Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised hansard
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 08 Jun 2000
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 8 JUNE 2000
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 14:04.
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.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I see there is a great deal of activity and excitement among members. It must be the presence of all these important portfolios. I welcome the hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers to the NCOP.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF SELECT COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC AFFAIRS - UNIDO CONSTITUTION
Order disposed of without debate.
Report adopted in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
NATIONAL YOUTH COMMISSION AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: Chairperson, I should say that I did notice that when you were welcoming us, you looked at me and not at the hon the Deputy Minister sitting next to me.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I particularly welcomed my father. [Laughter.]
The MINISTER: Oh all right, that is fine. [Laughter.]
Chairperson, I am particularly pleased to be here this afternoon because this is my first appearance in the NCOP, and I hope it will not be my last. The quicker the Chairperson invites me the better, because nobody knows whether one will be around or not.
What we are going to be discussing this afternoon is an amendment to the National Youth Commission Act. I commend this Bill to the House, in the interests of the smooth functioning of arrangements and attainment of sustainable youth development in South Africa. It is a critical area of responsibility for the democratic Government of this country. Workable arrangements we have sought and achieved through consensus rather than conflict will be an investment in the future wellbeing of the nation.
The essence of the intention of this measure is contained in clause 7A, in which it is said that there shall be a sound working relationship between the commission and the various provinces and their structures dealing with youth development. This is what is sought, and the legislative step recommended today follows a process of serious consultation to this end.
There is a need to have uniformity of approach to the development of our young men and women in South Africa. But care must be taken not to be too prescriptive, because provincial initiative and creativity should not be smothered but allowed to flourish. Our minds must be tidy, yes, but not overly so.
It is a fact that some provinces have set up youth commissions, others have not. Some have set up structures such as subdirectorates and/or have appointed an MEC for Youth Affairs. Provinces might well have their own particular ways of handling matters, as long as these fit in with the broad national framework and intentions to enhance youth development.
The practical step proposed in this measure is to do away with the system of part-time youth commissioners, both those nominated by premiers for presidential appointment and those who were appointed on the basis of the nomination process in Parliament. It has been found that this arrangement was not particularly successful. For instance, there has been a measure of distance between the provincial and national efforts, and in some cases provincial representatives on the National Youth Commission have not enjoyed the support of provincial structures, and, indeed, in some cases were not even attached to statutory youth development structures in their provinces.
There is little value in having commissioners who are excluded from essential activity at one or other level. As a study of the amendments shows, what will be brought about is a streamlining in the number of national youth commissioners, which will lead to financial savings which can be redirected to programme work instead. This means that money which is saved will be available for concrete programmes, rather than being spent on the proliferation of national and provincial full-time and part-time commissioners. It is worth commending this approach, which seeks economy and reprioritisation. It is a matter of putting first things first.
It is also specifically laid down in the Bill that the relationship between national and provincial structures should be sound. To achieve this, for instance, minutes of the National Youth Commission must be submitted to provincial commissions and to MECs for youth affairs. I would appeal to those engaged in the new streamlined operation to seek a real spirit of accommodation and not just a formal stance of co-operation and information exchange.
I might mention that I would be most happy should Parliament continue to play an active part in this whole matter of seeking the best possible structures for youth development in the interest of smooth relationships. To this end, I would be happy to receive ideas and proposals from all parties in Parliament, and I firmly commit myself to giving serious consideration to these. If this means that we shall have to amend national legislation again, then let us do so. This is not a closed matter and I would like to appeal to those parties that may have indicated that they are unhappy with the amendment, to rethink their position in the light of my remarks, and to vote for the amendment proposed today. This is not a party-political issue, but a cross-cutting one which should continue to engage all of us in issues of fundamental importance to our nation's future. We want to have Parliament and the provinces behind us in this matter, for a national consensus on matters relating to the youth is the way of dealing with it. Let us be among the nations who really love the young, because, as someone once wrote:
Those who love the young best, stay young the longest.
Mr B WILLEM: Chairperson, I suppose I will be the only person who will be addressing this Chamber from a wheelchair. Let me briefly comment on the context within which this Bill is developing. This year June 16 is going to be celebrated within the millennium context, characterised by the national and provincial commitment to the rebuilding of our nation. The National Youth Commission Amendment Bill should be seen as a progressive Bill, promoting proper co-ordination, constructive policy and strategy engagement between the National Youth Commission and the provinces.
This Bill tries to ensure that the vision we as Government had for the responsibilities of the National Youth Commission is implemented where it matters most. What the department has found is that the current structures within the National Youth Commission are cumbersome and unmanageable, which detracts from the noble objectives which the National Youth Commission has envisaged for itself.
The vision of the National Youth Commission is clear. They are focused on the positive development of all youth in South Africa, regardless of race, colour, creed or religion. To succeed in this task of elevating the status of youth in our society from a situation where they had been ignored by the previous apartheid government, the National Youth Commission needed to have a comprehensive restructuring of the way in which they conducted their business. This is also in keeping with President Thabo Mbeki's directive of more efficient and effective service delivery.
It became increasingly difficult for the National Youth Commission to implement its mission statement, namely to promote the development of young women and men through the design and implementation of a holistic and integrated national youth policy and national youth development plan by ensuring interministerial, intersectoral and intergovernmental collaboration for the advancement of young people through the involvement of all stakeholders. This Bill seeks to address the practical problems brought about by the excessive number of full-time and part-time commissioners. The Bill suggests only five full-time members of the commission.
The Bill also seeks to ensure closer collaboration and co-operation between provinces, so that the provincial youth commissions can work together with their national counterpart in a more co-ordinated fashion.
What this Bill also seeks to highlight is the need to have norms and standards that are applicable to all youth commissions, regardless of where they find themselves. This means essentially that all provinces should have commissions and they should all account in the same way.
These provincial youth commissions will also enjoy the same status as the National Youth Commission, but in the office of the premier. The mechanisms for communication are also stipulated in the Bill, in terms of which the National Youth Commission is compelled to submit minutes on a regular basis to its provincial counterparts. Any programme run by the National Youth Commission will hereafter have a better chance of reaching its intended audience in all nine provinces, with the spirit of co-operation with the provincial youth commissions that is envisaged by this Bill.
This committee will especially monitor the youth development efforts in all provinces, to ensure that there are equitable development patterns in all of the nine provinces without exception. However, it is not only this committee that has an obligation towards our youth. President Mandela made it clear that everyone, including Government, political parties, business and civil society, has a crucial role to play, both in ensuring that the directives of the youth policy are carried out, and that the youth commissions are empowered to complete their tasks effectively.
We salute the efforts of the National Youth Commission and we applaud the Office of the President for stepping in to alleviate the problems within the National Youth Commission.
In conclusion, I want to echo the sentiment of our former President when he received the National Youth Policy Document in 1997. He said, and I quote:
We must recognise the contribution young people make to our society. We must build upon the imagination, energy, vibrancy and talents of this, our most precious national asset.
Mr T S SETONA: Chairperson, hon Minister in The Presidency, fellow colleagues from the provinces and the National Council of Provinces, I am highly honoured to be participating in this debate on the National Youth Commission Amendment Bill this afternoon, more so when this debate is taking place eight days before our national Youth Day, the 24th anniversary of that fateful day of 16 June 1976, when the courageous young people took to the streets in defiance against the introduction of Afrikaans as the sole medium of instruction in the schools.
As we debate this amending Bill this afternoon, we should do so in fitting honour of those young men and women who lost their lives at the hands of the apartheid security forces on that fateful day 24 years ago.
We must do so to tell Hector Petersen, Steve Biko and many others that their lives were not lost in vain, because we are today shaping the future of this country in the very same chambers that carried out instructions for their killing.
In 1985, 15 years ago, the then late President of the ANC, Comrade O R Tambo, in his response to the continued militarisation of white youth through military conscription, and to the continued harassment and persecution of black youth by apartheid security forces, had this to say: ``A nation that does not value its youth does not deserve its future.''
We are here today, after 15 years, in a situation in which millions of young people are still unemployed, illiterate, without adequate skills to meet the challenges of the modern labour market, and continue to be subject to and victims of dread diseases like HIV-Aids.
The ANC-led Government facilitated a consultative process, inclusive of all youth organisations to discuss mechanisms to integrate youth at the centre of Government processes of policy formulation and resource allocation.
The 1994 youth consultative summit agreed on the formation of the National Youth Commission as a body that would advise Government on matters that affect young people. The 16th of June 1996 saw the appointment and inauguration of the National Youth Commission by the then President of the Republic of South Africa, Comrade Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Allow me to highlight some of the key achievements of the National Youth Commission in the past four years. There is no doubt that this country never knew anything about a comprehensive national youth policy. It is the National Youth Commission which facilitated a process for the development of a comprehensive national policy, which is in place today. Amongst other things, this national youth policy is charging the National Youth Commission with the task of devising plans for the national youth service programme. Indeed, there have been consultative processes with all stakeholders within civil society and youth organisations across the country for the development of this national youth service programme.
As we debate this Bill today, business plans are being processed by the National Youth Commission on pilot projects on HIV/Aids, literacy and the rehabilitation of Government's buildings for access by disabled people as part of this national youth service programme. The National Youth Commission has put in place a national youth information service, which is a service offered free of charge to young people regarding career choices, HIV/Aids, life-skills and other related issues that are affecting young people on a daily basis. There is no doubt that this service has assisted many young people on a daily basis, particularly those in rural areas.
The Youth Commission, in conjunction with the Department of Correctional Services, has engaged in a project of capacity-building and rehabilitation of young offenders. This project is about providing capacity-building for young offenders in prisons, and about providing counselling for those who are in prisons at tender ages, so that when they come out of prison, they come out not as hardened criminals, but as people who can contribute to our society in a meaningful way.
The amendment of the National Youth Commission Act of 1996, as the Minister has alluded to, is nothing but the streamlining of youth development and the building of capacity of the National Youth Commission to play its role in surging forward the project of youth development.
It indeed befits today's debate that when we talk about the National Youth Commission Amendment Bill, we should do so mindful that our country has, for a long time, been polarised and divided. I have alluded to the message of the late president of the ANC when he referred to white and black youth. It is therefore the responsibility of all of us in this Chamber, irrespective of political affiliation, to play a role that will ensure that the young people of this country, people who are the architects of the future of this country, are afforded an opportunity to play a meaningful role in the construction of a new South Africa.
These people must be afforded an opportunity to develop themselves so that when they are adults, they are able to play a meaningful role in our society, a society that will not know any racism, and a society that will not know discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sex. That is the call and the challenge that I am making to all of us, irrespective of political affiliation, as we deal with this amending Bill today.
It is no secret that after the 1996 inauguration of the National Youth Commission, more than six provinces of this country followed the steps of the national Government by facilitating processes of establishing provincial youth commissions. Today only one province does not have a youth commission. I do not want to debate the pros and cons of why we do not have a youth commission in that province, because, indeed, we must salute the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, the hon Mr Mtshali, for having facilitated a process of establishing this structure, which is nonpartisan and which encompasses all youth organisations and groupings in KwaZulu-Natal. We are challenging everyone else to follow that particular route, because there is no way in which we can politicise this issue.
When we were listening to the debate of people who have dissenting views on this amending Bill, the arguments were about nothing - they were purely political. They were about who was going to be appointed to the Youth Commission and about the dominance of certain groupings in the Youth Commission. I do not think it is our business, in today's debate, to discuss those issues, because when we rewrite the history of this country, we will know that we had these structures in the former Bantustans and in the former government of South Africa. These structures were not meant to serve the interests of young people, but to indoctrinate them and to make them the troopers that would spread the message of division and discrimination amongst young people and to make them the loyal servants of the apartheid system. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mev J WITBOOI: Mevrou die Voorsitter, agb Minister en agb lede, die Nuwe NP glo dat die Nasionale Jeugkommissie van groot belang is, veral vir die jongmense in Suid-Afrika. Waarmee die Nuwe NP egter 'n probleem het, is dat daar na ons mening nie genoeg met die publiek daar buite beraadslaag is nie. Die Nuwe NP het sulke openbare verhore voorgestel, maar dit is van die tafel gevee. Ons het na die Minister geluister, en die Nuwe NP begryp die belangrikheid van die wysigings aan die hoofwet. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[Mrs J WITBOOI: Madam Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members, the New NP believes that the National Youth Commission is very important, in particular for the youth in South Africa. what the New NP has a problem with, however, is that in our view there has not been adequate deliberation with the public out there. the New NP proposed such public hearings, but this was rejected. We listened to the Minister, and the New NP understands the importance of the amendments to the principal Act.]
Mr N M RAJU: Hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon MECs, special delegates from the provinces and hon colleagues, the DP is satisfied that the National Youth Commission has failed to fulfil its mandate, and therefore the proposed Bill cannot be supported.
The party is not concerned so much with the contents of the Bill, but with the ad hoc manner in which the Bill was presented, which left much to be desired. Indeed, the haphazard presentation of the Bill, through the various committee stages, is a sad indictment of the regard the committee has for its own commission. The commission itself has not been able to address the most pressing problem affecting the youth in South Africa, and that is HIV-Aids.
The sum total of its concerns has been to hold high-priced conferences and to put up illegible posters on dustbins, of all places, and perhaps the issuing of condoms, as if the use of prophylactics is all that stands between good health and the spread of Aids.
As regards the other scourge that confronts our youth, unemployment, what has the commission done to address it? Owing to a lack of relevant skills and experience, the commission itself has constantly outsourced most of its tasks.
What the DP proposes is the repeal of the National Youth Commission Act. Too many commissions, like too many boards in the previous regime, tend to bog down or paralyse the way Government functions. We need a new and a bold plan of action. A cursory reading of the website of the Youth Commission confirms our suspicion that there is a complete lack of a viable programme of action. Mere statements on problems and articulation of desired outcomes is simply skirting the issue.
The Youth Commission has failed miserably to draw up a clear-cut programme of action. In the process, taxpayer's moneys running into millions have been spent in order to inform the young, not about what is to be done, but about what is already known to them. Furthermore, if we are to be truthful, the National Youth Commission is largely an unknown quantity among the majority of youth. It has, in fact, been a classic marketing failure. Any information on the National Youth Commission is only available to those who have access to the Internet. [Interjections.] Such a blasé attitude to the youth of our country and the most vulnerable and restless section of our citizenry, cannot be condoned or tolerated.
The youth of our country must not be seen as a problem to be dealt with, but rather as an invaluable asset which requires our prime time and our prime investment. My party - the DP - has already put out a programme of action, for instance, that will effectively deal with the massive unemployment among the youth ... [Time expired.]
Mr M J BHENGU: Madam Chair, hon House, I must say that what the DP says is, indeed, very unfortunate and so myopic. I am saying this because I was a party to the development of the National Youth Commission in the National Assembly in the last term. When we voted on this, the DP was there and they voted on it, but today they are somersaulting. [Laughter.] This is really very unfortunate. [Interjections.]
The establishment of the Youth Commission signalled a very important consideration that the Government and this Parliament had about the role of the youth in our society. It actually indicated the seriousness with which we regarded this important segment of our society. The Youth Commission has been running for a couple of years now, and its work is there for all of us, including the DP, to see. [Interjections.] It has been engaged in a very important effort which seeks to address very complicated and urgent problems and challenges that confront the youth of our country.
The Bill that we are considering today actually seeks to establish that kind of co-ordination and further streamline the Youth Commission into a leaner, but more effective and representative structure. It is important, therefore, that we give our consent to the passage of this Bill as this will help usher in a new era in the life of the Youth Commission. We hope that this will go a long way in enhancing the effectiveness of our Youth Commission. The hon member next to me is saying, ``What has the Youth Commission done?'' I think the speakers before me have explained quite clearly what the Youth Commission has done. [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I am sure you will agree, hon Bhengu, that it is very difficult to somersault in the narrow NCOP benches. [Laughter.]
Mr G A LUCAS: Madam Chair, hon Minister and Deputy Ministers present here, permanent delegates and special delegates from provinces, it is really unfortunate to speak after the DP, because the manner in which they address issues disrupts one's mind. Their narrow understanding of the Youth Commission shows a clear lack of understanding of what the mandate of the Youth Commission is. I think it will be important for the DP, and Mr Raju in particular, as part of the Council, to read the mandate of the Youth Commission.
Secondly, they need to understand that the issue of unemployment does not only affect certain people in our country. It affects all of us. We are clearly aware of what the causes of unemployment are in South Africa, namely the structured economy that we dealt with and the fact that our economy was destroyed in the past. I think that they must be aware of those particular issues.
The input Mr Raju has made also shows the lack of interest by the DP to address the fundamental concerns that affect young people and society at large, especially issues of unemployment, HIV-Aids and a whole range of other issues. The DP must get its act in order, because if it is a party with a vision, it will know that it has to invest in young people in order for its party to continue to exist. Otherwise, without the youth, it has no future as a party, and that is the message that we need to get through to it.
The National Youth Commission was established because of a particular historical importance. That historical importance is informed by the previous apartheid system of government which strategically worked in such a manner as to deliberately disadvantage, isolate and destroy the future of the majority of black young people in our society. In addition, the establishment of the Youth Commission is a recognition by our Government of the heroic contribution that young people have made in the attainment of our freedom and democracy.
We therefore need to be conscious of the fact that today, as we debate the amending Bill, it is only a few days before we commemorate the 24th June 16 anniversary. We will once more be reminded of the brutality of the apartheid system and its masters to which the taking of the lives of our innocent people was nothing else but an act of pride and glory. However, it will also remind us of the sacrifices that our young people have made in the struggle against oppression and exploitation.
When we look at the National Youth Commission Amendment Bill we should therefore look at it from the perspective of that important role that young people have played, and should continue to play, in the reconstruction and development of our society. We need to acknowledge that if we seek to build a better future for ourselves and generations to come, we should and must invest the necessary resources and energies towards the development of young people. We should therefore view the amendments that we are making within this particular context.
Clearly, in terms of the amendments, the question of co-ordination is an important aspect of our new system of governance and it is at the heart of our President's vision and that of his executive. Therefore the amendment emphasises the issue of national and provincial interaction in order to ensure that those who deal with issues of youth development deal with them in such a manner that they encourage the question of co-operative governance. Indeed, the NCOP would be doing the future of our country and our provinces an injustice if we were to be unable to pass this amendment.
This amendment also reinforces our policy position as Government. We must also note that despite the tremendous achievements that we are making, we still need to engage further on the issue of uniformity in approach towards youth development by all spheres of government. I am referring here in particular to the different approaches that the provinces have in furthering the goals of youth development. We honestly cannot afford a situation where we seem confused in addressing the concerns of young people in a holistic manner.
We need to continue with the debate of finding appropriate mechanisms of ensuring a united drive by all spheres of government in pursuing the agenda of our young people. It is therefore imperative that our future interaction should seek to find the necessary policy framework in order to regulate youth development in our country as a whole.
The reduction of the number of youth commissioners to five will save scarce resources and greatly contribute towards a better, efficient and proper co-ordination of the commission's work and programmes. Public participation in the nomination and interviewing process by the two Houses of Parliament will greatly improve the role of South Africans in determining who our commissioners should be. That is essential in strengthening our democratic rights and the principle of participatory democracy, transparency and openness, which the DP continues to advocate whilst doing the contrary. Moreover, this will make sure that youth development takes the national centre stage in our broader developmental agenda and therefore is able to unleash the greatest potential amongst the young people of our society.
We as the ANC support this amendment wholeheartedly, with the intention of furthering the interests of young people in our country as a whole.
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: Chairperson, I would like to start by thanking Mrs Witbooi. What she has demonstrated is that brevity can constitute the essence of content. [Interjections.] [Laughter.] I really want to thank her because however brief her intervention was, I found it quite important.
I would like to address my comments to Mr Raju from the DP. [Interjections.] Yesterday in the National Assembly the representative of the DP said the same things. The only difference is in the words used. Mr Raju says it is difficult to tolerate a blasé attitude. I hope he understand that it is difficult to tolerate a blasé attitude with regard to his simple amendment also.
The DP won about 10% of the vote in the last election. Therefore by no stretch of the imagination could they be speaking on behalf of the majority of the youth of this country. If one put the ANC and IFP together, that would constitute, in the National Assembly, and certainly more here in the NCOP, at least 77% of the votes cast in the last election.
I take it Mr Raju is talking on behalf of the privileged youth of South Africa which constitutes 10%. [Interjections.] It would therefore not be surprising if the National Youth Commission were an unknown entity to this privileged youth.
