Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised hansard
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 11 Nov 2008
No summary available.
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Proceedings of the national council of provinces
The Council met at 14:10.
The Deputy Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS – see col 000.
Welcoming of minister and of Zanzibar parliamentary delegation
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Ms P M Hollander): Hon members, I would like to welcome the Minister of Safety and Security, hon E N Mthethwa, to the House today. Welcome, sir. We also have the honour of welcoming a delegation from Zanzibar’s House of Representatives in the gallery under the leadership of their Speaker. You are welcome. [Applause.]
successful registration of voters
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE COUNCIL: Madam Deputy Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council –
- notes that the Independent Electoral Commission, IEC, indicates that on the weekend of 8 and 9 November 2008 more than 3,6 million South Africans visited more than 19 000 registration stations across the country to either register for the first time, re-register or to inspect their details;
- further notes that the IEC also reports that more than 1,6 million new voters registered to vote, which brings the total number of voters for the 2009 elections to almost 22 million;
- takes this opportunity to congratulate all South Africans for heeding to the call to exercise their democratic right to choose their public representatives and to stand firm in fighting for the civil liberties that the forbears of our struggle for liberation fought and defended with their lives; and
- calls on all the people of South Africa to guard against those who want to plunder and destroy what our forbears have built with their blood and lives and to never waver in their commitment to defend their freedom and liberation by continuing to visit IEC offices and register to vote because that is the right that people like Solomon Mahlangu, Cassius Make, Griffiths and Victoria Mxenge, Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkhonto, Fort Calata, Sicelo Mhlauli, Moses Kotane, Moses Mabhida and many others never lived to see exercised.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
NATIONAL RAILWAY SAFETY REGULATOR AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)
Mr C J VAN ROOYEN: Deputy Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members, I also would like to welcome the delegation from Zanzibar.
The National Railway Safety Regulator Amendment Bill seeks to amend the National Railway Safety Regulator Act, Act 16 of 2002. The principal Act established the Railway Safety Regulator whose main responsibility is the overseeing of the safety of railway operations and to promote rail as an efficient mode of transport in South Africa.
The objectives of the Bill include the following: To amend the principal Act of 2002 so as to insert certain definitions; to extend the ambit of a threat to safety to include behaviour; to empower the Minister to include monorail systems, trams and systems running on pneumatic tyres within the current ambit of the Act; to clarify that operators remain responsible for railway transport safety and that the function of the regulator is to promote improved safety performance in the railway transport industry in order to promote the use of rail as a mode of transport; to clarify the role of operators’ associations; and to clarify the role of the regulator in relation to the transportation of dangerous goods.
All provinces held public hearings where the Bill was thoroughly deliberated and all provinces support the Bill. I therefore request this House also to support the Bill. I thank you.
Question put: That the Bill be agreed to.
IN FAVOUR: Eastern Cape, Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Western Cape.
ABSTAIN: Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal.
Bill accordingly agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
SECOND-HAND GOODS BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)
The MINISTER OF SAFETY AND SECURITY: Deputy Chairperson, hon members and Chairperson of the NCOP, I wish to thank the Chairperson and members of the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Affairs for the rigorous manner in which the Second-Hand Goods Bill was dealt with in the committee. It was mindful of the potential impact of the Bill on society.
The Bill before you has gone through a thorough process of coming into being, as drafts were first published for comment, after which consultations with the industry role-players took place. The resulting draft was tabled in Nedlac where it was supported.
When the Bill was tabled in the National Assembly, the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security invited comments on the Bill and held public hearings where all stakeholders once again had the opportunity to express their views on the Bill and participate in the legislative process. I recognise that the Bill has taken some time to be shaped through the drafting stages and the legislative processes, but must at the same time impress upon you that the impact of this Bill is considerable and its formulation required the utmost care. The product is a user-friendly Bill that as a formidable crime combating tool will go a long way to protect the interests of law-abiding citizens and businesses alike.
The select committee of this House wisely decided to invite further comments and hold ad hoc public hearings, where stakeholders made significant presentations to the select committee. The select committee heard of the millions of rands involved in the recycling of controlled metals, such as copper, and also of the effect that the Bill will have on the second-hand book trade.
The process of public hearings was repeated in each of the provinces and the resultant provincial mandates produced sensible and important recommendations - recommendations that were robustly interrogated to produce the improvements to the Bill before this House. The select committee's proposals not only strengthen and enrich this Bill, but also serve as an indication of the true democratic nature of the legislative process where Parliament, in this case, was really taken to the people.
The Second-Hand Goods Bill, 2008, aims to regulate the business of dealers in second-hand goods, in order to combat the trade in stolen goods. Trade in stolen goods negatively affects the economy of South Africa, especially as the knock-on effects of the crimes addressed in the Bill are quite serious. Criminals often employ violent means to hijack vehicles and commit robberies, resulting in loss of life or serious injuries.
Theft of copper cable is a major cause of interruptions in the essential services rendered by Eskom, Telkom and Transnet, often resulting in power cuts, communication disruption and crucial transport stoppages, both in freight and passenger services. These significant economic losses are not only borne by business and government because the resulting price and tariff hikes eventually also affect the public.
The Bill intends to repeal the Second-Hand Goods Act, Act 23 of 1955, to update the present legislation - legislation that proved to be insufficient to police the trade in second-hand goods effectively - and to bring it in line with the Constitutional framework of South Africa.
This Bill provides for the registration of second-hand dealers and recyclers by the National Commissioner of the South African Police. The inclusion of recyclers in the registration process is a marked improvement on the current legislation, as unscrupulous recyclers play an important role in the marketplace to create a demand for stolen copper cable and other nonferrous metals.
Dealers must now apply to register each of the business premises on which they intend to carry on their businesses, and those dealers who contravene the Bill may be deregistered. The National Commissioner of the SAPS must deregister those dealers found guilty of offences and disqualify them as dealers or recyclers.
Solid arguments were presented to the select committee on some possibly discriminatory provisions regarding the disqualification of dealers and persons who have a financial interest in those dealers. The select committee responded with thorough deliberations, and the subsequent amendment improves upon that aspect of the Bill. The Bill now allows the National Commissioner to take all aspects regarding disqualifications into consideration and, when necessary, to condone disqualification.
Recommendations regarding second-hand books, second-hand clothing and the registration of charities were also discussed during the select committee's deliberations, and the subsequent amendments all contribute to simplifying the application of the Bill. These amendments focus the impact of the Bill on those industry segments where criminal activity is rife and policing is most needed.
Any administrative process in terms of the Bill that affects the rights of a person must be conducted in a manner consonant with the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act and procedures are prescribed in respect of the decision-making process.
The Bill requires registered dealers and recyclers to keep records of all second-hand goods dealt with. While the current Act also provides for such registers, the Bill improves upon the present situation by providing specifically for comprehensive record keeping where a dealer deals in motor vehicles or communication equipment such as cell phones. The records are not only invaluable to any investigating officer who needs to trace stolen goods, but also to the persons who need to ensure compliance with the Bill.
By dealing with communication equipment as a separate category of second-hand goods, the Bill complements the relevant provisions in the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act of 2002, to provide a comprehensive framework to stamp out crimes such as cell phone theft.
An important feature of the Bill is the obligation on dealers to report suspicious transactions to the police. Unscrupulous dealers will be prosecuted for those transactions where second-hand goods are acquired from less than respectable customers or where goods have obviously been tampered with by removing aspects of identification such as serial numbers or cable covers.
A new feature of the Bill that addresses a serious limitation in the current Act is the required registration of metal recyclers. The prohibition on the possession of recycling equipment by persons other than registered metal recyclers and the prohibition regarding the possession, purchase and sale of burnt copper cable will tackle one of the biggest shortcomings experienced in the policing of the industry.
The Bill addresses compliance monitoring effectively by providing for the accreditation of industry associations representing dealers. By allowing accredited dealers' associations to represent dealers, the Bill introduces a measure of self-regulation absent from the current Act. This new feature empowers associations to monitor their members' compliance with the provisions of the Bill, through regular inspections and interaction with the SAPS. Even though the Bill can be implemented without the aspects of self-regulation it introduces, it also recognises the important contribution that these associations can make through the promotion of proper ethical and other standards in the industry.
Accredited associations will furthermore strengthen the role of the SAPS by providing the expertise that exists in the organised industry by, for example, recommending the applications of their members. It is a fact that some sectors of the industry are highly specialised, necessitating support from the organised industry. To ensure that the associations play a positive part in combating crime, the Bill tasks associations to establish minimum legal and ethical standards and to maintain those standards through inspections. Members of accredited associations may be exempted from certain provisions of the Bill in cases where the associations prescribe to their members standards which fulfil the requirements of the Bill and where the spirit and principles of the Bill are guaranteed.
On the enforcement side, the Bill draws a distinction between routine police inspections and criminal investigations. The Bill provides that a comprehensive inspection must be performed by the SAPS at least once a year at each dealer, but that further routine inspections may be performed during business hours.
Where, however, criminal activity is suspected and needs to be investigated, the Bill aligns the powers of search and seizure with those in the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977, thereby ensuring that police powers comply with constitutional requirements. It is noteworthy that the Bill introduces a new feature in that the SAPS are able to obtain a warrant authorising them to seal off a business for purposes of an investigation, where necessary, thereby ensuring effective investigations.
A new feature of the Bill that introduces the principle of co-operative governance is the power of the National Commissioner to delegate in writing any functions conferred upon him or her by the Bill to any official in the service of the state or employed by a statutory body. An official to whom a function has been so delegated, must obviously perform the functions subject to the control and directions of the National Commissioner. This aspect will contribute to effective and co-ordinated law enforcement in policing the industry.
The Bill provides for regulations that the Minister of Safety and Security may make. These regulations may be crafted to provide for the unique requirements of each industry sector, and it is envisaged that the regulations will dovetail with the prescribed minimum standards of the associations.
I believe that the Bill creates a framework to serve as a platform for co-operation between government and the industry. I therefore repeat our appeal to the industry made in the NA on 19 March 2008, to organise itself into associations which can be accredited, and to participate in developing appropriate standards in respect of each industry segment.
Chairperson, I submit the Second-Hand Goods Bill, as amended by the portfolio committee, for acceptance. I thank you.
Kgoshi M L MOKOENA: Chairperson, let me take this opportunity on behalf of my detachment to welcome the hon Minister to the cluster. I want to assure the hon Minister that he is going to get the maximum support and co-operation from this cluster and from this detachment, the Mokoena detachment. [Laughter.]
Chairperson, I am elated and happy that the Minister has done the difficult part of explaining the objects of the Bill. What remains for me is to continue and deal with some of the issues that were raised during the deliberations.
Let’s face it: We have a serious problem with syndicates in our country. They range from chop-shops to those who are dealing in scrap metal, copper, etc. The question is: How can we deal with this kind of crime in our country?
It is so unfortunate that some of these syndicates and individuals are being protected by the very same people who are supposed to arrest them. It is so unfortunate that some of our law-enforcement agencies are on the payroll of these syndicates.
Another challenge is people who buy stolen goods from people who don’t even have shops to sell a needle. I am happy to say this Bill, the Second-Hand Goods Bill, will, in a way, bring these illegal practices to an end. There are measures that have been put in place in this Bill and it will go a long way towards punishing those unwanted elements and those who are dealing in stolen goods. I won’t go very much into law enforcement, but the hon Mack and hon Moseki will deal with it.
Let me address the question of the amended version that the committee brought before this Bill. Members are aware that in many of our communities, especially in rural areas, there are many of our poor women who travel in trains and buses to Durban every week or every month to buy second-hand clothes. In my detachment we have decided that unfortunately we don’t support the requirement that our poor women will be expected to be registered to buy and sell these second-hand clothes which they do in order to support their families. They are an example of people who have started from humble beginnings, who are selling clothes.
Let’s look at our very own Richard Maponya, the owner of the Maponya Mall. He started in Tzaneen, GaMaake, selling second-hand clothes and, because he was not restricted, look where he is now. Hence we said that there is no way in which we, as a committee, can support such a draconian provision in our legislation. That would have a negative impact on these poor women and people of our country who are relying solely on the income from selling second-hand clothes.
There are communities who are, as we speak, in the dark. They don’t have electricity; not because there is load-shedding, not because of technical faults, not because they didn’t buy electricity cards. It is because some lunatics, who behave like Satanists and who are working for syndicates, stole those cables. Hence our people are in the dark as we speak. It was not easy to deal with this kind of crime. This industry that deals in second-hand goods was not properly regulated, but thanks to the Minister, this Bill will address that trade effectively.
The Bill obliges dealers to keep detailed records of all transactions where they bought goods worth more than R100. If you don’t do that, you are committing an offence. There is an obligation, as the Minister rightly said, on dealers to ensure that the goods they buy are not stolen.
Immediately when this Bill becomes an Act, dealers will be prohibited from acquiring goods from persons under the age of 18. I know my colleagues are aware that, in terms of South African law, persons under the age of 18 cannot conclude agreements without the consent of their parents.
What is good about this Bill is that if you buy second-hand goods, you must keep it for seven days before you can tamper with it. Why are we doing this? It is because there are people who will buy a car today and spray it the following morning to change the colour. You ask yourself, why? You know the reason.
What is good, again, about this Bill is that the Minister can exempt some people or dealers from registering if there are good reasons to do so. It won’t be a one-size-fits-all. What is also good about this Bill is that if there are reasons for you to make an appeal to the National Commissioner, your request will be looked at and be approved if there are reasons for you to do that.
Another relief is that this Bill does not regulate private transactions. That is, if there is a private transaction between two persons, the law does not deter you from doing that. All dealers who want to deal with second-hand goods will have to apply through the National Commissioner. Of course, the National Commissioner will exercise his or her right to approve or deny your application to register.
One other provision in this Bill that will excite the members is that if as a private citizen, as was rightly said by the Minister, you suspect that a particular individual is busy committing an offence you are allowed to exercise what we call a citizen’s arrest. Immediately after you have done that, please report to your nearest law-enforcement agency. You can also, if you reasonably believe that this person is about to commit an offence, do what I said.
