are committed to mobilising the people of South Africa to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Angola. This year, as we celebrate and commemorate the International Day of the Child, National Youth Day and Child Abuse Prevention Week, we will be highlighting the linkages to the Angola solidarity programme. An interdepartmental committee for solidarity with Angola has been in place since February and has been responsible for organising the Angola Focus weeks, which ran from 15 May to 30 May 2000. The public response has been overwhelming and encouraging. Many organisations and individuals have made contributions and many more are still coming forward. Contributions have been received from faith-based organisations, provinces, individuals and the business sector. Even prisoners from Cullinan have donated shoes for Angolan victims of war. Let me take this opportunity to thank all those that have contributed to this campaign. Nangamso ningadinwa. [Do the same to other people as well.] I make a heartfelt appeal to all our people: People should support the Angola appeal fund.
The disaster relief fund has processed applications for assistance due to various floods, tornadoes, and veldfires across the country. We are committed to making social welfare services accessible and available to people in rural, periurban and informal settlements. Ensuring equity in service provision is critical to the caring society that we are trying to build. I am therefore pleased to report that, with respect to access and coverage, our service provision is increasingly reaching the poorest members of our communities. There is a significant shift away from a race-based welfare system to one that is needs-based, but racism and inequities will take some time to overcome.
I would like to conclude this Budget Vote speech by reiterating our commitment to co-operative governance. The MECs for social welfare in the provinces, and the full range of civil society organisations, including voluntary, welfare and faith-based organisations, have been working with me and my department to find practical solutions to their problems. I commend their commitment to addressing the needs of the poorest of the poor and I am sure that, together, we can develop a process based on accountability, responsiveness, efficiency and equity.
We have been working on a number of fronts to change the welfare system. I have only dealt with a few in my speech to the House today. Can we say that we are reinventing the system by bringing care, the invisible heart of human development, into the system? I hope so. Let us work together so that hope can take the place of despair.
I would like to take this opportunity also to thank the Department of Welfare, the director-general and all the management concerned in the work that they have done who have been able to help me achieve what has been put in front of me by the people of South Africa. [Applause.]
Ms L JACOBUS: Comrade Chairperson, comrade Minister, hon MECs, special delegates and members, I am once more honoured to have been given an opportunity to participate in this very important debate that affects the livelihood of millions of our people.
For the purposes of this debate, the select committee identified the following areas of concern that affect our respective provinces in one way or another. The first one is management and administration of social grants and the question of fraud and corruption management, both of which I will deal with together; the second is the question of the integration of the welfare services; the third is poverty alleviation; and the fourth is the impact of HIV-Aids on the welfare system.
The Department of Welfare and Population Development was one of the Government departments that in the past, was always characterised by fraud and corruption and ghost beneficiaries, and many a time there were reports of grants and pensions lining the pockets of nondeserving clients. All of us, including the Minister himself, can testify to having heard reports of beneficiaries who draw more than one grant or pension, either in the same province or in different provinces. This has led to deserving beneficiaries not being able to access state grants or pensions, and some of our senior citizens passing on, after having worked their whole lives, without having had the benefit of an old age pension.
The process of reregistration launched in July 1997 was aimed at cleaning up the database of beneficiaries and ensuring that pensions and grants get to the most vulnerable, that is the aged, the disabled, women and children.
We were told at a recent select committee meeting that the process of reregistration was 80% complete and that by the end of this month, which is June, it would be 100% complete. May I say that we will hold the department to this commitment and that we will visit our welfare departments in the different provinces during our next constituency period in order to ascertain whether this has, in fact, happened.
The issue of cash-in-transit heists, particularly involving pension moneys, which have been taking place in the Eastern Cape, calls for a serious investigation and close co-operation between the Department of Welfare and the Department of Safety and Security, both provincially and nationally. The culprits, whoever they are and wherever they might be, must be found and brought to book. It is unacceptable that money earmarked for the most vulnerable members of our society gets plundered by heartless criminals and corrupt elements in our communities.
Regarding the integration of welfare services, the 1999-2000 annual report of the department highlights the following areas of focus: Firstly, human resource development, secondly, human resource management and, thirdly, strategic planning and business repositioning. In the same annual report, mention is made of the reorientation of social services workers' courses. This, indeed, is good news for all of us. It is in line with the Government's programme to create a more effective public service in order to meet the priorities of social service delivery and realise the concept of Batho Pele. This programme was kickstarted in three provinces, namely KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Northern Province, and I hope by now it has been extended to the remaining six provinces.
I just want to refer briefly here to the Gauteng Citizens' Charter which was launched in around 1997 or 1998. The citizens' charter, says:
We, the Department of Welfare and Population Development, declare to the citizens of Gauteng that we as the department shall actively work towards a better quality of life for all. At the outset, we want to place the social welfare and population development at the cutting edge of combating poverty that affects a large sector of our people. We declare that social welfare is a critical tool that complements the RDP and the macroeconomic strategy to effectively address socioeconomic problems faced by our people.
It goes on and lists eight commitments that the department makes to the citizens of Gauteng.
In the area of human resource management, the question of job evaluation and performance management is critical. As a department that delivers an important service to our community, we cannot afford to employ people who are not sensitive to the needs of our people. Far too many reports have reached us in our constituencies about the uncaring attitude of welfare public servants for us to ignore this matter. So, it is appropriate that the Minister has targeted performance management as a priority.
Regarding the question of poverty alleviation, a lot has already been said about the campaign of declaring war against poverty. We had, not so long ago, a snap debate in this House where some very pertinent questions were posed to the Minister and his department. I am sure that the MECs and the special delegates present here will raise additional questions around the issue of poverty alleviation as it pertains to their respective provinces. The Minister has also alluded to the programmes and projects that are funded in this regard.
Two weeks ago, we as members of the Select Committee on Social Services and the Portfolio Committee on Welfare of the National Assembly, visited three farms in the Phillippi area. The conditions that these farmworkers and their families live under are, to say the least, appalling. Some earn as little as R18 a week. They spend the very same R18 at the shop owned by the farmer on the premises. Simple calculations indicate that one cannot even buy a loaf of bread for each day of the week with this R18. So, these workers continue to be oppressed despite our democracy and despite the programmes specifically geared towards alleviating poverty.
The Departments of Welfare, Health and Agriculture and Land Affairs should work together towards the provision of subsistence food security for these farmworkers and their families. Food security is not only about food production, but also about access to adequate, affordable and safe food. I am sure I do not have to stress the importance of good nutrition, especially for children during their cognitive developmental years. A way must be found to improve the quality of life of some of these farmworkers, particularly in the rural areas.
We also have to embark on an evaluation process whereby flagship programmes or projects in the different provinces can be audited and evaluated to ensure that they fulfil the objectives of sustainable development and job creation.
Regarding the question of the impact of HIV-Aids on our welfare system, according to the department's annual report of 1999-2000, we have an estimated 1 600 new HIV infections occurring daily. The Department of Welfare will probably be the hardest hit by this epidemic, since, together with the Department of Health, it will have to care and provide resources for children orphaned by Aids and adults suffering from the disease. The Minister has already referred to plans in the department in this regard.
The provision of services to support community-based care will also have a profound effect on the welfare budget in the long term. The establishment of the SA National Aids Council and the inclusion of Ministers of Welfare, Health, Finance, Labour, Education and others goes a long way in developing an interdepartmental machinery in order to lessen the impact of the blow of HIV-Aids on the financial and human resources of our country.
In conclusion, the Department of Welfare has a huge responsibility to redress the backlogs left by the apartheid legacy. It cannot afford to have insufficient human resources to fulfil this obligation, because if the department cannot deliver, we know that somewhere a potential beneficiary will suffer and may even die. I want to urge the Minister to ensure that the key finance posts within the department are filled expeditiously and, thereafter, all the other managerial posts, in order to ensure more efficient and effective delivery to our people.
I want to thank the Minister and his team for interacting with us this afternoon, and I am sure that together we will continue to make the needs of the most vulnerable people our priority, thereby creating a better life for all our people. [Applause.]
Mr V R P SKHOSANA (Gauteng): Chairperson, Comrade Minister, fellow MECs and members, it is indeed a great privilege for me to participate in this Budget Review. In his state of the nation address on 24 May 1994, former President Nelson Mandela said, and I quote:
My Government's commitment to create a people-centred society of liberty binds us to the pursuit of the goals of freedom from want, freedom from hunger, freedom from deprivation, freedom from ignorance, freedom from suppression and freedom from fear. These freedoms are fundamental to the guarantee of human dignity. They will therefore constitute part of the centrepiece of what this Government will seek to achieve, the focal point on which our attention will continuously be focused ...
We must address the needs of the aged and disabled, uplift disadvantaged sectors such as the women and the youth, and improve the lives of our people in the rural communities and the informal settlements ...
We must combat such social pathologies as widespread poverty, the breakdown of family life, crime, alcohol and drug abuse, the abuse of children, women and the elderly and the painful reality of street children.
Although we have achieved much in the past five years, we still need to do more to reverse poverty and social disintegration in our society. Our province, which is a microcosm of our country, is still characterised by the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor. Distribution of wealth and income is among the most unequal. The poorest 40% of households receive 11% and the richest 10% receive more than 40% of the total income. It is these realities that led to the Minister of Welfare, Dr Zola Skweyiya, stating that, and I quote:
South Africa has been, and is experiencing a deep social crisis. This crisis has the potential to reverse the democratic gains made since 1994. The disintegration of the social fabric of family and community life is a reality that has to be acknowledged at a fundamental level.
We aim to meet this challenge and others posed by President Mbeki in his call for a caring society by focusing on the following priorities. The first priority is the rebuilding of family, community and social life. The objective of social welfare is to promote the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. Welfare services are part of the broad menu of social services rendered by various departments, which aim to enhance the quality of life of citizens and which provide an enabling environment for children, youth, women, families and older persons to achieve their aspirations.
We are involved in initiatives to ensure the transformation of social services within a developmental framework, including a policy on developmental social welfare services, a new welfare financing policy and a developmental quality assurance management instrument. In attending to these programmes we as a province believe that it is important that the following key principles are adhered to, namely the principles of empowerment, continuity of care and development, restorative justice and family preservation.
On the integration of a poverty eradication strategy, our approach to welfare and development is amply described in the phrase ``war against poverty''. This approach requires a strong investment to ensure that an integrated process of human and community capacity-building takes place to fight poverty and promote social integration. The central theme to this approach is social development. Underpinning this approach is the recognition that while there is a need to address the symptoms of problems through material relief or grants, sustainable development strategies are required, strategies which focus on building institutional capacity to address structural economic conditions such as long-term quality employment.
Our target group in the antipoverty programme will continue to be the unemployed in disadvantaged communities, with the emphasis on poverty pockets in the province, youth in disadvantaged communities, people with disabilities, social security beneficiaries, not-for-profit NGOs, CBOs, institutions and service providers. We believe that merely funding individual poverty relief projects will not have a significant long-term poverty impact. We are embarking on financing models that will promote the establishment and growth of development nodes and contribute to local economic development. This approach will rely on strong collaborative project facilitation methodologies, well-grounded research and accurate, reliable information systems for poverty targeting.
To reduce duplication and wastage in the war against poverty, the province has established an interdepartmental committee which brings together all the departments. This will ensure that there is co-ordination, that we apply the same criteria and that there is one clearing house for all projects. We are also in the process of engaging the communities of faith and all other NGOs to ensure that these programmes do really make an impact in our communities.
The flagship project at Bekkersdal, which was implemented during 1997, demonstrates that developmental approach social welfare can be made a reality as it combines income generation with skills training and early childhood development programmes. At its inception this project only consisted of a fast-food outlet and only employed about 25 women. At present it has a food garden restaurant facility, a car facility, an overnight facility catering for 14 people, a beauty salon, a recreation centre and a crèche, and in total now employs about 170 women. Further flagship programmes have been established in the following areas: Germiston, Katlehong, Vosloorus, Devon, Daveyton, Kagiso, Dobsonville, Randfontein and Toekomsrus.
In the past year 115 antipoverty programmes received close to R18,3 million from both national and provincial departments. Eighty percent of these programmes targeted women, with the remaining 20% of programmes targeting people with disabilities and the youth.
As regards social security, we consider social security to be one of the major poverty alleviation mechanisms, reaching over 300 000 beneficiaries in Gauteng, and putting R168 million in the hands of beneficiaries and their families every month. Due to increased efficiency in this area, there has been an 11% increase in the number of beneficiaries, and in many areas we have been able to achieve an average one-month turnaround period for social grant application and payment. There are areas which are still lagging behind and we are putting systems in place to ensure that they also reach an average one-month turnaround time. The child support grant beneficiaries have increased in our province from 2 505 on 1 April 1999 to over 60 000 by the end of May.
As regards violence against women and children, the department is the lead department in the victim empowerment programme under the National Crime Prevention Strategy, which provides support to survivors of crime and violence. Victim empowerment is essential, firstly for making it possible for a victim to heal and recover from the crime with the least possible harm or loss, and secondly for ensuring that the victim is empowered to contribute to a process of restorative justice by entrenching internationally accepted basic victims' rights, as agreed upon by the UN.