Perhaps it would be more useful if the DP, instead of engaging in simple rhetoric, tried to be more constructive and informed their privileged youth, which constitute 10%, about the National Youth Commission, because they could then come with very constructive ideas about how we could improve the work of the National Youth Commission. Quite clearly, there is room for improvement and there are many challenges that the National Youth Commission faces. I would be very happy, as I have said, to receive new and critical ideas and creative approaches in order to improve the work that we have to do with regard to youth development.
I think it is also necessary for me to correct some incorrect facts here. It is not true that the National Youth Commission has ignored the question of HIV-Aids in South Africa. In fact, since its inception, one of the critical areas of its work has been precisely on this question. If the National Youth Commission as well as other institutions and structures in South Africa need to do a great deal more on this question, surely that would be the right thing to do, and all of us have to make our own contribution.
I would like to appeal to Mr Raju to read the press release that has recently been issued by the National Youth Commission when it launched its Youth Month 2000 which reads as follows:
This year, the youth sector - which means almost all of the youth structures, minus, I suppose the DP youth - unanimously agreed that the fight against the spread of HIV-Aids must occupy the top of the agenda in the quest for a better South Africa, hence the agreed upon theme says: `Youth fighting HIV-Aids into the African Century'.
That tells us that the National Youth Commission is fully aware of its responsibilities to deal with the question of HIV-Aids.
What I would like to reiterate here is what I said when I introduced this amendment. We have introduced this amendment with a view to trying to streamline the functions and work of the National Youth Commission. But it would seem to me that we should not stop here. We should see this as, perhaps, another beginning in terms of looking at how we can improve the relationship and the co-ordination that should take place between the National Youth Commission and whatever provincial structures are in place. I actually thought that the ANC speaker was going to mention Gauteng, but it does not have a representative on the National Youth Commission.
As we work towards this goal, we must also seek to continually improve the co-ordination that is required between the national and provincial structures, including local government structures. In the end, it is only if all of us work together that we will improve that co-ordination. If all of us could, at least on some of these issues, forget our party-political positions and acknowledge that we are facing a national problem, we could arrive at a national consensus of dealing with this national problem of youth development in a way which, to some extent, cuts across party-political positions and certainly across continually making party-political propaganda.
My hope is that this debate will, at least, cause the DP to sit and think about what they said this afternoon, to go back and look at the amendment again, and after this, to come up with a more constructive approach so that all of us can do some work. It does not help to shout and repeat statements and to fall into ritualistic, rhetoric propaganda. It does not help the youth, and it certainly will not even help the 10% privileged youth which the DP claims to represent. [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! That concludes the debate on this Order. The question on this Order shall be put after we have concluded the debate on the cluster of security and justice Ministries.
(Review of Policy)
Vote No 18 - Justice and Constitutional Development, Vote No 6 - Correctional Services, Vote No 17 - Independent Complaints Directorate, and Vote No 28 - SA Police Service
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon Minister Tshwete, I have not called you yet. [Laughter.]
The MINISTER OF SAFETY AND SECURITY: Chairperson, hon members, the strategic and operational plan of the SA Police Service for the next three years has been developed to focus on crime tendencies, flash point areas, threats and challenges identified in the intelligence estimate.
These include securing the local government elections and major events in our country; addressing extremist right-wing activities, urban terrorism and vigilantism; eradicating corruption; and making major inroads into organised crime relating to vehicle theft and hijacking, drug trafficking, bank robbery and the robbery of cash in transit, illegal plundering of our marine resources, money laundering, high-tech transnational crimes and cyber crime, commercial crime, illegal firearms and precious metals or stones.
Special attention is also being paid to violent crimes, including gang violence and social fabric crimes, with a specific focus on violence against women and children. The successful implementation of this strategic and operational plan hinges in the main on a tighter consolidation of the criminal justice system. That means the optimisation of intelligence-driven investigation and prosecution of crime, running hand in hand with an elaborate system of rehabilitation of offenders.
As part of this plan, a major service delivery improvement programme is being implemented to ensure that successes achieved in the short term are sustained in the medium to long term. This programme entails the development of our human resources, as well as channelling additional resources, both human and physical, to priority areas and units.
I am also convinced that improvement of the conditions of service of members of the SA Police Service will have a positive impact on the morale of members, and will ensure that we are able to retain highly skilled personnel. Discussions are currently being pursued with the relevant role-players to put in place strategies that must address and redress the overall situation in which members of SA Police Service have been operating. This is a serious matter that must be attended to with all the urgency it deserves.
Apart from a number of lateral entrants appointed to senior level, this financial year will also see the training of 1 200 new recruits. In addition, 600 civilians will be recruited to replace police officers performing administrative duties, so that these fully trained officials can be deployed to fight crime. Over and above these appointments, 600 individuals will be recruited to perform static guard duties, again releasing trained members to fight crime in the provinces. Three hundred new personnel will also be appointed to ensure the implementation of the strategy to deal with the proliferation of illegal firearms.
The majority of these members will be deployed to priority areas and within priority units to enhance the implementation of our operational strategy. We have decided that the detective service and crime intelligence will benefit most from these endeavours, since they play a major role in both our geographical and organised crime strategies.
In order to ensure operational efficiency and maximum community support, it is imperative that the SAPS must be representative of our country's demographics. The department's targets for achieving a more representative management cadre will be reached as soon as the senior posts recently advertised have been filled. In other words, 50% of all senior managers, that is director and above, will be from historically disadvantaged groups. At the level of provincial and divisional commissioner these targets have already been reached.
In the management echelons of the SAPS we now have 9% women at the level of director and above, as opposed to just 4% at the end of last year. We will continue to address gender representivity at all levels during subsequent rounds of appointments. Also for the first time in the history of policing in South Africa we have two women who have been appointed to the rank of divisional commissioner.
Since our members are also our greatest asset, we need to equip them properly, so that they can execute their responsibilities even more efficiently. We have accordingly provided for a substantial increase on the previous year's allocation for equipment. This will include the acquisition of force multipliers such as additional helicopters, scanner equipment at ports of entry and much-needed vehicles. We are providing for an increase of approximately 17%, in comparison to what we budgeted for in the previous year for the purchasing of vehicles.
All these initiatives are being reinforced by the assistance we are getting from the United States, which is training our Scorpions and middle-management police officers, the United Kingdom, where some Scorpion units are being trained, and the European Union, which is helping with funding for some of our human resource development projects.
Precisely because of the nature of the enemy we are fighting and defeating, we have taken and implemented a decision, as a security cluster, to work together with the social and economic clusters, including the National Youth Commission, to ensure that learners stay in school, and that the resilience of youth at risk is improved against both victimisation and being offenders.
Again, in a shared leadership role with the Minister of Health, we as a cluster are consolidating a national multidepartmental strategy to deal with the hideous crime of rape. Our focus is on prevention, victim empowerment, investigation, prosecution, court management, offender rehabilitation and partnerships with civil society. The strategy will also impact positively on other crimes against women and children.
All these successes notwithstanding, the problem of continued assassinations and political intolerance in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, and in particular the KwaNongoma-Ulundi area, where cowboyism and lawlessness seem to be a culture of their own, needs to be addressed frontally. The police can no longer on their own be a cutting edge against that rampant hooliganism where members and supporters of political parties hoard and brandish firearms of all sorts to slaughter one another, and where members of the SA Police Service are chased away from scenes of crime. The problem cannot be simply a matter of policing. The political parties in that province, that is the IFP and the ANC in the main, will have to close ranks and together fight in the front trenches to mobilise their members and supporters against politically motivated violence and crime.
Whilst it is true that at national level relations between these two parties are good, the same cannot be said at the lower echelons. This situation must be tackled immediately, and once that is done the senseless slaughter will come to an end. Otherwise the verdict of impartial history will be extremely harsh against these two parties.
Similarly, in the Western Cape the taxibus violence will not be resolved by members of the SA Police Service. The impassioned appeal by the provincial legislature for the police and SANDF to intervene smacks of the kind of response that one experienced in the heyday of apartheid racism. The taxibus violence, which has left many people dead and children orphaned, is a symptom of a fundamental weakness in the provincial coalition. And that weakness is the reluctance of the New NP and its DP ally to cross the threshold into the new democratic era. They remain trapped in the twilight of a past in which those African and coloured townships were just peripheries of deprivation and denial.
The police have specific, clear instructions on dealing with any criminal activity in affected areas. The maintenance of law and order and the provision of safety and security to communities are the responsibilities of the police. It does not help to prattle that commuters have a democratic right to choose their mode of transport when the political parties in power refuse to level the relevant field where that democratic choice is to be exercised. Members should please help the police help the commuters. One should not plead for their deployment to solve problems that this province's government is shy to attend to.
The Independent Complaints Directorate has come of age. At the completion of its third year of operation the ICD managed to register a physical presence in all of the country's provinces. This is a source of great pride, taking into consideration the hurdles which it had to overcome to be where it is today.
The presence of the ICD in the provinces is part of a strategy to promote accessibility by members of the public to the services which it provides. Hon delegates are therefore urged to bring this information to the attention of their constituencies so that members of the public may also assist the ICD in its efforts to promote proper police conduct.
It is also the desire of the ICD to forge links beyond the borders of South Africa into the SADC region. The ICD would be ready to co-operate with these countries with regard to the concept of civilian oversight of law enforcement.
It will be recalled that the executive director of the ICD resigned at the end of April this year, thus necessitating the appointment of an acting executive director. I wish to inform the House that in the interests of transparency, the position of executive director of the ICD will be advertised shortly. The House will be informed as soon as the appointment of the new executive director has been made.
The ICD is committed to eradicating existing pockets of police crime, without fear or favour. But it is also co-operating with the SAPS in the interests of assisting it with its job of transformation. One example of this co-operation is the formation of a task team for the purpose of developing a strategy for the reduction of deaths in police custody, and deaths as a result of police action. This task team comprises key stakeholders, such as the ICD, the SA Police Service and some NGOs.
In conclusion, the ICD is in the process of forging stronger partnerships with the SA Police Service, the secretariat, the Ministry and the cluster, on whose behalf I am speaking right now as a whole, and, of course, civil society, for the purpose of assisting in the fight against crime. [Applause.]
The MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Chairperson, it is indeed an honour for me to present to you and this House the report of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for the first year of the second democratic Parliament.
At the very outset, allow me to express my personal appreciation for the co-operation I continue to receive from all my fellow Ministers within the justice cluster, which comprises the Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Correctional Services, Defence, Finance, Home Affairs, Intelligence, and Safety and Security.
Since we were appointed last year to our respective portfolios, our collective objective as a cluster has been to ensure that we respond to matters relating to the criminal justice system in an integrated manner. Thus our work as the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has to be seen in the context of the work and efforts of our cluster.
I want to address a few issues, and the first one is globalisation. This, needless to say, is a reality. It impacts on our new democracy in a most dramatic fashion. Capital virtually moves at the speed of thought between and to those markets that are regarded as favourable or profitable.
We are, today, also confronted by organised crime, the scourge of money laundering and cyber crime, as my colleague the Minister of Safety and Security has already said. Appropriate legislation and training of our officials are required to attend to this. Needless to say, the unacceptably high level of crime and the quality of the administration of justice have a serious impact on our attractiveness as an emerging market and on our ability to attract increasing foreign direct investment. This represents our most pressing challenge yet. We are addressing some of these problems in conjunction with the international community as part of both bilateral and multilateral efforts, and, again, my colleague the Minister of Safety and Security has referred to some of the exciting work that we are doing in this regard.
The next area relates to the department itself. The department has embarked on a campaign to ensure that all head office managers visit our various offices. This will ensure that senior officials and policy-makers familiarise themselves with those issues pertinent to the efficient functioning of our courts. I will encourage this practice, needless to say.
We have also embarked on a redeployment project. The intention is to take a number of suitably qualified lawyers, magistrates and prosecutors, currently doing administrative work, out of the department and place them back in the courts in order to reinforce our delivery processes. Needless to say, we need to consider how to handle this sensitive matter because these people have, in the meantime, accumulated a lot of benefits and packages which may tend to distort the situation at the coalface if we are not careful in the way we handle it. Nonetheless, there is, indeed, going to be redeployment of personnel.
During our visits to a number of our courts, police stations and prisons, we found the physical infrastructure and conditions in which people live and operate simply unacceptable. This cannot be permitted to continue. The upgrading of our courts will therefore be a major challenge that my department will face.
In this regard, I am pleased to report that the allocation of R145 million for capital works during 1999 has enabled the department to commence with the construction of new buildings and other major works. This will take place at centres where there were no facilities at all before, and where service delivery was seriously hampered owing to a lack of facilities.
Despite insufficient funding, we have developed a programme to address our immediate infrastructure needs. As a result, the largest number of major and minor building services ever is already under construction. Most of these worthy projects have been undertaken in previously disadvantaged rural areas of our country. As part of this programme, for example, I went to a launch yesterday of a court construction project at Blue Downs on the Cape Flats. This will no doubt contribute to the department's and our cluster's goal of bringing justice closer to our people.
We have previously publicly reported on the question of security within our courts. I am pleased to report that we are beginning to address this problem. We have initiated a process of outsourcing our security requirements. In this financial year alone we have invested a further R14 million to meet this challenge.
The National Prosecuting Authority has continued to make strides in major areas in the administration of criminal justice and the fight against crime, in collaboration with the SA Police Service. It has continued to strive for an efficient and effective prosecution service. The Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions has created new national entities in order to begin to address some of the challenges facing the prosecuting authority.
Having achieved the targets it had set for itself for the past year, the National Prosecuting Authority has set itself other targets for this year.
We have already begun to see that the prosecutors are even meeting the new targets. We are already beginning to see further increases in the average court hours. May I pause here to say that whereas some time last year courts were sitting an average of only one to two hours, they now, happily so, sit for anything upwards of four and a half hours. In addition, we have seen a reduction in outstanding court rolls, an increase in the number of court cases finalised with a verdict, a reduction in the number of outstanding decision dockets, a reduction in the number of prisoners awaiting trial and a reduction in the finalisation period of matters already in the system.
I am satisfied that the National Prosecuting Authority is well on its way in establishing a prosecuting service that is representative, professional, ready to fight crime, legitimate in the eyes of the people it serves and regarded as the true ``people's lawyers''.
It is now my wish to turn my attention to some of our most difficult challenges that affect our core business - our courts. There are two key challenges that face us in this regard, namely effective court and case management, and reducing the population of prisoners awaiting trial.
Our research and analysis over the past few years have shown that the only effective solution to these problems is to adopt an integrated cluster approach. We cannot respond to these challenges solely as, and within, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. The only viable approach is to address these problems together with our partners within the justice cluster, particularly with the Departments of Safety and Security, Correctional Services, and Welfare. The success of this approach is borne out by international best practice.
It gives me great pleasure to report to this House that after several years of planning and research, we are in the process of implementing an integrated justice system. Of greater significance is the fact that pilot projects to develop a docket management and event notification system between the police, prosecution, courts and prisons have been approved. The project is referred to as the Court Process Project. The tender for this project has been considered and we hope to announce during the course of next week the award of a major contract for its implementation. It is expected that the pilot project will provide us with a basis on which to address the most critical demands made on the justice system. A central aspect of this project, though, is the emphasis on change management.
A further project to address the more immediate and pressing problem of the excessive population of prisoners awaiting trial has already been piloted. I am pleased to report that this project has started yielding positive results. Indirect savings in excess of R50 million have already been made.
This afternoon, in conjunction with the Minister of Health, the Minister for Welfare and Population Development, and the Minister of Safety and Security, we launched a pilot project at the J F Jooste Hospital in Manenberg to handle victims of rape and other forms of sexual abuse with dignity and professionalism. The project comprises dedicated police officers and prosecutors, as well as Health, Welfare and Population Development officials.
These are only some of the most important projects we have initiated in this financial year. The fact that we are investing more than R140 million this financial year alone is, if anything, indicative of our seriousness.
It would be remiss of me not to comment on another topical issue. In this regard it would be useful to remember that, as a country, we embarked upon the transition and, as part of our political settlement, we chose to retain the judicial structures and personnel we inherited from our past. In fact, but for the establishment of one new court, the Constitutional Court, we chose to use such structures and personnel as the foundation for post-apartheid justice.
May I say that indeed, whilst there may be many reasons for complaint, it is advisable and indeed useful for all of us to observe that nonetheless in our courts, both lower and higher, a lot of good work is being done. I want to say, to this House and through this House, that as we were launching the project that I have alluded to, we had virtually all the structures in the criminal justice system represented. They were there to exhibit their commitment to making a contribution towards the further building of this country into a better society.
I know many people may cite all manner of statistics to show apparent bias in all sorts of directions, but I just want to say that in our own observation the complaints essentially relate to sentencing. That is why we have actually asked, as a cluster, the SA Law Commission to address this issue, and I am happy to say there is in circulation a draft working paper on this issue, which will enable all of us to participate constructively in the discussion of the issue of sentencing. Eventually we need to emerge as a country with a sentencing policy and position which allows our courts to treat like cases alike.
I can assure this House, and through this House the country, that we have the total commitment of virtually all the officials that I am referring to. As Minister over the past year I have had ample opportunity to interact with many of them, particularly those who are at the leadership levels of our courts, and at no point did I ever feel that I was dealing with men and women whose loyalty to this country we should have any cause to doubt. So indeed I am hoping that we will be able to transmit this message to our country.
Lastly, I also want to thank all the men and women in my own department, as well as in the cluster, who are assisting us in the performance of this arduous task of ours. Without their participation, dedication and tenacity, without their preparedness to do even more hours than they are required to do in terms of their contractual obligations, I am afraid we would not be able to tell what I believe is a better story about our criminal justice system. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Chairperson, I have noticed that my colleagues did not take their full 15 minutes at the outset. If I take more time, I am borrowing from them! [Laughter.] I am sure they will not object to that. We are a cluster, and that could be evidence in itself.
I must say that I am also honoured and privileged to present my department's case in this Budget Vote debate before this Council. In case hon members have not noticed the difference between my department and those of my colleagues here, I may have to state it briefly, but they know it themselves.
When it comes to the police, I always say that the police want to be professional, they want to be effective and they want to do a good job. The magistrates want to be good magistrates. The judges want to be effective judges and do a good job. The soldiers want to be professional soldiers and do a good job. There are 165 000 prisoners and none of them want to be there. So that is an instant difficulty. The police, the soldiers, the magistrates and the judges want to do what they do. But of the 165 000 prisoners, none wants to be there. That is an instant challenge.
I have recently come across severe criticism from human rights organisations representing the rights of prisoners for what is perceived to be a failure on my part to take decisive action to avert the impending crisis in our prisons caused by overcrowding. When I introduced the Correctional Services debate in the National Assembly on 12 May 2000 I made a passionate plea for the recognition and acceptance of the Correctional Services system as an integral part of the governance of this country.
I believe that as a nation we are still trapped in the legacy of our shameful past in our understanding of the role and objectives of the correctional system.
As far back as 1923, the role and objectives of the correctional system were already well understood as articulated by Sir Winston Churchill, when he remarked as follows:
The mood and temper of the public with regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilisation of any country. A calm, dispassionate recognition of the rights of the accused, and even of the convicted criminals against the state; a constant heart-searching by all charged with the duty of punishment; a desire and eagerness to rehabilitate in the world of industry those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment; tireless efforts towards the discovery of curative and regenerative processes; unfailing faith that there is a treasure, if you can only find it, in the heart of every man. These are the symbols, which, in the treatment of crime and the criminal, mark and measure the stored-up strength of a nation.
These powerful words of inspiration are from one of the greatest visionaries of our time. It is my mission, whilst serving as Minister of Correctional Services, to inculcate and promote this vision of the criminal justice system into a common vision shared by most South Africans.
As I discussed briefly in the NA, the prison crisis can only be understood in terms of the political environment in which the criminal justice system is located. In our situation, the major players representing the various special interest groups in the correctional services system are the media, legislators, the judiciary, human rights groups, labour unions, and prisoners. The relative powers and/or influence wielded by these groups, and the interests they pursue, shape the course of prison system crises.
The main functional areas of the correctional system are incarceration, care of offenders, development of offenders and community corrections. The incarceration function is mainly concerned with offender control by providing security and prison services to prevent, or at least to minimise, possibilities of escape, to ensure safe custody through good order and discipline within prison and rendering administrative and staff services.
Traditionally, the incarceration function has always received the highest priority in the budget allocation. Although this Budget Vote under discussion has made some significant steps forward in transforming the allocation of resources in the correctional system, there are still areas of grave concern which require further improvement. Whilst the allocation for incarceration has increased by 15%, care of offenders, which involves the actual physical care and the health care of prisoners, has only increased by 6,7%. A marked increase of 55,9% has been made with regard to community corrections. Development of offenders received a satisfactory 14,2% increase, compared to the 0,1% decrease in the allocation for the reintegration into the community.