The other question that I was asked by my province and stakeholders is: What is going to happen to someone who sells those used goods or those old tyres or those who are operating a spaza shop selling smaller items like starter packs or sim cards? Feel free, you are safe as long as you are doing your transactions transparently.
Members of this committee spent more time trying to deal with the same concern. I want to assure those people that those kinds of dealers will not be affected. The aim of this Bill is not to frustrate our poor people. There is a provision that enables the National Commissioner to exempt some of these categories, as I said. The committee is very careful not to burden our people unnecessarily.
I know Members of Parliament are honest. I want to believe that there is no-one in this House who once bought a television through the back door. I know there are Members of this Parliament who have not bought stolen goods, and who have not bought tyres through the back door. I know there are Members of this Parliament who haven’t bought car parts through the back door. I know members are very honest, hon Krumbock.
My appreciation – hon Minister, I must say this – goes to Director Van der Walt. He is one of those South Africans, hon Minister, of whom I am not ashamed to say if there is space for you to promote him, by all means do so. He is such a wonderful guy who assisted the committee. Even when we had our meeting in the Free State, when we knocked off at 1 am, he was there to assist us. My time has expired. Let us support the Bill. Thank you very much.
Mr D A WORTH: Thank you, Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members. Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the co-author of my brilliant speech here today, my colleague Mr Le Roux. He unfortunately cannot be here.
The Second-Hand Goods Bill, also sometimes referred to as the Stolen Goods Bill, is in essence a fight against crime and an attempt to promote ethical standards in the second-hand goods trade.
The committee debated the Bill at length and unanimously supported this Bill. We all know that the theft of goods and especially copper cables is costing our country billions of rand each year. Huge factories, our communication network and our transport system are often crippled by criminal activities. The public at large suffers as a result of this theft and in the end pays the penalty in higher taxes and lower wages as a result of the loss of man hours.
Voorsitter, dit was baie duidelik dat die komitee ’n balans moet vind tussen die mate van regulering wat nodig is in die bedryf en die gevaar van oorregulering, wat die bedryf ernstig kan benadeel. In die oorspronklike wetsontwerp was daar wel ’n groot gevaar dat sommige klousules die bedryf sou skaad. Die handel in tweedehandse goedere is reusagtig en verdien belangrike buitelandse valuta. Skrootyster alleen verdien etlike miljarde valuta, met uitvoer veral na China en Indië.
Oor die algemeen is hierdie handel arbeidsintensief en skep dit werk vir duisende mense. Die komitee verdien lof vir die manier waarop daar aan elk van die probleemklousules aandag gegee is. Uiteindelik het ons ’n wetsontwerp wat die publiek beskerm, waarmee die sakesektor kan saamleef en wat misdaad sal bekamp.
Wat die wetsontwerp self betref, word daar vereis dat die sakesektor noulettend rekenskap moet kan gee van presies van wie produkte gekoop word en aan wie produkte verkoop word. Hierdie rekords moet stiptelik gehou word en ten alle tye beskikbaar wees vir inspeksie deur die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisie. Volle besonderhede van alle transaksies moet geboekstaaf word en die rekords moet vir vyf jaar bewaar word.
Die wetsontwerp vereis ook dat alle handelaars geregistreer word en aan die vereistes van die wetsontwerp voldoen. So, byvoorbeeld, sal persone met ’n kriminele rekord nie kan handel dryf nie.
Die wetsontwerp vereis ook dat indien ’n handelaar enigsins vermoed dat gesteelde items aan hom aangebied word, die polisie onmiddellik in kennis gestel moet word. Goedere wat aangekoop word, mag nie binne sewe dae herverkoop word nie. Dit was ook duidelik vir die komitee dat sommige bedrywighede nie aan al die vereistes van die wet sal kan voldoen nie en daarom is die tweedehandse handel in boeke en klerasie vrygespreek van die vereistes in die wetsontwerp.
Die wetsontwerp maak ook voorsiening daarvoor dat liefdadigheidsorganisasies onthef kan word van die verpligtinge van die wetsontwerp. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Chairperson, it was very clear that the committee had to find a balance between the extent of regulation required in the industry and the danger of overregulation, which could seriously harm the industry. In the original Bill there was a very real danger that some of the clauses would harm the industry. The trade in second-hand goods is enormous, earning vital foreign currency. Scrap metal alone earns several billions’ worth, with exports to China and India.
In general this trade is labour-intensive and it creates work for thousands of people. The committee deserves praise for the way in which each one of the problematic clauses has been attended to. At last we have a Bill which protects the public, which the business sector can live with and which will combat crime.
As regards the Bill itself, it is required from the business sector to be able to account precisely from whom products are bought and to whom products are sold. These records must be kept accurately and should be available at all times for inspection by the SA Police Service. Full particulars of all transactions must be recorded and these records must be kept for five years.
The Bill also requires all traders to be registered and to comply with the Bill’s provisions. As such, for instance, a person with a criminal record will not be able to trade.
If a trader in any way suspects that he is being offered stolen goods, the Bill requires him to inform the police immediately. No goods that have been purchased may be resold within seven days. It was also clear to the committee that some activities would not meet the requirements of the legislation and therefore the second-hand trade in books and clothing have been exempted from the provisions of the Bill.
The Bill also provides that welfare organisations can be exempted from the requirements of the Bill.]
In Chapter 3 the Bill provides for the establishment of accredited dealers’ associations. The aim of these associations is to self-regulate their members and to enforce ethical standards. In clause 41 of the Bill the Minister may make regulations to ensure that the objectives of the Bill can, in fact, be achieved.
All provinces supported the Bill in principle, but certain concerns were raised. The Eastern Cape raised a valid concern as to whether the SAPS has the capacity to enforce the Bill. This raises the interesting point that good legislation is meaningless if the capacity to enforce it is lacking.
Voorsitter, die handel in gesteelde goedere is vir ons almal in Suid-Afrika ’n baie groot probleem. Hierdie wetsontwerp skep ’n raamwerk waarin handelaars, die polisie en die publiek kan saamwerk om misdaad te bekamp. Ek dank u. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[Chairperson, the trade in stolen goods is a very big problem for all of us in South Africa. This Bill creates a framework within which traders, the police and the public can work together in order to combat crime. I thank you.]
Mr P C MCKENZIE (Western Cape): Chairperson and hon Minister, it is good to be back here, and I thank you for the opportunity to share some thoughts with you.
It is indeed an undeniable fact that the previous limited restraints in the regulated status of the second-hand goods industry have for far too long preserved the breeding ground for active criminality.
The criminal activity in this particular industry was often concealed by the fact that dealers who operate in this industry were not effectively held accountable for the methods that they employed to propagate criminal trends.
Hon Chairperson, I have no doubt that the House is comprehensively knowledgeable and that the second-hand goods industry is responsible for the supply and sale of a wide variety of goods across the board. These goods include motor vehicles, jewellery, household and office equipment, clothing, books, factory equipment, antique goods, agricultural implements, controlled metals and many others.
We do not have to go too far to examine the effects of cable theft, particularly here in the Western Cape, which often negatively affects railway transportation. The House might also have knowledge of the fact that Metrorail, alongside rail commuters, often has to bear the brunt and inconvenience of cable theft while incurring exorbitant expenses.
This Bill provides a mechanism to ensure that traders are obliged not to accept stolen goods by means of checks and balances that are put in place by law.
I therefore believe that this Bill is undoubtedly responding effectively to previous parlous vindictiveness in the trade of second-hand goods, where dealers often escaped the law unscathed for accepting stolen goods without any recourse for the public who had to bear the brunt of their actions.
The legal framework of this Bill will also curb the hardened criminality that ensured stolen goods were easily diffused in the marketplace without being traceable.
I want to emphasise, Chairperson, that I am particularly pleased with the clause pertaining to the policing aspects of this Bill, which allows the police to make this law enforceable.
The police are being granted the correct mandate to monitor dealerships in order to ensure that they, as well as the goods which they accept, are registered. This Bill will also ensure that property crime decreases in some way, by ensuring that the market for stolen goods is somehow reduced.
The police will also be able to conduct at least one comprehensive annual inspection of each registered premises during which the records of the business will be examined.
I believe that these measures and various other clauses will serve as a deterrent to dealers who keep the illegal sale of stolen goods active, when they are not held effectively accountable for their participation in these kinds of criminal activities.
I am therefore firmly of the opinion that the Second-Hand Goods Bill will indeed play a fundamental role in promoting ethical standards in the trade of second-hand goods, with the involvement of the police ensuring adherence and compliance. Therefore, as a province, we support this Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N J MACK: Thank you, Chairperson, the deputy chairperson of the committee, hon Minister, MECs, Members of Parliament, special delegates, comrades and guests.
Alle partye stem saam oor hierdie wetsontwerp, al die provinsies stem saam en dit skyn vir my almal praat dieselfde storie, so in my toespraak het ek al só baie uitgehaal ... (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[All parties agree on this Bill, all the provinces agree and it appears they are all speaking with one voice, hence I have already left out so much from my speech ...]
I don’t think there is anything left for me to say. However, there are a few things that I have picked up on my own and I need to give some introductory remarks.
The Second-Hand Goods Bill was adopted by the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Affairs with further amendments, and seeks to repeal the Second-Hand Goods Act, Act 23 of 1955. Currently the Act regulates the second-hand industry and provides for a legislative framework within which dealers in second-hand goods could or should operate.
According to the memorandum attached to the Bill, the drafters of the old Act could never have foreseen the major developments in technology since the year 1955. It was also the year in which the Freedom Charter was adopted.
Chairperson, it has been found that the principal Act is not adequate to prevent trade in stolen goods. The Act, furthermore, is not able to regulate the growing technological trade in second-hand and stolen goods. It appears that the Bill has to respond to the challenges of the industry and facilitate effective policing. The Bill should make it easy for the SAPS to deal with the growing market irregularities.
The Second-Hand Goods Bill was adopted by the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Affairs with further amendments and seeks to repeal the Second-Hand Goods Act, Act 23 of 1955. [Interjections.]
Dan is daar reeds verwys na die wegraak en die steel van kabels, en Telkom het ook al aangedui dat die waarde van kabels wat weggeraak het, R863 miljoen beloop. Wat my bekommer, Minister, is dat ek nêrens in die wetsontwerp opgemerk het waar dié spesifieke saak aangepak word nie. Ek wil net gou in Engels voorlees ... (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[Mention has already been made of the disappearance and the theft of cables, and Telkom has also indicated that the value of missing cables amounts to R863 million. What concerns me, Minister, is that nowhere have I seen this Bill addressing this particular aspect. I just briefly want to read to you in English ...]
As lawmakers we are saying to criminals and “tikkoppe” ...
... en tik is veral die dwelmprobleem in die Wes-Kaap ... [... and tik is the main drug problem in the Western Cape ...]
... that your days are numbered and that our community, businesses and government can’t accept or tolerate this anymore.
Vir my is ons groot uitdaging en probleem wanneer ’n vader, ’n moeder of jong seuns ’n mikrogolfoond of ’n ketel uit die huis neem, en hulle wettige identiteitsdokumente het, kan hulle dit gaan ruil as hul eie. Dis ook nie steel nie; dis hul eiendom wat hulle nou gaan ruil vir geld om dwelms mee te koop. Dit verarm die familie.
Die groter bekommernis is wanneer ons eie mense só arm is en só swaarkry dat hulle hul huishoudelike meubels en eiendom vir kos verkoop. Ek weet nie ... (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[To me our great challenge and problem lies in the fact that when a father, a mother or young boys remove a microwave oven or kettle from home, and they have valid identity documents, they are able to exchange it as their own. It is also not theft; it is their own property that they are exchanging for money in order to buy drugs. This impoverishes the family.
The greater concern is when our people are so poor and their hardship so great that they sell their household furniture and property for food. I do not know ...]
I am struggling to see how we are going to address this, to see to it that our people do not do this to themselves.
Ek dink nie ons kan dit in wetgewing sit nie, maar ons moet ’n manier kry om die probleem op te los, want dit is wat gebeur. Mense verkoop hulle eie huishoudelike goedere by pandjieswinkels en skrootwerwe vir kos, wat ’n tragedie is, en dan ook vir dwelms, wat ’n groot bekommernis is. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[I do not think we can legislate this, but we have to find a way to solve the problem, because that is what happens. People resort to selling their own household goods to pawn shops and scrapyards for food, which is tragic, and then also for drugs, which is a major concern.]
We are also expressing this to dealers who know that these items or cables are stolen, but because of their money-making need, they care more about the money than they do about service delivery, the rule of law or about our own people.
Ek wil ook graag beklemtoon dat ons die wetgewing met betrekking tot die koop en verkoop van gesteelde goedere, die mark daar buite en alles wat ons doen, saam moet inspan. Ons kan nie net sê ons fokus nou net op die skrootwerf of net op die pandjieswinkel nie. Wanneer die polisie uitgaan, moet hulle die breë wetgewing toepas, want die handel in tweedehandse goedere en die skrootwerwe en so meer is baie wyer as net inneem en geld kry. Dit dryf mense tot ander dinge! Dit wil sê, die hele wet moet breër ingespan word.
Ek haal nou net sekere goed aan uit my toespraak, want baie daarvan is reeds genoem deur ander mense. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[I also wish to emphasise that we should use the legislation pertaining to the buying and selling of stolen goods in conjunction with the general market and everything else we are doing. We cannot simply say that we are focusing only on scrapyards or pawnshops at the moment. Whenever the police go out, they should apply the broader legislation, because the trade in second-hand goods, scrapyards and so forth is far broader in scope than merely accepting goods in exchange for money. It drives people to other things! In other words, the entire law should be applied in a broader sense.
I am now only quoting from certain parts of my speech, as much of it has already been covered by other speakers.]