The programme aims to provide one-stop centres at victim-friendly police stations. Three centres have been launched in a partnership with key departments such as Safety and Security, Health and Education. The centres are based at Eldorado Park police station, and Chris Hani Baragwanath and Leratong Hospitals. Many of these services operate on a 24-hour basis and are staffed by volunteers who have undergone the necessary training. We are currently focusing on developing some of these centres in rural and periurban areas, as well as informal settlements.
As regards the issue of HIV-Aids, the department is involved in national pilot programmes such as the children-in-distress model of KwaZulu-Natal, which is a network of social welfare agencies and other stakeholders. We are developing models which will provide the best possible quality of upbringing for a large number of orphans, rapid identification and placement of orphaned, abandoned and abused children, economic self-sufficiency for people who care for orphans, and motivation and support for people and organisations involved in social services.
Secondly, we are involved in the care and intervention programme for children and families affected by the Aids epidemic. This is an integral part of the professional health care system at Kalafong Hospital and Pretoria Academic Hospital. Working amongst people infected with and affected by HIV-Aids, Carocs was recommended in the recently published national Aids review as being an ideal combined community-hospital-NGO model of care for people living with Aids. [Applause.]
Ms N C KONDLO (Eastern Cape): Madam Chairperson, comrade Minister, hon members and comrades, my colleagues from the different provinces.
Ingaba ndiyavakala Mhlali-ngaphambili?
UMHLALINGAPHAMBILI WEBHUNGA LESIZWE LAMAPHONDO: Uyavakala.
Nksz N C KONDLO: Nam mandi zibandakanye nabasele bethethile phambi kwam ndibulele ngokunikwa kwethu inkxaxheba siliphondo laseMpuma Koloni yokuba size kuxoxa ngolu hlahlo-lwabiwo mali kule Ndlu.
IPhondo leMpuma Koloni liphondo elinembali yokungabina mathuba emisebenzi ngaphezu kwamashumi amahlanu ekhulwini, ngokomlinganiselo, ndaweni nye nendlala egqubayo. (Translation of Xhosa paragraphs follows.)
[Am I audible, Chairperson?
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: You are.
Ms N C KONDLO: Let me also fall into step with those who have spoken before me and express our gratitude as a province for the opportunity to come and participate in this Budget Vote in this House.
The Eastern Cape is a province with a history of having not more than 50% job opportunities, in addition to widespread poverty.]
It is under these socioeconomic conditions that the department of welfare in the Eastern Cape has to render welfare services.
Again, it is common knowledge indeed that the department of welfare in the Eastern Cape has, once more, been in the media for the past two weeks because of issues and/or problems that relate to social grants. For a province such as ours, we have to render and manage the social security payment grants, 60% of which are cheque payments, to approximately 600 000 beneficiaries. We have almost 465 officials to render that service. This, in practical terms, translates to a ratio of approximately 1 300 beneficiaries to one official without the outsourcing of the payment function. This is more than double the national norm of 500:1 with the payment of grants having been outsourced. It was interesting, indeed, to listen to the MEC from Gauteng where they have a total of about 300 000 beneficiaries.
It bears noting, therefore, that the department of welfare in the Eastern Cape utilises its in-house human resources to effect the payment of grants. As a result, each month, the social security personnel have to spend two-thirds of their time doing payments in the field, and one-third of the time being in office to do administration. This, of course, is a recipe for the ongoing accumulation of backlogs in that province. This indeed has an impact on the segregation of functions which gives rise to the high levels of fraud and mismanagement, as the same official who processes the application is responsible for payment.
Be that as it may, we pride ourselves, as the province of the Eastern Cape, on having amalgamated three administrations with six systems into one since 1994 and we believe that the outsourcing programme, which is in an advanced stage as we speak, will go a long way in addressing some of the problems. We believe that the benefit of outsourcing will relieve the social security personnel of the fieldwork that they have to do, and enable them to devote their time to the functioning as well as the administration of the social security system. We believe this will improve the service delivery levels in line with the Batho Pele principles, and will also reduce the incidence of fraud and corruption in the system itself, as well as eliminate the risk to life and limb.
I think we should again say, as the department of welfare and as the province of the Eastern Cape, that we believe the review process on the policy on disability grants will also go a long way in addressing some of the problems and/or challenges that we are faced with in that province.
The department of welfare in the Eastern Cape is faced with enormous challenges as far as fraud and corruption are concerned. The department is engaged in a number of strategies which include continuous data running, regular file audits, proper review of grants, proper reconciliation, public education, quick handling of detected fraudulent activities and, indeed, immediate disciplinary action that is taken where departmental staff are involved. But I must hasten to say that this, in many instances, is indeed a difficult programme to implement due to shortages of staff within the department.
I will now address the issue of the integration of social services: The national initiative of the bosberaad that was held towards the end of last year whose theme was the integration of social welfare services and which focused on the integration of social security into the broader social services that are rendered by the department, the professionalisation of social security and the sharing of best-practicemodels within and amongst provinces will, we believe, assist us in terms of ensuring that the integration will go a long way in rendering service to the poorest of the poor in an integrated manner. We believe the next bosberaad that will be held in September will also enhance our delivery structure and strategy programme.
With regard to poverty eradication, as the Minister and the speakers before me have indicated, in the past financial years one of the major problems that the department faced was around the management of this programme. We believe that the steps that the Minister together with his colleagues has taken, will go a long way in addressing some of the problems.
Kodwa ndiyafuna ukongeza ngelithi, thina phaya kwiphondo leMpuma Koloni siyifumanisile into yokuba, le nto yokumana sisithi xa sigxotha indlala ekhaya masisoloko sisenza amagcuntswana eeprojekti, esicinga into yokuba aza kusincedisa ekugxotheni indlala, ayisincedi nganto. Yiyo loo nto sisithi siliphondo sifuna ukushenxa siye kwinqanaba apho ... [However, I do want to add that we in the Eastern Cape realised that trying to alleviate poverty by taking up projects in dribs and drabs does not help us at all. That is the reason we say as a province that we want to move to a level where ... ]
... the project itself will ensure that it benefits the broader society rather than a group of individuals.
Again, we believe that the changes and interventions that the Minister has outlined this afternoon in this debate will enhance the poverty eradication programme to the maximum.
With regard to the impact of HIV-Aids on the welfare system, it is indeed a fact that an increase in HIV-Aids will impact on our budget as a province and, I believe, on all of us as a nation in the sense that the number of children who will be orphaned due to Aids-related death will increase and they will have to be taken care of by the Department of Welfare as the lead department. The number of women who will not be able to perform their parental function and therefore render children vulnerable to child neglect will increase. This, indeed, will increase our social assistance and social security budgets because, as we know, the needs of these children will have to be budgeted for in the intersectoral integrated plan that the Department of Welfare, together with that of Health and of Education has set up, and in the pilot projects that are in the process of being implemented in the province. This means, therefore, that the 93% of our budget that is spent on social security will indeed increase.
I then want to come to the most important aspect of the state of affairs in the province of the Eastern Cape which relates to our delivery of services. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr A MARAIS: Madam Chairperson, hon Minister and colleagues, in his budget speech in April this year, the Minister for Welfare and Population Development indicated that the challenge of Government during this term of office would be to consolidate the policy gains of the past five years into concrete programmatic changes, and I quote:
... so that the ordinary citizens especially those who experience the worst forms of poverty, can begin to see the evidence of real change in their daily lives.
He then went on to identify the national priorities that need to be addressed during the present term of Government in order to achieve this. We, in the Free State, fully endorse what the hon the Minister stated, and have accepted his invitation to join him in the implementation and monitoring of these national priorities so that we can help make a difference in the lives of the most needy and disadvantaged people in the Free State.
I will highlight only some of the concrete steps that we have undertaken in the Free State to implement the national priorities which the Minister referred to in his speech. On the implementation of an integrated poverty eradication strategy, the Free State is experiencing high levels of poverty, especially in rural areas. Our own poverty eradication strategy indicates that the poverty level in our province stands at 63%, while Qwaqwa has the highest at 88%.
Poor households are characterised by a lack of wage income as a result of unemployment or low wages. Census '96 has shown that the workforce in the Free State is the lowest paid in the country and this in itself keeps those rural areas trapped in poverty.
Individuals are unable to take full advantage of the few amenities to which they have access. From 1997 to 1999 funds to the value of R16 million were allocated for social development, and the primary focus was on poverty eradication through economic, human and social development.
The province will continue with a number of different developmental programmes for promoting self-employment, income generation and the acquisition of skills. Other Government departments and NGOs are contributing towards skills development, for example the Department of Labour, training institutions, etc. Funds have been set aside to promote the sustainability of projects.
With regard to social security, the Free State will continue to provide social assistance benefits to our most vulnerable citizens. It is our intention to increase the number of children benefiting from the child support grants by 60 000 this financial year.
The reregistration of our beneficiaries that commenced in 1997 will be completed by this month. It is important to reiterate the point that the reregistration process is not, and was never, aimed at removing legitimate grant beneficiaries from the system. It was, and remains, a deliberate programme to eradicate fraud and corruption from our system. As we complete this process we will continue addressing complaints and enquiries by those wrongly removed from the system.
With regard to violence against women and children, the province will continue training volunteers to offer effective survivor-support services to victims of domestic violence. There is an increasing need for shelters for abused women in the province. We are looking into the establishment of emergency safety centres during this financial year. There is already a shelter established in Bloemfontein, and two others are planned for the southern and northern Free State respectively.
With regard to HIV-Aids, the province has committed itself to making certain that the service we are rendering to children extends to those infected and affected by HIV-Aids. Firstly, during this financial year we are implementing our comprehensive LSE programme, which is a prevention programme through the promotion of positive values, lifestyles and behaviour. Secondly, we are strengthening the capacity of the individual, family and communities to provide for the care, protection and development of persons infected and affected by HIV-Aids. Aids co-ordinators have been appointed in all our districts. Thirdly, in collaboration with the Department of Health, we have designed, as a pilot project, home-based and community-based care with regard to HIV-Aids. Fourthly, the rise of HIV-Aids threatens the growth of the population of this country and the province. The population unit has been tasked to look into the programme on HIV-Aids, with specific reference to population development.
Regarding the issue of young people in trouble with the law, children and young people in conflict with the law will continue to receive services in the province. We have a privately run, modern, securecare centre in Kroonstad, and we will be opening a second securecare centre which will be combined with the one-stop youth justice services in the province. [Interjections.] Sorry, Minister, sorry! [Laughter.]
With regard to redesigning services for people with disabilities, the fragmented nature of the service delivery system for people with disabilities often leads to a lack of effective referral to other sectors. This means that social welfare has to deal with education, employment, transport and housing-related issues.
Changing the way people regard disability, from purely health and welfare issues to primary human rights and development issues, has significant implications for the principles, objectives and goals of the existing welfare services. The welfare services, as currently rendered by NGOs, need to be redesigned to facilitate independence in society rather than dependence on welfare services.
To this effect, we have facilitated the establishment of the disability desk in the office of the premier. Agreements have been reached with NGOs that render services on our behalf to people with disabilities to orientate the personnel of the department to be disability-sensitive in community development processes. The department will integrate the development of support services for persons with disabilities in communities, as stipulated by the White Paper on an Integrated National Disability Strategy. We will, in collaboration with other departments, attend to the development of children with disabilities.
The province is in the process of designing a diversion programme for people with temporary disabilities who have been taken off the social security system. This prevents dependency and ensures social integration of people with disabilities.
As I said earlier, I have highlighted only a few of our present programmes in the Free State which are in line with national priorities.
In conclusion, we commit ourselves to continuing to find innovative ways of addressing community needs. We will continue to make sure that we mobilise for a caring society. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Perhaps, hon member, you can now enjoy your laughter.
Mr B J MKHALIPHI: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon MECs, hon special delegates and equally honourable members, I will try to resist catching the infectious disease of the previous speaker. [Laughter.]
The appropriateness of any welfare programme of any society is not only judged by its theories, but is also judged, mostly, by how it cares for and delivers to the poor and, especially, the most vulnerable. Our provincial and community programmes are led by national initiatives which, at the present moment, are by far the most advanced and caring compared to those in the rest of the world.
It is most unfortunate that instead of recording successes flowing from these elaborate programmes laid out on paper, we have to experience the agony of narrating some failures, which failures are brought about by poor performance at best, and total nonperformance at worst.
We should continue, however, to probe what all officials, and especially those at the higher echelons of this department, keep themselves busy with all day if they do not attend to the work at hand. We should also probe why senior management in the Department of Welfare do not pick up problems routinely. We only learn about these problems from the annual report of the Auditor-General. We would like to see the department not only reporting on its successes to the Select Committee on Social Services, but on its constraints and challenges as well.
Since the budget forms a major programme of action for the department, one would expect then that the senior management of the department should monitor progress of this major programme on a continual basis and highlight all major constraints timeously. To receive a report at the end of the financial year lamenting constraints such as lack of capacity, lack of infrastructure and so forth, is but a futile exercise that has all the hallmarks of a management structure lacking in commitment, dedication and above all, the transformatory direction which this Government has embarked on since 1994.
My information indicates that there are cadets trained in project initiation, project implementation, project management and the formulation of business plans in the various provinces, who were trained through the RDP programmes since 1994. In particular, in Mpumalanga, these cadets have completed some major projects with remarkable success. I am referring here to the community halls, inter alia, built at Phiva, Silindile and Kromdraai. These projects are landmarks of the capabilities of project implementation executed by the communities. It therefore comes as an insult to these able members of the community to say that the funds could not be expended because there is no capacity. Our challenge is one of closer communication and co-ordination so that we as public representatives actively assist in creating a better life for all, especially for the poorest of the poor.