In line with our vision for the transformed correctional services system, we can no longer just concern ourselves with incarceration, but must also see to it that the system adequately caters for need-based developmental and rehabilitative offender programmes and the proper care of offenders. The challenge ahead of us is to work out an acceptable compromise through striking a proper balance between the competing interests of public safety and offender care and rehabilitation within the constraints of a limited budget.
Incarceration is paramount with regard to offenders who have committed serious offences. It is therefore not difficult to see how a much-publicised escape or a large-scale disturbance may precipitate a crisis that is likely to result in an immediate shift of resources from the provisioning of adequate conditions to the functions of security and control. Prison security and offender control have a huge impact on our budget, as they rely heavily on manpower, equipment, IT expertise, architecture, categorisation of prisoners and routine procedures.
The overconcentration of resources on security and control at the expense of offender care and rehabilitative development programmes is an inescapable consequence of the history of where we come from as a department. As I have already remarked in the NA on 12 May, it is an indisputable fact that the vast majority of the inmates in our prison system are from the previously disadvantaged groups who are unskilled and of little value in the labour market. It is our responsibility as correctional services to see to it that they, too, are the beneficiaries of the new democratic dispensation, by providing them with the necessary basic skills to better their chances of becoming economically active by getting formal employment in the labour market, and, thus, helping to break the cycle of crime. I think hon members are very familiar with this one. Whether an ex-prisoner is skilled to do any kind of work within the community, be it carpentry, painting or whatever the skills the person has acquired from prison, immediately he steps out of prison and tries to look for work, he is already disadvantaged, because he is stigmatised. Once everybody knows, or the potential employer knows, that this person has been to jail and he acquired the certificate and the skills from prison, he is not going to employ him or her. The person goes from door to door and after three months he still does not get work. What happens to his or her children? Then the person goes back to the life of crime. After all, he was getting three meals a day in prison and he had friends who were talking and joking with him. It was all right. He gets back to the community and he is shut out, simply because he was in prison.
We cannot compromise on any of the above-mentioned fundamental areas of the department without jeopardising our core business objectives. It would therefore appear that, unless a corresponding increase is made to our total budget allocation in line with the ever-increasing population of inmates in our prisons, we are soon reaching a stage where the system will completely collapse. We are, of course, mindful of the fact that we are not the only department that is operating under severe financial constraints. Therefore, whilst insisting on increased funding, we must simultaneously focus our efforts on developing appropriate reductionist strategies to counter the problem of overcrowding and diminishing resources to enable us to meet both our constitutional and international obligations regarding the treatment of offenders and prevention of crime.
As I have outlined briefly in the NA, the problems facing the correctional system cannot be viewed in isolation from what is taking place in the other core departments of the criminal justice system. The Minister has said a lot about that.
President Mbeki's visionary intervention in June last year to establish ministerial clusters has been the single most important step forward in bringing about the much-needed co-operation between the core departments of the criminal justice system to develop an integrated, interdepartmental approach to crime prevention. Already, through the clustering approach, we have been able to formulate and embark on the following strategies to combat overcrowding in prisons. There are multisectoral teams to identify blockages and devise solutions to the awaiting-trial prisoner problem; early release of offenders who have committed less serious crimes, after they have served a minimum period of their sentences; thirdly, alternatives to imprisonment, which involve serving sentences within the community under supervision; and, lastly, fast-tracking of prison construction projects currently under way and the use of public-private partnership initiatives for the provision of additional prison accommodation.
We also intend to intensify our self-sufficiency programmes through the optimal utilisation of prison labour to augment our budget. We will reopen the debate on the retention by the prison system of income generated through prison labour, and the costing and marketing of prison products.
We also intend to take over the maintenance of facilities from Public Works to take direct control and accountability for ensuring conditions consistent with human dignity in prisons. I am saying this because, I am sure, most hon members saw the report on Pollsmoor about overcrowding and the conditions of juveniles in there who are awaiting trial. But for some of the things, we can say that we will look up to the courts, as the courts are doing that. The Minister has been saying that.
However, I am sure that after seeing the leaking taps and the conditions under which these children live, members are not convinced that another department, not Correctional Services, is responsible. I am saying that we have to take charge of that because we do budget for that type of thing, but we do so through other departments which are responsible for the maintenance of these buildings.
Mr C ACKERMANN: Chairperson, would the hon Minister take a question?
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr M L Mushwana): Order! Are you prepared to take a question, hon Minister?
The MINISTER: Yes, I am.
Mr C ACKERMANN: Chairperson, yesterday we had the new commissioner in the committee and he told the committee that they were going to have negotiations with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development yesterday afternoon about the whole situation of overcrowding. The committee specifically asked the commissioner if he could give the Minister feedback on those negotiations and on whether anything was achieved.
My question to the Minister is whether he can give us some feedback on yesterday's result of the negotiations with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development with regard to what he has just mentioned now.
The MINISTER: Chairperson, I am aware that negotiations are taking place, but I have not been informed as to where they are at the moment. However, in my speech I did say that some of these negotiations would be around what I said under the first point, that there are multisectoral teams that will identify blockages and devise solutions to the awaiting-trial prisoner problem. These include not only Justice and Constitutional Development, but also other departments which should look at the problem of overcrowding.
Regarding awaiting-trial prisoners, there is an alarmingly high number of awaiting-trial prisoners in our custody, which at the end of April 2000 stood at about 63 964 and constituting approximately 40% of the total number of prisoners in our facilities. This figure has grown to about plus 64 000. From January 1995 to February of this year, the number of awaiting-trial prisoners increased by 158%, compared to an increase of only 15% for sentenced prisoners over the same period.
On 22 May 2000 I delivered a keynote address at an official opening of a senior management departmental workshop, in which I urged my officials to take an active role in promoting the work of the multisectoral task team set up to identify these blockages and devise solutions to the awaiting-trial prisoner problem.
The newly appointed Inspecting Judge, Mr Justice Fagan who is a retired judge, has indicated that the problem of awaiting-trial prisoners will receive priority attention from his office as well, and that he intends using his influence as a retired judge to sensitise the Bench of the problems of overcrowding in prisons, to which the Minister has also referred. He has also indicated that he intends fast-tracking the implementation of the Correctional Services Act of 1998 with regard to the appointment of Independent Prison Visitors.
The implementation of the new system of parole boards is also receiving priority after a minor setback due to the unavailability of full-time and ex officio members from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the SAPS, as required in terms of the Act, because of the budgetary constraints experienced by the two departments. As per agreement by all three departments concerned, a suitable amendment of the Act that would enable the co-option of members of the SAPS and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on an ad hoc basis, depending on the security aspects and/or other sensitivities with regard to a given application, would be submitted to Cabinet in the near future. As is required in terms of the Act, the National Council for Correctional Services has already voiced its support for a draft amendment submitted to it for comment and advice.
The issue of alternatives to incarceration has been the subject of debate in many countries for many years. As far back as 1910, there was already a determination within the English home office to effect a reductionist policy, and the principal initiative in setting this direction was taken by Sir Winston Churchill. Similarly to our own situation, the reductionist lobby in the English prison system was a reaction to the problem of overcrowding, in that by 1908 their prison population stood at 22 000, only marginally below the certified capacity of their prison system at the time.
In a memorandum to the prime minister in September 1910, Churchill described the main problem as being, and I quote:
... the immense number of committals of petty offenders to prison on short sentences.
We have a large number of petty offenders in our prison system, especially young offenders. The 55,9% increase in the budget for community corrections sends a clear message about our intentions to use community corrections as a viable alternative to incarceration.
The use of electronic monitoring to strengthen and enhance community corrections as a viable alternative to incarceration in dealing with less serious offences has been tested and found to be a viable option as opposed to incarceration in the South African situation. As I put it in the National Assembly, we view this project as an important milestone in the transformation of our correctional system. When I delivered my keynote address at the workshop of senior officials of the department on 22 May, I gave specific instructions for the preparation and submission to me of an action plan that would guarantee the implementation of the system countrywide by the end of the financial year.
Despite the problems and crises we are facing due to insufficient resources, we have nonetheless made tremendous progress in the fight to prevent, or at least to minimise, prison escapes. As we know, even the ultimate in fortress-like prisons, such as the American prison Alcatraz, have not been immune to escapes. No doubt many of us in the eighties watched in utter amazement how in the movie Escape from Alcatraz people escaped from that fortress.
Following my direct personal intervention to hold anti-escape workshops in November and December of last year in all nine provinces, we have managed to drastically reduce the number of escapes within a short space of time. We were able to identify the main causes of escapes and acted upon them. The following areas were identified as the main causes of escapes: negligence on the part of officials; corruption, which includes aiding of escapees; old and weak prison structures; and shortage of staff.
Since January 2000 serious disciplinary steps have been taken against any official whose negligence or gross negligence led to an escape from prison. Although I believe it really is still too early to draw any conclusive deductions regarding the success of the implementation of the strategies adopted at the workshops, the following national figures on escapes are very encouraging and show that we can do something about this problem. In January 1999 we had about 39 escapes, in the same month this year, 13; in February 1999 we had 34, in the same month this year, 14; in March 1999 we had 48, in the same month this year, 26 - that is a little bit of an increase; in April 1999 we had 18, in the same month this year, 22 - another little bit of an increase. In total, in 1999 there were 139 escapes, and this year we had 75. This shows that there has been a remarkable reduction.
We have also been able to focus on and intensify the battle against HIV-Aids in prisons. I remember I was asked this question in this House last week or two weeks ago, and I think I need to answer it fully.
Notwithstanding our liberal policies regarding the prohibition of mandatory testing for HIV-Aids and maintaining separate facilities for HIV-Aids-infected offenders in prisons, which is in keeping with the constitutionally protected rights of bodily integrity and equality before the law, we have managed to implement effective HIV-Aids prevention programmes in prisons. Health education on STDs and HIV-Aids prevention on admission and constantly throughout incarceration is provided to offenders. Condoms are made freely available in the event of consensual sexual relations. Gang-related incidents and activities are closely monitored and the separation of vulnerable offenders, including transfer, is encouraged.
An effective HIV-Aids prevention programme is firmly in place, with HIV-Aids focal persons appointed at each prison in order to promote awareness, support and capacity-building efforts.
There is also a provincial health co-ordinator for each province to monitor and ensure the implementation of the HIV/Aids programme. Offenders who allege to have been raped are referred to a medical doctor for examination and treatment and, depending on the outcome of the medical examination, the affected offender will be taken for counselling and also monitored for possible sexually transmitted diseases.
We are involved in a collaborative programme with Howard University in the United States in the area of policy development studies. As part of this programme, we will be cohosting a conference which will be held from 1 to 5 July 2000 in Cape Town titled ``Substance Abuse, Crime, Violence and HIV-Aids as consequences of Poverty: Strategies for Prevention, Intervention and Treatment in the United States and South Africa.''
Significantly, this conference was timed to precede the World Aids Conference to be held in Durban by just a few days. Furthermore, as a member of the International Corrections and Prisons Association which will be holding its annual conference here in Cape Town on 27 to 31 August, we have again been requested to co-host this year's conference, whose theme is ``Criminal Justice as a Career of Choice: Achieving our Full Potential.''
As one of the outcomes of the departmental senior management workshops held on 22 to 24 May, the department will submit an action plan setting out proper timeframes and targets for each of the strategies discussed above in order to combat overcrowding. The department will also plan for and hold a national symposium on correctional services to be attended by all stakeholders in the correctional services system and other key players in the criminal justice system. It is envisaged that this symposium is expected to take place at the end of July this year and that it will serve as a precursor to a fully fledged White Paper on correctional services, which will cover policy aspects relating to the management of prisons and community corrections.
In conclusion, I wish to take this opportunity to pledge my commitment to working closely with provincial and local government structures, in line with the principles of co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations as championed in Chapter 3 of the Constitution. As Correctional Services, we are mindful of the fact that the successful implementation of our policies depends on the co-operation and support we receive with regard to awareness created at both provincial and local levels to the real issues facing the correctional system.
We are part and parcel of the safety and security establishment of this country and we fully recognise and appreciate our partnership with the public to provide a safe and secure environment for all. In this regard, I take the opportunity to recognise the efforts of Prof Kambule, the National Youth Commission and others for their crime prevention initiatives, by exposing homeless children to prison conditions in order to motivate them to pursue their studies and turn their backs on crime.
Similarly, I would like to congratulate and express my sincere thanks to the KwaZulu-Natal provincial department of education for their participation in the Ncome Prison awareness campaign to discourage youth in schools from engaging in criminal activities. These initiatives are, indeed, both exemplary and noble and the Department of Correctional Services must adopt them as part of its strategy for crime prevention. [Applause.]
Mr J L MAHLANGU: Chairperson, I am certain that our discussion today will help all of us, amongst other things, to better understand the objectives and processes of the criminal justice system, and its positive and negative features. Having gained that understanding, I also believe that we would be better placed to respond to urgent and important challenges this poses without getting excited.
The steps we have taken towards vigorous and practical implementation of these strategies adopted in the policies of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Department of Safety and Security and the Department of Correctional Services, together with the suggestions that we have made relating to the fundamental issues of democracy, good governance, the recovery of human value, and peace and stability, would constitute an appropriate response to the challenges posed by the environment in which we find ourselves.
The challenge facing South Africa's criminal justice system is to protect the rights enshrined in the new Constitution, whilst ensuring public safety. I want to agree that crime in South Africa must be addressed through a practical initiative that not only has an immediate local impact, but also influences national policy. There is therefore a need to continually evaluate our strategies and to find creative and innovative ways to deal with these situations involving the increasingly sophisticated criminals.
One legacy of apartheid is that many young South Africans do not have the skills to reform the criminal justice system and, indeed, the opportunities to acquire these skills remain limited. We cannot easily forget that historically the South African criminal justice system was very corrupt and oppressive. We are therefore again challenged with becoming our own liberators from the scourge of violence and criminal behaviour of some of the members of our society.
Governance does not mean government. It means the framework of rules, institutions and established practices that set limits and give incentives for good behaviour of individuals, organisations and institutions. Without strong governance, the danger of conflict could be a reality during our time. Trade wars promote national corporate interests, uncontrolled financial volatility, which sets off civil conflicts, and untamed global crime which infects safe neighbourhoods and criminalises politics and politicians, business and the whole of the justice system.
The fight against crime and the creation of a just society based on principles of equality and freedom are a collective responsibility of a responsible society. Crime and criminality are a menace against which all of us should close ranks, and one which we must confront head-on.
This Parliament passed the Prevention of Organised Crime Act in 1998 and, as a product of this Act, the office of the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions, together with other structures, such as the Asset Forfeiture Unit, etc were established. The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development has referred to these structures.
This was indeed a brilliant innovation by our Government. By this we sent and continue to send a clear message to the organised criminals that South Africa will not tolerate any kind of corruption, especially the activities of the kingpins of these criminal syndicates. We would like to commend the Ministers for instituting and leading a successful prosecuting regime that found a collaborative solution which helped prosecutors to lead investigations, bring cases to trial and win convictions by working with the police and communities in partnership against crime.
We stand here to commend the department for the good work it has done. We are all aware that the road has not been easy from many angles, such as the structures of the justice system, where some of the judges have shown their reluctance to implement these initiatives, because, among other things, they viewed some of these laws as draconian, and that includes some hon members who also joined forces with them, saying that some of the laws were unconstitutional.
I am indeed heartened by the uncompromising attitude of both the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Safety and Security, who are prepared to take the war to the boardrooms, bars, bedrooms and lounges of criminals. I also want to express our unwavering support to the Ministers for their principle of zero-percent tolerance for criminality in our country. Criminals must, in the words of Minister Tshwete, indeed be suffocated and allowed no space in our society.
We welcome the initiatives and strategies adopted in identifying flash point areas where there is a high level of crime and making a deliberate effort to deploy resources in those areas and flush out criminals. I am indeed happy to announce here that during constituency weeks, when I am in the province, I do visit certain police stations, talk to station commanders and ask them how we can lend our assistance in dealing with crime.
As I am talking to members, we are having a crime summit in one of the villages in Mpumalanga next week to discuss this whole question of crime. This is indeed an initiative of a station commander. We invited to this summit police, prosecutors, magistrates, political formations, local councillors, NGOs, CBOs, business, taxi associations, principals, traditional leaders and religious leaders. The purpose of this summit is to attempt to get all and sundry to discuss the crime issue, and together to find a solution to get rid of crime. We believe that this approach and others will indeed work.
As a result of other innovative efforts between ourselves as politicians and communities certain fruits are being reaped by our communities. Some of the criminals have already been exposed and are behind bars and others will still be arrested.
In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our men in uniform, as well as our women in uniform, Commissioner Selebi in his uniform this afternoon in our Chamber, Minister Maduna and his directors-general, the Minister of Safety and Security, the Department of Correctional Services, Minister Skosana and his director-general, and all our officials who have until now made us proud as South Africans. I want to say here, from the NCOP, that we are indeed behind them in all their efforts. They should please gain strength in the knowledge that millions of South Africans out there, including our neighbouring countries, are looking to them to keep our country clean and uninfected. [Applause.]
Mr S ASIYA (Northern Cape): Chairperson, in the few years after and prior to the establishment of our new democracy, South Africa has experienced a tremendous upsurge in crime. Numerical factors based on historical, political, economical, social and physical causes can be used to explain this phenomenon. The intolerably high rate of violent crime and white-collar crime often seem to threaten our democratic and constitutional achievements.
At the same time that the country seemed plunged into an abyss of crime, South Africa developed one of the most liberal and progressive bills of rights in the world. The Constitutional Court gave numerous rulings in matters concerning criminal justice. The death penalty was abolished, corporal punishment declared unconstitutional and the rights of the accused in criminal procedural matters were extended. This was an indication of a commitment to human rights.
Violence and crime are usually results of inequality and poverty, and they certainly breed fastest in a society characterised by extremes of inequality and social exclusion. Ultimately, only measures that protect communities from the deprivation of joblessness, injustice and insecurity will also make them safer from crime.
The role of the civilian secretariat, inter alia, is to promote democracy, accountability and transparency in the service and to research any policing matters in regard to the Police Act.
It is common knowledge that the sociopolitical transformation and tremendous change this country has undergone and is still undergoing change since the election of 27 April 1994, together with the prevailing level of crime, necessitated a new vision and fundamental change to policing in South Africa.
When the South African society conceived democracy during the negotiation process, a vigorous revolution took place within the SA Police Force. The South African Police adopted a new ``surname'', namely ``Service''. This precipitated a fundamental transformation within the SAP. A new philosophy came into being, that of community policing.
Regarding the redistribution of resources, the racial bias in public resource allocation is still a matter of grave concern to us. The delay in the building of police stations in terms of the RDP programme is also a matter of grave concern to the province, as it is affecting the effective delivery of social justice. Resources such as community service centres, or ``police stations'', are still far away from where they are needed most, where the high rates of crime are experienced on a daily basis.
Transformation in the SAPS cannot be seen as separate from the entire process of transformation of the Public Service. It should be a people-driven process and is not concerned with police management only.
Demilitarisation, deracialisation and depoliticisation in the SAPS should be treated as a matter of urgency, with emphasis on the transformation of the service into an efficient, effective and representative service which upholds and protects the fundamental rights of the people.
With regard to municipal policing, section 206(7) specifically prescribes that national legislation must provide a framework for the establishment, functions and control of municipal police services.
The National Crime Prevention Strategy and the White Paper identifies socioeconomic and environmental factors, especially in poor communities, as factors that contribute to crime. Both documents stress that economic growth and social development must ensure that the causes of and opportunities for some categories of crimes are limited.
Another focus area is to develop a social crime prevention framework for the areas which will identify interventions and focus on short-term, medium-term and long-term intervention strategies, because the seriousness of the continued attacks on rural communities, especially farming communities, in South Africa is calling for intervention.
In conclusion, I can articulate with pride that various attempts are made by the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development and the Minister of Safety and Security to restore the legitimacy of the criminal justice system. I have good reason to believe that we may eventually succeed in bringing down the high levels of crime. We must carry on the fight against crime. I can quote what a famous person, Winston Churchill, said during World War II, one of Britain's darkest hours:
We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender.
We should remember that the future belongs to those who believe in it and who are working for success. [Applause.]
Mr B M RADEBE (KwaZulu-Natal): Chairperson, I am not surprised at this. Even in my province, every time I stand up to speak there is something happening in the room, so I am used to it. [Laughter.] My MEC is also laughing because he knows that something will always happen when I rise to speak in KwaZulu-Natal.