I also want to say the select committee has brought some amendments: On page 2 of the Bill omit “limit” and insert “combat” in the title of the Bill; in clause 1, line 44, insert “books” and “clothing” as goods to be exempted from strict regulations.
Ander agb lede het daaroor uitgewei. Dan word daar iets belangriks genoem. Daar word gesê hierdie wetgewing moet ook klein ondernemings bevoordeel. Ek wil net hier iets uitlig. Ons het klein ondernemings in stedelike gebiede en in plattelandse gebiede, byvoorbeeld, die Karoo, en my lieflingplek, Beaufort-Wes, waarvandaan ek kom.
As iemand aluminium in die stad verkoop, gaan hy argumentshalwe R10 per kg kry. As ’n klein onderneming in Beaufort-Wes aluminium verkoop, gaan hy R5 per kg kry - dit is ’n besigheidsverskynsel. Maar die groter onderneming in die stad ry met sy trok Beaufort-Wes toe en koop goedere vir R5 en kom verkoop dit dan weer in die stad vir R10. Dit wil sê ons ondernemings op die platteland het al klaar ’n nadeel.
Dit kan waarskynlik nie in hierdie wetgewing aangespreek word nie, maar dit gaan oor die persepsie dat alle sakeondernemings voordeel moet trek. Ek wil darem net ’n lansie vir die plattelandse ondernemings breek sodat ons kan kyk hoe ons hulle werklik kan bevoordeel, want dit is waar die armstes van die armes woon. Baie dankie, Voorsitter. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Other hon members have elaborated on that point. Then something important is mentioned. It is said that this legislation should also allow for small enterprises to benefit. At this point I just wish to point out something. We have small enterprises in urban areas as well as rural areas such as the Karoo and my favourite place, Beaufort West, where I hail from.
For the sake of argument, if someone sells aluminium in the city he gets R10 per kg. If a small enterprise in Beaufort West sells aluminium, it will get R5 per kg – that is a business phenomenon. However, the medium enterprise in the city will send its truck to Beaufort West to buy the goods for R5 and come and sell it again in the city for R10. In other words, our rural enterprises are already at a disadvantage.
It can probably not be addressed in this piece of legislation, but it deals with the perception that all business enterprises should benefit equally. However, I really want to take up the cudgels for enterprises in the rural areas so that we can look at ways in which they can actually benefit, because that is where the poorest of the poor live. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]]
Mr M NYUSILE (Eastern Cape): Thank you, Chairperson, hon Minister, Members of Parliament ...
... nam mandizibulisele ngokuhlwa nje. [... let me greet you all this evening.]
I rise here on behalf of the Eastern Cape government to support the Bill. The Joint Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security and Economic Affairs, Environment and Tourism conducted a series of public hearings all over the province from 14 to 17 July 2008. All these public hearings were a success.
During the meeting on the negotiating mandate, the Eastern Cape raised issues that came out of the public hearings. Some of those issues were contained or captured in the Bill and we are happy with that. There is one issue, however, Minister, which we thought had been captured, but we are saying as the province that it was not captured in the way we wanted.
With regard to the issue that deals with the specialised unit within the SAPS, in our view as the province, we still feel very strongly that with the capacity problems of the SAPS, we need to have a unit which is going to specialise in and deal with this Second-Hand Goods Bill. It would be the same as we have with the stock theft units and other units that deal with firearms and their control. If you don’t have that you will have problems with compliancy.
We hear what the response of the department is. It is saying that one can’t have all these issues in the Bill, as they are operational matters. But we are saying, Minister, that those operational matters must find expression in the local and provincial police stations for SAPS members to do the enforcement part of it. It is clear that proper enforcement of this legal framework will curtail the selling of stolen goods by criminals through this industry.
The obvious expectation in our province is that once the Bill is passed into legislation it will have a significant impact on reducing crime, especially organised crime. The successful fight against crime requires an integrated involvement of a wide cross-section of role-players; thus we think the Bill will do exactly that.
The Eastern Cape is the second largest province in the country. It is mainly comprised of vast rural areas and the following features of the social and economic context are directly relevant to the problems of crime and safety in this province. There is widespread and deep-rooted poverty, with some 67% of the provincial population living below the poverty line.
There is a glaring disparity in the provincial economy between the rich and poor. Rural unemployment and poverty remains high, with government services and welfare grants being the mainstay of rural local economies. There is a high and rising rate of HIV/Aids prevalent in the province and health care challenges are also a problem.
Besides combating dealings in stolen goods, the Bill will also have a socioeconomic impact on society, which includes economic growth and broadening of the tax base through the increased number of registered and tax-abiding businesses. The Bill has direct licensing costs, which entail administrative costs, equipment, database maintenance and vetting of applicants.
Failure to adequately enforce and monitor this legislation may result in unlicensed traders operating, thus negating the objectives of the Bill. Through the Bill’s stringent controls for dealing with second-hand goods, the Bill will contribute to tackling the trade in stolen goods and organised crime by removing and minimising the commercial benefits of trading in stolen goods. This entails stolen vehicles, cell phones and copper cables.
Most important is the seven days waiting period, applicable to the automotive industry, or any other industry for that matter, before cars or goods that are acquired can be disposed of. Second-hand goods dealers or pawnbrokers are required to maintain and retain transaction records and proper registers.
This information is to be made available to police and authorised officers, when required. This will enable the police to identify stolen goods. This Bill also requires an identity document to be produced when selling goods to shops or scrap metal dealers to prevent the buying of stolen goods.
In the Eastern Cape we have witnessed a spate of thefts of municipal property in recent weeks, such as water taps and drainage lids to be sold to scrap metal dealers. These incidents deprive the people of the services, like water, and pose a serious danger to them. With the requirement that an identity document has to be produced, it will be difficult for people to sell stolen items.
Through the provision of a regulatory environment that protects legitimate business and promotes competition, the Bill will instil confidence and create conditions conducive to business growth. The licensing of special goods categories will provide consumers with an assurance that a potential supplier has been examined and possesses a sound record and skills covered by the licence. In terms of penalties, we are saying it will also help the culprits.
Chairperson, we therefore support the Bill and welcome the fact that this committee has called us to come and have a bite at these deliberations. I thank you.
Mnu M A MZIZI: Sihlalo, angithokoze kuNgqongqoshe unwele olude. Kuyahlupha khona ukuthi uma niye navumelana ngo-elethu ngoMthethosivivinywa uthi uyabhala nokubhala phansi ngoba akuyi kukusiza ngalutho ngoba uhlabelela ingoma eyodwa. Ngiyengakhetha ukuthi ake ngithi ukuthi nje cezu kancane. Ngqongqoshe, siyawamukela umthetho siyiNkatha yeNkululeko ukuthi lo mthetho uphuzile noko ukufika bekufuneka ngabe wafika kudalo.
Indaba yokuthi siwuvume nayi lapho ikhona manje ngibhekise kulabaya abafowethu nodadewethu abathenga impahla kubafana. Uyavalwa lowo mgodi akusekubuye kubekhona ukuthenga impahla kubafana. Bengicela kuNgqongqoshe ukuthi nikubhekisise phela singabheki kuma “scrap yard”.
Asibheke laba bantu abathenga impahla kubafana, umfana uza ethengisa umabonakude, inkinga yomabonakude ukuthi ayinayo inombolo kulayisensi yami ukuthi lena-ke inombolo ekamabonakude othize. Ngingaba nomabonakude abangamashumi amabili kodwa ngibe nelayisensi kamabonakude owodwa. Yingakho ngithi akesibhekisise ukuthi masimthola lo othenge kubafana iqine ingalo yomthetho.
Ngize kulokhu kwama “scrap yard”. Ngiyabona Ngqongqoshe, kukhona inkinga esibanayo izimoto ziyantshontshwa. Uma beyintshontsha manje basithela ngapha bafake izinombolo okungezona, zomgunyathi. Awuseyi kuyibona noma amaphoyisa eyilindile ngale sekuvele kuqhamuke imoto enezinombolo ezehlukile zomgunyathi.
Ngikusho lokhu ngoba indodakazi bake bantshontsha inqola yakhe, ngemva kwezinsuku ezithize eyibikile ukuthi ilahlekile yatholakala imile emgwaqeni. Angazi ukuthi wayekuphi umshayeli waleyo nqola ngoba amaphoyisa uma efika eyibheka, ebuka izinombolo zenqola kudisk kwatholakala ukuthi azifani base beyidonsa imoto futhi asekhumbula icala elibikiwe.
Into yokuqala engayibuza ephoyiseni yikuthi lezo zinombolo ezatholakala lapho zazibhaliswe kubani kwasekuqaleni? Iphoyisa laphendula ngokuthi kusalindwe ochwepheshe abasebenza ngeminwe ukuthi bazositshela ukuthi kwenzekani. Inombolo yenqola! Nizobheka lapho bebekhwathakhwathaza khona.Inombolo yenqola ayidingi uchwepheshe osebenza ngeminwe, idinga uthole ukuthi yayibhaliswe kwinqola kabani kwasekuqaleni.
Ngakho-ke kuzofuneka uqine umthetho ngokukhishwa kwezinombolo zezinqola ngoba umuntu uyalaphaya ayothenga inombolo yenqola. Ufika athini? Uthi inombolo yenqola ilahlekile, loko siyakwazi ukuthi inombolo yenqola iyalahleka umuntu ayicoshe emgwaqeni, kodwa uma usuyoyisikisa akutholakale ukuthi kwakungubani lowo muntu, nalapho kuthengiswa khona izinombolo zezimoto akulawulwe.
Kufuneka kube nomthetho ochaza kahle ukuthi izinombolo zezinqola bazithengisa kanjani, bathengisela bani, ngesikhathi esinjani futhi izinqola ngeke zintshontshwe uma kungenziwa kanjalo; ngoba indlela okusetshenzwa ngayo yiyona imbangela yokuthi zintshontshwe. Ithi ingalahleka bedlule ngayo phambi kwakho sebeyipendile, futhi isinenombolo entsha babuye bakugibeze wena mnikazi wayo. Uthi usuphakathi uyincome ukuthi ihamba kahle njengaleyo obuhamba ngayo kanti uncoma imoto yakho. Ukhuluma nje ngeyakho lenqola eseyinezinombolo ezintsha. Yilokho Ngqongqoshe ebengithi kungakuhle sikuqaphele, sikubukisise yikho engikubone ukuthi singakhuluma ngakho kodwa ngithi namhlanje icebo labafana lokudayisa liyavalwa. Sithi sifaka izichibiyelo zokuthi akungabe kusathengwa. Laphaya eThokoza kukhona laba abahamba emgwaqeni ababizwa ngokuthi “thiba ka moo” bacelile kubahlali bathi siyanicela bazali bethu ukuthi musani ukuthenga izimpahla ezebiwe ngoba uma ukewatholakala uzithenga uzothola isibhaxu esivela kubo “thiba ka moo”. Umthethosivivinywa siyawesekela. [Ihlombe] (Translation of isiZulu speech follows.)
[Mr M A MZIZI: Chairperson, Minister, greetings to you all. It’s a little bit difficult and worrying to find that a Bill has been unanimously supported, and there comes at least one fly in the ointment opposing that Bill. I think that would not help anyone because it is in any event pointless to mention one thing without results all the time. Today I decided to diverse slightly. Hon Minister, as the Inkatha Freedom Party, we support this Bill, even though it came very late. In fact, it was long overdue.
The reason we are supporting this Bill is the following: I am now talking about those brothers and sisters who buy stolen goods. Sadly for them, that door is now permanently closed and they will never be buying from thieves again. I am pleading with you, hon Minister, that you should scrutinise these cases, and also that we should not only concentrate on scrap yards.
We must watch more closely the people who buy goods from thieves. What happens is that the thieves would come to you selling a television set. And the problem with the television sets is that they do not have their serial numbers written on your licence to indicate that this TV licence is for a particular television set. I can have twenty television sets with one TV licence. And it is for this very reason that I say if someone is found to have bought something from thieves, let the law take its course.
Let me now come to the issue of scrap yards. Hon Minister, we have a problem, our cars are stolen. If they steal your car, they just go around the corner and remove the original registration plates and put on fake ones. You would never recognise it; even if the police were waiting ahead for it, they would never recognise it because it would then have fake registration plates.
I am saying this because my daughter had her car stolen. Just a few days after she reported it stolen, it was found parked on the road. I do not know where the driver was because when the police arrived, they checked the registration plates against the car disk and they discovered that they did not correspond. Thereafter, they towed the car and they also remembered a reported case of a stolen vehicle.
My first question to a police officer on the scene was in whose name were the registration plates. And he said they are still waiting for the fingerprint experts to tell what is happening. That surprised me and I asked the police whether it made any sense to wait for the fingerprint experts just to confirm the ownership of the registration plates. I was then told that fingerprint experts would first have to lift fingerprints. Now, identifying car registration plates does not need fingerprint experts, but it only needs the information as to in whose name the registration plates were registered in the first place.
Therefore, the law concerning the issuing of car registration plates should be enforced strictly because now it seems that any person can simply go and buy car registration plates. And when a person gets there, what does he say? It’s simple. He says that he lost his registration plates. Now, we all know that registration plates can get lost, and usually someone will pick them up on the road. And if someone is trying to use the numbers on those registration plates, there should be a way to detect as to who the owner of those numbers was. The places that sell registration plates should be regulated.
There must be an Act to regulate the selling of car registration plates, and also to monitor who these car registration plates are being sold to and also the conditions under which these are sold. Regulation is very important because it is its absence that leads to cars being stolen. Once your car is stolen, they simply repaint it, put in false registration plates and drive it around in front of you. Above that, they will also give you a lift in your own car. And once you get inside, you would start praising the car for its balances, not knowing that you are praising your own car. It would be your car with different registration plates.