We would not, at any rate, like to have a situation in which people go hungry whilst the Government has resources, but these resources cannot be accessed. I am sure that such a situation eats away at the conscience of every one of us in this House.
Another disturbing report that I have received about social grant applications in my province is the situation where landowners complete application forms on behalf of their illiterate workers, and, on approval of these applications, the landowners acquire procuration holder status. This then essentially means that the landowner is entitled to receive the money on behalf of the beneficiary. Unfortunately some of these landowners are not so honest.
Another grave concern is the declaration of disability by district surgeons. These doctors seemingly have excessive discretionary powers in these matters. It has come to my attention that sometimes they deny deserving cases. Because of the unfettered discretion they enjoy they cannot be challenged, so the destitute people continue to starve just because the doctor denied them access to Government assistance. In this process, our goals as Government are severely undermined. I would appeal to the hon the Minister to intervene in addressing this anomaly.
The MINISTER FOR WELFARE AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT: [Inaudible.]
Mr B J MKHALIPHI: Yes, I have mentioned that, hon Minister. We are partners in that. [Laughter.]
I believe that the Department of Welfare has not deviated from its goal to bring about a better life for all. I believe that they are still very much committed to improving the quality of life, but we need to tighten the management structures, so that we all grind in the same direction. [Applause.]
Ms M M KHUNWANA (North West): Chairperson, thank you for giving me this opportunity for commenting on the review debate on Welfare and Population Development. Hon Minister, MECs from the provinces, NCOP members, members from the standing committees, distinguished guests, fraud within the department and the CPS was so great that the department, in its endeavour to fight fraud and corruption, has designed a multipronged approach. A committee, chaired by MEC R N Rasmeni, has been established to address fraud and corruption in the welfare system. Any official who carries out any fraudulent actions will be severely dealt with. The new system of paying cash to beneficiaries will be fraud-free, through ensuring that only the beneficiary or procurator will be allowed to draw money.
Appropriate selection and training of pensioner committees will be carried out during this financial year. Those officials who have fraudulently received social pensions, whilst in employment with the same state, are being dealt with severely. The province has embarked upon a reregistration process which aims to eradicate fraud and ghost beneficiaries. A clean database is what is aimed at. The provinces received a high return of responses in respect of the reregistration process, with 96% of cash beneficiaries having reregistered and 92% of those beneficiaries receiving payments through banks and post offices successfully being reregistered.
The department has suspended 7 500 beneficiaries. Reasons for suspensions have been that pensioners were not disabled, the medical condition was treatable, a specialist report was required, the medical form was incomplete, not enough objective medical information was available, and the person was not an RSA citizen.
This issue of people not being RSA citizens has posed a big problem in our province, because most of these nonresidents of South Africa are people from the former Bophutatswana who, indeed, are born South Africans. However, due to the legacy of the past government they are left out as noncitizens of South Africa, and are not able to secure any pensions. I hope the Department of Welfare and Population Development, together with the Department of Home Affairs, will be able to assist in this regard, because Home Affairs is not within our competency. It is within the competency of the national Government. In those applications where sufficient evidence was available, ensuring the beneficiaries were entitled to the grant, they have been immediately reinstated into the system.
It is clear that disability was often defined by the district surgeon on the basis of the individual's socioeconomic status, and not on medical grounds. Workshops have been conducted with medical teams regarding appropriate assessment. The disability policy requires rigorous review, and the need for strengthening the safety net and the provisions for a basic income grant, especially for the unemployed, cannot be underestimated.
Finally, a critical success factor is the management of fraud and corruption in the department, aimed towards 98% elimination of fraud in the payment of grants and 98% of beneficiaries receiving appropriate grants on time. Eighty percent of eligible beneficiaries are reached.
Regarding the poverty alleviation programme, a poverty fund was announced by the Minister of Finance in the 1997-98 and 1998-99 financial years. An amount of R4 million was secured for the North West province in 1997-98, and R14 million was secured from the R203 million in 1998-99. The evaluation of the R4 million allocation has been completed by the national Department of Welfare. In both these allocations, the province has made an effort to reach the poorest communities.
The call for business plans was constrained by late notices. A broad range of communication strategies was utilised and extensive collaboration with the NGO sector was undertaken. Three hundred and thirty-six projects were forwarded to the national Department of Welfare for approval, and only 114 were funded. Effective targeting of poverty pockets in the province guided the process, shifting from isolated projects to comprehensive and integrated poverty eradication programmes.
The allocation made to the province by the national Department of Welfare is not commensurate with the poverty profile of the province. Abject poverty in the province is compounded by the absence of job opportunities, inadequate water and sanitation services, and a high level of male absenteeism due to migratory search for employment.
Nine percent of South Africans reside in the North West province, and 60% of this 9% population is rural. A provincial poverty committee has been established, with representatives from other government departments, the local universities, the NGO and CBO sectors. Much planning has taken place towards the development of an antipoverty strategy for the North West province.
Furthermore, clear monitoring and evaluation measures as well as an integrated plan have been designed towards rural development. The committee is also addressing the development of antipoverty policies. The development of a management information system is imperative for the province to ensure appropriate targeting.
In the two former poverty fund allocations, all moneys have been increased in terms of business plans, and projects have been submitted. In a few instances, goals and objectives have had to be reformulated to ensure sustainability. Seventy-five percent of the poverty alleviation programmes have been extended to agricultural projects, promoting job creation and the development of SMMEs. In addition, allocations have been made to disabled groups and low-income groups. The province boasts many successes.
Next, I would like to talk about flagship programmes for women and children under five. The community empowerment project piloted by the national department in the province demonstrates some best-practice models and principles of community and sustainable development.
Regarding the management of social grants, the North West has the third highest poverty rate of the nine provinces, but the sixth lowest number of beneficiaries in the country. The social security expenditure is below the national average of R364,00 per capita. The unequal coverage of target population shows the province's lack of capacity and information on the need and demand for services, which reflect negatively on the adequacy of services.
To address this issue, the popularisation of social grants has taken place with the help of MEC Rachel Rasmeni, who put together an extensive road show promotion. The 300% rapid uptake of child support grants demonstrates the effectiveness of the popularisation strategy. At present the department is paying 228 590 beneficiaries through banks, post offices and at 730 paypoints in the province.
The Department envisages an increase in beneficiaries of 240 000 in the current financial year. [Time expired.]
Prince G L ZULU (KwaZulu-Natal): Chairperson, hon Minister and colleagues, I will touch on only three issues, namely poverty alleviation, the review of pension beneficiaries and fraud.
I will start with fraud, and I am going to talk about strategies to fight fraud and corruption. Fraud and corruption is one of the ailments that continue to bleed Government of millions. In all public and other meetings, I caution both staff and members of the public of the impact that corruption causes when it comes to delivery of services and the resultant penalty.
We do not take any pride in the number of officials we have charged so far as this could be construed to be a bad reflection on the part of the management. However, this phenomenon, theft and corruption, is not unique to welfare alone. What is important is the pace the welfare department is setting in fighting this scourge. Through partnerships with the Departments of Justice, of Health and Education and the SA Police Service, we have been able and continue to put culprits behind bars. Asidlali, siyabopha - sigquma ejele. [We are not joking, we make arrests, we put criminals in prison.] [Laughter.]
Our conviction statistics are as follows: 36 suspended government officials; 28 charged government officials; 11 charged members of the public; and 91 cases pending trial in court. Regarding the question of rand savings, loss and projections, government has been saved millions of rands through joint operations mounted by the government fraud unit of KwaZulu-Natal. [Interjections.] Ewe, ndakhula ngobisi mntanexhego, hayi ngejusi. [I grew up drinking milk, not juice.] [Laughter.] [Interjections.]
Savings from creche investigations amount to R103 113 780. With regard to losses related to creche fraud alone in the three-year period - 1997, 1998 and 1999 totals R3 526 610,30 to date. It is anticipated that within the next five-year period, the department projects its savings to total R3,079 million.
Regarding the question of new methods of defrauding the state, there are a number of methods people now employ in order to milk government funds.
These are, firstly, the presentation of wrong identity documents for disability grants; secondly, the illegal production of birth certificates for child support grants; thirdly, capturing of information without supporting documentation and using banks and post offices as conduits. This is not only common in KwaZulu, but it is also common all over the country. [Interjections.]
To date, a calculated loss of money syphoned via the post offices amounts to R1 117 604,97. In Durban alone, a single syndicate involving bank transactions is responsible for a loss of R379 188,11. This incident led to a staff member leaping to his death from the 10th floor during an attempted arrest. What a shame!
In terms of the latest evaluation instruments on the ground, eg fiscal audit of projects, etc, we can confirm that the goals of Government are being realised in that we see an improvement and difference in the faces of the previously disadvantaged poor communities. We must, however, admit that there were some teething problems noted on the ground.
In KwaZulu-Natal alone we still have vast tracts of land which we have not covered through this intervention. There are thousands, if not millions, of poor rural communities who have, to date, not accessed this funding due to limited resources.
The Human Sciences Research Council has identified a number of areas as poverty pockets in KwaZulu-Natal. Unfortunately, we have not been able to cater for projects for people with disabilities and people infected with and affected by the HIV-Aids epidemic. The demand is still great. It is therefore our humble submission to the NCOP that additional funding be made available to the Department of Welfare in order for it to meet its constitutional obligations and wipe out the suffering painted on the faces of our impoverished people.
I will now talk about the review of pension beneficiaries or reregistration. The KwaZulu-Natal welfare department embarked on a process of cleaning up the payment of grants system. The process involved reregistration, conducting of means tests and revamping the payment system itself.
The reregistration project was essentially a review of each current beneficiary in the province in terms of the legislation. Good progress has been recorded since the project was initiated. To date, a total of 568 843 interviews has been completed.
Regarding savings, we have suspended 25 177 beneficiaries through reregistration, and this represents a projected saving of R52 million.
An additional 39 593 grants, with a projected savings of R17 million per month, will be stopped. The only remaining challenge regarding this important exercise is the proper management of the proposed bulk suspension of 39 000 grants. Although most desired capital will be freed as a result of this project, some of it will be used to fund the winding-off exercise.
These were just highlights of the problems facing welfare and the need for more resources in order to enable the welfare department to meet its obligations. [Applause.]
Ms E C GOUWS: Chairperson, hon Minister, MECs, colleagues, H W Longfellow once said, and I quote:
Through this toilsome world, alas!
Once and only once I pass;
If a kindness I may show,
If a good deed I may do
To a suffering fellowman,
Let me do it while I can.
These words apply to each and everybody in this House. I would like to stress that the elderly, the poor and the frail are the responsibility of every member. We need a more caring society. We need a change of heart and attitude, and we need to build a better life for all, now. We have been quoting the Presidents many times this afternoon. The Minister quoted President Mbeki's words ``hope has taken the place of despair''.
I want to quote the President in his address at the start of the second term of Parliament where he said, and I quote:
... our practical actions must ensure that none can challenge us when we say - we are a nation at work to build a better life!
Now, a year later, we are not at work, we are not building a better life and we are not caring for our people. I have the facts and the figures to confirm this statement. The main responsibility of a government is the welfare of its people. If the government is not capable of even working and spending according to its budget, the future looks bleak, indeed. The Auditor-General's figures showed huge amounts that were simply not spent on various projects. These are as follows: In 1996-97, R52 million spent; in 1997-98, R110 million unspent; in 1998-99, R353 million unspent; and in 1999-2000, R203 million unspent.
Other irregularities are as follows: Prepayments totalling R766 000 were made to 13 organisations without the required treasury approval; R350 000 was paid to an organisation before the contract was entered into; R50 000 was paid to a project not related to welfare - and I can go on and on.
We need ministerial guidance to oversee effective management. I hear what the MEC from the Eastern Cape, Ms Kondlo, is saying and I know that she really has problems and challenges in the Eastern Cape. She must please do what she can, because I know of shocking stories about what is happening in the Eastern Cape. The fact is that these incidents are happening because the poor and the elderly simply cannot survive on their own and are being exploited by criminals in society.
In die lig van bogenoemde syfers en verslae van die Ouditeur-generaal stem dit 'n mens opnuut tot kommer as dit duidelik word dat dit deur nalatigheid, agtelosigheid en onbekwaamheid is dat ons armes en bejaardes die slagoffers word van gewetenlose skurke wat jag maak op ou en verswakte mense.
So kan die voorsitter van die Sterkspruit-komitee vir bejaardes getuig van talle bejaardes wat verwaarloos is omdat hulle niemand het om hulle te versorg nie, want hulle kan nie pensioen kry nie, bloot omdat daar 'n fout op hulle geboortesertifikaat is. Bejaardes kan nie veilige huisvesting bekostig nie en dan word hulle in hierdie onveilige skuilings verkrag.
Ek kan van nog baie gruweldade teenoor ons bejaardes vertel, maar laat ek liewer weer die agb Minister herinner dat mense in die Oos-Kaap nog steeds baie ure moet wag vir hulle pensioengeld. Ek het egter gehoor die Minister sê hy gee aandag daaraan, en baie dankie daarvoor.
