Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 25 Jun 2020
No summary available.
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY THURSDAY,
25 June 2020
Watch Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGPcTYMDJdo
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:00.
The House Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
QUESTIONS FOR ORAL REPLY The DEPUTY PRESIDENT
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order, hon members. May I just verify if the Deputy President is on platform? If he is on the platform, he can just open his video so that we verify through that. Thank you very much, the Deputy President is ready. I will now invite the Speaker to take the proceedings forward. Over to the hon the Speaker.
The SPEAKER: House Chair, let me thank you. Hon members, the only item on today’s Order Paper is questions addressed to the Deputy President. There are four supplementary questions on each
question. Parties have given an indication of each questions their members wish to pose a supplementary question to. Adequate notice was given to the parties for this purpose. This was done to facilitate participation of members who are connecting to the sitting through a virtual platform.
The members who will pose supplementary questions will be recognised by the Presiding Officers. In allocating opportunity for supplementary questions, the principle of fairness amongst others has been applied. If a member who is supposed to ask a supplementary question through a virtual platform is unable to do so due to technological difficulties, the Party Whip on duty will be allowed to put the question on behalf of their member. When all the supplementary questions had been answered by the Deputy President, we would proceed to the next question on the Order Paper. The first question, hon Deputy President, is the question put to you by the hon J Hermans. Over to you, Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, I’m sure I’m audible.
The SPEAKER: You are, sir. Please continue.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Hon speaker, government has taken a view that Eskom must be supported to implement a very comprehensive turnaround programme which will ensure that this power utility develops and enhances its requisite institutional capabilities to meet the country’s energy needs. Rapid economic growth and recovery, will depend mainly on our ability to ensure that the security of energy supply to support industrialisation and development whilst equally ensuring that the livelihood of our people is not undermined through electricity disruptions.
Eskom is therefore central to the country’s splint of reigniting the economy in the context of the prevailing negative impact of COVID-19. Hon Speaker, in the main, our support to Eskom focuses on ensuring the following: That Eskom strengthens its leadership, its governance and accountability systems; addresses debts and liquidity challenges including payment of debt owed to Eskom by government entities and municipalities; the implementation of an effective plant maintenance programme, to minimise energy supply disruptions; accelerating the completion of the new build programme that will deliver additional capacity and also fast tracking emergency procurement of additional energy generation through the independent power producers.
Hon Speaker, while the road ahead is still long and challenges we face as the nation may be daunting, we are confident that Eskom is heading at the right direction. With the appointment of the new executive officer and his executive team, the strategic direction of the organisation is now strengthened and becoming more and more clear. We can say without any fear of contradiction that there is visible progress in addressing key challenges to ensure that the organisation is transformed and has been put on a new governance and agile operating model.
Under the leadership of the new CEO, the reorganisation of Eskom along the lines of the new distinct but yet complimentary business, an operating model has begun with clear completion timelines. In part, the trust of operational transformation seeks to achieve significant cost reduction and savings, while improving the overall efficiencies across key drivers such as expenditures on coal contracts and compensation of the employees.
Eskom is reviewing its headcount levels in a way that would balance and match business delivery outcomes, will match the core skills and improve organisational performance. To avoid resource leakages, wastages and corruption, the leadership of Eskom has focused sharply on strengthening the government system and internal controls. A number of investigations has been undertaken
to ensure that all those involved in fraud and corruption cases are brought to book.
The political task team which consists of members of justice, the Minister of Justice and Minister of Police are part of the task team which are following some of the cases that are being reported by Eskom. Currently, there are investigations in progress to detect bridges and fraudulent activities across the value chains that are core to the Eskom operations. Where it has been discovered that companies and individuals have been wrongfully paid, Eskom has embarked on a process of recovering these amounts.
Alongside these initiatives, Eskom is improving its revenue and debt collection measures to fund its operation and ensure that electricity is supplied on a sustainable basis. Rising municipal debt continues to pose a serious risk to Eskom’s long-term financial sustainability, and contribute significantly to liquidity challenges that are faced by Eskom.