Hon Minister, that is all I wanted us to be aware of and pay attention to. But today I am saying to thieves out there, their strategy of selling stolen goods is finished. We are saying we are making amendments to stop the buying of goods from them now. In Thokoza there is Operation Thiba Ka Moo, and residents there were kindly asked to stop buying stolen goods. They were clearly told that once it comes to the operation’s attention that a certain person is buying stolen goods, that person would be punished by the Operation Thiba Ka Moo team. We support the Bill. [Applause.]]
Mr M SITHEBE (KwaZulu-Natal): Hon Minister, Deputy Chair, Chairperson of the Select Committee on Safety and Security, permanent members and special delegates, it is an honour to take part in this debate on the Second-Hand Goods Bill.
The Second-Hand Goods Bill enjoys immense support among the electorate. We conducted three public hearings in the province as per mandate of the Constitution, especially section 72, which mandates us to consult adequately with the electorate out there when we are to enact an Act. Thus, as the NCOP, we decided to embark on this process. And when it comes to the NCOP - that is section 118 - after public participation in the form of public hearings, we met as the Portfolio Committee on Community Safety and Liaison to confer the mandate. We supported the Second-Hand Goods Bill of 2008.
The Bill is informed and influenced by the developmental agenda of the ANC-led government which will ultimately improve the lives of our people. The Bill seeks to repeal the obsolete or outdated Second-Hand Goods Act, Act 23 of 1955, and the Second-Hand Goods Amendment Act, Act 18 of 1978, as well as some sections of outdated Acts of 1956, such as section 21, and the General Law Amendment Act of 1957, section 43 and 44; and finally abolish the restriction on the Jurisdiction of Courts Act of 1996, section 7.
It is essential to note the tremendous intended impact which will be achieved on the lives of all our people in the country. Thus, we see this particular Bill as one that will create a mechanism that will curb the copper and cable theft that we are experiencing, which impacts negatively on the socioeconomic milieu of our people. We are saying this is the Bill that provides a particular mechanism to help us deal with a particular issue and to attend to the developmental agenda that we have set as government to improve the lives of our people.
The rate of theft will be drastically reduced since second-hand dealers are obliged to keep records of all the information that is stipulated in the Bill. That information must be accurate. Punitive measures will be taken if false information is provided. Even then we are saying we are a caring government because those accredited entities will be given 30 days’ grace before the National Commissioner will take punitive measures against them. This shows that this Bill is very sensitive to the services that are rendered to the people and also the lives that our people should lead.
The Constitution provides clear grounds for transforming our country and society. The Freedom Charter advocated that there shall be houses, security and comfort. Through this particular Bill, the ANC-led government is determined to create a climate that is conducive to our people leading decent lives without fear of burglaries.
The prophets of doom are proven wrong through such noble initiatives. We have stated that we need to create a better society, and this is the tool and mechanism that is heeding that road map, and we are saying that is the challenge we are faced with.
The other thing that I would like to raise, which was raised in quite a number of those public hearings that we conducted in the province, is that it would be prudent for us to enjoin the Minister to look at the possibility of setting up at least some sort of unit that will deal with this. That is something that was raised in the Eastern Cape, so that we can have some sort of hands-on approach to this type of problem, because it is a new challenge that we are faced with and we want to curb this type of crime that we are experiencing in our country.
We, as KwaZulu-Natal, support the Second-Hand Goods Bill as one tool that seeks to create a better life for our people. The Bill of Rights requires every person and entity to provide information when asked, thus each dealer should have all information at their disposal so that if they suspect anything, they can go and check. If records seem to be not quite in keeping with all assets, then punitive measures will be taken. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr A L MOSEKI: Chairperson, hon Minister, colleagues, I don’t know what to say because Kgoshi and the rest of the comrades who spoke before me have actually spoken on everything.
Hon Minister, I was requested by the committee to speak on the law enforcement and the resources that will ensure that this piece of legislation that we are to pass today is fully implemented.
Firstly, let’s talk about the challenges that the rest of the colleagues have spoken about. I am from the North West province. You will be aware that North West is 70% rural. What you have there is that the people who are economically active will be mainly the rural small and medium businesses and small farmers to commercial farmers.
What we have encountered in recent years is that crime on the metal front has increased - as have crimes involving cables – as arethe most important or valuable goods that are kept by communities for use at home. Those things are being stolen by criminals.
On the farms theft of fences and the other things that go with that, like your poles and all those things, is increasing. The reason for that is because some people are unemployed, but that does not justify the crime they are involved in. They steal those things and take them to the illegal scrap yards. Actually, perhaps it is in those scrap yards where organised crime takes place; on the one hand exploiting the very same people who are stealing and trying to make a living for themselves, but on the other hand committing crime.
On that front, again, one of the biggest problems that we have is that this kind of activity is not properly regulated. As a result, these big businesses are actually encouraging crime. Now, it is our well-considered view that this piece of legislation is going to assist us to deal with this kind of crime that is happening in the country and in the countryside.
In this Bill, we are also happy that the police, the law-enforcement agencies, have now been given powers to go to those scrap metal dealers and related businesses to inspect on a periodic basis if indeed the activities that are happening at those metal businesses are legal.
We are also pleased, as a committee, that this Bill gives the Minister the power to identify areas where illegal activities might be happening and to extend the power to deal with those activities. However, on the resources front - as we said, this is a very good piece of legislation - we are a little worried that it might not achieve its intended objectives because of a lack of resources.
It is on that basis that we agree with our colleague from KwaZulu-Natal that whilst we are aware that the police are doing a very good job, they need to be beefed up. They need to be reinforced. We need some kind of specialised unit that will specifically focus on dealing with this kind of a crime.
It is our well-considered view that that is one area that needs to be looked at. But besides establishing that unit, our experience is that we have been passing very good pieces of legislation in this august House. What has happened is that it takes time to implement those pieces of legislation simply because there are no resources in the form of money to ensure that the laws that we pass are effectively implemented.
Once again, it is our request that this area needs to be made a priority. Having said all these things, we want to say as a committee that we wish the department well in ensuring that these illegal activities are uprooted in our society. We support this Bill. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Ms P M Hollander): Order! I would like to remind members of this House that according to Rule 33 no member may interrupt another member who is addressing the Chair, except to call attention to a point of order or question of privilege.
The MINISTER OF SAFETY AND SECURITY: Deputy Chairperson, I want to thank members who were participants in this debate this afternoon. A pleasing aspect concerned a suggestion on the enforcement of this law, made by the Eastern Cape. Hon Nyusile raised the issue of a specialised unit, which was supported by KwaZulu-Natal and North West. I’m pleased that hon members see the need for more resources, especially in this portfolio, so that we are able to do the kinds of things we need to do. I’m assured that there is that very formidable support as we go forward.
I think the hon Worth made the very same point about enforcement. We need to say that this process, which has involved everyone, has areas we are highlighting. And as we implement the legislation, we need to bear this in mind so that we are able to evaluate our progress as we go on. I think at this point we can’t, with the resources at our disposal, commit to this matter.
Most of the speakers have raised the point that these are untested waters. All we are saying is that we need to test these waters as we go forward.
If you think about what the MEC from the Western Cape has raised with regard to the issue of emergency services, if we are to build a caring society, you can imagine the effect all this crime involving second-hand goods - which we are trying to curb – has of reversing that. When people are awaiting essential services someone will just come and take that away from society just like that, and the entire society will suffer.
It is a blow to our commitment to build a caring society. If we go to the Eastern Cape and elsewhere in the country we witness that there are all sorts of things ensuring that we deliver basic services to people, but we have people who just come and take whatever is copper, our taps, and so on. It is also a further blow to the essential work of ensuring that services are made available to ordinary and poor people.
The notion that this criminality is always associated with poor people is a fallacy because we have very poor countries, poorer than South Africa, who do not have the kind of crimes and activities we experience in our society. I don’t think it’s correct to justify this behaviour by saying that it is because people are poor. In fact, most of the people who are engaging in these things are syndicates, as the chairperson has said. They are syndicates who are well off as compared to poor people out there. Deputy Chairperson and hon members, thank you.
Question put: That the Bill be agreed to.
IN FAVOUR: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape.
Bill accordingly agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
TOBACCO PRODUCTS CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Chairperson and hon members, it is an honour to speak in this Chamber where the NCOP is the host. I must confess and apologise that, like hon Mthethwa, it’s my first time in this Chamber. [Laughter.]
It is the first time I am meeting you in this capacity. I’ve met you as comrades and colleagues, so I’m obviously fairly anxious, but thanks for allowing me to address your House for the first time.
It is an honour for me to lead this second reading debate on the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill. I wish to convey the apologies of Minister Barbara Hogan, who is out of the country
on an official visit.
Today’s debate marks another important milestone in the effort to strengthen our country’s tobacco control programme through legislative reform. In 2007, this Parliament passed the first part of the same Bill. Today it is again my wish that this Amendment Bill gets similar attention and support to complete the chapter and the work of establishing full control of tobacco products in our country to protect our citizens.
Once more, I wish to remind the House about the tobacco industry’s continuous expansion of their products in a disguised form which misleads the public and enriches the industry at the expense of human health.
The economic costs of tobacco use are devastating. In addition to the high public health cost of treating tobacco-caused diseases, tobacco kills people at the height of their productivity, depriving families of breadwinners and nations of a healthy workforce. Tobacco users are also less productive while they are alive due to increased sickness.
We believe that information on potential adverse health effects should be communicated to consumers. For example, health warnings and labelling should reflect the known adverse health effects of all tobacco products.
The Bill we are debating today focuses on the trade and marketing of tobacco products. This Bill proposes amendments that seek to further improve the operation of the existing Act, and close any avenues designed and used by the tobacco industry to circumvent the provisions of the current Act; and a number of amendments to the Act which are designed to promote health and prevent diseases.
The main provisions of the Bill are the following: to amend the current Act so as to strengthen the sections which prohibit advertising, promotion and sponsorship; to set standards for the packaging and labelling of tobacco products including pictorial warnings on packages; to remove misleading package descriptions like “light” and “mild”; to control the ingredients in, and emissions from, tobacco products; and increase penalties for breaking the law.
The publication of this Bill was approved by the Cabinet in 2003 and it was gazetted for public comments from 17 October 2003 to 17 November 2003. My department collated a substantive number of submissions received from individual members of the public, the tobacco industry, its associates and health organisations.
In general, the majority of those submissions supported the proposed amendments to the Bill, except for some submissions, mainly from the tobacco and associated industries, which made alternate proposals that were not necessarily in line with the objectives of the Bill. The Bill has therefore been amended taking into consideration the comments received.
Chairperson, I shall go through the key clauses to reflect the provisions or the key amendments. Clause 1 seeks to amend some of the definitions in the present tobacco legislation to extend the application of the Tobacco Products Control Act and to close loopholes that exist in the present tobacco legislation.
Clause 2 seeks to further prohibit the advertising, promotion and distribution of tobacco products as well as prescribing the information required in respect of packaging and labelling of tobacco products. It seeks to prescribe the conditions under which sponsorship by tobacco industry and associated industries will be allowed.
Clause 3 seeks to prescribe standards for the manufacture and importation of tobacco products into the RSA. Clause 4 seeks to protect children by prohibiting the owner or the person in charge of the business to allow any person in his or her employment or under his or her control who is under the age of 18 years to sell or offer to sell any tobacco on the business premises.
Clause 5 seeks to prohibit any free distribution of tobacco products at a reduced price and/or to reward anyone with tobacco products. Clause 6 seeks to prohibit access to vending machines by persons under the age of 18.
Clause 7 seeks to prescribe signs in respect of tobacco products and information that must be displayed at the point of sale and on vending machines; and also to prescribe the quantities of tobacco products manufactured or imported as the case may be. Clause 8 seeks to increase the penalty for contravening the provisions of the Act to increase its value as a deterrent.
Ladies and gentlemen and hon members, even though we know that the tobacco industry is a legal business in this country and globally we believe that the products produced and sold by this industry are lethal, because they continue to create serious health problems in individuals and families, the country’s health system and, indeed, the economy of the country.
It is recorded globally that most people start smoking before the age of 18, with almost a quarter beginning before the age of ten. When younger children start to experiment, they are more likely to become regular tobacco users and are less likely to quit. In addition, there is a strong link between advertising and smoking amongst young people, which has been proven by various studies.
The tobacco industry has taken this opportunity to lure young people through sponsorships, advertising and glamorisation of tobacco products by falsely associating the use of tobacco products with desirable qualities, such as glamour, energy, sex appeal as well as exciting activities and adventures.
The industry also knows that the more aware and appreciative young people are of tobacco advertising, the more likely they are to smoke or say they intend to. As a result, the tobacco industry spends billions of dollars worldwide each year spreading its marketing net as widely as possible to attract young customers.
Tobacco companies market their products wherever youth can be easily accessed, such as the movies, the Internet, fashion magazines, music concerts and sports events. In addition, they tend to use SMSing, which is one of the ways that is available on the telecommunication systems.
New ways of packaging and labelling tobacco products are being proposed globally to make people fully aware and to understand the risk of morbidity and premature mortality caused by tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke. There is persuasive evidence that text plus picture-based health warnings on tobacco products packaging tend to provoke more of an emotional response and are, therefore, more salient and potentially more effective than text-only warnings.
Pictures are also able to provide information to those with a low level of literacy or low income, who may have little access to other health information. Using a range of messages increases the likelihood of impact across different population sub-groups as different messages resonate with different people.
Given the abovementioned facts, it is the right time and opportunity to strengthen our country’s Tobacco Products Control Act in order to close all loopholes identified so far. Ladies and gentlemen and hon members, let us remember that the importance of all this effort is to reduce tobacco-related diseases, disabilities and deaths.
Our international treaty, which is the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, FCTC, asserts that the most cost-effective strategies in tobacco control are population-wide public policies, like bans on direct and indirect tobacco advertising, tobacco tax and price increases, smoke-free environments in all public and work places and large, clear, graphic health messages on tobacco packaging.