Dit is ook onder my aandag gebring hoe moeilik dit geword het om net 'n aansoekvorm om pensioen by die regte amptenaar te kry. Ek weet van 'n dame in Schauderville in Port Elizabeth wat nou al - agb lede sal my nie glo nie - ses weke lank probeer om onder die eerste 40 persone in die aansoekry te kom sodat haar vorm aanvaar kan word. Die wortel van die kwaad in die Departement van Welsyn is die onbeholpenheid en gebrek aan doelgerigtheid en doeltreffendheid van die amptenare.
Ek dink ons moet ophou om die simptome te probeer genees. 'n Verhoging van R20 in die pensioen maak nie eintlik só 'n verskil nie. Ek wil sê, wat wel 'n verskil kan maak aan die lewenskwaliteit van ons mense is 'n menswaardige behandeling, dissipline by die uitbetalingspunte, presiese administrasie en onbevooroordeelde hantering van aansoeke. Ons mense moet die Departement van Welsyn sien as 'n vriendelike, hulpvaardige instelling en as 'n vriend in nood. Hulle moenie in vrees lewe vir dié dag in die maand wanneer hulle moet gaan om te vra vir wat hulle reg is nie.
Ek wil afsluit waar ek begin het. Kom ons probeer almal om uit te reik en te doen wat ons kan om ons medemens se ellende te verlig. Kom ons dring aan op doeltreffende administrasie sodat ons ons mense en kinders naby ons hou sodat daar nie dalk 'n dag aanbreek wanneer niemand meer hoop het nie. Ek haal Kahlil Gibran aan:
Die hoogtepunt van ellende is om 'n leë hand na jou medemens uit te steek en niks te ontvang nie. Die hoogtepunt van hopeloosheid is egter om gevulde hande na jou medemens uit te hou en daar is niemand wat iets wil neem nie.
(Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[In the light of the above figures and reports of the Auditor-General one is once again concerned when it becomes clear that it is through negligence, carelessness and incompetence that our poor and elderly are the victims of unscrupulous villains who prey on the old and the frail.
Thus the chairman of the Sterkspruit committee for the aged can testify that many aged people are neglected because they have no one to look after them, because they cannot receive a pension, merely because there is an error on their birth certificate. The aged cannot afford safe housing, and are then raped in these unsafe dwellings.
I can give many more examples of atrocities committed against our elderly, but let me rather remind the hon the Minister again that people in the Eastern Cape still have to wait many hours for their pensions. However, I heard the Minister say that he is giving attention to this, and I want to thank him most sincerely for that.
It has also been brought to my attention how difficult it has become merely to get an application form for a pension from the right official. I know of a lady in Schauderville in Port Elizabeth who has been trying - hon members will not believe me - for six weeks to be one of the first 40 people in the application queue to get her form accepted. The root of the trouble in the Department of Welfare is the ineptness and lack of purpose and efficiency of the officials.
I think we should stop trying to cure the symptoms. An increase of R20 in the pension does not really make such a big difference. I want to say that what can make a difference to the quality of life of our people is humane treatment, discipline at the pay points, accurate administration and unprejudiced handling of applications. Our people should regard the Department of Welfare as a friendly, helpful institution, and as a friend in need. They should not live in fear of the day in the month when they have to go and ask for what is rightfully theirs.
I want to conclude where I started. Let all of us try to reach out and do what we can to relieve the misery of our fellow men. Let us insist on efficient administration so that we keep our people and children close to us so that the day never dawns when no one has hope any longer.
Kahlil Gibran said that the height of misery was to extend an empty hand to one's fellow humans and to receive nothing. The height of hopelessness, however, is to hold out full hands to one's fellow humans and there is no one who wants to take something. [Applause.]]
Mr F A WYNGAARDT (Northern Cape): Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members of the NCOP and hon MECs, as a nation, we are currently challenged with the most critical period of transformation within our welfare system. We are content that the policy formulation process has progressed considerably and provision of welfare services has been properly established.
The vision of the Department of Social Services and Population Development in the Northern Cape is to have a welfare service delivery system which promotes self-reliance within a caring society. The creation of a caring society gives rise to the fact that Batho Pele becomes our way of life in the department. It is the most important priority in this department which will be reflected within all programmes and policies of the department.
The following are the critical aspects I wish to highlight to this gathering today. Social security is one of the major challenges facing this department with 105 000 people depending on the payment of social grants. The provincial office is co-ordinating six regions which are managed by social security managers. We have an operation centre which is responsible for the training of social security personnel and the interpretation of the Social Assistance Act and regulations. It also serves as a help desk with a toll-free number for beneficiaries to register their complaints.
The payment of social grants has been outsourced to a private company, Cash Paymaster Services. Two hundred and eighteen paypoints, 22 district offices, 13 satellite offices and 34 service points have been established throughout the province.
Welfare volunteer committees have been established to assist with crowd control on payment days. We have recently established a welfare review committee which enables communities to participate in the screening of disability grant applications.
The department echoed the establishment of a comprehensive social security system as embodied within the 10-point plan of the national Minister. It was very disturbing to get reports and allegations, during a visit to one of the regions in the province, of gross abuse of human rights of farmworkers who are beneficiaries in the province. During my visit to Van Wyksvlei, an old man told me: ``MEC, ek het op die plaas gewerk en 'n sak mielies het op my rug geval.'' [``MEC, I worked on the farm and a sack of maize fell on my back.''] Another family at Middelpos told me: ``MEC, ons het op die boer se plaas gewerk en is weggejaag. Ons het geen heenkome gehad nie.''[MEC, we worked on the farm and the farmer sent us packing. We had nowhere to go.'']
'n Ander vrou het gesê: ``MEC, ek betaal maandeliks huur aan die boer vir 'n huis wat my man self gebou het.'' [Another woman said: ``MEC, I pay the farmer monthly rent for a house that my husband built himself.'']
This Government can no longer tolerate the abuse of farmworkers and older persons. It is also within the light of this gross violation of human rights that we need to develop a comprehensive social security system that links contributory and noncontributory schemes and priorities to the most vulnerable households. Such a system must reduce dependency on noncontributory cash payments by this Government. Farmers should therefore take responsibility in contributing towards the retirement of their own farmworkers.
This department is vigorous in the fight against fraud and corruption, and an internal control unit with the objective to conduct auditing in all sectors as well as to investigate grey areas in the socpen system has been established within the department. This unit is currently conducting a compliance audit into the poverty alleviation projects. An interdepartmental internal control steering committee was established to oversee fraud and corruption within the department. This committee meets once a month to discuss the matters brought before it by the internal control unit.
Regarding the integration of all former welfare systems, the Northern Cape province was faced with the integration of the House of Assembly, House of Representatives and the Cape Provincial Administration. The process of amalgamating the three different administrations was swift and the department is currently functioning as an established unitary entity.
The central theme of the transformation of the social services is social development, which aims to bring about sustainable improvements in the wellbeing of poor and vulnerable individuals, families and communities. Derived from the department's mission, the core business of the social development programme is to focus on poverty alleviation, reduction and eradication.
The department received R10,8 million, as awarded by the national department. This allocation enabled the department to fund 120 community-based projects. In addition to these 120 funded small business programmes, the department is still engaged in the support and monitoring of the previously funded projects. We have succeeded in establishing 20 projects as fully fledged businesses by securing government contracts through tendering.
To date, the provincial tender board has secured three-year tender contracts to poverty projects in cleaning services, catering, laundering, sewing and security services. Through this process, employment was created for 150 persons. The monthly income of approximately R500 to R1 400 is far in excess of the R100 provided in the child support grant.
The sustainability of most projects is in question due to the lack of markets - no market research was done in respect of projects - and business plans which were poorly designed. A critical need is the support of technical experts for marketing, finance and project management. Social development staff, project members and the cluster co-ordinators lack the necessary business development and financial skills. The geographical vastness and remote rural areas have also contributed to the difficulty to provide on-line support and guidance to projects.
In honouring the corrective measures that were instituted by the national Minister, Minister Skweyiya, this province was proactive in ensuring the financial administration of the poverty relief programme. We have embarked on a financial auditing process in respect of every individual project.
We are committed to preserving our nation and are therefore vigorous in the fight against HIV-Aids. This department is a role-player in the provincial interdepartmental committee on HIV-Aids. This deadly virus will have a devastating impact on the welfare system. The number of orphans will impact on the social security system and statutory obligations in child care legislation.
In a family where the mother or father dies, the remaining parent, if unemployed and the children are not over the age of seven, will apply for child support grant. In a case where both parents die or where a single parent dies as a result of Aids, the children will be placed in foster care and a foster care grant paid.
There will be a child-headed household which will have a social impact on community life. Community-based care activities will have financial implications for this department, eg. strengthening of families, alternative care placement options and safety houses. Social relief will also have to be provided for families infected who have no source of income.
Cabinet has established an interministerial committee on HIV-Aids in order to monitor the trends and programmes in our fight against HIV. An interdepartmental committee has been established to extensively involve government departments in HIV-Aids mobilisation. Departments such as Welfare, Health and Education have developed a programme for children infected and affected by the epidemic.
We need to intensify our mass mobilisation campaign. Within the next month, a provincial Aids council will be in place, and by the end of the financial year 2002, regional Aids councils will be in operation. The department has restructured the Mimosa Place for Safety into a multipurpose centre for persons living with HIV-Aids.
This programme is spearheaded by the Department of Health and is conceptualised on a multidisciplinary facet approach. The centre will provide economic empowerment programmes, counselling services, family reintegration and day care facilities for children of parents who participate in the programme.
The restoration of the ethics of care into our programmes is of importance to this department. For this purpose, the department has established an interfaith committee on the ``RDP'' of the soul.'' This interfaith committee assists the department in the fight against alcohol and drug abuse, violence against women and children, and HIV-Aids in order to restore the moral renewal of the people of the Northern Cape province.
In conclusion, it is clear that this department is tasked with serving the most vulnerable people in society. The legacy of the past is still haunting us. Reflecting on the situation of the beneficiaries on farms leaves me with no alternative but to realise that, as Government, we need to ensure legislation to enforce that farmers, miners and businesses in general are liable for the retirement and injury on duty pay for their workers.[Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr N V E NGIDI (KwaZulu-Natal): Mr Chairperson, our budget and programmes for community intervention must be advised by the need to lift our people from the ravages and degradation of poverty. The Daily News of 12 May 1998 gave a graphic view of poverty in the country through the following statistics: 53% live below the R301 per month poverty line, 87% of all African children under 12 are nutritionally compromised and about 23% of children under the age of six suffer from chronic malnutrition or stunting.
It is against this background that I discuss poverty alleviation programmes. The question that must be asked is whether these programmes really address social welfare needs. Are they directed at the correct target, especially children who, because of their age, are no longer covered by the child support grant? Have we developed mechanisms to monitor these programmes? Is there adequate information available to enable people to mobilise these programmes?
It must be said that our endeavours in information dissemination must allow for extraordinary means because such is the unequal development in our country that areas still exist where one has to use the most backward methods of information dissemination.
I am raising these questions because I have been in contact with a number of women who say that, in the past, they were covered by the maintenance grant, but since this grant has been phased out, they have been left high and dry with no means to support and maintain their children who are still minors below the age limit set by the child support grant. There is either not enough information to enable those in need to access these programmes or there are serious bottlenecks in the implementation of these programmes.
Another area of consideration is the channels through which resources meant for these programmes make their passage. Are these transparent and the stages thereof clear? Would any person, irrespective of where the person is, know where to go in order to access these resources? Are the people charged with the task of ensuring that these resources reach their intended destination motivated or sensitive to the plight of the poor people? What are the structures of supervision and how do they operate?
Poverty alleviation is not our ultimate goal, but we should go beyond this. It is poverty eradication that we should aim at. How do we then ensure that poverty alleviation programmes are fully integrated into social development programmes so as to begin to positively influence the lives of the poor? Where is the connection? There must be a connection if we are to transform the department from being a department giving hand-outs into a developmental one.
Poverty does not only affect the lives of people, but it is a destabilising factor. It has been characterised as the silent killer. We are unaware as poverty wipes out communities. It rips asunder the moral fibre of any nation and undermines the values that holds it together. It turns people into scavenging and marauding animals who are cannibalising towards their kith and kin. The bond of friendship and family, an important adhesive for national unity, is greatly undermined. It is therefore imperative that, to eradicate poverty, we go the extra mile, because poverty is our greatest challenge. [Applause.]
Mev J WITBOOI: Mnr die Voorsitter, agb Minister, agb LUR'e en agb lede, ook ek wil ons President aanhaal. Dieselfde aanhaling is ook in die Minister se Begrotingsrede in die Nasionale Vergadering op 18 April 2000. Ek haal aan:
... at no other point in time have we ever been as well placed as we are today to take decisive forward steps towards the creation of the humane and people-centred society for which the organisations that were unbanned 10 years ago struggled for many decades.
Dit is wat die regeringsleier gesê het en daaruit maak ek die afleiding dat ons nou die geleentheid gebied word om gemeenskappe te skep waar ons vir mekaar omgee.
Hierdie edel woorde word daagliks geëvalueer deur die miljoene hulpelose mense daar buite, mense wat met kinderlike afwagting geglo het dat hulle swaarkry, hongerlyding en bedelstand ná die 1994-verkiesing tot 'n einde sou kom. Vandag kry ons as lede van hierdie Huis weer die geleentheid om te kyk in watter mate ons daarin kon slaag om aan die armoede in ons land aandag te gee.