Chairperson, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak in this House. In other provinces the issue of security is priority number one, but in our province, KwaZulu-Natal, it is number one plus the stars, because KwaZulu-Natal is one of the most powerful provinces in the country. Whatever we do in KwaZulu-Natal, we make sure that we do it thoroughly. [Laughter.] So if we are engaged in a war, we fight, but if we are engaged in a peace process, we negotiate peace.
I am saying this because the Minister of Safety and Security referred to some areas in KwaZulu-Natal, Nongoma in particular. We have been praying that one day peace will come to KwaZulu-Natal. As the two major parties in KwaZulu-Natal, the IFP and ANC, we have been working on the peace process. Then there is this issue of demarcation which also caused tension in KwaZulu-Natal, but our leadership met and discussed it. Now there is the problem of Nongoma, and I think the Minister of Safety and Security must take extraordinary measures to deal with it.
As one of the co-chairpersons of the provincial peace committee in KwaZulu-Natal, I just want to give members a brief history of that province. We had a conflict in my township, Mpumalanga - not the Mpumalanga of Bab' uMabona [Mr Mabona] - the real Mpumalanga. [Interjections.] On 27 November 1989, from 3:00 to 3:15, 68 people were killed in 15 minutes. I am trying to emphasise the point that it is crucial that the national Minister does everything in his power to make sure that the area of Nongoma is contained.
Secondly, while we were surprised by the gunning down of the mayor of Nongoma, tensions started to rise. So in KwaZulu-Natal we are not just talking about criminals, we are talking about political criminals, and a process in which IFP cadres are used to destroy and attack other parties, and in which ANC cadres are used to attack other parties. So most of what is happening in KwaZulu-Natal is more criminal in nature than political.
Furthermore, we believe that unless we deal with the political violence, particularly in our province, there will be no peace in this country. When the conflict started in KwaZulu-Natal it involved the IFP and the ANC. Full stop. We fought for four and a half years in my township and we lost more than 3 000 lives. Then after the former premier of the province, together with the former leader of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, now the Deputy President of this country, told the structures of the ANC and the IFP that there was somebody perpetrating that violence, the violence shifted to Gauteng.
In KwaZulu-Natal the conflict was between the IFP and the ANC. Full stop. In Gauteng it involved Zulus and Xhosas, and not so much the IFP and the ANC. When the leadership of Gauteng stood between the IFP and ANC and said that there was a third force element involved, the violence shifted to the mines. [Time expired.]
Mr M R MZOBE (KwaZulu-Natal): Chairperson, the province of KwaZulu-Natal forms an integral part of the Republic of South Africa. Fighting crime is becoming more complex and more challenging. Criminals operate with very little regard for national boundaries. As organised crime becomes increasingly globalised, foreign criminal groups are extending their operations, and South Africa is no exception to this tragedy. For these reasons, the SA Police Service is faced with new challenges, with the international crime arena becoming increasingly sophisticated and technologically advanced.
In order to fight criminality from a position of strength, we need to develop our human resources in terms of our ability to meet the challenges of constantly changing criminal strategies.
It must not only be acknowledged, but also fully accepted that police officers in South Africa have a greater chance of being victimised by violence than society itself. It will be recalled that during the liberation struggle the apartheid regime did not use the then SA Police for law enforcement purposes only, but also used them to achieve and accomplish their hidden agenda which morally, socially, politically and otherwise affected the oppressed black masses of South Africa who were engaged in the process of freeing South Africa.
It would be recalled, again, that subsequent to the old order's ulterior motives, the police were declared, considered and viewed by the people of South Africa as the ardent enemy of humanity and democracy. This culminated in the most unprecedented animosity between the police and the citizens of South Africa. The end result was that the police were systematically targeted for assassination. It is therefore my strongest contention that the police cannot work effectively and efficiently without the co-operation and assistance of the community on the ground. The police must be supported and assisted so that they can achieve high levels of delivery to the public.
It looks as though some of us have lost sight of the commitment and huge sacrifices being made by thousands of policemen and policewomen. We need to appreciate and encourage the efforts of the police officers who go beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety of their fellow citizens.
To combat further deterioration in human ethics, the Government is hereby requested to collect all the unlicensed firearms that are currently circulating in our communities. I am very heartened by the fact that the sister Ministries, with their Ministers, are engaged in combating crime. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mrs C NKUNA: Hon Chairperson, hon Ministers, hon members of this House, I wish to thank you for the opportunity to reflect on certain critical issues concerning the criminal justice system in our province. However, before I do so, allow me to congratulate the Ministers of Safety and Security, Justice and Constitutional Development, and Correctional Services on the outstanding achievements in transforming our criminal justice system from the main bastion of protection of white minority rule into one that is responsive to the needs of the majority of our people.
What makes their achievement even more remarkable, is the fact that this transformation has been achieved against great odds, such as limited resources and opposition from the conservative, pro-apartheid officials who refuse to accept change.
These people who refuse change do want the Government to protect them, but on the other hand, they violate human rights to the worst extreme. It is time that they do some introspection, take out what is wrong in themselves, and retain and implement what is right. By so doing they will make it easier for the Government to eradicate quite a number of cases.
I am pleased to say that the positive changes made at national level have filtered down to our province as well. These changes presented us with the opportunity to reduce crime and to ensure that the people in our province enjoy greatly improved levels of security in line with our Government's commitment to a better life for all. Allow me to say that farmworkers do not enjoy this. Their living conditions are still terrible.
The Northern Province covers a vast area and has a population of approximately 6,1 million. It is divided into four policing areas and has 91 police stations, with a total staff complement of 8 094 police members and 883 civilians. Our provincial government plays a key role in initiating and co-ordinating social crime prevention strategies through the Department of Safety, Security and Liaison. The department has identified a number of programmes and activities through which it hopes to prevent social crime. It is currently drafting a manual for community-based crime prevention in the province. The aim of the manual is to assist local authorities to design their own crime prevention plans.
The province takes its monitoring and oversight role over the police very seriously. To this effect it has established community policing forums at most police stations in the province. Through these forums the provincial government is able to monitor adherence to Government policies by the police. These forums also provide the province with a platform to establish community needs in terms of safety and security.
The police's rural protection plan is aimed at the protection of farms and smallholdings, and all other rural communities. The reality, however, is that police take little cognisance of other rural communities and their need for protection against crimes such as stock theft and the theft of water equipment, which are major problems in some of our rural communities.
Given the rural nature of our province, as well as the current distribution of police stations and resources, it is suspected that a large number of these crimes never get reported due to the inaccessibility of the police to such areas. This naturally affects the quality of life of our people living in these remote rural areas.
Our experience with witchcraft violence has shown that awareness campaigns and rallies remain the most effective way of reaching the community to convey the message to stop participating in this form of crime. We can unequivocally state that the occurrence of witchcraft violence has abated in the province. A new scourge has now reared its ugly head in the province, namely that of domestic violence, which has been the cause of most murders reported during 1999. The Department of Safety, Security and Liaison is morally obliged to go out to the communities to add its voice to that of the provincial legislature and the Commission on Gender Equality to stop this crime in the province.
It has also solicited support from the Social Services Cabinet Committee to encourage agencies involved in development projects on behalf of Government to obtain court interdicts where persons are found to be interfering with or damaging development projects, and to encourage development agencies to lay formal charges at the nearest police station should theft or damages occur at these development projects.
Although our provincial department is trying very hard to ensure that the people in our province enjoy adequate levels of safety and security, we do experience some problems, including an inadequate level of funding. In spite of these problems, the department remains committed to carrying out its ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr P A MATTHEE: Chairperson, in recent World Bank research among 325 big South African businesses, 94% of the respondents indicated crime and violence as the biggest stumbling blocks in the South African economy. When the man regarded as the world's most influential emerging markets investor, Mr Mark Mobius, President of Templeton Emerging Markets Group of the United States of America, says that the negative image of South Africa, which the high levels of crime has created abroad, scares his investors and board of directors, we cannot only sit up and take note. We have to act, and act effectively, in order to drastically reduce the totally unacceptable high levels of crime.
I wish to congratulate Commissioner Selebi and all police officers and members with their recent successes with Operation Crackdown. I am also encouraged by the fact that at long last the police now have a three-year strategy which will primarily focus on the approximately 140 station areas where more than 50% of the serious violent and organised crimes occur. It is, however, important that capacity be built to deal with management of crime, not only in these police areas, but at all police stations, so that the criminals do not just run from one area to another.
The work of the police is, however, being seriously hampered by the shortage of at least 7 000 trained personnel, 7 860 vehicles and other equipment to the value of R85,2 million. This situation is totally unacceptable and I have written to the Minister of Finance in this regard, requesting that the amount of R928 million be made available to the police immediately to enable them to address these shortages.
The murder of police members has become a national disaster which simply cannot be allowed to continue. There should be no doubt that the uncertainty created by the new section 149 of the Criminal Procedure Act has contributed towards this, even though it has as yet not been implemented. In this regard, I am glad that my written request last year, through the then Secretary for Safety and Security, asking that the new section not be implemented in August 1999, was complied with. I now ask that the second part of my request, namely that the section be referred back to Parliament, should also be complied with as a matter of urgency.
The situation in respect of the salaries and other benefits of police members is totally unsatisfactory and should be addressed immediately. In this regard I would appreciate it if the Minister of Safety and Security could give us details of how the salaries of members of the SAPS compare with the salaries of the municipal police of Durban, for instance, and with that of the Scorpions at entry level and for comparable ranks.
I now wish to deal with Correctional Services and Justice. We clearly have a national crisis of major proportions on our hands in respect of the overpopulation of our prisons. The accommodation capacity of our prisons is 100 384 prisoners, and the current number of prisoners inside our prisons is 172 271. In other words, this is an overpopulation of 71,61%.
Sixty-three thousand, nine hundred and sixty-four are awaiting-trial prisoners. A prison like Pollsmoor is 180% overpopulated. The Western Cape Bureau of Correctional Services even threatens to close all prisons in the Western Cape if the crisis in respect of overpopulation is not addressed immediately.
Although awaiting-trial prisoners are, by law, the responsibility of the management of the Department of Justice, the Department of Correctional Services is responsible for keeping them in custody and, therefore, must have a definite and clear plan of action to deal with it. This is clearly a problem for both these departments which calls for urgent and extraordinary measures. What is more, if the police are going to continue to be successful in arresting many thousands of criminals with Operation Crackdown, then the number of prisoners in our prisons is going to increase dramatically. Apart from the massive overpopulation, correctional services also has a serious staff shortage. It was indicated that there will be a shortage of 7 437 members in the 2000-2001 financial year. From the report received from the Department of Justice, it appears that they have succeeded in achieving a decrease of 10% in the number of awaiting-trial prisoners.
In considering the reasons for the large number of awaiting-trial prisoners, it is acknowledged by the department that basic things are simply not being done correctly, and that this is mainly due to the lack of training and experience of prosecutors. The costs associated with unsentenced prisoners are estimated at R1,3 billion per year. The number of prosecutors trained by the Justice College unfortunately dropped substantially from 1 610 in 1997-98 to only 450 in 1998-99, as a result of budgetary constraints.
In some regions, persons with no prosecuting experience or training had to be appointed. This situation is unacceptable. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr K D S DURR: Mr Chairman, I love this country, I am proud of our democracy and I recognise that things are easier said than done. But my heart goes out to the Ministers concerned, because we want them to succeed. We understand very well - my colleague has mentioned it - the linkages between crime and business confidence, crime and investment, and crime and tourism.
I want to talk to members briefly today, not only about crime - the understanding of which is vital - but the causes of crime, if we are going to deal with the matter effectively. I was pleased to hear the Minister say that he was talking to the Minister of Education and to the Minister of Health about rape, and that he was liaising with his colleagues.
But I want to alert the Ministers to a potentially devastating link between crime and Aids. Currently, there are 200 000 Aids orphans in our country; and, by the year 2005, 1,5 million children will have lost their mothers to Aids. Now I want to tell the Ministers that Aids, in my view, has been a vital and important contributory cause to the dysfunctional state of collapse, lawlessness and civil violence in the countries of central Africa. There has been a loss of markets, an assault on the stabilising structure of family life, a loss of skills to the economy, but, most importantly, the psychological impact on society in general and the effect upon lawlessness and crime, and upon an individual's sense of self-worth. A kind of desperate short-termism comes into the equation.
If one is unemployed, orphaned, or dying, one can become reckless and desperate. I wish to request Ministers, seriously, to institute a commission or urgent study to research these links, or to get a university to research these links, between Aids, crime, and social disintegration, and to see what can be done about it.
A study by Barings Bank shows us that by the year 2006, 26% of our economically active population will be HIV positive. Life expectancy will drop from 60 years to 40 years by the year 2008. Only 50% of people alive in South Africa today are going to reach the age of 60.
I believe that these realities have already had, and are likely to have, a major impact on our poor behaviour and crime, and increasingly so. An urgent study on this aspect of things needs to be done so that possible corrective action can be taken and behaviour understood. [Time expired.]
Mr M G E WILEY (Western Cape): Mr Chairman, I would like to quote.
One of the central features of the brutish society we seek to bring an end to, is the impermissible level of crime and violence. Acting together with the people, we will heighten our efforts radically to improve the safety and security of all our citizens.
These words were uttered last year, on 25 June, just about a year ago, by the President of this country, Mr Thabo Mbeki.
When I listen to the contribution made by the three very critical Ministers - when I say critical, I mean that of the clusters that the Government has created, their cluster is the single most important - I get the impression from the Ministers that there is less of a sense of urgency with regard to their cluster than what the President said last year already. And yet the situation is considerably worse than it was last year, and all the statistics are there to prove it.
National Commissioner Selebi said just yesterday that, as a result of Operation Crackdown, he is going to force upon the Justice department 200 000 dockets in one year. Currently, the single biggest logjam in the criminal justice system is the inability of the Justice department to process dockets. The Minister has said that there was an improvement in the processing of documents, but what he neglected to do was to back it up with statistics.
Every single court in this country says otherwise. My visits to courts tell me that, in fact, we are not processing more dockets; we are processing fewer cases. What is happening is that more and more cases are being withdrawn at police station level, because the police officers say: ``We cannot investigate these crimes because we do not have the capacity to do so,'' and they give one a case number so that one can make an insurance claim. Even in the case of serious crimes, this happens. I had a case yesterday in which a doctor phoned me. His wife is also a doctor, a physician. She was robbed in her surgery, together with one of the patients. Armed robbery in the surgery. He phoned to tell me six hours later that the police had come to take a statement and they said that they were not sending fingerprint people because it really was a useless case. That particular case, may I say, is now subject to an investigation by my department. But that is what is happening at the moment - fewer and fewer cases are going through the process, because people have given up trying to process them.
Then they go to the public prosecutor. The public prosecutor, still with the greatest respect, is so overworked at the moment that, on the slightest technicality, or maybe an inconsistency with regard to a statement, those cases are being withdrawn.
In fact, if the Minister sees an improvement, I hope that the statistics that he has quoted and the inference he is giving to this Parliament that the situation is improving, do not include cases that are being withdrawn, because with regard to the cases that are being withdrawn, where previously they might have been the indication of efficiency, they are now an indication of inefficiency. And this can be proven.
The President went on to speak about a whole series of actions that the Government is going to take to try to improve safety and security - the constitutional role of this country - to create a safe and secure environment with regard to human resource development; and Minister Tshwete has alluded to human resource development.
The most significant human resource development that is taking place at the moment is with regard to a unit that Minister Tshwete reported on now. It does not even reside in his portfolio, but under the Minister of Justice, the so-called Scorpions Unit. Legally, it does not exist. It is still ad hoc. There is no legislation to allow it to exist. [Interjections.]
That is the truth, unfortunately. However, I have no problem ... [Interjections] ... No, I am not going to take a question.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Order! I beg your pardon, Mr Minister, but I must actually ask the member on what point he is rising. I must ask him. I must give him a chance. We cannot just make a presumption. Could you tell me on what point you are rising, hon member?
Mr M V MOOSA: Thank you for protecting me, Chairperson. I wanted to ask if the hon member would ...
Mr C ACKERMANN: On a point of order, Sir: He is out of order.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Order! I beg your pardon, hon member I have not recognised you.
Mr C ACKERMANN: He is out of order. He is out of order, Sir. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Order! Continue, Mr Moosa.
Mr M V MOOSA: Thank you, Chairperson. It looks like we have forgotten about procedure in this House. I wanted to ask the hon member a question regarding whether ...
Mr C ACKERMANN: He is out of order. He is not asking a question. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Order! I have not yet recognised you. [Interjections.] Mr Moosa, could you please ask your question?
Mr M V MOOSA: I wanted to ask the hon member how he ...
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Order! Mr Wiley, are you prepared to take a question?
Mr M G E WILEY: Mr Chairman, I hope that I will be dealt with impartially in this House. When the hon member on the other side stood up, I immediately said I was not prepared to take a question. [Interjections.] Nothing has changed, and I hope that Mr Moosa's delaying tactic is going to be taken into account with regard to my speaking time.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Order! Hon Wiley, are you prepared to take a question or not?
Mr M G E WILEY: No, Sir, I am not.
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Order! Please continue with your speech.
Mr M G E WILEY: The tragedy is that while small politics are being played in this Chamber, this province ... [Interjections] ... the Western Cape Province, had 47 murders last weekend, 45 attempted murders, 129 armed robberies, 362 thefts of motor vehicles and over 70 or 80 women raped, and that is about 10% of the truth. [Interjections.]
The question that has to be addressed to the Minister of Safety and Security, because he said that the taxi violence is as a result of racism and a lack of understanding of democracy in this province, and that this is the number one crime province according to their own police statistics, is: Can he tell us in what way, other than with urban terrorism and now during this taxi violence, has this province been assisted with numeric supplies and other resources, as it is required by law, in order to safeguard the citizenry of this province? [Interjections.]
Since 1995 we have been given 112 new police recruits. I am currently training - because the question was asked where I was, 150 police reservists in an intensive training programme in Oudtshoorn, for which my department pays and which I am not actually allowed to do. I trained over 250 police reservists last year. I found sponsors and we increased the police numbers in this province by 257. [Interjections.] I will increase the police numbers in this province by another 450 during the course of this year, and this is being paid for by sponsors and the public sector at the moment.
I would like to bring to the attention of this Parliament something which is going to increase even more.
Nog misdaadslagoffers eis vergoeding van die Regering. Feit van die saak is, meer en meer mense voel onveilig in hierdie land van ons. Meer en meer mense voel so. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[Still more victims of crime are demanding compensation from the Government. In fact, more and more people are feeling unsafe in this land of ours. More and more people are feeling this way.]
I would have hoped that the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development would have read some of the Hansards. Four years ago, I said to Minister Omar, ``Please, investigate the lay magistrate system practised in the United Kingdom.'' There are 28 lay magistrates. We have the tribal system in this country. We have the lekgotla system just across the border. There are other systems, such as the chiefs system, which we have in this country. Having those legitimised - and it was on our agenda for discussion previously - we can reduce the case-load in our courts almost overnight, as long as those people do not demand a high payment, as the Minister said in his statement only yesterday when he turned the turf for a court in Delft.
I sincerely hope that by turning that turf, the people that will be funded in order to safeguard that court will not be police officers, because on any one day in this province 400 police officers have to be deployed in order to safeguard courts instead of being out on the street. I have to train them in order to put them out on streets as visible police officers. [Interjections.]
Currently in this province 37% of the prison population, which is now over 150% full, is awaiting-trial prisoners. Many of them are being incarcerated under intolerable and inhuman conditions at the moment, because they cannot get into the court system. Many of them are there because they quite simply cannot afford bail for having stolen fruit or something of that nature. Surely, what we need to do ... [Interjections] ... I cannot pay their bail ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mrs E N LUBIDLA: Chairperson, hon Ministers, hon MECs and hon members, a perception is being created that the rate of violence against women and the abuse of children have increased since the ANC took over Government. Those who perpetuate this perception want us to believe that apartheid prevented violence against women or that the end of apartheid has led to the increase of violence against women. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Since 1994, there has been increased awareness of the seriousness of child abuse and violence against women, not only as critical societal problems, but also as crimes. In addition, there is increasing recognition of the often long-lasting psychological effects on children who witness violence, whether or not they are the actual victims. As a result, there has been an increase in the use of criminal and civil processes to address violence and the abuse of children and women in our country.