This year the WHO called upon the member states and policymakers to pass laws in their countries that will ensure a comprehensive ban on all forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products. The WHO further issued a warning that voluntary policies do not work and are not an acceptable response to protect the public, especially the youth, from the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics.
Chairperson, it is our belief that the finalisation of this Bill will further strengthen enforcement of tobacco product control measures in the country and promote the health and wellbeing of our citizens.
In conclusion, let me take this opportunity and thank the officials of my department under the leadership of the Director-General, Thami Mseleku, for their hard work in the processing of this Bill. Similarly, Chairperson, let me thank the Select Committee on Social Services under the astute leadership of the hon Chairperson Masilo and the members who made it possible for this Bill to be adopted by the committee. And we, therefore, accordingly trust that this House will pass the Bill today. I thank you.
Ms J M MASILO: Chairperson, allow me first to congratulate the Minister and Deputy Minister of Health on their appointments.
Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister, hon members and invited guests, it gives me great pleasure to speak on the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill. The Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Tobacco Products Control Act, Act 83 of 1993.
The Bill seeks to do the following: amend certain definitions and add new ones; strengthen the section that prohibits advertising, promotion and sponsorship; provide for better packaging and labelling of tobacco products; set the same product standards for manufacturers and importers of tobacco products; prohibit sales to and by people under 18 years of age; extend the provisions prohibiting the free distribution of tobacco products; and restrict the location of vending machines.
The Bill also seeks to empower the Minister to make regulations regarding the following: the health information to be displayed on a package; notices that may be displayed at points of sale; display of tobacco products at points of sale; quantities that must be contained in a package; and the determination of penalties for contraventions. The Minister shall prescribe minimum package sizes. Smokers who buy single cigarettes do not see the health warnings that appear on cigarette packages. Prescribed packages will carry health warnings. Loose cigarettes also make cigarettes affordable to people under the age of 18 years.
The 1999 Amendment Act banned the advertising and promotion of tobacco products. This prevented the industry from making smoking appear smart, glamorous and sophisticated. The law helped to reduce tobacco use among children. There was a 17% increase in children between the ages of 13 and 19 years who have not taken even one puff on a cigarette between 1999 and 2000. This statistic was taken from the Youth Risk Behaviour Survey.
The Bill makes standards that apply to manufacturers of tobacco products applicable to importers of tobacco products. This will ensure that all traders and manufacturers are measured by the same standards.
The Bill contains provisions that relate to the sale of tobacco products to minors. The Bill proposes to raise the minimum age for the legal sale of tobacco products to 18 years. This is to protect those people defined as “young” by the Constitution. The tobacco industry has also recommended that this age restriction be raised from 16 to 18 years. We welcome that.
The sale of cigarettes through the post, Internet or electronic media is prohibited. Such sales are difficult to monitor. There is no control as the Internet, post and electronic media are freely available and accessible, even to young people.
The location of vending machines is restricted to designated smoking areas. The sale of nontobacco products, for instance chocolates, cool drinks, crisps, etc, from vending machines used for the sale of tobacco products is to be prohibited. These are steps towards reducing purchases by minors, since while purchasing chocolates they might be attracted to tobacco products. The Vending Association of South Africa also made a recommendation on the location of vending machines.
The Bill contains provisions for offences and penalties. I hope members will listen to this one so that they are able to help their constituencies. The Bill introduces the following penalties: An individual who contravenes section 2(5), 3(8), (9)(a) or (b) or (l0) or 4(l), (2), (3), (4)(a) or (b) or (5) or 5 could be fined up to R100 000. An individual who contravenes section 3(l), (2), (3), (6), (7)(a) or (b), 3A or 4A could be fined up to R1 000 000.
In 2007, the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill was split into two sections, namely section 75, which deals with environmental issues regarded as national competencies; and section 76, which deals with advertising, labelling, and sales to minors, etc, regarded as joint competencies between the national and provincial governments.
The Select Committee on Social Services undertook a study visit to the British American Tobacco SA manufacturer at Heidelberg in Gauteng on 26 August 2008, so as to do the following: comply with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control; close gaps and uncertainties in the Act; and strengthen the Act so as to protect the public’s health better. Information is power to help Members of Parliament.
The Bill seeks to broaden the definition of advertising. The new definition prohibits the promotion of all forms of tobacco use. The practice of paying film or television producers for depicting tobacco products in the movies, etc, is prohibited by barring product placement. According to the Bill, manufacturers and importers of tobacco products will only be allowed to make charitable financial contributions or sponsorships if such contributions and sponsorships are not done for the purpose of advertising tobacco products.
This Bill provides for a prohibition for manufacturers not to be allowed to use misleading terms like “light”, “mild” and “low-tar” as these terms might give smokers the impression that light cigarettes are less dangerous than regular cigarettes.
Some members of my committee refused to quit smoking even after we undertook tours. [Laughter.] They say they can’t take good lungs to the grave!
Regarding the sale of tobacco products, the Bill stipulates that hospitals cannot sell tobacco products. It is also proposed that educational institutions should not be allowed to sell tobacco. Tobacco may also only be sold by those over 18 years of age so as to protect “young” people, as defined in our Constitution.
According to the Bill, the display of tobacco products at retail outlets is to be regulated. Self-service displays, which allow customers to handle tobacco products before paying for them, are prohibited.
I am happy to say that South Africa is one of the leading countries to have banned smoking in public spaces. The United Kingdom, as a developed country, banned smoking in public spaces in September 2007.
Health warnings on tobacco packages may include pictures and markings that help identify illicit products as this might assist people better to understand the risks of tobacco use.
In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the senior managers of the department who tirelessly worked on this Bill, as well as the members and staff of the Select Committee on Social Services. Thank you very much for the support you gave the select committee, as well as for your commitment and contributions to finalise this amending Bill.
The Select Committee on Social Services supports this Bill. I thank you.
Mr O M THETJENG: Thank you, Chairperson of the day. Chairperson, colleagues and special delegates present, it is my pleasure to thank you and welcome you to this House today. The DA will, in the main, support the Bill, but there are issues that we need to deal with so that they can be straightened out.
Section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996, states that, and I quote:
Everyone has the right-
(a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing; and
(b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present
and future generations ...
The DA subscribes to these rights as they are provisions of the supreme law of the country and not of a political party. Let me hasten to say we are on the last mile of our walk for 2008, awaiting the prospects of the new year, that is 2009, with eagerness.
Ka Sepedi bare “ngwaga o sa nthatego, tshelaganya ke tle ke je.” [When a person is experiencing problems, he wishes they would pass quickly so that he can be happy again like others.]
We are really hoping for the best in the year to come.
This Bill seeks to amend the definitions of advertisements on packaging, and also prohibits the sale of tobacco products to and by persons under the age of 18 years. I am not sure how this can be implemented since the purchaser is not always the user. As much as we say we should not sell to those who are under 18 years, the purchaser is not always the person who is going to use it.
Street vendors sell to everybody and there is a need to educate the sellers to ensure that they do not engage with the underaged. So we need to deal with that element and say how then do we deal with and monitor these aspects that would be a challenge to us because these tobacco products are also sold to everybody by street vendors.
Make the standards that apply to manufacturers of tobacco products applicable to importers of tobacco products. It is very important that those who import inferior tobacco products illegally are dealt with to protect legal manufacturers and sellers.
The government gains tremendously from taxes – and uses it to provide services to our communities - paid by the tobacco companies that actually do business in a good way. So we need to ask how then are those that actually bring in this product illegally going to be dealt with?
Smokeless tobacco products are generally harmful to the health of those who use them. Smoke-generating tobacco products such as cigarettes are harmful to both users and nonusers. These harms are well documented in the health research documents, hospitals and clinic records. The short and the long of it is that one’s life is shortened when using tobacco products.
Life is about choices that individuals make. Individuals choose to use alcohol and its products in different ways. It is outlawed to drink, get drunk and drive, but there are those who choose to put the lives of others at risk by insisting on driving when they are drunk. They put innocent lives at risk by causing road accidents. Some pedestrians get knocked down by vehicles because of wandering onto the roads when drunk.
Some individuals also choose to use tobacco products, and the most common one in South Africa is the smoke-generating cigarette. Users and nonusers are affected the same way if users do not ensure that they smoke in designated places. By the way, South Africa seems to be the first country in Africa to have a regulation allowing smokers to use designated places, and no smoking in public places. The world is copying South Africa in their endeavour to regulate the industry.
Display of tobacco products at retail outlets is regulated. Self-service displays allowing customers to handle tobacco products before paying for them is prohibited because these are said to be easy vehicles used to promote tobacco companies and the products that they are selling. Sales through the Internet, post and other electronic media are also prohibited. We welcome that, but the big question is how do we monitor those particular aspects? I think in the regulations, perhaps, we need to look at these particular elements. But how we do this is then the question that we have to answer.
Our country has many street vendors selling all forms of products to survive due to the lack of better employment opportunities as our economy is growing but is not translating the growth into more job opportunities for the unemployed.
By the way, these big outlets are normally regulated, or will there be special regulations allowing them to sell as they have been doing? What are we doing to help these vendors comply with the law without making them suffer because they sell on the streets, so they can survive because they are unemployed?
As we make laws, let’s deal with those unintended consequences that may arise, excepting those that are not clear as this is promulgated into law. But where those unintended consequences are very clear, let’s find mechanisms to deal with them so that the unemployed that survive in this way do not get hurt.
I come from Limpopo, Polokwane in particular. Some 200 km north, there’s a port of entry called Beit Bridge, just outside the town of Musina. The storages or house halls are full of “fong-kong” cigarettes confiscated coming from outside the country illegally. How many more of such illegal cigarettes enter the country without being noticed? How is this affecting the formal industry that pays taxes to our government?
We believe there’s a need to consider not prohibiting one-on-one communication. As the law stands now, that has been prohibited but we believe it can be avoided.
This port of entry that is in Polokwane reminds me of many things that are coming out of Polokwane - the stories are there.
An HON MEMBER: On a point of order: Can the hon member just explain to us what “fong-kong” is?
Mr O M THETJENG: They are illegal cigarettes.
Limpopo is very special: Azapo was born there; the PAC split there; South Africa’s democracy started to be brewed for the future in Limpopo, at Polokwane; and we are expecting good things to come in the new year from this part of the country. [Interjections.] [Time expired.]
Mr M L FRANSMAN (Western Cape): Hon House Chairperson, Deputy Minister, chairperson of the select committee and hon members present, one is indeed honoured to address you in this august House on an issue that brings together consensus of national, provincial and local spheres of government, namely the health and wellbeing of our people.
Our gathering here also reflects the role and importance of this institution, the diversity of a nation as well as its critical role in shaping social cohesion and helping us to make decisions that are in the best interests of all.
This piece of legislation before us reflects what is best in a democracy. Firstly, every citizen has the right to free expression and choice; secondly, the interest of an individual, be that a real person or an entity, must be considered against that of the collective; and thirdly, the rights of the vulnerable, be they minors, youth, the aged, or even the unborn, should be protected.
In weighing up conflicting interests, as we have to do in this piece of legislation, we should take all the above into account and still engage in public debates and consultations. Thus we have seen the culmination of this piece of legislation as a process that started as early as 1999, with the objective of regulating an industry that is intrinsically harmful to the health and wellbeing of the people.
I must admit that I have recently been deployed to this portfolio. I even had to start reflecting on my own health practices. [Interjections.] [Laughter.]
The Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill reflects both the robustness of the process of consultation that has been undertaken in order for it to be tabled here today, and the overwhelming consensus that the health and wellbeing of our people take precedence over all else, and that this House and our legislative system at large must uphold and act in the best interests of our people.
I have been told that in South Africa over 42 000 people die every year from smoking-related diseases, including many forms of cancer. I was also informed that tobacco is also the biggest preventable cause of death in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, globally most people start smoking before the age of 18. Almost a quarter of these individuals begin using tobacco before the age of 10. Therefore, when the younger children try to smoke for the first time, they are most likely to become regular tobacco users and to be killed by it.
In the Western Cape we did a study where we found that close to 50% of pregnant women are drinking and smoking. Obviously, that could lead to the fetal alcohol syndrome that in its implications has an impact on children, even before they are born. That brings with it social defects and a range of other matters. Therefore we have to deal with this in a very direct way.
In the current environment in which many other forms of substance abuse has spread in our schools and communities, one wonders how many people used cigarette smoking as an entry point for the abuse of other recreational drugs such as dagga, heroin and tik. I believe that this amendment is a step in the right direction and demonstrates our government’s commitment to protect our people from the harmful effects of tobacco, be that directly from smoking or passively inhaling.
The Bill in front of us is geared at improving the operation of the Tobacco Products Control Act and also seeks to deal with new practices, which we have seen coming through the last couple of years, designed to circumvent the provision of our legislation. Most of the submissions received in the Western Cape supported the amending Bill. Some have proposed stringent measures in enforcing and monitoring the policy on smoking in public institutions, places or even private homes.
However, two international companies have made submissions and have opposed the draft Bill, but I have to say that what they have tried to do is to advance corporate interests above public health. I just want to give two examples of that.
With respect to clauses 3,(9)(a)(b) and (10), we received a proposal from the Tobacco Institute of South Africa that there should be an exclusion clause in so far as signage and notices on the point of sale of the amendment Bill is concerned. However, our position is that the object of the amending Bill is to enforce compliance and ensure exemption as far as tobacco manufacturers, retailers, distributors and sellers are concerned to contain the prescribed information regarding any tobacco product available at the place of business.
Another example is in clause 3(2) where Japan Tobacco International said to us that organised activity in the legislation goes against the business culture because it prohibits the tobacco manufacturer, distributor or retailer from organising, promoting or making a financial contribution in respect of an activity related to tobacco.
Our position is that every manufacturer and importer of a tobacco product should provide information about the product to the relevant Ministry and the public as may be prescribed, in the prescribed manner and within the prescribed time.