Kom ons begin by ons bejaardes; daardie weerlose groep mense wat steeds in die tyd waarin ons leef die prooi van genadelose mense is. Die meeste van hierdie gewetenlose misbruikers van ons bejaardes se pensioentoelaes is hulle eie families wat die sorgbehoewendes vergesel na die pensioentoelae betaalpunte om op die skamele bedraggies beslag te lê.
Ook kry ons diegene wat die ou mense op hulle terugtogte inwag met invorderingsboekies om hulle drankskuld te delg. Tragies maar waar is ook die feit hierdie euwel nog steeds dwarsdeur die land voortduur en in baie gevalle steur die gemeenskappe hulle nie daaraan nie of hulle is magteloos om iets daaraan te doen.
Die Nuwe NP wil vandag 'n pleidooi lewer dat die Regering hom hard sal uitspreek teenoor hierdie tipe vergrype aan bejaardes se pensioentoelaes, en ons is dankbaar teenoor die Minister vir die feit dat hy genoem het dat ons 'n verslag hieroor afwag.
Daar is ook 'n ander aspek wat ek vandag onder die Huis se aandag wil bring. Mense probeer die persepsie daar buite vestig dat dit slegs die ANC is wat aandag aan ons behoeftes gee. Ek wil dit vandag in hierdie Huis noem dat dit van alle waarheid ontbloot is. In Citrusdal, waar ek vandaan kom, het 'n groep vroue hulle in so 'n mate in die lot van bejaardes ingeleef dat hulle met die hulp van vele vriende eiehandig woonstelle vir die armstes onder die armes opgerig het.
Sonder die hulp van die staat het die vroue bykans drie jaar lank onverwyld geswoeg om huisvesting te bied aan sorgbehoewende manne en vroue wat winter en somer onder brûe en onder bosse geslaap het. Vandag bly hulle in hul nuwe tuiste, Heuwelrus. Hulle het lopende water, ligte en sanitasiegeriewe, en hulle is verlos van mense wat soos aasvoëls op hulle toesak op uitbetaaldag. Maklik was dit vir hierdie vroue nie. Daar was erge teenkanting teen hulle strewe om aan hierdie mense 'n beter oudag te bied.
Wat dit egter skokkend maak, is dat die grootste teenstand gekom het van die ANC-leiers in Citrusdal. Hulle wou nie deel wees van hierdie pragtige projek nie. Hulle alleen sal die antwoorde ken waarom nie. Vandag is hulle skaam, want die eerste ouma wat haar woonstelletjie betrek het, is die ouma van 'n prominente ANC-lid op Citrusdal. [Tussenwerpsels.]
Die Nuwe NP salueer die vele vrywillige werkers dwarsdeur die landÿ.ÿ.ÿ. [Tussenwerpsels.] Ek weet agb lede is geskok. [Tussenwerpsels.] Ons weet agb lede is geskok. [Tussenwerpsels.] Ons was ook geskok. [Tussenwerpsels.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Mrs J WITBOOI: Mr Chairman, hon Minister, hon MECs and hon members, I too would like to quote our President. The same quotation is also in the Minister's Budget speech in the National Assembly on 18 April 2000. I quote:
... at no other point in time have we ever been as well placed as we are today to take decisive forward steps towards the creation of the humane and people-centred society for which the organisations that were unbanned 10 years ago struggled for many decades.
This is what the Government leader said and from this I come to the conclusion that we are now given the opportunity to create communities where we care for each other.
These noble words are evaluated daily by the millions of helpless people out there, people who believed with childlike expectation that after the 1994 election their suffering, hunger and begging will come to an end. Today we, as members of this House, once again have the opportunity to see to which degree we succeeded in devoting attention to the poverty in our country.
Let us begin with the elderly; this vulnerable group of people who are still in this era in which we are living the prey of merciless people. Most of these unscrupulous abusers of the pension grants of our elderly are their own families who accompany the indigent to pay-points for pension grants to lay claim on that meagre amount.
There are also those who wait for the old people on their way back with recovery books so that they could settle their drinking debts. The tragic, but true fact is that these evils perpetuate throughout the country and in many instances the communities do not take any notice of it or are unable to do anything about it.
The New NP wants to appeal today that the Government will take a harsh stand against this type of offence of taking the pension grants of the elderly and we are grateful to the Minister for the fact that he mentioned that we are awaiting a report in this regard.
There is also another aspect which I would like to bring to the attention of the House today. People try to create the perception out there that it is only the ANC who devotes attention to our needs. I would like to mention in this House today that that is devoid of all truth. In Citrusdal, where I come from, a group of women felt the fate of the elderly to such a degree that with the help of many friends they themselves, with their own hands, built flats for the poorest of the poor.
Without the aid of the state, the women toiled without delay for almost three years to provide housing to indigent men and women who slept under bridges and bushes during winter and summer. Today they live in their new home, Heuwelrus. They have running water, lights and sanitation facilities, and they are rid of people who mob them like vultures on payday. It was not easy for these women. There was much resistance against the desire to present these people with a better old age.
However, what makes it shocking, is that the greatest resistance came from the ANC leaders in Citrusdal. They did not want to be part of this beautiful project. They alone will know the answers why not. Today they are ashamed, because the first grandmother who moved into her flatlet, is the grandmother of a prominent ANC member in Citrusdal. [Interjections.]
The New NP salutes the many voluntary workers throughout the country ... Interjections.] I know hon members are shocked. [Interjections.] We know hon members are shocked. [Interjections.] We were also shocked. [Interjections.]]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order, hon members, order! [Interjections.]
Mrs J WITBOOI: Die Nuwe NP ... [The New NP ...]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Order! Could you take your seat, hon Witbooi. [Interjections.] On what point are you rising, hon member?
Mr T B TAABE: Chairperson, will the hon member take a question?
An HON MEMBER: She cannot!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Okay, let me deal with that first. I will come back to you. Yes, what is it?
Mr T B TAABE: Chairperson, will the hon member take a question?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Are you prepared to take a question?
Mrs J WITBOOI: No!
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Thank you. She will not take a question. [Interjections.]
Mr A E VAN NIEKERK: Chairperson, I want to know whether it is parliamentary for an hon member to tell another member `` ... om sy bek te hou''. [to shut his trap.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Who said that?
Mr A E VAN NIEKERK: The hon member right here.
Mrs E N LUBIDLA: [Inaudible.] [Laughter.]
Mr A E VAN NIEKERK: Mnr die Voorsitter, op 'n punt van orde ... [Mr Chairman, on a point of order ...]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Yes, hon member. Are you rising on another point of order?
Mr A E VAN NIEKERK: Mnr die Voorsitter, is dit parlementêr om 'n leuen in hierdie Huis te vertel? [Mr Chairman, is it parliamentary to tell a lie in this House?]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Mr Van Niekerk, can we deal with the point of order first? We did not hear what she said, and she says she did not say what you say she said. So we are not able to make any ruling in the absence of any record.
Mr A E VAN NIEKERK: Mnr die Voorsitter, kan ons Hansard vra om net die opname na te gaan? [Mr Chairman, can we ask Hansard to check this recording?]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): If there is a translation of that, yes. Hon member, could you proceed.
Mev J WITBOOI: Mnr die Voorsitter, die Nuwe NP salueer die vele vrywillige werkers dwarsoor die land wat gestalte gee aan ons President se oproep tot gemeenskapdiens aan die talle behoeftiges. Die punt wat ek vandag hier wil beklemtoon, is dat aan elkeen, ongeag ras of kleur, wat meehelp om die lot van andere te verlig erkenning gegee moet word.
As die tyd my sal toelaat, wil ek 'n pleidooi lewer ten opsigte van die kindertoelae. Laat ons weer kyk na die regeringsbeleid ten opsigte hiervan. Die vermindering van die toelae aan kinders wanneer hulle die ouderdom van sewe bereik, het drakoniese gevolge. 'n Kind se uitgawes raak méér sodra hy op sewejarige ouderdom skool toe gaan, en 'n skamel geklede en honger kind kan nie vorder nie.
Ons mag ons oë nie sluit vir hierdie weerloses wat omstandigheidsgevalle is nie. President Mbeki het gesê dat die struggle baie dekades lank gevoer is om ons nou in 'n posisie te plaas om na ons mense om te sien. [Tussenwerpsels.] [Gelag.] (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)
[Mrs J WITBOOI: Mr Chairman, the New NP salutes the many voluntary workers throughout the country who give effect to our President's appeal to render community service to the many indigent. The point which I would like to highlight today, is that everyone, irrespective of race or colour, who contributes to alleviating the fate of others, should receive recognition.
If the time will allow me, I would like to make an appeal in respect of the child grants. Let us look again at the Government's policy in this respect. The reduction of the grant given to children once they reach the age of seven, has draconic results. The expenses of a child increase as soon as he goes to school at the age of seven, and a scantily clad and hungry child cannot make progress.
We may not shut our eyes to these vulnerable ones who are victims of circumstances. President Mbeki said that the struggle was fought for many decades so as to place us in a position where we can take care of our people now. [Interjections.] [Laughter.]]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Order! Hon members, I will not stop this hon member if you interrupt her.
Mrs J WITBOOI: Die struggle is verby. Waarom moet ons nou nog ly? [Tussenwerpsels.] [The struggle is over. Why must we continue to suffer? [Interjections.]]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Hon members, this is not a beer hall, please. [Laughter.]
Mrs C NKUNA: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, allow me to start off by expressing my sincere condolences to the hon Mr Makoela from my province who has, in quick succession, lost three members of his family: His brother, his nephew and his sister. As a consequence, he is unable to attend this Budget Vote debate.
There are those members who are not ready to see or to hear the progress made by the Government. So let us not give them an opportunity to retard us. Let us progress.
Hon MEMBERS: Hear! Hear!
Mrs C NKUNA: Secondly, I would like to make a comment on the R20 issue. The R20 increase does not create any difference to a person who has had it comfortable before ...
Hon MEMBERS: Hear! Hear!
Mrs C NKUNA: ... but to a person from a rural area and to a person who has been excluded in the past, and, again, looking at the budget and at the number of pensioners that are supposed to be taken on board, R20 does make a big difference. [Applause.]
Hon MEMBERS: Hear! Hear!
Mrs C NKUNA: Our province has wholeheartedly embraced the delivery of quality service to the most vulnerable in our community. Improved service delivery is evidenced by the sterling example set by the pension committee in my province. The committee has played a vital role in our Operation Dignity campaign. For those who are not aware of it, this campaign was launched in November 1999 and is aimed primarily at restoring dignity to the most vulnerable sectors of our community, namely the elderly and the disabled.
I would like to mention that a good government is judged by the manner in which it treats its senior citizens and by the manner in which it treats its disabled persons. Even though we are busy trying to restore the dignity of our senior citizens, we still carry them in wheelbarrows from their homesteads to the pension pay points. Where is the dignity of such a person? It is for us and the Ministry to address this issue.
By now, we might have all either heard about or watched a programme on Carte Blanche, dealing with the abuse of the elderly. But even if we have not had the reports of our aged dying in queues while waiting for their pensions, this has hit the headlines often enough.
We believe that this project has helped to establish humane conditions at pay points. We also believe that we have, at least, made our public servants aware that they must treat all people making use of the service they provide with the dignity they deserve. We are looking forward to seeing this campaign replicated throughout the country.
In this regard, I need to make mention of the fact that some of our beneficiaries have had to be very patient with the provincial Department of Welfare so that it could reinstate those beneficiaries who had been erroneously removed from the welfare system during the clean-up campaign. The situation has been rectified. We in the province will assist the department in monitoring the situation so that it does not recur.
With regard to poverty alleviation, our province, more so than other provinces, has enormous challenges posed by poverty, and the example I mentioned earlier of taking an elderly person to a pay point in a wheelbarrow is another sign of poverty. It does not mean that the Government is not delivering.
We, together with the national Department of Welfare, need to look for innovative and creative ways in which we can revamp our poverty alleviation programmes. Here I am thinking especially of those poverty alleviation initiatives such as community-based nutrition programmes and primary school nutrition. With the latter, we have been able to create a situation conducive to learning.
With regard to programmes and community self-help projects, we want to encourage the Department of Welfare to channel all the necessary resources to where they belong, that is, with the poor in our community.
The national Department of Welfare need not think that this fight against poverty is exclusively theirs. Indeed, it is a fight that all of us, including business, NGOs, community-based organisations and faith-based organisations are prepared to share, and we will not hesitate to direct the national department to where the needs are in our province.
We need to sit down and discuss what the criteria are to access the funding and then empower our communities, through education, to gain this access. There should be no need at all for poverty alleviation funds to remain unspent. Some of these discussions have already taken place, and I am sure that partnership will develop soon between the Department of Welfare and Population Development and NGOs, faith-based organisations and intergovernmental departments. I am also sure that the 101 poverty alleviation projects and the 55 new projects underway in my province would not mind the competition that new poverty alleviation funding would bring.
As far as applications for social security grants are concerned, the Northern Province has, in the past, experienced serious backlogs, but we are happy to report that a central data capturing centre was established to address all backlogs. All 60 000 child support grants were captured, which was our provincial target. New pay points were identified, and we now have about 400 000 social security beneficiaries that were paid out across all grant types.