The current municipal arear debts remains very high, and has reached R28 billion as at 31 March 2020, which is an increase of R8,2 billion over the past 12 months. As a political task team, we have committed to ensuring that we expedite the payment of outstanding debts owed to Eskom, while also directing all national
and provincial organs of state to settle outstanding debt with municipalities. More importantly, we have a responsibility to improve quality of payment for services such as electricity and water by our communities to avoid unnecessary disruptions in the provisions of these services.
Hon Speaker, we want to call on all our communities to pay for electricity, so as to enable Eskom and municipalities to provide these services to the poor, in order that hon Speaker, to implement a comprehensive campaign to raise awareness and encourage communities to pay for electricity on other services that they consume. We hope that hon members of this House in their respective capacities as public representatives will also join and aid government’s campaign to root out the pervasive culture of
non-payment for services.
We are also implementing key measures to ensure that Eskom’s outstanding debts are paid. Among others, these measures include: The establishment of a multidisciplinary revenue committee to resolve the issues of outstanding debts and implementing mechanism to prevent accumulation of new electricity debts by municipalities and organs of state; instituting a dispute resolution mechanism by appointing an Ombudsman to process and resolve disputes arising from disagreements between parties on amounts of monies that are
owed; ensuring that National Treasury communicates with all municipalities and organs of state owing Eskom, directing them to settle their electricity debts; supporting Eskom in addressing the problem of illegal connections that contributes to electricity supply disruptions.
As part of achieving operating efficiencies and cost reduction, Eskom has embarked on the renegotiation of some of the coal contracts to bring them in line with the value of money principle, achieved optimal pricing and ensuring that win-win outcomes with affected coal suppliers in the best interest of our country. To consistently achieve acceptable levels of energy availability, a focused maintenance programme is critical to avoid electricity supply disruptions, particularly when you are managing a fleet of old and unreliable power plants.
Hon Speaker, we are pleased that Eskom leadership has put a clear maintenance plan in place to ensure that the energy availability factor is kept at levels that will avoid unexpected electricity supply disruptions. While the system remains very much under pressure, we are confident that Eskom has put in place necessary measures to keep the lights on. The contribution of the New Build Programme to energy availability is critical in the midst of initiative to ensure energy security.
Eskom has to deal with cost overruns and defects affecting Kusile and Medupi Power Stations. We are advised by the leadership of Eskom that a great deal of progress has been made in effecting corrective technical modification that are required in Kusile and Medupi. Eskom has committed to completing Medupi and Kusile Power Stations by the revised dates of 2020 this year which is Medupi and 2023 which is Kusile respectively, although an impact of COVID-19 on the potential completion of the New Build will contribute additional capacity to our generation capacity.
Hon Speaker, the political task team has been ceased with ensuring that we accelerate the process to provide additional energy capacity through the implementation of the emergency energy procurement programme. Concurrence has been received from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, NERSA, to the section
34 determination by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, to procure additional 2000 mega wards as pronounced by the President.
The department is also in discussion with existing independent power producers that are already connecting to the grid to supply available power to Eskom. In the medium to long-term, the implementation of the Integrated Resource Plan 2019, will provide additional diverse energy generation options to support other.
The SPEAKER: Okay, someone please help Deputy president to unmute. Deputy President, we have lost you, now you are back.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, as a nation, let us stand firm together, extend our support to the leadership of Eskom as it traverses the challenges of the moment with the view to building a sustainable power utility that must meet the demands of our country and the Continent. Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
Ms J HERMANS: Through you Madam Speaker, Deputy President, government has adopted a correct approach of building a social compact in addressing the social economic challenges our country faces. In this context, how will government engage with communities, municipalities and state institutions to find workable ways of repaying the debt to Eskom? I thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, in the political task team we are with the President of Salga representing the municipalities, we are sitting with the Minister of Cogta also in a way, central to all our municipalities, have communicated the message that our municipalities must reorganise themselves, start to collect revenue and settle their debt. But we have established that lot of the amount that is being owed by municipalities stems from national departments and provincial departments.
We have then taken a view that all the monies that are owed by national departments and all monies that are owed by provincial departments must be calculated and be verified whether they are correct, and from there they must be paid. The difficulty which we are still discussing is the culture of non-payment from our communities. This is the culture that started long ago when all of us we still struggling for our freedom.