Therefore, according to the type of submissions we received from the 20 national institutions, we felt that those supporting the changes were still trying to slip in very subtly subjective interests. Therefore, we will be monitoring the way in which the implementation of this piece of legislation will be happening - if it is going to be passed.
Having said that, the amending Bill was supported by the majority of individuals and institutions that made representations in this province. We, therefore, on behalf of the provincial government and the Department of Health in the province in particular, have no hesitation to declare our support for the Tobacco Products Amendment Bill, 2008. I thank you. [Applause.]
Nksz N F MAZIBUKO: Sihlalo, njengeNdlu Mkhandlu Wezifundakazi sidlala indima ebalulekile uma kwenziwa umthetho, ikakhulu lo mthetho esingawo namuhla lo obizwa ngokuthi yi “Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill”.
Njengoba ozakwethu sebephawulile Sihlalo, ngenhloso yalo mthetho esiwuhlongozayo. Lapha asilwi namuntu kepha siphucula izimpilo zabantu, sibakhuthaza ukuthi bangashisi amaphaphu abo kanye nawabanye abaseduze nabo phecelezi loku esithi yi “passive smoking”.
Malungu kufuneka nazi nani ukuthi njengekomidi lezempilo, asilona ikomidi lezifo kepha siyikomidi lezempilo. Nani malungu kufuneka nivikele umphakathi ungathathelwa yizifo abangazibizanga. Uthola umuntu eshayela inqola yakhe egibeze izingane ezincane kepha uyabhema phambi kwazo. Ngiyethemba ukuthi iningi lenu alikwenzi lokhu ngoba nizabe nephula umthetho.
Malungu qaphelisani abantu ukuthi akulungile ukuthi babheme usikilidi phambi kwezingane ngoba izingane lezi zihabula intuthu ezokwenza ukuthi amaphaphu azo angabi sesimeni esihle. Ngalo mthetho sithi phansi! ngababhema phansi kwezingane phansi! Eyokuthi akubhenyelwa emphakathini, ikakhulu endaweni zomphakathi masincome ukuthi lokhu sekuyahlonishwa.
Sonke sesibonile abantu abaningi uma ngabe bephambi kwendawo lapho kugcwele khona abantu, abasawukhiphi usikilidi wabo. Ngithemba nani malungu seniyaqaphela ukuthi abantu abaningi ababhemayo sebayawahlonipha lama lungelo abantu. Lapho siyancoma kepha ngeke sazi kulabo abahamba baye ezinkundleni zebhola njengalaba abahlala kuma “XX-strong” ukuthi ngabe khona kuyahlonishwa na.
Okunye okubalulekile ukuthi uma nidla ezitolo zokudla, ezinjengo Nandos noma oKentucky nakuzo zonke ezinye izindawo lapho kudlelwa khona, kuzofuneka niqaphele ukuthi indawo la kuhlala khona ababhemayo ingabe ikakelwe kahle na. Niqaphelise nanokuthi izingane ezincane azingeni nabazali bazo uma ngabe beyohlala kulezo ndawo ezinjalo.
Uma nimbona umzali ekwenza lokhu ningesabi ukubiza imenenja yesitolo, niyitshele ukuthi loko okwenzakalayo akukho emthethweni. Nimkhuthaze naye ukuthi njenge lungu lePhalamende nawe ungathanda kube kuhle ukuthi izingane lezi zifakwe lapho kungabhenyelwa khona.
Mihla lena malungu nani niyazi, manishayela emigwaqeni nibona loku okusa bafanyana bemi emakhoneni, bedayisa usikilidi bekubiza ngokuthi yi “loose cigarette” noma abanye bakubiza ukuthi ngetsotsi taal bathi “loose draw” abanye sebephucukile bathi ama “RDP”.
Ngokomthetho lokhu akuvumelekile bephula umthetho kodwa ngoba bezama ukuziphilisa. Kuzofuneka sibabonise izindlela zokuthi bakwazi ukuziphilisa kunokuba badayise usikilidi, babe bengavezi ukuxwayisa abantu ukuthi ukubhema loku kuzobalimaza. Futhi kwesinye isikhathi lo sikilidi odayiswa emakhoneni besebeshilo ukuthi okunye kwawo kungama “fongkong”, akubonisi ukuthi ingabe izinga le“nicotine” okanye i“tar” lingakanani.
Mhlawumbe Sekela Ngqongqoshe Wezempilo, kuzofuneka senze umthetho ophoqelela nalaba abadayisa emgwaqeni, ukuthi mhlawumbe bagqoke izingubo ezinophawu olubonisayo ukuthi ukubhema loku kubungozi. Ngithemba nabamabhizinisi ngibapha amacebo uma ngithi mabakhande lokhu esikubiza phecelezi sithi ama “reflector vests” asho ukuthi ukubhema kuyingozi noma akudwetshwe iphaphu lomuntu eselimosakele limoswa usikilidi.
Ngenyanga ka-Agasti siyikomidi savakashela ifemu ye“British American Tobacco” laphaya eHeidelburg, lapho besiyozibonela ngawethu ukuthi ingabe lengozi iqala kanjani ngaphambi kokuba ifike emaphashini akho. Saphinda futhi savakashela izitolo elokishini lase Ratanda, siyobheka ukuthi ingabe izimpawu bayazibeka na ezikhombayo ukuthi izingane ezingaphansi kweminyaka eyishumi nesishagalombili azidayiselwa usikilidi. Nakhona lapho sathola ukuthi bayawuthobela umthetho laba baka BAT.
Masibashayele ihlombe ngoba laba ababadayisela usikilidi bayabanika nezimpawu zokuveza ukuthi usikilidi awudayiselwa izingane. Inselele esayibona ukuthi laba bama “spaza-shops” nalaba abadayisa emgwaqeni bona abanalo uphawu olubonisayo ukuthi akudayiselwa izingane ezingaphansi kweminyaka eyishumi nesishagalombili. Nithemba ukuthi laba baka BAT bazazama bancede ababadayiselayo ukuze bagcine imakethe yabo.
Uma ngiphetha–ke Sihlalo, siyinhlangano kaKhongolose siyazi ukuthi ngo1955 senza umbiko wethu esiwubiza ngokuthi yi “Freedom Charter”. Ngalokho besizama ukubonisa abantu ukuthi ezempilo ziyizinto ezibalulekile,nanokuthi thina singamalunga kaKhongolose sithemba ukuthi wonke umuntu uzophila impilo engcono, akwazi ukuthi aphile kahle futhi aphile isikhathi eside.
Niyazi ukuthi siyawakhuthaza amalunga ukuthi awophila lempilo esiyibiza ngokuthi yi “Healthy Life Styles” ngamanye amazwi sisho ukuthi ngaphambi kokuba udle, ubobuza kuqala ukuthi ngabe usawoti utheliwe nasekudleni.
Ungabothatha usawoti uthele ngoba uzobangela lezifo eziningi, ezihlangana nako loku bhema lokhu. Ngiyathemba ukuthi nalaba ababhema usikilidi bazakunciphisa nabo, ukuze baphile impilo ende kakhulu, Sihlalo. Siyabonga. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu speech follows.)
[Ms N F MAZIBUKO: Chairperson, as the National Council of Provinces, we play a vital role in the passing of Bills, especially the one that we have convened here for today, the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill.
As my colleagues have spoken about the aims and objectives of the Bill, it is clear that we are by no means fighting anybody here but, on the contrary, we are trying to improve people’s lives. We are encouraging them not to damage their lungs and those of the passive smokers next to them.
Hon members, you must know that as the Select Committee on Social Services, which includes health, we are not a committee of diseases but a health committee. It is also your duty, hon members, to protect the public from contracting diseases that they have not exposed themselves to. Sometimes you find someone driving his car with young children but smoking in front of them. I just hope that most of you here are not doing this because by so doing, you would be breaking the law.
As members you need to warn people that it is not right for them to smoke cigarettes in front of children because these children will, in turn, inhale smoke, which will cause their lungs not to be in a good state. And with this Bill, we are saying away with those who smoke in front of children, away! We are also generally pleased that no smoking is now taking place in public, especially in public places.
We have all seen that many people when they are in public places no longer simply take out their cigarettes and smoke. I hope that members have also noticed that most smokers are now respecting these human rights. We praise that, even though we are not sure if the same can be said of the people watching soccer matches in the stadia.
Another important thing is that when you eat out in restaurants like Nando’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and all other restaurants, you must check whether the section dedicated to smokers is properly enclosed. You must also check that young children are not going in there with their parents.
If you, as a Member of Parliament, see a parent who is doing that you must not be ashamed to call the restaurant manager and tell her that what is happening is unlawful. You must also advise her that you, as a Member of Parliament, would like to see the kids being placed outside of the designated smoking areas.
Every day when you are driving on the roads, hon members, you see young boys standing on street corners selling loose cigarettes, which in Tsotsi lingo are called “loose draws”, while some have upgraded and are using a different lingo in that they call them “RDPs”.
This is unlawful. These young boys are breaking the law, even though they are trying to make a living. We need to show them other means of making a living instead of selling cigarettes, especially when they are not displaying the warnings on packages about the dangers of smoking. And besides, sometimes some of the cigarettes sold on the street corners are fakes, as mentioned earlier, and they do not show the levels of nicotine and tar in them.
Maybe, Deputy Minister of Health, we need to pass a law that will force street vendors to also wear gear showing that smoking is dangerous. I hope that business people out there are aware that I am now effectively giving them tips to start manufacturing reflector vests, on which would be written that smoking is dangerous, or perhaps they could have graphics of a person’s lungs that have been damaged by smoking cigarettes.
In August we as a committee visited the British American Tobacco factory in Heidelberg, where we wanted to see for ourselves the processes that these dangerous goods through when they are manufactured, before they reach one’s lungs. We also visited the shops in the township of Ratanda to check if they are displaying signs stating that tobacco is not sold to children under the age of 18. There too, we found that they are complying with the BAT laws.
Let us applaud these companies which sell tobacco to these shops because they also provide them with signs stating that tobacco should not be sold to children under the age of 18. I just hope that the BAT will try and help those that they are selling to in order to keep themselves in the market.
In closing, Chairperson, as the African National Congress we all know that in 1955 we came up with the Freedom Charter. With it we were trying to show people that health matters are important, and that as members of the ANC we hope that everybody will live a better, longer life.
You know that we encourage our members to live according to what we call a “healthy lifestyle”, in other words, we mean that before one eats, one must first enquire if food has been seasoned with salt. One must not just add salt, because one may end up contracting diseases that add up to the problems created by smoking.
Chairperson, I hope that even those who are smoking cigarettes will smoke fewer cigarettes, so that they can live longer. I thank you. [Applause.]]
Nkskz J N VILAKAZI: Sihlalo ohloniphekile, neNdlu yonke, Mhlonishwa Ngqongqoshe woMnyango, engingakusho namhlanje ukubonga igalelo eselenziwe uMnyango Wezempilo ukulwa nalesi sitha esingugwayi.
Ugwayi umnandi kabi kwabawubhemayo kodwa ekugcineni uyabajikela udle bona. Okufika kube kubi kakhulu ukuthi uyingozi kakhulu kuwena ongabhemi. Okunye okwenziwa yilaba abawubhemayo, ukungabacabangeli laba abangabhemi uthole sebewuphafuza phakathi kwabantu, abanye ubahile, kuvuke ukukhwehlela futhi abanye bacinane.
Siyethemba ukuthi leli gxathu elithathwe nguMnyango Wezempilo ukunciphisa nokuqeda ugwayi lizovikela izingane nentsha yethu ezinkingeni ezivela ekubhemeni ugwayi.
Imali iyamoseka kuthengwa intuthu esikhundleni sokudla. Ugwayi umosa imali okufanele yondle umndeni. Ugwayi ubhubhise imizi nemfuyo ngenxa yezinqamu ezintshingwa noma kanjani zisavutha. Ibhubhile imizi nemfuyo, nemijondolo eminingi ngenxa yezinqamu zikagwayi ezintshingwa zivutha. Thina beyiNkatha Freedom Party sithi phambili nemizamo yokuqeda ugwayi, phambili! [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu speech follows.)
[Mrs J N VILAKAZI: Hon Chairperson, the House at large and hon Minister, what I can say today is simply to thank the Department of Health for its contribution in fighting this enemy called tobacco.
Smoking is a very sweet and nice thing to those who are smokers, but it is that very sweetness which consumes them in the end. What is even worse is that smoking is more dangerous to the nonsmokers. Another thing is that smokers are inconsiderate when it comes to nonsmokers. Sometimes you find them puffing their smokes amongst other people, and in the process some people would get choked, others would cough, while others get their breathing blocked.
We just hope that this step taken by the Department of Health to mitigate and abolish tobacco will protect the children and the youth against the problems caused by smoking.
Money is wasted in buying just one smoke instead of food. Smoking wastes the very money that should be supporting the family. Smoking has destroyed houses and livestock because of cigarette butts which are thrown away carelessly while they are still burning. Many houses, livestock and shacks are destroyed due to cigarette butts that are thrown while they are still burning. We, the Inkatha Freedom Party, say forward with the efforts to abolish tobacco, forward! [Applause.]]
Ms P MCKAY (KwaZulu-Natal): Chair, hon Deputy Minister, I just want to say that KwaZulu-Natal supports this Bill unanimously. We had four public hearings and we did note with concern the grievous harm done as a result of the ingestion of tobacco products by people in our country and in the world. Certainly, the Deputy Minister’s remarks confirm this concern.
I would like to congratulate the antitobacco lobby group who came to our hearings and made sure we were informed in terms of facts and figures and that when we made our unanimous decision, we had the correct information at hand. But I also want to comment on the protobacco lobby group which came to our hearings and tried by various means to dragoon us into not passing this legislation.
At one of our hearings about eight of us were sitting at a table in Durban at lunch time, and two members of the prolobby group came and sat down with us. They started talking about how wrong we were, and asked us questions about why we were not tackling alcohol in the same way. I just happened to ask both of them, “Do you smoke?” No, they don’t smoke. “Do your families smoke?” No, their families don’t smoke. Now, how do you have a prolobby group that knows how dangerous it is for them to smoke and for their families to smoke? So, really, this was not acceptable.