In addition to this, our provincial department has put in place the necessary administrative systems to ensure that any pensioner who applies for a grant gets it within three months, within the limits of available resources. We have set a target for child support grants at R130 000 for the year 2000-01. Given the success of our recruitment campaign, I am confident that our province will reach this target. We have already budgeted for an addition of about 70 000 children in the 2001 budget.
Our province, along with Mpumalanga and the other affected provinces, has been heavily hit by the floods in February this year. This was and continues to be a very trying time for us, especially where roads and bridges were washed away, houses crumbled and people were cut off from food resources. Some areas in my province have even been declared disaster areas by the President.
During this disaster, the Department of Welfare proved itself equal to the task of dealing with disasters. Out of the Welfare budget, 8 067 food parcels at the cost of about R1 million were purchased, and an additional 1 600 food parcels were purchased out of the provincial disaster relief fund. Social workers were actively involved in identifying and accessing cases of need and provided much counselling for those who needed it. In the face of adversity, one's character is tested to its limits, and during this disaster, the Department of Welfare, the SANDF, health workers and the community at large showed a great deal of commitment.
Ndzi tsakela ku nkhensa nkarhi lowu kuva ndzi yimela Xifundzankulu xa hina xa N'walungu. Na ku vula leswi eka murhangeri wa hina loyi a nga tshama laha, leswaku hina tani hi Xifundzankulu xa N'walungu hi tiyimiserile ku tirha na n'wina ku endla leswaku makumu ya swona, ku mina loko ndzi ta va ndziri mukhegulu, wena u tava uri mukhalabya, lava va taka va kota ku hi hlayisa hi ndlela leyi hina hi kotaka kuva hi hlayisa vakhegulu ni vakhalabya ha yona eka nkarhi wa sweswi. [Va phokotela mavoko.] (Translation of Tsonga paragraph follows.)
[Hon Chairperson, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent the Northern Province, and to say a few words to our leader who is present here today. We from the Northern Province have pledged to work hand in hand with him so that when, at the end of the day, a person like me becomes aged, as he will too, those who are younger than us will be able to take care of us in the same way as we manage to take care of our aged of both sexes at present. Thank you. [Applause.]]
Mr P G QOKWENI: Chairperson, hon Minister, MECs and members, we support this Budget Vote in full recognition of the millions of destitute South Africans who cannot survive without social welfare services in the rural and urban areas. We are engaged in this debate, motivated by a desire to improve the lives of our masses and create a world-class nation. In doing this, we have to contend with the harsh realities of life in South Africa, as one of the most unequal countries in the world in racial and geographic terms.
Those situated in the rural areas suffer the worst hardships, many of them still living below the minimum household subsistence level. Their distances from the main service centres and the lack of communication networks reduce their access to information, including the information that is essential to their livelihood. This means that we must make extra effort to communicate the policies, programmes and grants that we offer, so that the intended beneficiaries actually take advantage of the benefits to reduce poverty and inequalities. I have in mind the example of the child support grant. I found that many in our communities did not know about this at one time. We need documents such as birth certificates and identity documents to pre-empt corruption and promote clean and effective administration.
UMphathiswa uyayazi le nto kuba isinqe sakhe siseDikeni, kwesikaNdlambe. Wayesakuthi uNozamile, waqala ukuva inimba ngoBhesengile, xa ooGaseti nooNathawu babevela kuhlamba ingceke esizibeni, bephuma ethontweni ngonyaka weentlumayo. [Uwele-wele.] (Translation of Xhosa paragraph follows.)
[The Minister is aware of this because his place of birth is Alice, the land of amaNdlambe. Nozamile used to say that she felt, for the first time, the pangs of childbirth with Bhesengile, when Gaseti and Nathawu returned from washing off the clay at the river pool as they came out of the traditional hut of the initiation school in the year when the cowpeas grew in abundance.]
The impact of this on our processes will be felt long after we have put modern measures in place to eliminate it. The officers who therefore call for the documents must use a socially accountable and customer-centred approach which conscientises them to deal with the members of the public with empathy and in terms of the time standards set.
It is not good performance management which disregards the duration of the task performed and the quality of the service delivery. We appreciate the department's integration of the welfare systems to keep more reliable data on beneficiaries and strengthen the management of social grants. However, we must confront the fact that there are deserving beneficiaries who fell out as we integrated, and that we must reinstate them.
The Minister has set up corrective measures to make the use of poverty relief funds more efficient. Firstly, I would like to suggest that we continue to monitor the distribution to ensure that the funds are given in terms of the criteria laid down, and that partisanship does not influence the choice of project beneficiaries, especially given the role of the councillors in some of the allocation processes. Secondly, we must capacitate not only the intermediaries, but also the beneficiaries, especially in the rural areas where illiteracy levels are higher. Lastly, we have oversight responsibilities as public representatives. These charge us to monitor the implementation of these plans, so that when we are confronted with failure to deliver, we understand that we also have to accept our fair share of the blame, and not only the Minister or the department alone. [Applause.]
Ms P C NGWENYA (Mpumalanga): Deputy Chairperson, hon Minister, hon MECs, hon members and guests, it is a great pleasure for me to be given this opportunity to address members on the policy review on social services and population development. Firstly, I want to congratulate the Minister and the MECs for the good work done in the Department of Welfare and Population Development. Since this department is people-based, it has to make the lives of our people better, especially those of the aged, the children, the disabled and the women.
Concerning the management of social grants, we know and understand that there is a social security section which deals with social grants, and which has proved to be effective and efficient. They have established pension committees to help to raise the concerns of the beneficiaries. The training programme was in place for the committees to understand their role.
The social grant needs to be marketed widely in all languages so that the needy and deserving previously disadvantaged people can access the information. The grants should be marketed extensively on radio which is the best marketing vehicle for rural communities. Our constituency offices and local councils should also be used to disseminate the information to the communities. At all our meetings, social grants need to be an item on the agenda.
The department is aware of the frustrations of people at different pay points. We understand and know that the aged queue from morning to sunset. However, the department will put in place a plan in order to try and improve the services at the pay points by introducing smart cards, and the aged will be trained on how to use those smart card. Shelters will be erected in order to protect the aged from the sun and the rain. Working with economic affairs, the department will establish village banks. They will extend the pay dates in order to minimise the problem of long queues and also establish other pay points if there is a need, so that the aged need not travel long distances. The aged have to register a person they trust to receive the grant on their behalf.
The department alone cannot manage this, but we as legislators need to play a role. During our constituency period, we need to meet with the pension committees and hear their concerns and visit the pay points during paydays and monitor whether the services provided are according to the policy and plans of the department.
Concerning fraud and corruption, we know and understand that fraud is still a problem. However, the department has come up with a strategy to combat this. The province is continuing with the reregistration of beneficiaries and advocates for the development of the integration of the Government and private sector system for screening applications for grants. Fraud units, an anticorruption unit and the departmental investigation unit have been established to deal with fraud and corruption. The department has also developed a partnership with the SAPS, TLCs and community structures in order to assist in rooting out fraud and corruption.
The integration of the 14 welfare systems into one has afforded all citizens access to welfare services.
Concerning poverty alleviation, the province records a poverty rate of 57% despite its contribution of 8,15% to the total GDP. An estimated amount of R28 billion is required to close the poverty gap in South Africa. The most affected areas are the former homelands and some rural farming communities. Areas identified as poverty pockets are former Kangwane and KwaNdebele which accommodate 51% of the total population of the province, of which, coincidentally, 99% is African.
There is a relationship between poverty and the unemployment rate, which is approximately 37%. The unemployment rate in the above-mentioned former homelands is not less than 42%. The provincial department and the national department are currently involved in the process of reviewing all the poverty projects with the aim of developing a sustainable model of poverty eradication. One hundred and eighty-six projects have benefited from the R9,6 million allocated from the national budget for 1998-99. Of this, an amount of R2 million is earmarked for the community empowerment pilot project at Mjejane. The main thrust of this pilot project is to initiate a large-scale poverty intervention project and develop indicators, and to build up the skills and expertise of other departments and stakeholders.
Staff involved in the poverty alleviation programmes have been trained on project management, and there are 16 cluster co-ordinators charged with the development of income generation and financial management. The present funding of poverty alleviation projects has been done through the national department. The criteria for funding has been too restrictive for the poorest of the poor communities to access these funds, due to the requirements laid down by the national department.
Funding has also been disbursed through the national disbursement agency. Recommendations have been made to the national department to allocate funding to provinces' and that provinces should develop funding criteria based on the needs and circumstances of the province. In this way, the department will be able to provide funding to poor communities using poverty pockets as a basis of targeting poverty alleviation projects.
With regard to HIV-Aids, orphans of this pandemic qualify for the foster care grant. An amount of R13 million has been set aside by the national department to be accessed to provinces. Tonga has been identified a pilot site for the integrated approach, which encompasses home-based care, voluntary testing and counselling, and life-skills training for schools and outreach programmes. We have received recent statistics which reveal that Schoemansdal has 705 children affected or infected. This information is still being analysed by the department to determine how many children are infected or affected. The department is continuing to provide support to organisations involved in the development of home-based care projects in Evander, Standerton, Malelane, White River, Witbank, KwaMhlanga and Nkomazi.
Regarding the impact of HIV-Aids on the welfare system, the department has developed home-based care and support for people living with HIV-Aids and infected children, promoted voluntariness and community participation in caring for people living with HIV-Aids, and provided counselling services to people living with HIV-Aids. The impact will be very high on the welfare budget as the number of affected people and the number of orphans to be cared for increases. It is important that communities be sensitised in providing home-based care for the orphans of HIV-Aids, so that as many orphans as possible can benefit from social grants instead of becoming institutionalised.
We need to take the issue of HIV-Aids seriously. While the department is providing the home-based care, we need to have an awareness programme. We need to join hands with churches, communities, NGOs, CBOs, student organisations and other departments to conscientise people about HIV-Aids. This will assist in minimising the number of deaths and orphans. I think prevention is better than cure.
We also appreciate the support given by the department with regard to educare centres. We understand that the department is providing nutrition to children, while the Department of Education is responsible for the payment of salaries for teachers. We need to note that the Department cannot assist all the educare centres at once, but that it will be a process. As legislators, we also need to visit those centres and monitor whether children are getting food as expected.
We appreciate the phasing out of the state maintenance grant. This is a good move, since only the minority group was benefiting from it. Currently about 222 000 children are receiving the CSG grant. The target of the Department of social services in Mpumalanga is to reach 210 000 children by the year 2004. Again, we need to assist the department to reach its target by informing the people about this grant, calling community meetings, and assisting parents who have children under the age of seven to go and apply for this grant. We must also make follow-ups of whether the grants are received in time and as expected.
Some people are saying that there is no difference.
In conclusion, I want to say: onamehlo makabone; onezindlebe makezwe [those who have eyes, must see; and those who have ears, must hear.] [Applause.]
Mrs J N VILAKAZI: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon MECs from provinces, hon members, when we speak about welfare, we include the wellbeing of everybody - from an unborn baby who is still a fetus, to the senior citizen of whatever age, as long as that individual is still alive. We also speak of the welfare of all other living creatures, which may not be human beings, and which fall under separate departments.
Today we are dealing with human beings, as I have mentioned, from the womb to the cradle to the grave. I will repeat this - from the womb to the cradle to the grave - otherwise there would be no antenatal or postnatal health care services. [Interjections.] This means that this department is entrusted with one of the most outstanding responsibilities of government.
To highlight what I have just said, I will start with the welfare of all members of the community.
In the KwaZulu-Natal province, most people make a living by farming, either on a small or large scale. This depends upon capacity and the availability of land and finance. Without land and finance, nothing can be ventured into. Naturally, our people are industrious. This can be traced from as far back as the time of our ancestors. Most people cannot afford to cultivate their land because of poverty, shortage of funds due to unemployment, and joblessness. We appeal to the Department of Welfare to give the necessary assistance to these people in order to enhance and promote their wellbeing and economy.
Gardening is a well-known exercise by most citizens of this country, as I have already mentioned. It is an old trade of our forefathers. People make a living by cultivating land for various projects, for instance, planting fruits and vegetables, sugar plantations and forestry. Support structures that are available, such as servant support schemes should be effectively utilised. There must be no strings attached in giving out this money, because, one way or another, it could end up being misappropriated by greedy individuals, while the children who need it have not benefited.
Regarding old age pension, people who qualify for pensions because of old age must get this money for their wellbeing and survival. Some families abuse their elders when it comes to the use of this money. We commend the hon MEC in KwaZulu-Natal, the hon Prince J L Zulu, because we all know how he successfully dealt with this notoriety in the province. He has explained how many people are behind bars and so on. We really commend him for that.
Regarding the question of street children, street children in towns, cities and suburban areas need love and care. The Department of Welfare should have programmes to rehabilitate street children. Institutions should be built where they can be supervised and given behaviour modification skills in order to boost their morale and self-esteem to enable them to fight against street crime and the drug addiction that they have completely succumbed to.
People with specific skills should be financially assisted in order to promote their work skills and trade by all means, so that their welfare and wellbeing is catered for in the most appropriate manner possible. The IFP supports the Budget Review. [Applause.]
Ms F J ADAMS (Western Cape): Chairperson, hon Minister, hon MECs - my colleagues - and members of this House, I would like to say thank you very much, in the first instance, for just allowing me to take part in this Budget Review debate of hon Minister Skweyiya.