The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development, in conjunction with the other Ministers in the criminal justice system, was instrumental in this process. Under the leadership of the current Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development and his predecessor emerged a policy and legislative environment which promote the safety of women and children and which protect their rights to freedom from violence. This never happened during the apartheid era. In fact, prior to the ANC taking over the Government, few South African women had access to the judicial system in the manner that they do today.
Under apartheid, victims of women and child abuse were expected to wait in the same area as the accused. Prosecutors rarely consulted with victims before the trial, and the reasons whether to prosecute a case or not were not clearly explained to victims. On the whole, the apartheid courts and their processes were inadequate and entirely unsupportive to victims. The police themselves were not cognisant of the impact which their responses had on victims of domestic and other types of violence. Their actions were marred by a myriad of reasons for nonintervention, including lack of resources, lack of transport, difficulties in securing convictions and a belief that women themselves were responsible for being abused.
It was only after the ANC came to power that these problems began to be addressed. Magistrates, prosecutors and members of the police were sent on special training courses to sensitise them to the needs of women victims. The judiciary has been transformed to ensure greater participation by women on the Bench and special courts were established to deal with sexual offences involving children. Police stations have become community centres where female members of the police are specifically trained to deal with child abuse victims and women who have been violently abused.
The ANC has made a commitment to eradicate violence against women and children, and we have backed up this commitment with laws and institutions which promote the rights of and protect women and children. However, we also understand that neither the criminal justice system nor the social service system alone can prevent violence against women and children. Based on our increasing understanding of the experiences of victims of domestic violence, we know that meaningful strategies of enhancing the safety of women and children require a co-ordinated response in which entire communities must be engaged. It is up to each one of us ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr J S MABONA (Mpumalanga): Chairperson, Minister of Safety and Security, Minister of Correctional Services, Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I thank the House for the opportunity to present my speech on this very important and useful occasion.
Firstly, I just want to say something in relation to what the DP, especially the hon Wiley, has said. It is very unfortunate that the people who were privileged in the past simply kept quiet when black, coloured and Indian people were murdered in this country. [Interjections.]
Mr L G LEVER: Chairperson, I do not believe Mr Wiley has joined the DP. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Order! Hon member, on what point are you rising?
Mr L G LEVER: Chairperson, on a point of information: I do not believe the hon MEC has crossed the floor yet. [Interjections.]
Mr M V MOOSA: Chairperson, on a point of order: There is nothing in the Rules that indicates that a member can stand up on a point of information. There is no such Rule. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Order! Thank you, Mr Moosa. Please continue, hon MEC.
Mr J S MABONA: Chairperson, I am in charge of safety and security in Mpumalanga and I make sure that when people phone me to tell me that a doctor and his wife have been raped by criminals, I stand up and give instructions. I wonder why Mr Wiley does not do that. The public must ask themselves why this is so. We are all aware that policing has been one of the subjects for speculation during the whole period of the old dispensation. This came from a background in which service delivery was not an issue as long as specific ideological objectives were fulfilled.
The new dispensation brought about a turning point in these processes and service delivery became a priority. The police service was expected to conform to different norms in order to ensure that service delivery is a success. In order for the police service to be able to conform to these norms, various legacies of the past were supposed to be eradicated, and this we have done. This process has, indeed, taken place, but old tendencies and habits which still exist leave much to be desired. These tendencies and habits are born of the old culture which can only be changed through a process. It is the effectiveness and the practicability of this process which put service delivery to the test.
The following subjects have a practical bearing on the whole question of service delivery. The first subject is the budget. A unilateral approach has characterised the culture of allocating the budget in the service. Although there are certain factors which are taken into account when allocating the budget, there is no fixed national formula. In addition to this, a central bargaining structure where all provinces can bargain for their share does not exist. The application of the factors against the national allocation is also done without the participation of provinces, something which gives national Government the power to make adjustments unilaterally.
What has also become a disturbing factor in this process is the fact that several components chop and change between the national and provincial levels. This makes the historical data unreliable. Although the provincial allocation for Mpumalanga has not yet been given, we are convinced that it shall be far below our requirements, just as has been the case in the previous financial years. But we must also bear in mind the national considerations.
The second factor is human resource and related problems. Human resource-related problems cover the greatest area in the SAPS. The following are a few subjects covered in this area. The first subject is promotions. A promotions policy was drawn up at the beginning of the new dispensation, but has to date not yet been completed. An interim policy has been used throughout the process, but its disadvantage is the fact that it is characterised by various moratoriums and several conditions. The absence of this policy has completely hampered human resource development and continuity in leadership. The organisation is currently experiencing a concentration of ranks at certain levels, especially at the level of inspector.
An audit for promotion according to the different ranks is not really available in the SAPS. The number of promotions to be effected is always determined by the size of the budget and is only known when applications for those who qualify are called. This is an area which has the greatest impact on service delivery, because it has caused a high state of demoralisation amongst the workforce. How can a person render effective service if he or she is not promoted because of the lack of an effective promotions policy? However, I must say that this is a question that the national Department of Safety and Security is addressing.
The second subject is discipline and racial conflicts. It is also an indisputable fact that discipline in general has deteriorated in the service. One of the contributory factors to this is transformation. Many individuals, especially leaders, earned automatic respect which was created through subserviency to the system. The command language of the leadership of the SAPS also changed and unions also came in to test the negotiation skills of the SAPS managers, including their diplomacy and professional leadership in general.
Leaders and members, in general, are now expected to conform to certain norms, ethics and standards in order to earn dignity and respect. [Interjections.] It has therefore become clear to every member in the service that the Constitution has removed all barriers attached to the system, and they have begun to exercise their rights. Leaders who still relied on the advantages of the system and those who led through command and control began to lose power.
Tension was created between general members and the leadership, which was also fuelled by the advent of the unions. Many of the leaders resorted to command and control for survival and supported their stand with negative discipline.
Having stated the above, we wish to commend the decision by national Commissioner Jackie Selebi to devolve disciplinary powers to the station commanders on the ground. We are confident that if all rules are properly applied we shall get discipline back to all our members. However, we need to caution that one should guard against racially motivated disciplinary action.
Regarding resources and restructuring, the distribution of resources is one of the prominent priorities of the transformation and covert in the dimension for restructuring. The complexity of this subject goes back to the introduction of the new dispensation, when the different agencies were amalgamated. This process was nothing but a flocking of blacks from black areas to former white-dominated areas. This also amounted to a shift of resources from these areas to white-dominated areas.
Mpumalanga is a good example of this, since both the provincial headquarters and all three areas are in the former SAP's F region, all in towns such as Middelburg. No establishment was put in the Kwa-Mhlanga and Mbuzini areas, only small stations. I wish to report that, as the administration is in the process of moving the Highveld headquarters from Middelburg to Kwa-Mhlanga, certain unions, who are obviously still stuck in the past, have declared a dispute against the SAPS. This is really unacceptable. Other quarters have raised business concerns and suggested that moving from Middelburg to Kwa-Mhlanga might prejudice the business prospects of Middelburg. What type of people are we to put more weight on business prospects than on the interests of our people, who were previously disadvantaged and are now desperately in need of policing? [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms N MOKONYANE (Gauteng): Chairperson, I am Mokonyane, not Monkonyane, for the record. I also wish to indicate, with the Chair's permission, that sometimes it is very irresponsible of those who are given executive authority to engage in debates of this nature without showing any serious responsibility in terms of the responsibilities that they have been given. [Interjections.]
I believe, not only as a member of the ANC but as a South African, that we really have to appreciate that there is still much that has to be done. Unfortunately for the people of the Western Cape, everyone in this country has been talking about the serious issue of taxi-bus conflict, but it is not seen as a priority. [Interjections.] Also, the investment in terms of the training of reservists is seen as the domain of an individual rather than a utilisation of public funds. [Interjections.]
On that basis, I believe cheap politics can never prevail, especially when it amounts to a dog barking at a moving car. The car will continue to move irrespective of whether the dog barks or not. [Laughter.] Even if the dog continues to bark at other vehicles, that car will know its destiny, and will never be distracted by a barking dog that does not have a vision. [Laughter.]
I think we also need to appreciate that when millions of people of this country went to the polls last year in order to cast their votes, they had many choices in terms of who to vote for. But, many of them decided to give the ANC a huge mandate to govern this country, because they believed in our policies as well as our strategies. I believe that as this Government we are on track in fulfilling that mandate, despite criticism from various quarters, particularly from those who are sitting in the castles they have created over the years.
The demographics of our province, as well as those of our country, are likely to change within the next five years, and this will require a different approach with regard to crime prevention, both on the side of the SAPS and of various Government departments. This requires all of us to come up with different interventions, based on our local priorities, that will deal with breaking the cycle of violence.
In order to deal with crime effectively, we have identified key priority areas which will be implemented during the current financial year: Violence against women and children; youth crime prevention, which includes the use of firearms and substance abuse; co-ordination of the criminal justice system and liaison with various role-players; the building of good and sound community-police relations, as well as the mobilisation of our communities; ensuring the implementation as well as co-ordination of social crime prevention initiatives, both at provincial and local level; and monitoring police performance and assessing the effectiveness of visible policing in the province. These are the priorities that we have identified and the executive authority has actually taken responsibility.
I really find it quite disgusting that sitting here today are other members of executive councils who want to abdicate the responsibility of introducing social crime prevention strategies, and make that the responsibility of the police while projecting that all is lost in this country. I believe members also have to come to this House and account as members of executive councils. [Interjections.]
Our plans are still based on policies as well as legislation that have been passed by both national and provincial parliaments. During this financial year Gauteng has already started implementing various interventions which will lead to the co-ordination of crime prevention initiatives. We are already complementing efforts developed by the SAPS by mobilising the public at large to play an active part in crime prevention initiatives. We are not just getting telephone calls, but we are with the people where they actually encounter problems, and together with them we are trying to find solutions.
I believe that at both the national and provincial levels we have developed a comprehensive plan not only to deal with the containment of crime as a short-term strategy, but also to enable us to prevent crime and to deal with it in the long term.
I think that all members will agree with me that the active involvement of our communities in working with different law enforcement agencies is of critical importance. We have made and will continue to make appeals that Government and the SAPS alone cannot and will not deal with crime on their own. It is therefore imperative for various communities, irrespective of political affiliation, as well as individuals to get involved. We will continue to come up with new ways and methods of ensuring that the men and women in uniform receive maximum support from the public.
Of course we also want to pose a challenge to the cluster that those men and women in uniform also deserve to be given the rewards that they deserve, because we appreciate the risks that they are faced with. We believe that they cannot be treated like any typist or receptionist in the Public Service. Their remuneration must be linked to the risks that they are exposed to. [Applause.]
We have witnessed the disruption of schools in areas such as Alexandra and KwaThema in Gauteng, and this is of great concern to us, because children are the future leaders of this country. But we are not going to be intimidated by a small group of unruly elements. Together with the Department of Education, we are already implementing various projects aimed at ensuring that we restore the culture of learning and teaching. Our primary aim is to mobilise students, parents, teachers, the SAPS, as well as the entire community to jointly find solutions.
Crimes against women and children are of great concern to each and every member of the public. Our assessment of the impact of the Domestic Violence Act has shown that there is a need to train members to further co-ordinate and allocate new resources within the criminal justice system. Improved service delivery by the SAPS to communities is of importance and should be encouraged at all times so as to build public confidence. Quality service delivery can be realised if business and other institutions can commit themselves to assist with resources that are lacking.
The groundwork that we have done so far in Gauteng with regard to the implementation of municipal policing will also greatly assist us in speeding up the processes once the demarcation processes have been finalised. Through this programme we will ensure that we reclaim our cities and make them viable for business purposes.
The transformation of the SAPS is one of the major issues. The transformation process that we want to see should be able to deal with issues such as representivity, business practices and the new organisational culture within the SAPS.
The process of co-ordinating activities within the various units of the criminal justice system at provincial level will further ensure that we are project-driven and able to talk to one another from time to time.
The challenge facing our national Government and the provinces is dealing with public perceptions and, unfortunately, perceptions regarding those who hold public office, particularly with regard to the inability of the police to deal with crime. We are also faced with the problem of how to ensure that developmental programmes take on board the social crime-prevention issues. What matters most to us are the people from disadvantaged communities, those who have been victims of the bus and taxi violence here in the Western Cape. [Interjections.] Most of the people in these areas do not have access to information and, therefore, our education programmes must reach them. [Interjections.]
I want to reiterate that we have to address the conditions of employment of members of the SAPS, as well as the wages or allowances granted to them, in accordance with the sacrifices they make and the risks they take. I also wish to urge this House to put politics aside if we really want to make sure that we succeed. [Interjections.] All is not lost.
We will give support to the cluster and, more importantly, to those men and women in uniform. [Applause.]
Mr L G LEVER: Chairperson, hon Ministers, members of executive councils and members, this review debate is of great significance because it involves three Ministries whose area of responsibility and performance affects every person living in our country.
Although politicians and academics may abuse statistics to portray a situation to suit their individual purposes, it is no secret that our country is racked by crime, our judicial system is choked by backlogs, our prisons are bursting at the seams, and that our police force is underresourced and appears to be demoralised. Certainly, an honest assessment of the underlying causes of these problems is necessary, but the time for workshops or talk shops with no action has passed.
The hon the Minister of Justice made a vague statement today that magistrates are now working upwards of four and a half hours. Perhaps he will tell us what the actual average is. However, aside from wrangling over what the hours are, we need to ask: How did the situation arise? What is being done to correct it? How can we justify what is being spent on magistrates' courts if they only work slightly more than half a working day? Is the public getting value for money?
There were reports in the media yesterday that two alleged murderers walked free from a court in Pretoria as a result of bureaucratic bungling. The SA Press Association reports that the prosecutor could not find the docket and withdrew the charges. [Interjections.] The police now have to launch a manhunt to rearrest these people. In these circumstances it is not difficult to understand why the police are demoralised. These incidents and facts undermine the confidence of the public in the judicial system. The mere fact that organisations such as Mapogo a Mathamaga exist at all shows how far down this road we have already travelled. [Interjections.]
The standing of the courts was further undermined when an official of the ANC, Mr Smuts Ngonyama, accused the Supreme Court of Appeal of racial bias in the Boesak case. For the second time in a relatively short period the Chief Justice and President of the Constitutional Court had to rush to the defence of the judiciary.
Ironically, the Department of Justice has to grapple with fraud, corruption and criminality within its own ranks. The latest Auditor-General's report on the Department of Justice, for the year ending on 31 March 1999, revealed that R2 545 170 worth of warrant vouchers were fraudulently acquired and traded. This could not have been accomplished without the collusion of members of the Department of Justice.
What needs to be done? Firstly, corrupt officials need to be rooted out. The country cannot afford to play the ANC's own particular brand of musical chairs, in which a corrupt official is merely transferred from one post to another or, after a few months out of the public eye, shows up in his old post as if nothing has happened.
Secondly, hands-on management is required. The department's problems will not be solved by simply throwing money at them. The Minister has to ensure that the money is being used for the purpose for which it is intended. There is no room for squandering and waste. The short-term, medium-term and long-term goals of the department must be attained. The Minister has to ensure that discipline is restored to the department. Magistrates and prosecutors must fulfil their duties diligently. Court backlogs must be brought under control. The public's confidence in the judicial system must be restored as quickly as possible.
In the briefing by the Department of Correctional Services we were informed that most of the escapes from custody occurred ... [Time expired.]
Mr T S SETONA: Chairperson, hon Minister of Safety and Security Mr Steve Tshwete, hon Minister of Justice Mr Maduna, hon Minister of Correctional Services Mr Ben Skosana, MECs and special delegates from provinces and fellow colleagues in the National Council of Provinces, I am, indeed, honoured to be participating in this debate this afternoon.
After the Ministers had spoken, I tried from the point of view of being a member of the ANC, to get words of wisdom from our fellow members on the other side, that is, the opposition, but I really drew few lessons. I heard some sense in what Mr Kent Durr said today, at least. All the others have been teaching us about statistics. They have been telling us about the failure of the Government, and have been singing the praises of criminals, telling the public out there that criminals will continue to hold this country to ransom because the Government is weak. I think we must not allow ourselves to be intimidated by the attitude of those hon members.
Allow me to join others in echoing my support for the Ministries, the departments and the Government at large for a job well done in re-engineering the criminal justice system to meet the challenges of making our beloved country, South Africa, a crime-free society.
Our support for the Ministers will never be complete if we do not equally give accolades to men and women in the Police Service, the justice system and Correctional Services who, under the most difficult circumstances, are unwavering in their commitment to making our country a crime-free society.
Indeed, the successes of this Government against crime must be attributed equally to the increasing support that the police continue to receive from our communities, from ordinary men and women in the streets of our townships. Accordingly, for millions of our people who were subjected to social deprivation for many decades, a new season of hope has dawned because, for the first time a child can report an indecent assault, for the first time a mother can report all forms of abuse, even by her spouse, and an ordinary citizen can report any form of corruption committed by any officer in the Police Service or justice system.
I do not think it is my duty to remind some of the speakers, particularly Mr Lever and company, that there never was a criminal justice system in this country before April 27, 1994. [Interjections.] What we had in this country before that particular period was a system of policing which was based on racism, a system that was based on the oppression of the black majority of this country. We are undoing this. In this process, the selfsame creators of the same institution come back and tell us that we are not doing enough. I do not think that we should be intimidated by this chorus of hopelessness.
Quite clearly, a culture of silence against crime, engineered for many decades of colonial rule, has been broken down in six years' time. It has been built over more than 40 years, since 1948 when the NP took over. In six years we have broken that culture of silence. People are able to report criminal offences to the police and relevant authorities.
The renewed confidence in the criminal justice system has not been brought about by speeches. I think we need to understand that and the MEC from Gauteng has alluded to it. It has been brought about by the concerted effort of our Government in partnership with our people. That is very important and critical - it was achieved in partnership with our people. We are engaging everyone, those who agree with us and those who do not agree with us, to say this is the line we want to take in terms of creating a South Africa which is free from crime. I am inviting the fellows from the Western Cape, in particular Mr Wiley, to join us in that particular march. [Interjections.] Whilst the prophets of doom continue with their chorus of hopelessness about the inability of Government to bring the levels of crime down in this country, our Government and our people are firm and unflinching in their resolve to combat crime.
Allow me to highlight some critical initiatives that the provincial government of the Free State is unleashing to maximise the capacity of the South African Police Service in combating crime in the province, through a provincial policing plan which is in line with the national plan. This plan entails the following critical action areas. The first is combating organised crime. The second is combating crime against women and children. Thirdly, the aim is to combat serious violent crimes. In the fourth place, the aim is to combat provincial priority crimes. In the fifth place, the aim is to enhance budget and resource management. Other aims are enhancing human resource management, enhancing basic service delivery to all communities, and enhancing transformation.
Having enumerated these programme areas, allow me to join the MEC from Gauteng to once again challenge the Western Cape delegate to tell us what it is that he is doing to combat taxi violence that is rife in the Western Cape. [Interjections.] What is it that he and his government are doing to ensure that there is no crime in Gugulethu and Nyanga, and that there is no crime in the entire Western Cape? [Interjections.] We want to benefit from that.
Whilst energy and resources continue to be harnessed against crime, the problem of the colour line remains an issue to be resolved by this country, particularly in the police service. This relates to the mind-sets and attitudes within the police service, the composition of the management structure, and their common commitment and loyalty to the country's ideal of a nonracial, transparent and efficient police service.
Whilst we appreciate the difficulties underpinning the transformation process in the police service, it should, however, be noted that the implementation of affirmative action is taking place at a very slow pace and this matter must receive attention. I would like to refer the Minister to a case at Bloemspruit Police Station next to Bloemfontein, where a junior black official arrested a senior white official for corruption, and this official was simply released on the directive of an area commissioner who happened to be white. I am not playing cheap politics here, I am relating a fact. [Interjections.] I am saying ... [Time expired.] [Applause.] [Interjections.]
The MINISTER OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Chairperson, I see knobkerries coming this way ... [Laughter] ... but I know it will be knobkerries of education, and not physical ones. First, just to respond to one or two points, and because I do not have much time to do that, there was a question on the meeting between the Directors-General of Correctional Services and Justice. Now I am informed ... The questioner is not here, so I do not know whether I should continue with this. I will do it for the sake of the House. I am informed that the meeting is ongoing and that it will continue next week, but the essence of the meeting which the member was asking about, was in fact to look at the possibilities of finding alternative accommodation in order to house those children who are in Pollsmoor and to transfer them to a place of safety, so as to alleviate the overcrowding there.