I particularly want to applaud the banning of the sale of cigarettes to those under 18 years of age. Some years ago, when I was managing a place of safety called Excelsior in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, the children were rewarded from the age of 14 upwards by being allowed to smoke! As a social worker, I decided to tackle this and try to get smoking thrown out of that institution. I was not successful, because the other members of the management team said no, if you condemn smoking, you have no weapon whereby you can make children behave themselves. Luckily now, not a child in any of these institutions will be allowed to smoke.
I think we also need to tackle smoking in places like prisons, because it also is part of the prison culture. So I really want to commend this Bill for taking action against a very harmful practice that leads to early death and illness. It was mentioned by one of the speakers that some people make a living from selling cigarettes singly. Yes, we note that with concern; but at the same time we would not allow people to make a living from selling heroin, cocaine or other harmful products, so we cannot take that into consideration.
This Bill makes sure that when people smoke, they will know that it is harmful. The packaging of cigarettes will show them how harmful the product is that they are ingesting. Health warnings are indicated. Even information on how to quit smoking must be supplied to those who smoke. Maybe one day, colleagues, we will reach a total ban on cigarette smoking and maybe people will say enough is enough.
It’s interesting to note that vending machines will now only be allowed in places which are legal smoking areas, and that one cannot sell cigarettes with cool drinks, chocolates and all sorts of other things anymore.
I just want to reiterate my dismay at the lengths to which the pro-smoking lobby goes - these parties that they have for children where they dish out cigarettes in order to lure them into smoking. I’m very glad to see that we are taking strong action; we are leaders in the world. Smoking is something we’ve approached in the right way. Let us continue to monitor this. Thank you.
Ms K A KGAREBE: Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister and hon members, what I am going to say today as regards the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill is from personal experience. My grandfather was a tobacco planter in 1962, when I was a young girl of eight. The male tobacco was called kodubane and it was for men. From it, Horseshoe and Boxer and so on were produced. The female tobacco was called “long one” and it was used by women. They used to snuff this tobacco. The two varieties had different features. The male tobacco had a tall, thick stem with broad, big leaves while the female tobacco had a short, thin stem with small leaves.
Tobacco is not a thing of today. It has been there for a long time but children of long ago were obedient enough to listen when their parents told them: “Tobacco affects your health, especially your lungs and your brain.” Tobacco is dangerous when it is smoked inside the house. It affects the health of those around you who are not smoking, because when you smoke, they must also inhale the smoke.
Tobacco is bad for our health. We should respect the proverb which says: “That which is evil, is soon learnt.” Tobacco is harmful to mankind, as it causes lung cancer, destroys new life in the prenatal stage when there is excessive smoking, causes bad breath, peels off the thin layer of skin on the upper and lower lips, turns the colour of one’s teeth yellow and that of the gums green. It furthermore causes hypertension, strokes, microencephalitis, etc.
In some ways tobacco can be regarded as good for medicinal purposes, which is where the UCDP can agree on a low note.
In terms of the Bill it will be illegal to advertise or promote a tobacco product through a sponsorship of any organisation, events or projects, or by any other method. The sale of tobacco products will be banned in any health establishment or place where persons under the age of 18 years receive education or training.
The ACDP will support the Bill if the above-mentioned provisions are implemented. I thank you.
Mr P GOVENDER (KwaZulu-Natal): Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister, Chairperson of the Select Committee on Social Services, members of the NCOP and colleagues, I greet you this afternoon.
This Bill is an important piece of legislation that will serve to ensure a very healthy lifestyle for all South Africans who value good health. The hon Vilakazi earlier dispensed some very good advice, being the responsible mother that she is, as well as a good South African, and I’m proud to say that she comes from KwaZulu-Natal. I am happy that the hon Sulliman was in the House at that time to hear that good advice, but unfortunately he has now left. [Interjections.]
It must be mentioned at the outset that we in South Africa have come a long way in legislating and enforcing laws that pertain to smoking habits in our country. One only has to be observant in many public places to see that those law-abiding citizens will obey the laws that exist by only smoking in places that are designated as such.
Focusing on the legislation at hand, I must state that I support this Bill fully. However, I have certain concerns. I believe that there will be difficulties in the implementation of this Bill, especially when it comes to the issue of the sale of tobacco and tobacco products to minors. It will be very difficult for the Police Service, in particular, to enforce such a law when they have more serious criminal cases to take care of. We know, as it is, that they are really stretched in their capacity to enforce this kind of legislation. Nevertheless, I am hoping that they will be successful.
I am pleased to see places specifically designated for smoking in public areas, especially in restaurants. These areas are often enclosed spaces that do not allow cigarette smoke to filter out. Something which concerns me, however, and I think it was raised earlier by the hon Mazibuko, is that these areas are often frequented by families who take small children and even babies along into these areas. The parents are happily puffing away while these children are inhaling the secondary smoke which has already been proven to be more dangerous than the smoke that is inhaled through a filter by the smoker.
I also think that there are loopholes in clause 2, which deals with advertising and sponsorship issues, and I am sure that the cigarette companies and those who deal with tobacco products have already found loopholes in this clause that allow for indirect advertising via sponsorships to continue.
With regard to clauses 2(iii) and 2(iv), which deal with the warning signs, we from KwaZulu-Natal have been very vocal on the nature of these warning signs, their placement on or in the packages, the issue of language used, and also catering for those who are blind. We believe that the outside of the package does not allow sufficient space for adequate warning signs to be displayed. We feel strongly, as is the case with the packaging of medical products, that there must be an insert which will clearly state the ingredients in that specific tobacco product, as well as the quantities and dangers of the tobacco, in all official languages. Citizens must be adequately informed and educated in order for them to fully comprehend the dangers associated with the use of tobacco and tobacco products.
I am not certain as to whether tobacco and tobacco products have a lifespan, but, if so, the expiry date must also be stated on these warnings. I am also not convinced that the Bill goes far enough in restricting the use of tobacco products in other consumables. I refer here to a certain brand of tea containing nicotine that is marketed in some countries. We should be proactive, Deputy Minister, and prevent these products from reaching our shores, rather than seeking to address the issue after they have done so.
I support this Bill, and from KwaZulu-Natal we want to compliment the Department of Health on having ensured that this Bill is brought before us, as it will serve to benefit all South Africans.
I thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr T S Setona): Chairperson, hon Deputy Minister, senior officials of the department, I must say that most issues have been covered. As far as deliberations at committee level are concerned, there are no contentions or contestations arising from public hearings on the substance and content of the Bill.
Maybe it’s important, Deputy Minister, to note that the lobbying and advocacy during this Bill was of the most robust I have ever seen, at least in committees I have participated in in Parliament. But unfortunately, this lobbying was not from the side of our people; it was from the industry. Our attitude has always been that they are welcome.
We engaged with the industry quite robustly. We agreed where we agreed and disagreed where we disagreed. We need to make this statement in public that when we differ with the industry, we are the final arbiters. We have a mandate as elected representatives in this country to make laws. When we differ with them and take a different direction, they need to respect that. We are the final arbiters; we are the only ones who are the final arbiters on any matter in this country for which there has to be legislation.
We are quite concerned that some of the representatives of the industry were circulating messages through SMSes and e-mails to members, casting aspersions on the integrity of the process and senior officials of the department, in particular the director-general of the department, Mr Thami Mseleku, for lack of consultation.
This was of concern to us as a committee and we had to take up the issue as it would be wrong for the department to take such a Bill to Parliament without consulting sufficiently with stakeholders. The evidence presented before the committee refuted the claims that were made by the industry. We are quite confident and satisfied that sufficient consultation was undertaken by the department or Ministry with every stakeholder.
We want to further advise that consultation and interaction with government and Parliament in particular does not begin and end with the law-making process. We need to teach our people. I thought it was only people in the rural areas where I come from who did not understand how Parliament functions. But I have learned that even those who are learned and in industries that are resourced do not understand that they have the right, at any given time, to come and interact with government and Parliament on any issue of concern, as long as the issue is of a legislative nature. So I felt it was important that we made this particular statement.
We are happy that hon Mackay alluded to the robustness of the lobbying. Some even boasted about how they had convinced our provinces to take certain positions. But I went through the mandates from the various provinces and they refuted the claims that were made in some of the e-mails.
Hon Deputy Minister, I must also bring to your attention the concerns about the enforceability of the Bill. This was raised quite sharply before the committee, and we did not take for granted the capacity of the SAPS, our judiciary and the magistrates to take on the loads of people who might have violated this kind of legislation.
Our starting and ending point is that this kind of legislation deals with lifestyle issues. Critically, to success in this regard does not lie in this piece of legislation only. Public awareness is critical in terms of ensuring that we mobilise our communities, young people, elders, priests and everybody else within the community and in society in general to be aware and conscious about the effects of smoking. So this is one of the critical concerns.
In this respect, I think it is critical that we also challenge the industry to forge a very formidable and working relationship with government in terms of unleashing this kind of public awareness. This cannot be the role of government only. I think political parties also have a critical role to play in this.
The issue of smoking and drinking is not something you do by law. It is something you do by persuasion. You don’t do it mathematically and say, for example, that today hon Kgoshi Mokoena stopped smoking or drinking, and then say hallelujah, amen. It is about consciousness, mobilising society, changing values, changing the attitudes of people and changing the lifestyles of the people. I think this is the paradigm that should inform our debate and approach in relation to this particular Bill.
Lastly, we don’t want the old apartheid sins. It is a fact that the majority of successful men and women in this country are from poor families. Some of them could afford to become doctors, advocates, priests and even Members of Parliament in this august House because their mothers sold umqombothi which was illegal.
It is a fact today that many children survive the cold nights of the winter, deriving their meal from the sale of tobacco – whether you call it a “loose draw”, “RDP”, etc, hon Mazibuko. We don’t want the enforcement of this Bill without the necessary conscious approach to these people to mobilise them, make them aware and also teach them about alternative opportunities where they can sell other things instead of surviving on these kinds of things which are illegal.
That is the attitude we have adopted in this committee. We hope that we are not going to see local municipalities just issuing bylaws and government issuing regulations and our people in taxi ranks just getting their property confiscated. This is the kind of attitude we need to be conscious of when we deal with this.
Oliver Tambo said that one is not a leader if one doesn’t understand their speed in relation to the speed of the masses. If you are moving faster than the masses and you think you are a leader, you may be confusing the people at times and you would not be aware because you would only be hearing their footsteps. This is one of the teachings of Oliver Tambo.
So, as we move with the implementation of this Bill, we need to prepare the ground in such a manner that our people will legitimately become part and parcel of the transformation of shifting their attitudes and lifestyles, and begin to venture into other options away from this killer lifestyle. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Chairperson, I must apologise: Some members were whispering here that they could hardly hear me. I am struggling to project my voice.
Hon members, I must thank you very much for all that has been said. Altogether it amounts to an expression of support for the Bill and we really appreciate it. I will attempt to deal with some of the specific points raised by members.
Hon Masilo, chairperson of the committee, drew attention to the penalties and I think that is one of the most important aspects, ie that there is a more serious price to be paid for endangering the lives of our people. She hinted that some of the committee members do smoke and I heard demands for them to be named.
I don’t know why hon Govender said that he wished that hon Sulliman was in the House. [Laughter.] Perhaps they were suggesting that hon Sulliman had gone out to smoke. That’s the only link I could draw between the two. I’m just pimping the hon member, hon Sulliman, that he talked about you in your absence suggesting that you had gone out to smoke!
Rre Thetjeng, kgang e ya ga mme Mazibuko ya batho ba dikgwebopotlana ba ba rekisang “diloose draw” tse go tweng di bitswa “diRDP” le dintlha tse di tlhagisitsweng ke rre Setona, ke nnete gore batho ba itshedisa ka tsona. O tla gakologelwa gore mme Mackay o rile go na le batho ba ba itshedisang ka diritibatsi, a le bona re tla re ba itshwarelwe ka ga ele fa ba thiba tlala? Re tshwanetse go utlwisisa, mme maikaelelo ele go ba ruta, re ba kgaleme gore re fitlhelele mo le bona batla utlwisisang gore go itshedisa ka tsela e e bolayang setšhaba, bogolo bana, ga go a letlelelwa.
Bana ga ba kgone go tsena mo mabenkeleng le mo madirelong a mangwe a a rekisang motsoko, ba ya kwa “dispaza shop”, nako dingwe ba roma ke rona batsadi ba bona. E ke ntlha e e tla tlhokang gore re e tshwaraganele re le setšhaba. (Translation of Setswana paragraphs follows.)
[Mr Thetjeng, Ms Mazibuko’s point about people with small businesses who are selling “loose draws”, that are said to be called “RDPs” as well, and the points raised by Mr Setona are true. People are making a living out of them. You will remember that Ms Mackay mentioned that there are people making a living out of selling drugs. Are we also going to say they must be forgiven because they are avoiding starvation from hunger? We need to understand, with the aim of educating and reprimanding them in order to reach a point where they will also comprehend that making a living in a way that kills society, especially children, is not allowed.
Children are not allowed to enter shops and other outlets that sell tobacco products. Instead they go to the “spaza shops”, and at times they are sent by their parents. This is an issue that we will need to tackle together as a nation.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr T S Setona): Order, hon Deputy Minister! Could we please get interpretation?