I think, by now, it is common knowledge that for the next 10 to 15 years the two most critical areas of concern that will dominate the global platform for debate will definitely be HIV-Aids and, of course, poverty. Until relatively recently, I must say, the issue of HIV-Aids has been dealt with within a very unco-ordinated tunnel vision and erroneous assumption that it is an issue that belongs only to the health department, and that therefore it is only a health matter. But, from the outset I want to say that that is not the prerogative of any department or institution to claim that it is not someone else's problem, but the problem of all of us collectively here. [Interjections.]
To fight this epidemic which, according to the last count - and these are the stats that I actually got hold of - is blighting the lives ... [Interjections] ... we actually call statistics stats in psychology. [Interjections.] It is actually blighting the lives of almost 3 million South Africans. All of us - Government organisations, the private sector, community organisations, etc - need to embark on an all-year-round campaign for at least the next 15 years.
I think that members will agree with me when I say that if HIV-Aids had followed the same course as the Ebola virus - can members remember what happened a few years back - which killed many people within three weeks. Maybe - just maybe - perceptions and ignorance, and therefore behaviour, regarding this silent invisible killing force could have changed much earlier in our communities, our provinces and our country. [Interjections.]
Any government - and members will agree with me on that - that is threatened by a visible destructive force at its borders will intervene and stop such a force immediately if it knows that such a force is out to kill almost half its women and children population. It would do everything in its power to stop it. What would it do? Such a government or country would mobilise all the citizen forces that it can lay its hands on. It would purchase new military tanks and jet fighters and, above all, it might just declare a national emergency. [Interjections.]
However, we know that our country is faced with the most lethal threat which is not as visible as a military threat. But it is, indeed, eight hundred trillion invisible, microscopic HIV viruses that are being produced daily and spread to other victims, and which will definitely kill hundreds of thousands of South African citizens. [Laughter.] Youth and children will not be victims immediately, but within ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Hon member, could you please take your seat. On what point are you rising hon member?
Mr T B TAABE: Chairperson, can the hon member take a question?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Are you prepared to take a question, hon member?
Ms F J ADAMS: Chairperson, I only have 10 minutes, and this is such a serious matter that I cannot waste my time with questions. [Interjections.] [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! The hon member is not prepared to take a question. Could the hon member please proceed. [Interjections.] [Laughter.]
Ms F J ADAMS: Mr Chairperson, I want to repeat ...
Mr A E VAN NIEKERK: Chairperson, on a point of order: This shows how old this Council is. But can I just remind members that a colleague is making her maiden speech. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! What is your point of order?
Mr A E VAN NIEKERK: Chairperson, I just think that colleagues should take that into account. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! That is not a point of order!
Ms F J ADAMS: Chairperson ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Could you take your seat until they are quiet. Take your seat, and when they are quiet, you will speak.
Ms F J ADAMS: Chairperson, I just hope that my 10 minutes have not run out.
I just want to remind members once again that that killing force does not act immediately, but will do so within the next 10 years when this virus, at the end of the day, would have manifested itself into Aids. Even worse, the number of full-blown Aids cases amongst our young girls between the ages of 15 to 24 years, is horrific. Why do I say it is horrific? It is because it means - and I want the community leaders and all our political leaders to please listen - that our young girls have become HIV-positive at the early age of between eight and 15 years. This means that the level of child sex in South Africa has, in itself, reached endemic proportions. Why are we then not vocal enough about the rights of the non-HIV-Aids-positive young girls, and the fact that having sex with them is not only a fundamental violation of their innocence, but also that it should be classified as murder.
I am very happy to observe that the hon Minister, the Government and all institutions are no longer giving this epidemic scant interest, but are, in fact, collectively rising to the challenge in order to engage and fight this epidemic and contain its spread. The fact is that this pandemic, apart from many others in the history of the world or South Africa, and also of our provinces, is concentrated in young adult populations and that there has been a steady increase in the number of infected young women in all our provinces in the past five years. Let me remind the hon Chairperson and hon Minister about this by quoting somebody. This time I am going to quote from the hon Mr Mandela's 1994 inauguration speech when he said, and could hon members please listen:
The youth of our country are valued possessions of our nation. Without them there can be no Reconstruction and Development Programme; without them there can be no future.
However, why on earth is there still too much apathy and so much silence about the sexual abuse of our young children and our youth? The perception out there is that this silence extends to some part of the legal fraternity, some of our powerful leaders, politicians, church leaders and community leaders - these are the perceptions that exist out there. Of course, I commend those leaders, politicians and other concerned role-players who are committed to involving themselves in and dedicating themselves to combating, preventing and containing the spread of HIV-Aids.
The legal and ethical issues have already been raised here - I will not go into that. But I must stress specific areas of focus, including the legal status of the HIV-Aids sufferer, the consent required for testing for HIV-Aids, the question of anonymity and confidentiality and many others. We as provincial government rededicate ourselves, in front of our colleagues in all the other provinces and in the national Government, to collectively working with all other spheres of government, NGOs, church groups and other Aids-combating agencies and institutions to eradicate the scourge of HIV-Aids in our provinces and our country.
Members will agree with me that there is definite causality and link between HIV-Aids and poverty. Members will also agree with me when I say that one of the greatest symptoms of poverty, which has already been stated here, is unemployment. Unemployment manifests itself in various other forms such as a decline in moral standards, which we heard about this afternoon here, wife battering, domestic violence, increasing crime, rape, child abuse, murder, and substance abuse such as alcohol and drug dependence.
These are the realities that we are faced with in our province. I can only speak for our province and, I think, for our country.
One of the primary focuses of the department of social services in the Western Cape is the forging of partnerships with strategic partners and various other developmental initiatives with regard to poverty relief programmes. An example of such a mechanism available to us is the poverty relief and investment programme. Currently, funding for antipoverty strategies is available from the provinces in the form of capacity-building funds, flagship programme funds, multipurpose centre funds and various subsidies for early childhood development and other services.
This is in addition to the social security grant programme which in itself constitutes a massive antipoverty fund. The poverty relief and infrastructure investment programme differ from other funding because the funds do not flow through the province, but are dispatched through the IDT - a support agency of the national Department of Welfare. The new funding policy explicitly states that Government must shift from being a funder of welfare services to a purchaser of relevant and appropriate welfare services.
Important issues that the branch needs to concern itself with - and we are committed to do so - are the following: an analysis of the living conditions of the focus groups in order to target them more efficiently, with the aim of delivering more effective services; their developmental priorities ...
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Hon member, you have exhausted even your one and a half extra minutes for your maiden speech. [Laughter.]
Mrs E N LUBIDLA: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon MECs, hon members, I do not know if the audience is going to listen to me after such a long good lecture. [Interjections.] I would like to quote the following:
Poverty is pain, it feels like a disease, it attacks a person not only materially, but also morally. It eats away one's dignity and drives one into total despair.
A poor woman called Moldova said these words.
Deep class and racial divisions mark South Africa's legacy of apartheid. While 40% of the total population is income poor, the percentage for black South Africans is 60%. Almost three quarters of the poor live in woefully underdeveloped rural areas. Many people lack adequate housing and access to basic social services. The democratic governments elected since 1994 have placed poverty and inequality at the centre of their development agendas.
South Africa's antipoverty policies, which were part of its RDP, began in 1996 in order to engineer growth through increased public expenditure on such items as housing, electricity, water, education and health. Since then, antipoverty policies have been more explicitly incorporated in Gear, which rallies on market-led growth in order to increase the resources for redistribution.
Poverty is a multidimensional problem requiring comprehensive multisectoral programmes linked to national policy-making. South Africa is one of the few countries which cater for poverty reduction through its regular Government budget. The Department of Finance has also set up a special poverty relief fund which will be able to mobilise some external resources. Other Government departments can obtain resources from the fund only if they have already made their budgets pro-poor. This arrangement increases incentives for a greater focus on poverty in all Government programmes.
In per capita terms, South Africa is an upper-middle-income country. But despite this relative wealth, the experience of most South African households is of outright poverty or of continuing vulnerability to being poor. The distribution of income and wealth in South Africa is among the most unequal in the world, and many households still have unsatisfactory access to education, health care, energy and clean water.
The ANC Government is committed to eradicating poverty and closing the gap between the rich and the poor. The ANC Government puts priority on addressing the lack of access to basic social services. A total of 4,5 million people have gained access to potable water and more than 600 000 inexpensive houses are under construction. Today we have a free and compulsory ten-year education for our children and free medical care for pregnant women and children under six years of age. There has also been progress in providing secure land tenure to labour tenants who where previously subjected to arbitrary and unfair evictions.
I want to remind my colleagues that some of us here today created poverty in this country with inhuman policies. Some of us are still benefiting from the fruits of those policies to the detriment of the majority of the citizens.
The ANC believes that the fight against poverty can be won by bearing the following in mind. Economic growth and human development are linked. To achieve a better life for all, the capabilities of disadvantaged communities, households and individuals should be advanced. Government should increase the emphasis on redistribution measures. Government needs to be more assertive in facilitating the transfer of assets and services from the wealthy to the poor, matched by market, institutional and spatial reforms benefiting the less well-off.
In conclusion, as the ANC Government we will strive to make growth more pro-poor. We will continue to target inequality at all levels and we will empower the poor. [Applause.]
The MINISTER FOR WELFARE AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT: Madam Chairperson, first of all I would like to thank the hon members for their participation in this debate, and the spirit of co-operation and helpfulness that has been displayed by all parties concerned.
The issues that the department is dealing with are surely issues that face the constituencies that elected us to this place, and as such we should work together more in order to ensure that we do achieve what we have promised the people who have put us in this place. More importantly, it is our moral, and not only political, duty that we should ensure that the people of South Africa do achieve the better life that we promised them. This should not be done only on paper, but basically by us being involved, individually and collectively, in ensuring that those rights and those grants that are given by Government reach them.
If I say I speak on behalf of Government, I really mean that I speak on behalf of all members, specifically the heads of departments and, more importantly, the MECs from the provinces with whom we have been working very closely in order to ensure that our mandate is carried out as fast as possible. We have been working very closely as a team with the hope of improving whatever there is so that the poorest of the poor can receive the best that they can.
Of course there are problems that need to be resolved as fast as possible, some of which we have inherited from the past. This is the case as the MEC from the Eastern Cape, the hon Ncumisa Khondlo, has indicated here. Some of the problems confronting the Eastern Cape at present are issues that come directly from the past problems with the creation of a new province, problems of the transformation of the Public Service and problems that really need to be looked into, not only by the Government and public servants but also by all political representatives in all spheres of government in South Africa. We hope to work very closely with the provinces in order to ensure that this does take place and that we improve our quality of service and reach the poorest of the poor.
Surely, the other problems that have been raised here pertain to issues that concern our role as members of Parliament. It is quite clear that in so far as poverty relief is concerned we are working closely as a team, as I have said earlier, with the MECs and with the Government in the provinces. However, we need the individual and collective support of members of Parliament. They need to monitor what we are doing, assist us where there are problems and direct us where we are failing, one way or the other. It does not help much for us, or others, to come here and complain when we have the power - I repeat, we have the power - to make a change, to make things move much better.
We are all servants of the people. We are paid by the taxpayer, and the taxpayer, irrespective of whatever political party he or she may support, expects something better because we are members of Parliament wherever we are. So, in other words, I think it should not be left to the MECs or the public servants alone. It should be left to the individual member, working very closely with civil society and the churches to which members are supposed to be going, even if they do not go - some members do not go - and with the teams that exist outside, sportspeople, in order to ensure that our people do get their grants every month.
At least, in each and every constituency it is the duty of members to know who gets his or her grant, whether he or she got it this month or will get it next week ...
... phaya eMpumalanga naphaya eEastern Cape. [... in Mpumalanga and in the Eastern Cape.]
It is not a joke. It is a reality. That is the members' job, to serve the people.
I know many members look down on welfare, thinking it has nothing to do with them, it is for the poor people. But those are the people that put us where we are at the present moment. Those are our bosses. We should be seen to be serving them, individually and collectively.
Many issues have been raised here with regard to the question of district surgeons. It is quite true. Some of the problems that exist in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Province concern these honourable, learned gentlemen who are really not doing their jobs. They are public servants. It is members' duty to tell them that they are public servants. Members should call them to come and give account in the legislature, before the portfolio committees on health and welfare, of what they are doing, so as to ensure that people do get their disability grants and that people are served. The way in which people are suffering at the present moment is completely unacceptable.
With regard to poverty relief, the issue has been raised of whether there is a need for poverty relief. Why should we not simply eradicate poverty? I think we should be human and more practical. Poverty cannot go in one day, nor can it go in 50 years' time. It has to be worked on. It takes time. The main problem, as we all know, is not only the question of being poor, but the question of unemployment. Many people would love to work if there were jobs. Members know - I do not have to tell them -the problems we have here as a result of globalisation. Theoretically one can run away and say globalisation is an enemy. But it is there. It is a challenge and it also provides opportunities for all of us. It is the way in which we engage ourselves as South Africans and as a Government with that globalisation process that we will enable us to resolve some of the problems that face South Africa at the present moment.