I am also informed that today at 14:00 there was a meeting between the Director of Public Prosecutions, the President of the Regional Court, the regional head and representatives of SAPS and Correctional Services, who also met with the MEC responsible for welfare in the Western Cape, just to look at how to implement the above efforts in order to mobilise assistance and resources. I must also add that it has become imperative that these efforts are replicated in other provinces where the plight of children and overcrowding are also in existence. It is not only in the Western Cape that this happens, and therefore this ought to be used as a pilot project to do so in other provinces.
Secondly, I want to respond to the question of understaffing or inadequate staffing. Yes, I mentioned that, that when it comes to escapes, one of the causes of those escapes is the inadequate staffing in some of our prisons. So we do suffer that problem which the other member mentioned.
The question of overpopulation and overcrowding sometimes reminds me, especially when the criticism is levelled at us, of when I was growing up. Older boys would sit next to the road, and when one passed by, they would just call one and ask why one was so ugly, and then start slapping one around and hitting one for being ugly. Or sometimes one would stare in their direction and they would say ``What are you looking at?'' I am sure a lot of people have experienced that. Then they would slap one around just for looking in their direction.
Now, I want to say to hon Mr Wiley that the police have arrested people, and there is a figure of 37% of overcrowding in the prisons in the Western Cape. The police are arresting people. They are doing their job, arresting these people, and that member's police are doing that, which is a good job, and the courts are also processing these people. They must go to prison. I am responsible for prisons and therefore they are coming to prisons. I cannot tell the police not to arrest people now because the prisons are full. I cannot say to the courts not to do that to juveniles or children. I can only ask where there are other places where we can keep these people, but if they are supposed to go to prison, they go to prison, where we are responsible. I feel that sometimes I am simply being slapped for being ugly. The prisons are overcrowded and I am now responsible and slapped for being ugly. [Laughter.] [Time expired.]
The MINISTER OF SAFETY AND SECURITY: Chairperson, I want to start with hon Mr Wiley. [Interjections.] [Laughter.] That hon member reports to this Chamber that a friend of his and his wife, both doctors, experienced a particular happening, a burglary in their surgery, and the police were not keen to take up the matter for investigation and, ultimately, prosecution.
According to what that hon member said, if we heard him properly, the matter is in his department. This is a typical example, of a man who has been given responsibility by this coalition of theirs here, to look after the safety and security of the people of this province.
There are constitutional structures that are in place, and that are supposed to be dealing with cases of the nature he was reporting for political gain in this House. There is the Independent Complaints Directorate, which is the appropriate body - not that little office of his - to deal with cases of insubordination and dereliction of duty on the part of police officers. He does not do that. He did not go to the ICD to report that this police officer had told his doctor friend that he was not going to take the case forward. [Interjections.] He did not go to the ICD. That is a constitutional structure that is supposed to be dealing with cases of misbehaviour in the Police Service. He did not do that, because, at heart, he is not interested in the proper policing in this province, and he has never been, from 1948. His obsession, right up to when he lost power, as a party and even himself as an individual, was to see massive deployment of soldiers and police, true to type of the NP in the apartheid era. That is what they believed in.
They never created any basis for proper policing in this country. They never did, for many years. He talks here with passion and makes a lot of noise about policing that he knows nothing about. He has never been associated with any culture of policing. [Applause.] It is for the first time ...
Mr M G E WILEY (Western Cape): Madam Chair, I wonder if the Minister will take a simple question?
HON MEMBERS: No!
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Minister, could you take your seat? You are not the Minister, hon members. The Minister will answer whether or not he will take a question. That is the Rule. Minister, are you prepared to take a question?
The MINISTER: Madam Chair, I am answering the questions which have been asked in their major interventions. I am not going to answer any question right now, I am going to maul him, right now. That is my business. [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I do not know if I will allow mauling.
The MINISTER: Chairperson, he has never been, at any given point in time, associated with any culture of policing - himself, as an individual, and his party, as well. They do not have respect for the SA Police Service and they do not pay allegiance to it. They are using the issue of crime as a matter of salvaging the dying fortunes of their party. That is what they are trying to do.
He went further to say that he was recruiting, and that they are going to increase the police in his province here. Again this is pigeonholed and circumscribed to this little province, and he is saying that he is going to increase it to so many thousands. That is fine. At the end of the day, the policing in this country - and even the recruitment of the police - is the responsibility of the National Commissioner of the SA Police Service, the custodian of the SA Police Service; not the wiry Wiley somewhere in Cape Town. [Laughter.] That is his responsibility.
Even if the Constitution did allow him to do that and even if he had all the will to do it - to finance, as he is saying, from his own pocket and from the pocket of his party, that party is going to die before the end of this year. [Laughter.] That party has become a very fertile poaching ground for the DP.
What is going to happen to these thousands that he is financing? He is creating a situation similar to the one created by one of his friends in the Transkei, the UDM leader. He is misleading the police into believing that he is the person. And when he is gone, before the end of the year, what is going to happen to those thousands? They will be marauding around, creating problems. [Interjections.]
He has been asked a specific question here: What is he doing to resolve the bus-taxi problem here? He, again, wants to create criminals out of that situation. He was quoted in the media as saying that the police have been appealed to by the national commissioner's head office in Pretoria to go ``softly, softly, and softly'', because he is being used, and he has not denied it. He should have denied it because it was in the media, but he has not said a word to the effect that that was not what he said. In fact, he should have said it when he was making his major intervention here. He is interested in that massive deployment which was typical of the erstwhile NP. That is what he wanted to do, and to criminalise all those bus drivers and taxi drivers in that situation; and then he comes back to say that crime levels are rising here. He must not dare raise dust and thereafter complain that he cannot see. [Interjections.]
The problem around the bus-taxi issue is a political problem. [Interjections.] He is refusing to attend to it politically, because it is not in the nature of his party, and himself as an individual, to seek political solutions. It is not at all in his nature to do so. [Interjections.] And he is saying here that there is less urgency on the part of the three Ministers in dealing with these issues. Again, that is an indication of the mind of a person who is a total stranger to the truth. [Laughter.] A total stranger to the truth.
In June last year, the President said that we must create an elite crack force to deal with specified types of crime. Within no time, that force was established, and a piece of legislation giving it legal backing will be enacted before the end of this year. That is urgency. However, as a party they have been in power for more than four decades, but it never crossed their little minds that we needed, like other civilised countries have, done, a specialist unit to deal with cases of a particular nature, because all they were interested in was kitskonstabels [special constables], De Kocks, and the rest of them, to fight against people who were fighting for liberation.
Those kitskonstabels [special constables] are the very same people he was complaining about in our Minmecs. [Interjections.] What is he doing about these 30 000 people who are functionally illiterate? And he conveniently forgets that that is his own creation. They, as a party, recruited those people.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I beg your pardon, hon Minister. Yes, Mr Wiley?
Mr M G E WILEY (Western Cape): Madam Chairperson, the hon the Minister is misleading this House.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: On what basis are you making this statement?
Mr M G E WILEY (Western Cape): The Minister is accusing me of having trained or deployed kitskonstabels [special constables]. I had nothing to do with them. [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Minister, will you continue.
The MINISTER: And the issue of numbers in modern policing is not the issue. The issue, as Mr Wiley and his ilk should know, is technology. That is the issue today. They are still trapped in the twilight of the past. They are cheeky and they do not want to move out of that past. It is not numbers. In any other field that we are talking about, we are talking about technology.
It is precisely on that score that this Minister, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development, and I went to the United Kingdom to explore ways and means of upgrading, technologically, the investigative capacity of the members of the SA Police Service, because it was never in the NP's scheme of things to introduce that when it was in power. All the NP gave them were these sjamboks ... [Laughter.] All they gave them were guns to skiet and donder [shoot and assault]. That is all they gave them. [Laughter.]
We are in a new era all together. Six years down the democracy line, we are talking about the transformation of the entire fortunes of the SA Police, including the manner of investigation and docketing. That is why we have the secretariat and the Independent Complaints Directorate today. It is because of the demands of the objective scientific situation in which we find ourselves today.
Numbers are not an issue. At any rate, even if we were to take the issue of numbers into account and project it to the fore, which is the NP's main obsession, South Africa is still fairing and comparing very well. We saw the statistics at our Minmec meeting which indicate the ratio of one police officer per the number of people in other countries and in South Africa. We are doing pretty well in so far as those numbers are concerned. We are going to strive to stabilise the SA Police Service at around 127 000 members, and there it shall remain. What we are going to do is step up the scientific and technological advancement of the members of the SA Police Service.
Unlike the Western Cape MEC, we rely on people, just like the MEC from Gauteng and, of course, other MECs. Even if he had a million men and women to police the Western Cape, he would still contend with the problem of crime, as long as he is not mobilising the one major resource against crime, and that is the people of this province. The MEC does not have the capacity to mobilise them because he has antagonised them for a long time. He cannot go to Langa, Khayelitsha, or Mitchells Plain and mobilise those people, because his party is a skunk, it smells, and it is repugnant in the nostrils of the people of the Western Cape. [Laughter.] That is why he cannot place any reliance on mass mobilisation against crime. He cannot do that which is an open sesame to a successful vanquishing of crime.
He should mobilise the people and the schoolchildren against drugs. He should mobilise the communities against buying stolen goods and thereby turning themselves into lucrative markets for thieves. He should mobilise the people. However, it is not in the NP's nature as a political party to mobilise the people. He should just forget about it.
Furthermore, even his friend is poaching their people. He is gone now. [Laughter.] [Interjections.] Oh! there he is. He belongs to the DP which has become the dumping pit for all elements that cannot accept change or transformation in this country. [Laughter.] They find their way into the DP, which is an abbreviation for dumping pit. [Laughter.] He is making a statement ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon Minister, could you take your seat, please.
Mr C ACKERMANN: Chairperson, on a point of order: when referring to all animals, is the Minister talking about the people or citizens in this country? Who is he referring to when he says ``all animals''? [Interjections.]
The MINISTER: Animals like you.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Hon Minister, it is not parliamentary to refer to members as animals.
The MINISTER: Madam Chair, I said an animal like him, not that he himself is an animal. [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! It is not parliamentary. Please withdraw the remark and do not use it again.
The MINISTER: I withdraw the remark.
An HON MEMBER: Are you withdrawing?
The MINISTER: I am not. [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! The Minister withdrew his remark. You should have been listening.
The MINISTER: Chairperson, his friend says that the SA Police Service is demoralised. He is another stranger to the truth! He is living somewhere on the moon, not on this planet. If the SA Police Service ever enjoyed a moment of high morale, that time is now. We are with them day and night, in the rain, in the heat, and they are there. That is why the numbers of arrested criminals has risen to a point where that Minister has to contend with the problem of overcrowding in prisons. It is precisely because of the high morale among the members of the SA Police Service.
The NP and the DP want to demoralise them. They are shouting in this House and in the other one that there is demoralisation in the ranks of the SAPS. That is a blatant untruth. There is nothing of the kind. Their morale is high, and those parties are not going to succeed in demoralising the members of the SA Police Service. There they are in the gallery. [Laughter.] [Applause.] They are not going to demoralise them. They want to demoralise them, because they are waiting anxiously in the wings for a moment when we will not be able to overcome crime in this country. Every success that the police officers are achieving is driven right down to the bottom of their hearts like an iron nail, causing their ventricles to bleed profusely. Every time there is a major breakthrough, they become worried because they have nothing to say - they have no politics. There is no demoralisation in the SA Police Service. That is ... [Inaudible.] [Interjections.]
The issue of the underresourcing of the police started with them. The state of police stations in Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and Motherwell in PE - that colonial setting - was created by this vociferous loud-mouthed NP we hear today. [Laughter.] They created that over a period of 40 years, consistently doing that kind of thing. They think that within six years - only six years - we can magically turn around the situation. We cannot do that. It is said that any mule - like the NP - can break any door anywhere, but that it takes a good carpenter to repair one. We are the carpenters. [Laughter.] [Applause.] We are repairing the doors that they broke. We have in place a budget of approximately R995 million to attend specifically to those colonial shacks that they left when they lost power in 1994. We are rebuilding those police stations.
In the course of last year alone, over 30 new police stations were built in this country. [Applause.] We are in the process of building those police stations, and we are going to ... n[Interjections] ... How many did the NP build in over 40 years in power? [Laughter.] They built nothing. They left nothing. We are starting from scratch. In fact, we are not starting from scratch, but from a total zero. Scratch is better because there is something that one can call scratch. [Laughter.] There is absolutely nothing. It is a void. We are starting from a void.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I am afraid your time has expired, hon Minister.
The MINISTER: It is a pity. [Laughter.] [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Well, I am pleased to see that the Minister was able to revive the members of the NCOP into some life. [Laughter.] Mr Ackermann, the debate on this Vote has been concluded.
Mr C ACKERMAN: Chairperson, on a point of order: Corporal punishment is unconstitutional. The Minister threatened my MEC with a cane. [Interjections.] I want your ruling on that. [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! That is not a point of order. [Laughter.] Could I have some order in the House, please. Could hon members leave in an orderly manner. You are disrupting the proceedings of the House.
VOTING ON DECISION IN ORDER NO 2
The Council voted as follows on the decision postponed in Order No 2: Bill agreed to in accordance with section 75 of the Constitution.
SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL FOR EDUCATORS BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Minister Asmal, welcome to the NCOP.
The MINISTER OF EDUCATION: Madam Chairperson, Assalaamu-alay-kum [Peace be upon you].
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Wa-alay-kum-salaam. [Peace be upon you too].
The MINISTER: Chairperson, hon members, I am sorry to transfer from that very lively and livening period that members have just witnessed to a much more mundane but fairly important measure.
One of the five programmes of Tirisano aims to, I quote, ``enhance the effectiveness of schools and to promote educator professionalism''. The legislation which I am introducing today will do both of these by giving effect to the need for a tangible expression of educator professionalism and a certain belief that schools with professional staff are more effective schools.
There are different ways and various means to promote educator professionalism. These include developmental approaches, regulatory frameworks and promotional work. In respect of developmental approaches, these include the offering of in-service teacher education programmes, which will be done in terms of the framework which is currently being prepared. We will also look at the education sector training authority under the Skills Development Levies Act as a mechanism to expand and improve training in the sector.
Regulatory frameworks include the norms and standards for educators, which were published earlier this year. These define the roles and competences of an educator and provide a useful benchmark to ensure that our programmes and teachers are of good quality. We will also be introducing legislation this year which will amend disciplinary procedures in education so that cases of misconduct can be speedily and effectively dealt with at an appropriate level. But, these are the formal aspects of professional development with training for future qualifications and ensuring disciplined behaviour by educators.
The third leg, the promotional leg, as I call it, is just as important. The purpose of this leg is to enable and assist the public to construct a new image of teachers. The status of teachers appears to have declined over the past two decades, and the very notion of educator professionalism has become contested and discredited. This is a worldwide problem, I must say. As long ago as 1966, Unesco and the International Labour Organisation tabled a recommendation concerning the status of teachers. In the foreword to the 1998 World Education Report, the former director-general of Unesco stated that the 1966 report is especially relevant today, and he asserts, I quote, that `` the teachers in particular need our encouragement and support''.
In our country, the image of teachers has been battered by many factors. These began with the deprofessionalisation of teachers, especially black teachers under apartheid, who were expected to be uncritical and low-paid functionaries. A professional was defined by the NP government as non-political and subservient, as I myself experienced as a school teacher under this regime 40 years ago. They were without any civil liberties and civil rights whatsoever. Many teachers bought into this definition. Many teachers of all races bought into this definition of nonprofessionalism to secure their own places in the system, and particularly their promotion. Others rightly rejected this understanding, but without creating a viable liberatory model of professionalism.
These situations reflected in the divisions that arose out of the repression of teachers in the 1980s and the resulting resistance. When artificial distinction was raised between the so-called professionals and workers, a new professionalism which embodied the material, political and pedagogical or teaching arena emerged in South Africa and elsewhere when teachers established unions to simultaneously pursue professional and labour-related issues. As the current Minister of Labour put it in his position as president of Sadtu a few years ago, I quote:
The conditions under which teachers teach are the same as those under which learners learn. We cannot separate the learning process and the conditions which surround it.
More recently, the rationalisation and redeployment process has also affected morale, and many teachers felt unwanted and surplus to requirements. This redeployment, which we called equity redeployment, was a necessary but painful process, and I am glad to be able to announce that we are now in a position to terminate and end this special equity-driven initiative at the end of this month. It is now time to right all these wrongs and to rebuild the professionalism of our teachers.
We all recognise the need for a cadre of well-trained, reliable and professional educators who are trusted by the public they must serve. One way of doing this is by holding up as role models those very brave, underfinanced and often undertrained teachers who meet this definition of professionalism by praising and rewarding them. This is being done through the National Teacher Awards scheme which I launched two weeks ago in Johannesburg. The awards will be made on 5 October, World Teachers' Day.
The other means of enhancing the sense of teachers is through the establishment of a really credible and accountable professional council which will provide a guarantee of quality in respect of the services obtained from registered teachers. This is the aim of the legislation that is now before members. We have put before this House a Bill which will provide for the revitalisation of the professional council for educators. This council was originally established by collective agreement between trade unions and the national Department of Education.
This council, thereafter, had a temporary legislative home as a chapter of the Employment of Educators Act. We are past masters at passing a huge raft of Bills in this country. Neither of these was a satisfactory location for the council since they both related to an employer-employee relationship. This relationship has undermined the collegial nature of the council with discussions and decisions of the council often being partisan and adversarial, which is not the function of a professional body.
This council now before members is set to make a fresh start under the new legislation. The primary functions have not changed in this newly constituted council, and the council will remain responsible for registering, first of all, qualified educators; secondly, for promoting the development of the profession and thirdly, for ensuring that educators abide by a code of professional ethics. The scope of the council has been extended by the inclusion of the early childhood development sector, adult educators and teachers in independent schools. I must praise these sectors for the willingness they have shown to be part of this council which bodes well for the future, because we will now be inserting true professionalism over the whole gamut of the teaching profession.
But there is now a dynamic which will ensure that the functions of the council are pursued with greater vigour, greater unity of purpose and with the interests of education and in particular of children held uppermost. This new dynamic will come about as a result of a number of innovations and changes in the Bill, including the fact that the council will in future be made up of a much wider variety of participants, reflecting the extent and scope of the council. These participants will include the organised teaching profession, rightly comprising the majority in the council, as well as representatives nominated by school governing body associations, the early childhood education sector, the adult basic education training sector, further and higher education sectors and also of course the independent schools.
This will ensure that the council does not follow the pattern of too many other professional councils, especially that of my own profession, the legal profession, which have become self-serving, protectionist instruments, defending the profession against the interests of the public. This council will therefore repudiate Jeremy Bentham's famous dictum that all professions are a conspiracy against the public. By contrast, this council will serve the public by calling to account educators who do not provide a quality education service. Such service is defined by the code of professional ethics, which defines how an educator should relate to his or her learners, to colleagues, parents and the broader community. Any breach of this code will be investigated and, if necessary, pursued by the council with the authority it will have to take appropriate disciplinary action.
This public accountability will be improved and enhanced by two other factors. Firstly, all members of the council will be appointed by the Minister. They will therefore, although they represent different sectors, owe their allegiance to the council and the profession and not to any constituency which has made the nomination for appointment.
Secondly, the chairperson of the council will be appointed by the Minister on the recommendation of the council. This chairperson will be empowered to act with confidence in leading the council with the full authority conferred in the national interest. Where firm decisions need to be taken, these will not be influenced by the interests of one or the other constituency. I was therefore rather perturbed by a reaction from some quarters which questioned this approach of appointing the chairperson of the council.
These are the formal elements of this Bill, which alone should provide for the revitalisation of this council. But there is more. I have attempted to inject into this council a dose of commitment, a professional commitment to serving the interests of the profession and of education, on a voluntary basis - something new in South Africa.
I have reached an understanding with the chief executive officer of the council, that the council will not under ordinary circumstances convene a sitting of the council during school hours. Meetings will be held after hours, at weekends and during school holidays, to ensure that this council will not be accused of destabilising schools or interfering with the normal teaching routines.
This House should also note that apart from the chairperson, who will have a very heavy load, no member of the council will be paid for participation in the council. This is also a new departure in our country. Service to the council will be voluntary and not based on personal enrichment, but on the will and ability of the 30 persons who will be appointed to this council. These aspects are most important, since members of the council should be role models in respect of the ethos of voluntary involvement and commitment which we need so direly in our education system.