MOTLATSATONA WA LEFAPHA LA PHOLO: Ke ratile mantswe a ga rre Setona a a reng re utlwisise gore re tswa kae; gore re godisitswe ke bona bommê ba ba neng ba rekisa “umqombothi” le tsona “diloose draw”, mme re sa lebale gore le ka tsona dinako tseo e ne e le mafelo a a neng a tsenwa ke bagolo fela e seng bana, jaaka gompieno. Se re tshwanetseng go se kgalema ke gore mo malatsing a, bana ke bona ba nwang bojalwa e bile ba tsubang. Mantswe a ga mmê Kgarebe a gore peleng bana ba ne ba utlwa batsadi ke boammaruri, ke a a tshegetsa. Rona ba bangwe ga e sa le re letile bomalome gore ba tle go re naya bojalwa le motsoko, ga ba goroga. Ke mo ga ke tsube, ga ke nwe, ka ntlha ya gore malome o ganne. Re tshwanetse go kopanya molao wa setho le molao o re o fetisang gompieno gore re sireletse bana ba rona le setš haba. (Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.)
[The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: I cannot agree more with Mr Setona. We must understand where we come from: We were nurtured by mothers who made a living by selling “umqombothi” and “loose draws”, but we should not forget that even then it was only adults who were allowed in those places, unlike today. What we regret is the fact that children today are the ones who drink and smoke. This is true, and I also support Ms Kgarebe’s view that children in the past obeyed their parents. Some of us have long been waiting for our uncles to give us approval of drinking and smoking, and they have not arrived. Here I am today; I neither smoke nor drink, just because my uncle did not approve of it. We must incorporate the element of human morality into this law that we are passing today so that we can protect our children and society.]
Hon Thetjeng refers to questions of choice, while other members have referred to questions of rights. Certainly we have to identify choices that are harmful to society. And, indeed, when it comes younger people, there are some choices that are harmful to them and cannot be allowed on the basis that our Constitution guarantees certain rights and choices.
The hon Fransman made the point about the extent of smoking amongst pregnant women which reflects the harm done to unborn children. I think that is the most serious warning about the impact of smoking amongst our people and makes the case for this Bill even stronger.
Hon Mazibuko, I have considered your remarks and, certainly, also the matter that you’ve raised about sellers who are being forced to display prominently the signs about the dangers of smoking. I think the hon Govender was calling for the same thing, that sellers must be forced to display even more graphically the impact of smoking. I would agree with him; that is what we are providing for.
We have to consider what will be economical - the size of the picture, how many words do we print and so on - for the producer. And we’ve tried to strike a balance between the amount, space and cost of the message without compromising on the message to be conveyed. It is, indeed, unfortunate that we could not go as far as forcing people to print the information in Braille, as hon Govender suggests.
Mama Vilakazi, it’s true, you have made a very basic point about the economics in the home and the dangers of smoking. But, indeed, people divert money from food. The Minister of Finance can increase the price and tax for tobacco - which is one of the deterrents - but instead of people reducing the money they spend on tobacco, they reduce the money spent on food and other essentials. I think we, therefore, have to make it a point that people don’t smoke so that the choice between food and cigarettes is not made at all. The fires that we regularly see in poor areas are a known and very tragic fact which we are familiar with.
Ms Mackay, your reference to children being rewarded with smoking brings to mind the tot system of the past – a very evil system. I can’t imagine anything more gruesome than that.
Hon members, I’ve tried to cover all areas and we have, indeed, noted some of the points. The point made about the campaign going into the prisons is very good and will have to be followed up because people have again talked about all sorts of dangers prisoners are exposed to there. They have never mentioned smoking, which is something we need to look at.
I have not responded to every specific point, hon members. Some of the points raised are taken as advice. In fact, I believe that it’s better to incorporate them into our regulations. It’s not been possible to incorporate every concern into the Bill as it is now. But there will be an opportunity when we draft the regulations to address some of the points you have raised. The regulations will also make it possible to be speedy and flexible in tightening up this Bill as and when it’s necessary.
Yes, it’s true that this is not a battle we are going to win with legislation only. We’ve done very well as a country through legislation and we are a world leader. So I agree with members and hon Setona, when he said that it has to be about values, community pressure, popular sanction and disapproval that make it a shame, costly and totally unacceptable for people to smoke.
The fact is that the tobacco industry is shifting from the West to the East and South – that is, the countries of the South. They are shifting within countries; and from the rich to the poor as they chase new markets. So it is a serious struggle and we do need to mobilise all of the sectors and all our people.
Once more, hon members, thank you very much for your support in this important work. I thank you. [Applause.]
Question put: That the Bill be agreed to.
IN FAVOUR: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape.
Bill accordingly agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, hon members! I just want to confirm for the Deputy Minister that there are three members of the House who have promised to embark on the stop-smoking campaign. I’ve been informed that they will be led by the hon Sulliman, followed by hon Darryl Worth and hon Setona. [Applause.] I hope they will fulfil that commitment. [Laughter.]
MEDICINES AND RELATED SUBSTANCES AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)
Ms N F MAZIBUKO: Thank you, Chairperson. I will speak in English. As members will note, the objects of the Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill are to amend the Medicines and Related Substances Act of 1965.
This will provide for the establishment of the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority; the certification and registration of products, which include medicines, certain foodstuffs and cosmetics; control of scheduled substances; the certification and registration of medical devices; and the abolition of the Medicines Control Council and the pricing committee, and matters related thereto.
The principal Act of 1965 did not provide for access to health care services for all South Africans. Beyikhetha abamhlophe kuphela. [It selected the whites only.] And this Bill seeks to ensure that access to affordable and quality health care is achieved for all South Africans, including us, the black people.
The Act of 1997 sought to control the manufacture, sales and distribution of medicines, with the Minister of Health regulating the supply of more affordable medicines in certain cases, and to protect the public interest. The Act of 2002 as it was introduced was also assisting in the regulation, marketing, compounding and dispensing of medicines.
This Bill aims to ensure that the Medicines Control Council functions effectively, efficiently and broadens its mandate to cover approval of the complementary and African traditional medicines, medical devices, cosmetics and food products with medical claims.
Now, section 1 of this Bill seeks to amend and provide for the definitions of words, such as the substitution of certain words like “medicines”, which is now substituted with the word “products”. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order hon Van der Merwe and hon Adams! Continue, hon member.
Ms N F MAZIBUKO: Chairperson, they are wasting my time. When are they going to bring back my time?
Section 2 makes it possible for the Medicines Control Council to function as an agency that has a chief executive officer, who will be accountable to the Minister of Health. The SA Health Products Regulatory Authority will thereby be introduced. This will ensure that the agency is able to retain its revenue, recruit and retain the critical human resource capacity needed for it to fulfil its functions. When opinions of experts are required a panel of external experts will be called.
Section 3 of the amending Bill provides for the appointment of the CEO and the other staff. The agency, as it is referred to in the draft Bill of 2008, will have specific timelines within which it will register health products and approve clinical trials. Furthermore, it is proposed that it will also be able to register products within 12 months, generics within six months, with clinical trials within a month to two months.
Sections 4 to 9 and section 12 of the principal Act are actually repealed. Section 13 of the principal Act refers to the registration of certain products where the CEO is required to record the certification of products by the authority and registration by the Minister.
Clause 15 provides that after the authority has issued a certificate in respect of a product the CEO shall in writing notify the applicant of that fact and submit the application to the Minister of Health for a decision and the registration of the product.
Clause 16(4)(c) provides that prior to registering the product, the Minister of Health needs to take into consideration the following in relation to the state: public health interests, the economic interest in relation to health policies, the strategic interest in relation to health policies, the need and desirability of such products and whether the public in general would be best served by that registration.
In conclusion, the vision and the mission of the department, as it is stipulated by the manifesto of the ANC, is that the department is an accessible, caring and high-quality health care system. It will improve the health status of society through the prevention of illnesses and promote healthy lifestyles and consistently improve the health care delivery system by focusing on access, equity, efficiency, quality and sustainability.
Its priority is also to contribute towards human dignity by improving quality health care. These qualities are enshrined within many policies of the ANC that seek to make sure that members live a healthy lifestyle.
Chairperson, I am sure that with these amendments and the establishment of the agency, regulation and the registration of African traditional medicines we will then see most of our members being able to use African medicines.
It is well-known that the majority of members use traditional healers and they go to them. It is not a shame to go to a traditional healer when the majority of members actually buy Chinese herbal tea and Chinese medicines. We want to encourage them ...
... ukuthi leya khemisi lena elaphaya ecommissioner inkunzi yenyanga noma ... [... that that traditional medicine pharmacy on Commissioner street called Inkunzi Yenyanga or ...]
... you know them, they are called “Amakhemisi Abantu”, don’t be ashamed to walk into that pharmacy and purchase your medicine. Over and above that, as indicated in the legislation, if you also consult a traditional healer ...
...sengisho zona izinyanga kanye nezangoma. [... I mean traditional healers and izangoma ...]
... you will be able to get a medical certificate and can also claim from your medical aid for ...
...ukuthi uyile wayophalaza, wachatha laphaya esangomeni sakho. Ngiyabonga Sihlalo. [... having gone to your traditional healer to do self-induced vomiting or for having gone to a sangoma to administer an enema. Thank you, Chairperson.]
Bill, subject to proposed amendments, agreed to in accordance with section 75 of the Constitution.
PREVENTION OF AND TREATMENT FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report thereon)
Ms K A KGAREBE: Mmusakgotla, batlotlegi, babusi ba lefatshe le magosi otlhe a a seong fano ... [Chairperson, hon members, world rulers and all traditional leaders who are not present here ...]
... hon Kgarebe is back on the podium to speak on behalf of the committee on the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill. Let me just give you a brief background to this Bill. Substance abuse in South Africa is high and without doubt affects many aspects of society and hinders the country’s social development. Substance abuse has also been associated with a number of other high-risk behaviours.
It is thus crucial for government and other stakeholders to be responsive and make efforts to have a drug-free society.
I would like you to be attentive, to listen to this Bill. The Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill seeks to provide for a comprehensive national response in combating substance abuse. The Bill proposes the establishment of mechanisms that are aimed at demand and harm reduction. These would be in the form of prevention, early intervention, treatment and reintegration programmes and community-based services.
The Bill aims to provide for a co-ordinated effort to combat substance abuse; the registration and establishment of all programmes and services, including community-based services and those provided in treatment centres and halfway houses; conditions and procedures for the admission of persons to treatment centres and the release of persons from treatment centres; and early intervention, treatment and reintegration programmes for vulnerable persons.
With regard to key aspects of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill, I think it is important for me to mention certain chapters, on behalf of the committee. Chapter 2 of the Bill covers regulations on combating substance abuse, whereby departments and organs of state must, through multisectoral strategies, take reasonable measures within the scope of line functions and resources to develop and co-ordinate interventions to combat substance abuse; and utilise three categories of interventions to combat substance abuse, inter alia, demand reduction, which is aimed at discouraging the onset of use and abuse of substances.
I am now continuing with Chapter 3. I mention these chapters because I know that you do not learn much, so now you can at least grasp something chapter by chapter! [Laughter.] Guidelines on the provision of services, including recognition of needs, access to information and protection of the rights of service users, are provided.
There is provision for the aspects of demand and harm reduction caused by substance abuse, namely, prevention, which includes skills development, public education, promotion of a healthy lifestyle and prevention of use or higher levels of abuse. It touches on early intervention, which entails risky behaviour; and diversion and referral to appropriate interventions and treatment, which entails psychosocial and medical interventions for users and those affected, and preparation for reintegration into society.
There are norms and standards which all service providers need to comply with, and ministerial support for services delivered by service providers. I would like all members in this Chamber to listen to what I say because some members are talking whilst I’m speaking. [Interjections.]
I’ll only mention some important things in Chapter 4: to preserve and strengthen family relationships; promote the wellbeing of service users; educate service users and the public on the risks associated with substance abuse - I would like to emphasise “educate service users and the public on the risks associated with substance abuse” - promote healthy lifestyles; educate families about early warning signs and appropriate interventions; and identify, screen and refer substance abusers for early interventions.
I’ll mention only a few things in Chapter 5. The Bill provides for community-based services, thus requiring the Minister to develop guidelines in consultation with listed organs of state for the establishment of community-based services, which include prevention, early intervention and life skills programmes. Don’t worry, I’m about to finish! [Laughter.]
I’ll mention only one point in Chapter 6. The Bill provides for centre-based services as well as outpatient services. According to this section of the Bill, the Minister has the power to prescribe and establish integrated aftercare and reintegration programmes, which must focus on the successful reintegration of service users into society, the workforce, family and community life. It’s not final.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, please! Hon members, you are out of order.
Ms K A KGAREBE: Again, the Bill further states that such programmes must allow service users to be able to interact with other service users, their families and communities; allow service users to share long-term sobriety experience; be well structured and based on individual plans; and promote HIV prevention programmes, with a particular focus on relapsing substance abusers.
I am now coming to the end. [Applause.] The Bill also provides for the establishment of support groups to assist service users to maintain abstinence after drug interventions through the provision of a safe and substance-abuse-free environment and access to recovered users to serve as role models - with such support groups being established by a professional, NGO or a group of service users or persons affected by substance abuse.
Last but not least, Chapter 9 deals with discipline in treatment centres, halfway houses, outpatient and community-based facilities so that they are maintained properly. Remember, I am here on behalf of the committee and I think I should represent them fully and with respect. [Applause.] The committee supports the Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order! Thank you, hon member, for using your ten minutes in full. [Laughter.]
Question put: That the Bill be agreed to.
IN FAVOUR: Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape.
ABSTAIN: Gauteng, Limpopo.
Bill accordingly agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
The Council adjourned at 17:26.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
The Speaker and the Chairperson
1. Bills passed by Houses – to be submitted to President for assent
- Bill passed by National Council of Provinces on 12 November 2008:
(a) National Railway Safety Regulator Amendment Bill [B 32B – 2008] (National Assembly – sec 76(1)).
- B7-2008 - Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill
- B2-2008 - Second-Hand Goods Bill
- B12-2008 - Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill
- B32-2008 - National Railway Safety Regulator Amendment Bill
- B33-2008 - National Qualifications Framework Bill
- B34-2008 - Higher Education Amendment Bill
- B54-2008 - Mine Health and Safety Amendment Bill
- B36-2007 - National Environmental Management Amendment Bill