So, also on the question of poverty we need to know exactly where these projects are that receive the funds. As I have said, members should go to their computers, get to the welfare website and they will find these projects there. More importantly, I would appeal to members to go and find out whether these projects exist. I am asking: Do they exist? Money might have been sent to them, and even if they do exist, how is that money being used? Does it reach our target? Those are the questions members ought to be asking at the present moment, individually and collectively, also through their churches. We are working with all the churches, all of them, and they have agreed that they will work very closely with us. We are also working with all faith-based organisations and the NGO sector. One has to work with them and tell them that these are the problems that we are facing as members of Parliament.
In so far as improvements at pay points are concerned, it is quite true that there is a need for them. It is unacceptable - I repeat, unacceptable - that our aged have to go through so much suffering whenever they go to receive grants. Some of them receive their grants at pay points set up in the veld without shelter. It has been said that some of them are carried on wheelbarrows just to get their grants. Do they have to go through that?
What do we do as members of Parliament who know that so-and-so is entitled to a grant? Why can we not help, one way or the other, to ensure that that person gets his or her grant? Members should not forget that they are these people's servants. They can be driving around in their Volvos, they can be living in mansions, but in the final analysis the person who put them in Parliament is the person who cannot get to a pay point, because he or she is unable to. That is our job.
Regarding the question of the state maintenance grant, I think it has been talked about for such a long time. I know it is a political issue, particularly in the Western Cape and amongst minorities in general. However, the reality is that money is not there. People should accept that. This issue was used by the New NP to buy the support and votes of the coloured minority at that time. [Interjections.] However, this Constitution maintains that each and every individual should be treated equally, and this state does not have the resources to treat everybody equally. Hence, the child support grant was introduced so that the amount could be distributed equally. Three years have passed since then - I want to repeat this: three years have passed - so everybody should get the same amount and it is ending this year. Everybody will get R100. We know it is not enough, but everybody is getting it. People should accept that. It is a reality, and will not change. Hon members should tell the people not to tell lies and all these other things that I hear being said in the newspapers. This reality is not going to change. Everybody must get something. The Constitution which put us all here demands that. We cannot continue with that amount. We all have to come to the level and then all grow up together. Those are realities.
The question of reregistration is, quite obviously, a painful process. It is a painful process, but it has been agreed to by each and every individual and each and every political party. No political party can stand up here and say that it agrees with the fraud that is going on. This is painful, but in its application reregistration should be more humane. It should consider the people concerned. It should be more humane than it is at the present moment. The people we are dealing with are the poorest of the poor and they need our support.
Regarding the question of Aids, it is quite obvious that we have to work very closely with the NGO sector. We have to work even more closely with local government, because, I think, local government has been running away from this issue, seeing it as a question that concerns the national Government and provincial governments. Local government should be involved in the fight against Aids, the fight to ensure that people living with Aids get more humane treatment than they do at the present moment.
Local government should work with us as national Government, with provincial government, as well as with the NGO sector, to ensure that the policies we are fighting for and the money that is there, that has been given by provincial and national Government, is used with the resources that local government has to ensure that our treatment of people living with Aids becomes more humane than it is at the present moment.
Furthermore, although the issue of assessment of disability grants has been touched on, I think we should go back to it. Again, as members of Parliament, we should tell people that this disability grant, if it is not a permanent one, is only meant for a year. Before the end of that year beneficiaries should ensure that they go back to the district surgeon who would be able to do what is necessary - whether one continues or not in terms of being well or not. That is necessary. This should be explained to beneficiaries, specifically if the grant is provided on a temporary basis.
Of course, in so far as the department is concerned, I think it is quite clear that there are still problems, but there has been a vast improvement this year. There is still room for more improvement, but I think everybody is doing his or her best to ensure that we agree and will serve our people much better than we are doing right now.
We have introduced the issue of capacity-building in different provinces. At national level we have advertised the post of chief financial officer. We have also completed a thorough review of our expenditure patterns, and are putting in place a number of strategies to address underexpenditure. We have presented a comprehensive report on this issue to the Public Accounts Committee. We should not underestimate the enormous challenge of building capacity in the national and provincial departments. I think there is this tendency, from listening to the speeches made here. Hon members should understand that one of the compromises that we made during the negotiations was to keep the public service that we found under apartheid and the Bantustan system. We should not run away from that fact. Hon members should accept it. If they accept that fact then, naturally, they will find ways to remedy it. The majority, specifically from the Bantustans, did not necessarily have that capacity, and we are saddled with that at the present moment. However, we should not underestimate the enormous challenge of building capacity in both national and provincial government.
Last year 6 666 officials were trained across the country in project management development, developmental social welfare and management, and we need more. The national and provincial departments are working on a joint human resource development strategy. We will not only focus on building skills, but also on infusing the ethics of care into our officials. We expect all of our officials to comply with the code of conduct for public servants, and we have not hesitated to take disciplinary action against those who transgress the code.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Order! Minister, I am afraid your speaking time has expired.
The MINISTER: To conclude, I would like to thank all members for what they have done, and, in the final analysis, the job we are doing is our job and not only mine. With due respect, Madam Chair, I have to sit down. [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you. I have very strict instructions from the Whippery with respect to speaking time, hon Minister. Thank you for all of the debate.
MOTION WITHOUT NOTICE
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Before adjourning the House I would like to deal with the question of the motion without notice that was proposed by Mr Van Niekerk at our sitting this morning. During the sitting Mr Van Niekerk proposed the move of a motion without notice. I deferred the decision on the question in order to determine whether this House had previously passed a similar motion. As members are aware, Rule 75(2)(a) provides that:
A draft resolution proposed for approval by the Council may not in substance be the same as a draft resolution which has been approved or rejected by the Council during the preceding six months.
I have studied the motion proposed by Mr Van Niekerk, as well as previous motions passed by this House on the subject of language in South Africa. I am satisfied that during the past six months this House has not passed a similar motion to the one read out this morning. I will therefore proceed to put the question with respect to the motion read out by Mr Van Niekerk. Are there any objections to the motion being agreed to?
Mr M A SULLIMAN: Chairperson, I want to raise a similar objection to that motion.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! There is an objection. The motion will therefore become a notice of motion.
The Council adjourned at 17:40.
FRIDAY, 26 MAY 2000
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:
1....... The Speaker and the Chairperson:
(1) Assent by the President of the Republic in respect of the following Bill:
Competition Amendment Bill [B 10D - 2000] - Act No 15 of 2000 (assented to and signed by President on 24 May 2000).
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:
1...... The Minister of Public Works:
(1) Report of the Department of Public Works for 1999-2000 [RP 100-2000].
(2) Memorandum by the Minister of Public Works setting out particulars of the Building Programme for 2000-2001 in respect of Programme 2: Provision of Land and Accommodation of Vote 26 of the State Account [RP 93-2000].
TUESDAY, 30 MAY 2000
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:
1...... The Speaker and the Chairperson:
(1) The Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) on 30 May 2000 in terms of Joint Rule 160(3), classified the following Bill as a section 75 Bill:
(i) General Intelligence Law Amendment Bill [B 36 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75). The Bill has not yet been referred to a committee.
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:
1...... The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development:
Reports of the South African Law Commission on the -
(a) Constitutional Jurisdiction of Magistrates' Courts, Project 111 [RP 80-2000];
(b) Conflicts of Law, Project 90 [RP 81-2000];
(c) Sharing of Pension Benefits, Project 112 [RP 82-2000];
(d) Review of the Law of Insolvency, Project 63 (Volume 1) [RP 89-2000];
(e) Review of the Law of Insolvency, Project 63 (Volume 2) [RP 88-2000].
WEDNESDAY, 31 MAY 2000
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:
1....... The Speaker and the Chairperson:
Recommendations of the Financial and Fiscal Commission on 2001-2004 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework Cycle, submitted in terms of section 9(1) of the Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Act, 1997 (Act No 97 of 1997).
THURSDAY, 1 JUNE 2000
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:
1....... The Speaker and the Chairperson:
Report of the Auditor-General on Performance Audits completed at the South African Revenue Service during 1999 [RP 96-2000].
MONDAY, 5 JUNE 2000
National Council of Provinces:
1....... The Chairperson:
The Minister in The Presidency on 30 May 2000 submitted a letter, requesting Parliament to advise the President on the appointment of Commissioners to serve on the National Youth Commission as envisaged in section 4 of the National Youth Commission Act, 1996 (Act No 19 of 1996).
TUESDAY, 6 JUNE 2000
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:
1...... The Minister of Trade and Industry:
(1) Report and Financial Statements of the Investment South Africa for 1998-99.
(2) Report and Financial Statements of the National Gambling Board for 1998-99, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 1998-99.
2...... The Minister of Health:
(1) Government Notice No 341 published in the Government Gazette No 21042 dated 7 April 2000, Correction notice regarding Government Notice No 149 of 11 February 2000 made in terms of Pharmacy Amendment Act, 2000 (Act No 1 of 2000).
(2) Government Notice No R.397 published in the Government Gazette No 21100 dated 14 April 2000, Amendment of regulations, changing deadline for comment as published in the Government Notice R.137 of 18 February 2000, regarding the performance of community service by persons registering in terms of the Medical, Dental and Supplementary Health Service Professions Act, 1974 (Act No 56 of 1974).
(3) Government Notice No R.427 published in the Government Gazette No 21136 dated 5 May 2000, Amendment of regulations governing Microbiological Standards for mineral water made in terms of Foodstuff, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, 1972 (Act No 54 of 1972).
(4) Government Notice No R.428 published in the Government Gazette No 21136 dated 5 May 2000, Amendment of regulations governing Microbiological Standards for edible ices and egg products made in terms of Foodstuff, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, 1972 (Act No 54 of 1972).
(5) Government Notice No R.450 published in the Government Gazette No 21144 dated 5 May 2000, Regulations regarding the performance of community service by pharmacists made in terms of the Pharmacy Act, 1974 (Act No 53 of 1974).
(6) Government Notice No R.498 published in the Government Gazette No 21178 dated 19 May 2000, Amendment of regulations regarding the performance of community service by persons registering in terms of the Medical, Dental and Supplementary Health Service Professions Act, 1974 (Act No 56 of 1974).
(7) Government Notice No R.497 published in the Government Gazette No 21175 dated 19 May 2000, Date of commencement of community service by dentists made in terms of the Medical, Dental and Supplementary Health Service Professions Act, 1974 (Act No 56 of 1974).
(8) Government Notice No R.499 published in the Government Gazette No 21178 dated 19 May 2000, List of approved health facilities for the purpose of performing community service by dentists in the year 2000-2001 made in terms of the Medical, Dental and Supplementary Health Service Professions Act, 1974 (Act No 56 of 1974).
(9) Government Notice No R.547 published in the Government Gazette No 21237 dated 29 May 2000, Amendment to the list of approved health facilities for the purpose of performing community service by dentists in the year 2000-2001 made in terms of the Medical, Dental and Supplementary Health Service Professions Act, 1974 (Act No 56 of 1974).
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:
1....... Report of the Joint Monitoring Committee on Improvement of Quality of Life and Status of Children, Youth and Disabled Persons on the National Youth Commission Amendment Bill [B 25 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75), dated 5 June 2000:
The Joint Monitoring Committee on Improvement of Quality of Life and Status of Children, Youth and Disabled Persons, having considered the subject of the National Youth Commission Amendment Bill [B 25 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75), referred to it and classified by the JTM as a section 75 Bill, reports the Bill without amendment.
The Committee further reports that the New NP opposed the Bill. The DP indicated that it was not in favour of the process followed: The Bill was not discussed by the Committee and therefore not properly considered by it. The DP felt that the Bill should be referred back to the Committee for proper discussion and consideration.
National Council of Provinces:
1....... Report of the Select Committee on Local Government and Administration on the National House of Traditional Leaders Amendment Bill [B 15B - 2000 (Reprint)] (National Assembly - sec 76), dated 5 June 2000:
The Select Committee on Local Government and Administration, having considered the subject of the National House of Traditional Leaders Amendment Bill [B 15B - 2000 (Reprint)] (National Assembly - sec 76), referred to it, reports the Bill without amendment.
2....... Report of the Select Committee on Local Government and Administration on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Second Amendment Bill [B 23 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 76), dated 5 June 2000:
The Select Committee on Local Government and Administration, having considered the subject of the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Second Amendment Bill [B 23 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 76), referred to it, reports the Bill without amendment.
3....... Report of the Select Committee on Education and Recreation on the South African Council for Educators Bill [B 26 - 2000] (National Council of Provinces - sec 76), dated 5 June 2000:
The Select Committee on Education and Recreation, having considered the subject of the South African Council for Educators Bill [B 26 - 2000] (National Council of Provinces - sec 76), referred to it, reports the Bill with amendments [B 26A - 2000].
4....... Report of the Select Committee on Public Services on the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill [B 31 - 2000] (National Council of Provinces - sec 76), dated 5 June 2000:
The Select Committee on Public Services, having considered the subject of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill [B 31 - 2000] (National Council of Provinces - sec 76), referred to it, reports the Bill with amendments [B 31A - 2000].
5....... Report of the Select Committee on Public Services on the Road Traffic Management Corporation Amendment Bill [B 32 - 2000] (National Council of Provinces - sec 76), dated 5 June 2000:
The Select Committee on Public Services, having considered the subject of the Road Traffic Management Corporation Amendment Bill [B 32 - 2000] (National Council of Provinces - sec 76), referred to it, reports the Bill with amendments [B 32A - 2000].