Now is the time also for ordinary people to make the contribution to education. We cannot claim that all citizens of this country have fully embraced the spirit of voluntary work upon which this country will be made great. The principle embodied in this legislation is that of public scrutiny of the teaching profession. Through this council the public will recognise and appreciate the contribution of teachers to building this nation. But there will also be an opportunity to weed out those who are not up to scratch, who do not act in accordance with the values and ethics of our new democracy.
The Bill also asserts the view that all of us, as citizens and whatever our own levels of education, know what it is that we want from our public servants, the teachers. It is also founded on the assumption that ordinary people, representatives of the citizens, will also make themselves available to serve and ensure that we receive the quality we expect. This association therefore is no abstract matter. It gives us the means to influence what happens to our children everyday at school.
We have promised, rightly, a better life for all. We are beginning to deliver on that promise. But we never said that we could do it alone. All of us must play our part, on the basis that we are beginning on a new route to establish, not a culture because a culture is an evolving matter, a habit of mind, but a commitment. We can commit ourselves to a new way of doing things. I therefore have pleasure in commending this important measure to the NCOP. [Applause.]
Mr D M KGWARE: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon special delegates present here, hon members, we have received the Bill which was referred to the select committee. It is only proper to indicate that the Bill has gone through all the stages, including the provinces, inputs, public hearings and briefing by the department, and we are satisfied as a committee that the Bill is suitable. With these few words, I would now like to wear the other cap, because I am standing here representing the province.
The debate on the South African Council for Educators Bill provides us once more with an opportunity to engage in a vigorous debate. Since our democratic Government came to power, a lot of progressive legislation has been put in place to enhance the transformation of our country. In pursuance of this transformation it is necessary for us to review our approach from time to time.
The SA Council for Educators was initially established in terms of a collective agreement reached in the Education Labour Relations Council. The resolution spelt out the objectives, composition, powers and functions of the council. It was to replace the Teachers Federal Council, a creation of the apartheid government accommodating only white educators. The SA Council for Education was subsequently established in terms of the Educators' Employment Act in October 1998. This was informed by an understanding amongst stakeholders that a regulatory body like SACE has to be inclusive of the stakeholders and does not fall within the domain of collective bargaining. It was also understood that this was a temporary measure, as SACE required its own Act.
The South African Council for Educators Bill provides for some effective measures of control by educators and other stakeholders, accepting that the state must continue to ensure the provision of an efficient system of education. The scope of SACE must not be limited to educators employed in terms of the legislation of 1998, but must include educators at independent schools, educators employed by governing bodies, as well as adult basic education and training and higher education practitioners.
The Bill does not deviate from the fundamental principle of the SA Council for Education, which is founded on the promotion and development of the teaching profession, the establishment of a registrar of educators, and the establishment and maintenance of a code of professional ethics for educators. SACE is not a disciplinary arm of Government, but should enhance greater discipline amongst educators, not with the intention to witch-hunt educators but rather to intervene in a professionally sound manner.
The composition of the council as proposed is inclusive of all stakeholders, that is educators, representatives of education departments, school governing bodies or SGBs, higher education institutions, further education and training, and private and independent schools.
For greater accountability, the Minister must approve the statement of income and expenditure of the council.
In conclusion, the SA Council for Educators should remain committed to high standards in education to ensure that our educators are productive in a pluralistic and interrelated global world. It is the responsibility of every citizen to ensure that the image and dignity of the teaching profession is ameliorated. [Applause.]
Mr N M RAJU: Chairperson, hon Minister Asmal, hon MECs from the provinces, special delegates and dear colleagues, I mentioned once before in this august House that the DP, though in opposition to the Government, will not oppose every piece of legislation that is brought before the House. We see this Bill, the South African Council for Educators Bill, as a piece of legislation that should be supported, and I have pleasure in doing so on behalf of the DP. At least on this occasion I will be spared the mandatory ministerial chastisement for presenting opposition to Bills presented in this House.
Let us quickly traverse the terrain before the South African Council for Educators Bill came about in its present form. When the SA Council for Educators was established in 1995 it was, understandably, perceived to be an extension of the Education Labour Relations Council. The idea of a professional body which would promote and control the teaching profession, as intended, was thus diminished to some extent. This shortcoming was redressed in 1998 when the Employment of Educators Bill was tabled in Parliament. The Bill was amended to include Chapter 6, which converts the SA Council for Educators from a labour-oriented body to a statutory body, thereby ensuring that the SA Council for Educators would be regarded as an independent professional body outside the influence of the Education Labour Relations Council.
However, the SA Council for Educators, as a statutory body, was found wanting in one important respect. The scope for application of this professional body was restricted to educators in public schools and public learning centres, and was not applicable to private or independent institutions. Hence, the need for a comprehensive, all-inclusive professional body to regulate the whole teaching profession wherever educators may be employed. This new SA Council for Educators will thus have a new face.
Furthermore, it will not only develop, maintain and promote the image of the profession, but also place professional ethics for educators on a distinct plane. The Minister, of course, will ensure that the SA Council for Educators will function in a transparent manner and that it does not function in such a manner that it would be inaccessible to educators at large.
The DP cannot but support the good intentions of the hon the Minister in proposing such a Bill, which would clearly elevate the status of educators and their professional conduct and ethics to a higher plateau.
Finally, I want to compliment the Ministry for the manner in which the Bill was presented to the select committee, and the accommodating manner in which the amendments were received. The DP particularly welcomes the amendments now contained in clause 6(5) under ``composition of council'', as well as clause 7, regarding the appointment of the chairperson by the Minister.
Finally, I reiterate that my party has pleasure in supporting this piece of legislation. [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! I have noticed that the Minister of Education has brought a traditional weapon into this House. I am not quite sure why, but I hope it is not to be wielded against any of us. [Interjections.]
Mr L SUKA: Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members, I want to speak in support of this Bill which is an important event in the transformation of education. In other words, the Minister has walked his talk.
By creating a professional home for teachers, the Bill will serve to enhance the status of professionalism and lead to a new climate of accountability and delivery.
This council must play its role in upgrading the overall quality of the profession. It must serve to ensure that those teachers who were poorly trained by successive apartheid governments, now get the chance to become fully qualified professionals. It must also assist in ensuring that even our best qualified teachers are properly orientated towards a culture of human rights within the school and classroom, promoting the values and ethics which make up a democracy. The SA Council for Educators must be prominent in the celebrations of World Teachers Day on 5 October so that the nation can show its appreciation for the work which they do in the country.
But, the Sace will also have to act decisively where there is evidence that a teacher has contravened a code of professional ethics. The Sace must be the quality guarantee in education. Parents and learners must be assured that what they expect is what they get. In severe cases, the council will have the power to remove the name of an educator from the roll in this country. This is a harsh sanction and it must be used judiciously. But where it finds that a teacher has sexually abused a child or perhaps sold an examination paper, the council cannot afford to be soft. It must invoke the powers it is given through this Bill. I am sure it will, since the profession as a whole is discredited by the actions of a few elements such as these.
The public will also have a role to play, not just in reporting possible cases of misconduct to the council but also in the council itself. The teaching profession will be the majority in the council. However, other stakeholders will also be there to ensure that the council acts fairly in its deliberations. In this way, the interest of the profession will be balanced against the interest of the public. We cannot allow either of these to become dominant. The fact that the scope of the new council will be extended to include all sectors in general and further education bands in particular is exciting and leads us towards a position where all education and training is part of a seamless, integrated system.
Adult educators, for too long, have been a forgotten sector among teachers. Now they can get their recognition and, so too, our early childhood educators. They are regarded by many as baby-sitters, and yet they care for the children who are at their most impressionable age - an age when their attitudes and personalities are being formed. We must therefore expect a high degree of professionalism from such educators if we are to have decent citizens emerging from our schools.
The inclusion of private or independent schools is also significant. We are all aware of the poor treatment of learners by a number of fly-by-night cash colleges. Institutions which employ unqualified teachers provide very little education and extract enormous fees from desperate parents. This cannot be allowed. The Bill will at least ensure that any educator employed in a private school is qualified, registered and acts in a professional manner. The traditional private school sector, including the religious schools, has welcomed their inclusion in the scope of the council. In fact, many of their teachers have already registered with Sace of their own accord. We applaud them for this move.
The council has a huge responsibility to ensure that the ongoing transformation of education is not undermined by poor performance of a few educators. There are still enormous challenges in respect of both equity and quality, and we need a cohort of committed professionals to get us there. Most of all, we need teachers whom we can trust. When our children leave for school in the morning, we must know that they are safe, in good hands and are involved in learning. That is what the SA Council for Educators aims to deliver. I therefore call on members to support the Bill. [Applause.]
Mr B J MKHALIPHI: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon special delegates and hon members, the existing Council of South African Educators was established in 1995 through an agreement in the Labour Relations Council. This collective effort by the state as employer of educators on the one hand, and the trade unions on the other hand, sought to establish a professional council to register educators and discipline them if they should be in breach of their code of conduct. The council was therefore perceived to be more an extension of the Education Labour Relations Council, rather than a professional body which would inspire and strive for more noble ideals in the promotion of the profession. The passing and the subsequent amendment of the Employment of Educators Act of 1998 attempted to correct the situation, but could not overcome the inherent impediments, such as addressing the image of the council and the legal restrictions embodied in the Act.
Currently the council consists of members representing public institutions. In this Bill before us, the majority of members, that is 18, will be institution-based educators, employed in various educational institutions which were not accommodated before. One can then boldly say that the composition of the council proposed in this Bill is inclusive of all facets of the education spectrum and the community at large, through the National Association of Governing Bodies. There are therefore no more doubts or hassles as far as the composition of the council is concerned, since the structure of the new council, including the all-important position of the chairperson, were decided upon through elaborate deliberation processes involving all stakeholders. The Bill itself also underwent several amendments before presentation to this Chamber. In this regard, one can say that the principle of participatory democracy was exercised extensively when this Bill was negotiated.
Any law becomes obsolete when not practised or exercised. As public representatives we have to publicise the contents of this Bill when it becomes law, with the same vigour and consistency that was displayed during the negotiation stage. The newly elected governing bodies should continue to be our active and reliable partners in the transformation of the educational sector. The functioning of the council, as well as of its statutory committees, presents us with immense challenges which cannot be overcome in a passive way. I am referring here in particular to the challenge posed by the charting of the future of thousands of underqualified and unqualified educators in Mpumalanga and elsewhere, not to mention the so-called unemployed teachers. I believe that we should never, ever think that they are not our responsibility, and the same goes for the situation of illiteracy in our communities.
An average employee in any institution is usually preoccupied with working conditions and other things concerning himself or herself, but in the education field we find educators and other stakeholders being concerned about the ethical standards of this noble profession. Yes, it happened in other professions, but through interaction with the educators and other stakeholders, I am inclined to believe that the educators and these stakeholders unwittingly espouse a higher degree of patriotism. To these dedicated men, including our hon Minister and his formidable team up there, I would like to say ``keep up the good work''. [Applause.]
Mrs M BOPALAMO (North West): Madam Chairperson, national Minister, Prof Asmal, special delegates from provinces and hon members, let me start right away by supporting the essence and principles of this Bill. We believe that it is going to maintain and protect the ethical and professional standards of educators in our schools. The teaching profession will be treated the same as other professions, like lawyers and doctors, because, when a lawyer transgresses the ethics of his or her profession or a medical doctor transgresses the ethics of his or her profession, he or she is struck off the roll.
In that way, this Bill is going to make it possible for the image of this profession to be raised. There has been a missing link between the Department of Education and the teachers' unions. The Department of Education plays the role of employer, and it is too administrative, while the teachers' unions look after the interests of the educators.
The SA Council of Educators will fill this gap by protecting the profession, by helping the members of this profession to look after the souls and to build the characters of the children by making them better members of the nation in the future. Those who belong to this profession will be carefully monitored and catered for. They must be good models of acceptable moral values which learners can emulate.
We support this Bill with the following issues of concern and comments. Firstly, to whom is the SA Council of Educators accountable? Is it to the educators or to the Minister? The unions argue that the origin of the council is the Central Bargaining Chamber, therefore it is accountable to them. The Minister says it is a body for professionals who are teachers. It goes without saying therefore that the Minister is directly responsible, since it deals with the issues of character, conduct and maintenance of professionalism.
The second concern is the responsibility of the funding of the council? Should it rely on the levy from the educators? What should be the role and contribution of the state with regard to the funding of the council? It is a question of: You put your money where your mouth is. Or is it not what we are going to get from the educators?
The other concern is the issue of the chairpersonship of the council, which is still debatable. The Minister maintains that he should be responsible for the appointment of the chairperson of the council, and the unions are opposed to that. What criteria will be used in the nomination of the three names for the chairpersonship?
With regard to the composition of the council, it will be educators collectively nominated by the organised profession. How is that going to be done? Will it be that two educators will be nominated per province, or is it going to be a random selection or nomination?
Regarding registration of all educators, this is, in fact, licensing of teachers, meaning that an educator who is not registered with the council cannot be allowed to teach in South Africa. The registration of educators in the independent schools also needs to be considered. One wonders how private or independent schools will come out with one person. Is it a national body that co-ordinates these schools?
Another concern is the professional outlook versus chamber activities. A clear line of distinction is important between the two. Otherwise, it may create a serious problem. The institutions are separate with different roles.
The next one is the relationship between the department and the council, in respect of disciplinary measures against members of the council. Is the department obliged to report disciplinary cases it handles and give a verdict to the council and vice versa? What role is the council expected to play when a particular educator is, for instance, suspended or discharged by a provincial department? How are the two going to interact, co-ordinate, or complement each other? [Applause.]
Mr P G QOKWENI: Chairperson, hon Minister, MECs and members, some of the key principles raised in a myriad of documents that promoted the struggle for democracy, were representivity, inclusivity and participatory democracy.
We support the Bill for the effect it gives to these principles by broadening participation in the council to make it representative and regulating the whole profession in and outside public institutions, through registration, professional development and a code of ethical standards.
We appreciate that some stakeholders have raised concerns around the composition and funding, and what they perceive as an attempt to provide for the ministerial control of the council. It is hoped that these concerns will serve as a constant reminder to the department that the ideals of democracy will be maintained.
However, it is in the nature of the profession of educators and its functioning to call for participation from other interest groups in the community; hence the need to create space for their involvement, so that the council is not misconstrued as a mere extension of the bargaining council, which operates on the basis of proportional representation, and so that the council is not serving the interest of only one of the stakeholders in the educative processes.
Furthermore, despite the plausible efforts to rescue education from the legacy of crisis and to put it on a pedestal in terms of the expectations of the new millennium, there still remains public perceptions that the standards or the status of the profession has been sacrificed at the altar of political expediency or partisanship and unionisation. There is a need, therefore, to manage these perceptions by providing a balance between the effectiveness of the council and rebuilding the confidence of the public in the profession, and to profile the image of the profession in a renewed fashion and in keeping with the dictates of the ethos of our new democracy.
It is considered, in the interests of the contributors to the funds of the council, to open the funds to public scrutiny, in terms of enabling legislation. UDM sees the provision around this development in the light of its bent on promoting transparency and accountability, as well as fighting fraud and uprooting corruption ferociously. [Applause.]
Mrs E E N KANKOSI-SHANDU (KwaZulu-Natal): Chairperson, I want to say from the beginning that we in KwaZulu-Natal support the Bill.
For the Bill to enjoy the full support of the whole profession, the Sace must been seen as a council for educators. It is imperative that educators, especially those who are in actual service, are able to participate and contribute to the council's work. Otherwise, it will become another structure with very little impact on educators in general. There must be ownership in terms of the role of the Sace. All efforts must be made to ensure that all educators, irrespective of whether they are in private or public schools, and across all bands of the National Qualifications Framework are included.
In order for the Sace to be meaningful in the transformational process, emphasis must be placed equally on its role as a developmental body for educators, a body that keeps an up-to-date register for educators and is a watchdog for the professional ethos of the educators. We also support the separation of the South African Council for Educators Bill from the Employment of Educators Act as the two cannot fall under one Act without restricting the other and eventually destroying both of them. We thus appreciate the efforts of the national Ministry in coming up with this Bill that seeks to separate, officially, the Act that governs the creation and the operation of the South African Council of Educators as an independent Act.
As far as the composition of the Sace is concerned, it is desirable that it must represent the profession, but it may have to be broadened to match the envisaged scope of educators from both public and private domains. It is also desirable that the Sace not be dominated by any one sector of the organised profession. There is a need for an understanding to be arrived at with all stakeholders as to how the 18 educators will be spread out in order to avoid the situation whereby one union will dominate the council.
We also want to say that in terms of the language in which the certificate is issued, we agreed among ourselves in KwaZulu-Natal that the certificate must be issued in the language of the educators' preference, especially if the language is one of the 11 official languages of this country.
We are also of the opinion that the council is best placed to decide, from among its members, who the chairperson ought to be. The chairperson, however, must be answerable to the Minister. We therefore recommend the formation of the technical committee to work out these clauses, as they impinge on the actual functioning of the council.
Finally, we believe that in the interests of education, the Sace needs to commit itself to the establishment and maintenance of a code of professional ethics for educators and also focus on the promotion and development of the teaching profession. [Applause.]
Prince B Z ZULU: Madam Chair, hon Minister, hon members, the interim arrangement to create the South African Council for Educators as a statutory body by the inclusion of a chapter in the Employment of Educators Act of 1998 was not the best or most effective manner to deal with the matter. National and international models of professional councils of a similar nature have shown that it can only be effective in its functioning and have the right status and recognition if such council is contained in its own substantial Act.
The placement of this professional council in an employment Act applicable to state educators is very restrictive and undesirable as a model for the profession of educators.
The scope and functions of this council were restricted to the employment of educators at public schools and in public further education and training institutions, and the intention is to get such a council to regulate the whole profession. This means that this Bill extends the scope of this professional council of all educators employed in private or independent institutions in the general and further education and training sectors.
The Bill requires that educators employed in ordinary public further education and training institutions, the early childhood development sector, the adult basic education sector and the education for learners with special needs sector be members of the council. This includes members who represent national associations of school governing bodies and the Council for Higher Education. It also includes members nominated by national bodies representing independent or private institutions.
This Bill makes provision for the functions and powers of the council which range from promoting, developing and maintaining a professional image of the profession, advising the Minister on matters relating to registration of educators, prescription of fees payable to the council by registered educators, to taking disciplinary measures against educators who contravene the code of conduct of the council. The Bill also provides for the furnishing of information by a higher education institution and/or employer of an educator to the council, whenever the council requires such information for the performance of its functions.
The chairperson and the deputy chairperson of the council, and every member and any person appointed as a member of a committee or a panel who is not in the service of the state may, in respect of services rendered by them in connection with the affairs of the council, a committee or panel, be paid by the council all such travelling subsistence and all other allowances. The ANC supports the Bill. [Applause.]
Mev J WITBOOI: Mevrou die Voorsitter, agb Minister en agb lede, die Nuwe NP steun die Wetsontwerp op die Suid-Afrikaanse Raad vir Opvoeders. Dit is bemoedigend dat die samestelling van die raad grotendeels uit opvoeders vanuit 'n wye spektrum van opvoedkundige instansies gevorm sal word.
Ook is dit verblydend dat die wetsontwerp dit ten doel het om die beeld van die onderwysprofessie te bou en in stand te hou. Vir die Nuwe NP is die professionalisme en toegewydheid van die onderwyskorps in ons land van die uiterste belang, en hierdie raad sal dan ook oor die meganismes beskik om die Minister te adviseer oor aangeleenthede in dié verband.
Ook verwelkom die Nuwe NP die feit dat die uitreiking van die registrasiesertifikate nie slegs in een taal sal wees nie, maar dat elke opvoeder die reg gegun sal word om sy of haar sertifikaat aan te vra in die taal van sy of haar keuse. Die feit dat die wetsontwerp voorsiening maak vir statutêre komitees, onder meer vir registrasie, professionele ontwikkeling en tug ten einde die werksaamhede van die raad deursigtig en toeganklik te maak vir alle opvoeders is 'n pluspunt. Die Nuwe NP steun die wetsontwerp. (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)
[Mrs J WITBOOI: Madam Chair, hon Minister and hon members, the New NP supports the South African Council for Educators Bill. It is encouraging that the council will be composed in the main of educators from a broad spectrum of educational institutions.
It is also heartening that the Bill is aimed at building and maintaining the image of the teaching profession. To the New NP the professionalism and dedication of the teaching corps in our country is of paramount importance, and this council will also have the mechanisms to advise the Minister on matters in this regard.
The New NP also welcomes the fact that the registration certificates will not be issued in one language only, but that every educator will be entitled to request his or her certificate in the language of his or her choice. The fact that the Bill provides for statutory committees, inter alia for registration, professional development and disciplinary measures in order to make the activities of the council transparent and accessible to all educators is an advantage. The New NP supports the Bill.]