It is upon all of us now to stand up and say to our people, let’s pay for the services we consume, because if we don’t pay for services that we consume, we destroy the very nature of the very institutions that we should rely upon. So, I’m confident that we will be able to reduce the amount of money that is owed to Eskom. Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
Mr K J MILEHAM: Through you Speaker, Deputy President, when President Ramaphosa appointed you to head up what was then called the energy war room in December 2019 at the height of level six load shedding, the mandate was, “to deal with any challenges to our energy supply in the country,” according to the Cabinet minutes of 13 December 2019.
Will you admit that the focus has shifted without a new mandate from Cabinet to propping up Eskom at any cost, rather than solving
our electricity crisis? And if you won’t admit that, will you tell us, how much new electricity generation capacity has been procured since December 2019 in terms of emergency procurement announced at that time? Thank you. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, firstly, I must confirm that the mandate of the task team has not changed. The few issues were requested to support Eskom about one in the main is the financial challenges that are faced by Eskom. Secondly, is the issue of the disruptions, whether you can call it unplanned or planned maintenance that resulted into load shedding.
Now, like I said, when the new CEO was appointed, we then saw the direction of the utility changing and we started getting firm reports on maintenance and we were very happy when he took the platform and say that load shedding is going to happen for the foreseeable future because we are trying to maintain our plants. I think that Eskom has done that, and we must give them credit.
Secondly, it is quite clear that the amount of energy that we have as a country is not enough for the size of our economy.
Therefore, we insisted that Eskom must speed up its build programme. The build programme in this case that is left behind is Medupi and Kusile. Also, we are happy to say that according to
Eskom’s projections, we must finish Medupi this financial year 2020. All said and done, and if things happen according to plan, we will have to finish. That will give additional capacity to the grid. Regarding Kusile, with all its technical issues, we had to get people to come and assist Eskom, and Eskom tried to get external expertise to come into the country even in the height of COVID-19. That has happened, that’s why we are confident that the build programme of Eskom is on track.
We’re quite happy about the progress the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy has made in terms of his application of section 34 to procure additional 2000 megawatts. That process is happening as we speak. We are still calling for all other independent power producers to step forward if they have surplus energy. The situation of Eskom is gradually stabilising. Of course, the problems are still huge, but with the current leadership, I’m confident that given time, we will get out of this problem. Thank you very much.
Rev K R J MESHOE: Through you Speaker, the Deputy President did well to acknowledge the fact that during the struggle against apartheid the ANC encouraged citizens not to pay for services in order to collapse the apartheid government. The problem is that, after the installation of a democratic government, the ANC did not
go back to the same citizens to encourage them to start paying for services, but rather acted like Father Christmas who provide everything for free.
The Eskom task team, will not be able to resolve the issue of
R50 billion debt owed by the utility alone. Government must find a way of involving all ANC members to convince residents whom they encouraged not to pay, to start paying for services. Hon Deputy President, rather than relying solely on Eskom task team to do an almost impossible task, have you considered engaging all structures, particularly of the ANC, to go once more in all communities to encourage them to pay for what they use?
Also would you consider challenging members of this House who go around saying to informal settlement members who are not paying for services that they have a right not to pay because they’ve been promised free electricity? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, well, I must say right at the outset that yes, I accept the fact that when all of us were fighting for our freedom, we advocated that we should not pay for services that we were consuming at that time. That is why I’m standing here today saying to our people that we have achieved what we wanted to achieve then, fighting for our freedom. Now, we
have got a democratic government in place. Therefore, it is our duty to pay for services that we consume, be that electricity or water, any services that we consume as South Africans we must pay.
This is a good culture that we must inculcate and a good culture that our young democracy must rest on. We are going to take up this campaign which we think it’s achievable. Therefore, we’re going to speak to our people though we’re quite aware that the majority of our people are still unemployed, some are indigent, but we are saying to those that are employed and are able to pay, they must start paying.