Mnr A B WILLIAMS: Mevrou die Voorsitter, agb Minister, as die Nuwe NP die wetsontwerp steun, is dit vanselfsprekend dat die provinsie Wes-Kaap ook die wetsontwerp steun. Die Wes-Kaapse regering glo dat opvoeders 'n baie edel professie beklee en dat professionele ontwikkeling gereeld bevorder moet word. Verder glo die Wes-Kaapse regering dat die etiese en professionele standaarde vir opvoeders in stand gehou en beskerm moet word.
Hierdie wetsontwerp sal toesien dat hierdie raad die regte status en erkenning geniet. Die feit dat die raad saamgestel word uit lede van die onderwysgemeenskap van die land is 'n bewys dat daar erkenning gegee word aan al die onderwysrolspelers.
Wat my egter 'n bietjie bekommer, is die feit dat die Minister die voorsitter van die raad sal aanstel soos bepaal deur klousule 7(1)(a) van die wetsontwerp. Wat my nog verder bekommer, is dat selfs iemand wat nie 'n lid is van die raad nie, as voorsitter van die raad genomineer kan word soos uitgespel word in klousule 7(1)(b).
Die ondervinding in die onderwys het geleer dat aanstellings deur Ministers baie dikwels tot groot ongelukkigheid kan aanleiding gee; dat so 'n persoon selfs met agterdog bejeën word; dat so 'n persoon se geloofwaardigheid baie dikwels onder verdenking kom, en dat so 'n persoon heel dikwels nie die volle samewerking van die res van 'n raad of vereniging kry nie. Ek wil aanbeveel dat die raad nie net die nominasie sal doen van 'n voorsitter nie, maar dat die onderwysgemeenskap waaruit die raad saamgestel sal word, ook die verkiesing van die voorsitter uit eie geledere sal waarneem.
Dit is goed dat die professionaliteit van die onderwysprofessie gereël word deur 'n raad wat uit lede van die onderwysgemeenskap kom. Hierdie raad moet uiteraard 'n liggaam wees waarin lede van die onderwysgemeenskap die professie se sake sal reël.
Daardie lede van die raad wat in die tugkomitee moet dien, sal uit die aard van hulle werksaamhede nie baie gewild wees nie. Die breë onderwysgemeenskap daar buite sal die raad en veral sy komitees met arendsoë dophou om te kyk of hulle hul taak met die nodige professionalisme en deeglikheid gaan uitvoer. Omdat goeie orde en dissipline noodsaaklik is vir suksesvolle onderwys, sal die tugkomitee hom uiteraard die gramskap van diegene op die hals haal wat goeie orde en dissipline met chaos wil vervang. Daar moet sonder aansiens des persoons opgetree word teen individue wat chaos wil veroorsaak in die onderwys.
Daar was in die verlede die geneigdheid by sommige onderwysorganisasies om vir lede wat hulle skuldig gemaak het aan erge voorvalle van ongedissiplineerdheid in die bres te tree. Ek wil 'n vriendelike versoek tot ons onderwysorganisasies rig om hulle te distansieer van diegene wat 'n struikelblok wil wees in die weg van doeltreffende en effektiewe onderrig aan ons leerders.
Omdat die speelveld in die onderwys nog baie ongelyk is, is dit noodsaaklik dat ons as onderwysgemeenskap kollektief sal saamwerk om die speelveld in die onderwys gelyk te maak sodat opvoeders dit nie as 'n verskoning kan gebruik wanneer hulle oorgaan tot gedrag wat nie van professionalisme getuig nie. Ten slotte wil ek net herhaal dat die Wes-Kaap hierdie wetsontwerp steun. (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)
[Mr A B WILLIAMS: Madam Chair, hon Minister, if the New NP supports the Bill, it is obvious that the Western Cape Province also supports the Bill. The Western Cape government believes that educators have a very noble profession and that professional development should be promoted regularly. Furthermore, the Western Cape government believes that the ethical and professional standards for educators should be maintained and protected.
This Bill will ensure that this council enjoys the appropriate status and recognition. The fact that the council is composed of members of the teaching community of the country proves that recognition is being given to all the education role-players.
Something I feel a little concerned about, however, is the fact that the Minister will appoint the chairperson, as prescribed by clause 7(1)(a) of the Bill. What causes me even more concern is that even a person who is not a member of the council may be nominated as chairperson of the council, as stipulated in clause 7(1)(b).
Experience in education has shown that appointments by Ministers can very often lead to a lot of unhappiness; that such a person might even be regarded with suspicion; that the credibility of such a person is very often in doubt, and that such a person very often does not enjoy the full co-operation of the rest of the council or association. I want to recommend that the council not only nominates a chairperson, but that the teaching community, whose members will constitute the council, will also observe the election of the chairperson from its own ranks.
It is a good thing for the professionalism of the teaching profession to be regulated by a council consisting of members of the teaching community. This council must obviously be a body in which members of the teaching community will be regulating the affairs of the profession.
Those members of the council who have to serve on the disciplinary committee will, by virtue of their functions, not be very popular. The broader teaching community will have to keep a watchful eye on the council and especially on its committees to see whether they perform their task with the necessary professionalism and thoroughness. Because good order and discipline are essential for successful education, the disciplinary committee will obviously incur the wrath of those who want to replace good order and discipline with chaos. Steps will have to be taken without fear or favour against individuals who want to cause chaos in education.
In the past there was a tendency in some education organisations to defend members who were guilty of severely undisciplined behaviour. I want to address a friendly request to our education organisations to distance themselves from those who want to hamper efficient and effective education for our learners.
Because the playing field in education is still very uneven, it is essential that we, as the teaching community, work together to level the playing field in education so that educators cannot use that as an excuse when they indulge in behaviour that is unprofessional.
In conclusion I just want to repeat that the Western Cape supports this Bill.]
Mr J O TLHAGALE: Chairperson, hon Minister, the hon House, the South African Council for Educators was established in 1995 after an agreement between the state as employer of educators and the trade unions on behalf of the employees. This professional council is intended to register educators and be able to discipline them if they are in breach of their code of conduct. This means that the South African Council of Educators, Sace, would therefore be not more of an extension of the education labour relations council, but rather a professional body which promotes and controls the profession.
The Bill provides that in the appointment of the members due consideration should be given to representation in respect of race, gender, disability and geographic distribution, and this is most welcome. It is also of interest to note that the members to be appointed by the Minister would first be nominated by various specified organisations, and this process also is democratic and welcome.
The Bill further clearly sets out the functions of the Sace: It shall develop, maintain and promote the image of the profession, it shall register educators who comply with determined minimum criteria and it shall, from time to time, review a code of professional ethics for educators. The Bill was published for public comment by the various roleplayers and the final product, now before this hon House, was a joint venture. The UCDP is in full support of the Bill. [Applause.]
Mrs C NKUNA: Chairperson, hon Minister, I would like to thank hon members in this House for this opportunity to express myself on behalf of the committee. In the first instance, allow me to address the DP. I hope that it has not arrived at a cul-de-sac and that it is reconsidering its views. We appreciate their position. [Laughter.]
During the deliberations at the public hearings on the Bill, two key issues were given special attention. The first issue was the involvement of the Minister in the appointment of the council and its chairperson. Education within the general and further education and training band is a fundamental right of all learners. South African Council for Educators is a professional body responsible for ensuring that education is provided by professionals who adhere to a professional code of ethics. There can be no doubt that the professional conduct of educators raises public interest.
As education is clearly in the public domain, gone are the days when the own-interests of a profession prevailed over or negated the interests of the public affected by the conduct of professionals. The profession can no longer protect and justify itself in spite of evidence that individuals act unprofessionally. It also empowers the Minister to appoint a chairperson.
The Minister chooses the chairperson out of five members. These five members are appointed by the the South African Council of Educators, Sace, itself, he does not appoint the chairperson from outside. It is not three members as one member has alluded. The Minister appoints a chairperson out of five members and the five members come from within the Sace itself. The approach makes it possible to appoint a chairperson with a public stature who can ensure that both the professional and public interests are served, and by so doing avoids a situation whereby we have a player and a referee being the same person.
The Bill determines that the Sace is subject to public scrutiny by requiring reports to be tabled in Parliament. It stipulates that the budget of the Sace must be approved by the Minister and that money may only be spent within that approved budget.
There can be no doubt that the definition of a national public entity in terms of the Public Finance Management Act, Act 1 of 1999, is wide enough to include statutory bodies such as the Sace. The Sace is therefore subjected to the provisions of that Act. In terms of the definition, the Sace is an entity established in terms of national legislation. It is fully or substantially funded by way of compulsory levy and is accountable to Parliament. The approach requiring that the Minister should approve the budget of the Sace is in accordance with section 3 of the Public Finance Management Act.
A question arose during the debate on what the Government is doing in terms of funding the Sace. The Government does not fund the Sace nor does it subsidise it in any way. So it is explained in the Bill that it is fully or substantially funded by way of compulsory levy and is accountable to Parliament.
The intention of the Bill is to ensure that public contributions by way of compulsory levy are scrutinised by those in public office and is subject to public debate in Parliament if the money is not used in terms of the approved budget within the scope and functions set out in the Bill. This is an open and democratic approach to ensure that the professional interests of all educators are looked after and developed. It will also prevent abuse and corruption by any official member or staff member. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF EDUCATION: Madam Chairperson, I know it is very late. There are rumbles in certain parts of our anatomies. I have always enjoyed coming to this House and therefore I will be using my 10 minutes to review matters, although the chairperson of the committee has answered some of the questions. I will be using my 10 minutes because I get a sense of enjoyment by being here in this House.
I begin with an apology. I am not going to lay into Mr Rajoo. I apologise to him. The last time I was here, I said I would have expected something more from a former student of mine. I apologised to him. We were contemporaries. I do not know which is worse. Should I expect much more from a contemporary or from a former student? So, I apologise.
Firstly, I am grateful for the little mercy that the DP has condescended from on high to support this measure and, that in that great outpouring of altruism, will give support for education development. I hope he will have a word with the spokesperson of the Other Place, Mr Ellis. Mr Ellis shoots from the hip almost all the time and, invariably, when one shoots from the hip one shoots oneself in the foot. I hope he will have a word with Mr Ellis not only on outcomes-based education, but also because we need to remove partisanship, in light of the extraordinary terrible period we went through in 1995-1996 to remove that. I think that the DP has a special role to play in that, because it adopts this highly partisan position.
The second point I would like to make is that some of the contributions have really been overtaken by events. I would like to ask special and permanent delegates to liaise much more with the MECs. This Bill was discussed at Cabinet level. This was discussed at length by the council of educational ministers and the MECs. They unanimously supported the provisions of the Bill. In fact, in clause 7 which deals with the appointment of the Chair, both the Cabinet, under Minister Buthelezi, and MEC Helen Zille insisted that there should not be nominations from the council, but that I should appoint, absolutely, the chairperson of the council.
But because of the representations made, we adopted this other formula. In other words, I think there should be closer co-ordination with the MECs. Of course the New NP may have genuine difficulties with the spokesperson of the Western Cape. They have a somewhat detached relationship with her. I sympathise with them very strongly because they have a semi-detached relationship with her, but for others there is really no excuse. Therefore many of the issues raised, for example by Mrs Bopalamo, were in fact dealt with in the committee. They were dealt with by the study groups, and they are reflected in the Bill.
This council is totally independent of the Minister. It is absolutely independent. The only issue that arises is in terms of the Public Finance Management Act, because so many of these councils have not been carrying out the proper financial controls over them. This council will be funded as all other professional councils are funded - and I would like to point this out to Mrs Bopalamo - by the members. And there is no reason why 360 000 members paying a small levy could not conduct a modest outfit and arrangement among themselves. No other council is, but why is it necessary for an independent council to have the chairperson appointed under clause 7(1)?
Other professional councils do not enjoy great public esteem. For example, as an advocate I speak particularly about the bar council. They investigate complaints among themselves in private, and hardly publish their report. As for the law society, it takes the versatility and the persistence of journalists, particularly journalists with a nose for information, to come out with a scandal about the abuse, for example, of the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund. It was a little journalist who did that in the first place. We have to get away from this comfortable conspiracy of professional bodies, and that is why we have clause 7(1) to improve the status of the teaching profession and the council. This is particularly important for the New NP, because this is an attempt by this Bill to ensure that there is greater participation.
I think we are one the first countries in the world to insert a role for the governing bodies in the council, and also for other school bodies rather than the state schools bodies. Particularly important are the five people who will be appointed by the department after full consultation with the MECs, people of international status and standing, so that there will not be a closed network of broeders, as we used to call them - sisters never got a look-in before. Now we want people who are not only broadly representative, but also strong people who will really look after the public interest.
The point that therefore arises is that I hope - and I would like to say this to Mrs Bopalamo - that this will not be like the medical and lawyers' outfits. I hope this will be very different. If one tries to get a doctor, for example here or in England or anywhere else, to give evidence against another doctor, one cannot get him or her to do so. That is the kind of masonic closed world we must get away from.
So the next point is that there is an enormous difference between professional ethics being broken and discipline. The disciplinary matter is between employer and employee. That is a disciplinary matter - breach of the contract of employment, nonattendance, nonservice. Breach of the law of the country, for example, is a serious matter. That is why I brought my traditional weapons here, which were confiscated the other day. [Laughter.] It is a breach of the law of the country to beat children. That is a contractual matter.
If a finding is made by the employer, then the finding, in principle, should be referred to the council for educators. There should be rules that will be worked out. The Council of Educators must look at that, but independently of the breach of the contract of employment, on the basis of public complaints. That is how it will work. I am not going to raise complaints with them. They are an independent body. The public now must assert their right if the ethics and the rules of ethical behaviour have been broken by individual teachers. They call them ``educators'' in the legislation, but the old-fashioned word ``teachers'', I think, is much better.
We must encourage the public to be sensitive about the needs of the parents and their own rights, so that they can make representations and complaints. There will not be a flood of complaints. We know that. But we must help and encourage people in an open democracy in that there is a professional body out there that seeks to assert and maintain the status of the teaching profession.
So, I say that many of these points have been made, but member Suka has raised a very important point on these cash colleges. They are the reason why we must lift the status of the public educational system.
I have said to this House that we must all have a conviction about the value of the public educational system, for poor Afrikaners, for poor blacks, for Indians and coloureds, for all of us, and for the middle-class people in particular. Because, if the middle-class people do not send their children to public schools, then, immediately, standards deteriorate. Middle-class people are very articulate. They write to newspapers, they write to the Minister, they write to the clergy and all that. They write to everybody who has a public life.
That is why it is very important that we should lift the status of the public school system. These cash colleges are of two kinds. One is the cash college for higher education, which we are now seriously dealing with, because overseas cash colleges in particular, are coming here.
We are dealing with this very seriously, and we will prosecute the one so-called television training company, which has its headquarters inside the SABC, ``nogal''! They are illegally operating the training college inside the SABC. We will prosecute them. So, we are looking after higher education.
However, the proliferation of so-called secretarial colleges, intermediate colleges, computer colleges, high school level, and all kinds of colleges, are a menace and a scandal. We are now working with the provinces. We will have to work out, over the next six months, registration processes for them. If they do not register, we will throw the book at them, and prosecution and public vigilance are the way we are going to maintain standards of any kind here. I say, therefore, that Mr Suka's point is very important, but the answer to that is that our parents must have confidence in the public education system.
I think this Bill will help in a little way. In the end, it is the assertiveness and the democracy of ordinary people who want the highest standards, from doctors and lawyers, and we are concerned here with educators. With the support of members and their continued involvement, in a nonpartisan way, I think we can feel, as I always felt 42 years ago when I became a teacher, that this is the noblest profession of them all.
We can bring back that public appreciation of this extraordinary group of people who have done so much good in the past. We will now bring them back to centre stage in our educational system. [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order! Thank you, Minister Asmal. You have a standing ovation over there. The members are particularly energetic today, with standing ovations.
Bill agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION OF ROAD TRAFFIC OFFENCES AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)
Order disposed of without debate.
Bill agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution (Western Cape dissenting).
ROAD TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT CORPORATION AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)
Order disposed of without debate.
Bill agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution (Western Cape dissenting).
The Council adjourned at 19:03.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
WEDNESDAY, 7 JUNE 2000
National Council of Provinces:
1....... The Chairperson:
Message from National Assembly to National Council of Provinces:
Bill passed by National Assembly on 7 June 2000 and transmitted for concurrence:
(a)..... National Youth Commission Amendment Bill [B 25 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75).
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:
1....... The Minister of Education:
Explanatory Memorandum of Vote 8 "Education", Supplementary Estimate for 2000-2001.
2....... The Minister of Finance:
(1)..... Supplementary Estimate of Expenditure to be defrayed from the National Revenue Fund during the Financial Year ending 31 March 2001 [RP 4-2000].
(2)..... Explanatory Memorandum to the Supplementary Estimate for 2000-2001.
3....... The Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology:
Explanatory Memorandum of Vote 4 "Arts, Culture, Science and Technology", Supplementary Estimate for 2000-2001.
4....... The Minister of Housing:
Government Notice Number R.437 published in the Government Gazette Number 21136 dated 5 May 2000, Dissolution of the Pretoria Region Rent Board and extension of the area of jurisdiction of the Southern and Western Region Rent Board to include the Pretoria area, made in terms of sections 2(1) and 2(2) of the Rent Control Act, 1976 (Act No 80 of 1976).
5....... The Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs:
Explanatory Memorandum of Vote 3 "Agriculture", Supplementary Estimate for 2000-2001.
6....... The Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry:
Explanatory Memorandum on Vote 34 "Water Affairs and Forestry", Supplementary Estimate for 2000-2001.
7....... The Minister of Health:
Explanatory Memorandum of Vote 13 "Health", Supplementary Estimate for 2000-2001.
National Council of Provinces:
1....... Report of the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs on Sorghum Industry Levy, dated 7 June 2000:
The Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs, having considered the application by the National Agricultural Marketing Council for the continuation of the statutory levy in the sorghum industry, reports, in terms of section 15 of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act, 1996, that it has approved the recommendation of the Council, namely that the statutory levy of R3,10 (VAT excluded) be continued until 28 February 2001.
THURSDAY, 8 JUNE 2000
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:
1...... The Speaker and the Chairperson:
(1)..... The following Bill was introduced in the National Assembly on 8 June 2000 and referred to the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) for classification in terms of Joint Rule 160:
(i)...... Local Government: Cross-boundary Municipalities Bill [B 37 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75) - (Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government - National Assembly) [Explanatory summary of Bill and prior notice of its introduction published in Government Gazette No 21252 of 2 June 2000.]
(2)..... The Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) on 7 June 2000 in terms of Joint Rule 160(3), classified the following Bill as a section 75 Bill:
(i)...... Local Government: Cross-boundary Municipalities Bill [B 37 - 2000] (National Assembly - sec 75) - (Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government - National Assembly).
(3)..... The Subcommittee of the Joint Programme Committee on 8 June 2000 took a decision, in accordance with Joint Rule 216, that the Local Government: Cross-boundary Municipalities Bill [B 37 - 2000], be fast-tracked by, where necessary, shortening any period within which any step in the legislative process relating to the Bill must be completed, in order to make it possible for the Bill to be passed by both Houses of Parliament by Friday, 23 June 2000.
In terms of Joint Rule 216(4) this decision must be tabled in both Houses for ratification.
(4)..... Assent by the President of the Republic in respect of the following Bills:
(a)...... Division of Revenue Bill [B 8B - 2000] - Act No 16 of 2000 (assented to and signed by President on 7 June 2000); and
(b) Nonprofit Organisations Amendment Bill [B 9 - 2000] - Act No 17 of 2000 (assented to and signed by President on 7 June 2000).
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces:
1....... The Minister for Provincial and Local Government:
(1)..... Explanatory Memorandum on Vote 22 - "Provincial and Local Government", Supplementary Estimate for 2000-2001.
(2)..... Report of the Department of Provincial and Local Government for 1999.
2...... The Minister for Welfare and Population Development:
Explanatory Memorandum on Vote 35 - "Welfare", Supplementary Estimate for 2000-2001.
3....... The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development:
Report of the National Prosecuting Authority for 1998-99 [RP 99-2000].
4....... The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism:
Explanatory Memorandum on Vote 9 - "Environmental Affairs and Tourism", Supplementary Estimate for 2000-2001.
5....... The Minister of Labour:
Explanatory Memorandum on Vote 19 - "Labour", Supplementary Estimate for 2000-2001.