Of course, the amount that is owed by Eskom which R450 billion or so, the biggest amount from it is the loan that has been taken by Eskom for variety of reasons. The amount of money that stems for non-payment of services, you can actually say that it’s a
R28 billion from municipalities. Now, in that R28 billion, we include national and provincial departments. I want to assure this House that the next time we speak about this matter, national and provincial departments will be out of this equation because they will settle what they owe to municipalities and an arrangement will be made for that money to be paid to Eskom.
So yes, I’m also calling for the House, jointly, collectively and all of us to support Eskom. Eskom is very important not only to governing party but to all of us as a country. If we are really to drive our economic growth, we need a reliable and a strong energy generation. Thank you, hon Speaker.
Ms T BREEDT: Thank you Speaker, I hope I’m audible.
The SPEAKER: Yes, you are.
Ms T BREEDT: Thank you. In the light of the COVID-19 pendemic, our economy has come to excruciating halt, the necessity to stimulate our economy and to create job opportunities further taking into account that municipalities need to create a conducive environment of proper service delivery to ensure that businesses can thrive and prosper as the Deputy President has said. What is the rationale to punish such businesses by declining municipalities application to upgrade its power stations and forcing such municipalities to implement load shedding because of the limitation of supply even though such municipalities are complying with its payment arrangements and is keeping up to date with its payments? An example of such municipality, hon Deputy President, is Ngwato Local Municipality in the Free state which is even
switching off hospital’s electricity at this stage. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, well, it’s very important for municipalities to act in a manner that is a bit decisive because we must stamp this tide. But I expect municipalities to be always responsible. In a situation like this, I don’t expect municipalities to switch off electricity in cases like hospitals. As much as all of us need the payment to be done for services, I think that we must be considerate of certain areas in our communities which all of us should take care of.
I’m sure we are getting to that point to realise that it’s important for those who are supplying energy to switch off electricity when people do not pay. From now, all we need to do is that we must know exactly how much is owed by who from when, so that if we switch off, we do so for the right person, for the amount owed. If that amount is in dispute, that person can challenge the municipality or Eskom.
We can’t just negotiate forever. At a certain point we must insist that people must pay for services. In the task team we are also considering the introduction of pre-payed meters so that for every service that you consume you must pay beforehand, in order that
there is no problem with service providers that are providing you with the service, there is no problem with people owing gas that they are not settling in time. Going forward, I think that we must be a nation that takes responsibility for the growth of its own nation and also, we must be responsible for every freedom that we have achieved. With the freedom comes the responsibility. Thanks, hon Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, when the President declared the State of the National Disaster on 15 March 2020, he announced the establishment of the National Coronavirus Command Council tasked in the main with the co-ordination of the government’s response to the COVID -19 pandemic. The contribution of the Deputy President like any other member of the Executive, are made within the context of discussions and debates on agenda matters being considered by both the National Coronavirus Command Council and the Cabinet. The decisions arrived at are collective decisions of Executive and not personal view points.
The establishment of the National Coronavirus Command Council has not in any shape or form, usurped the powers, responsibilities and functions of any of the three arms of state, including Parliament in its responsibility of exercising oversight over the Executive
as well as facilitating public participation in the legislative processes.
As for ensuring that Members of Executive attend to their parliamentary responsibilities, we have amongst other things, during this COVID-19 Pandemic been in constant engagement with the Executive to ensure that they attend to their parliamentary responsibilities, and that they continue to be transparent and fully accountable to Parliament.
As a matter of fact, Parliament had on 27 May 2020 held its first second-term question session. Cabinet colleagues, under Social Services and governance Clusters were requested to avail themselves to respond to questions during this session. They all attended, except one Minister who was represented by his Deputy Minister due to other pressing commitments.
In addition to this, we have written to the Executive requesting that they urgently prioritise responding to unanswered written questions within stipulated timeframes, or alternatively give us reasons in writing for their noncompliance and how they intend to address this. The reports we are receiving now are showing great improvements in turnaround time and responses to outstanding questions that are being submitted.
As for possible fast-tracking of any legislation, hon members would know that we had already begun a process of compiling the 2020 Legislative Programme with new Executive Bills when the State of National Disaster was announced. This process was taken, then halted by the lockdown. However, we have since requested the executive to reprioritise the proposed legislation programme to be in line with government’s programme to address the reality of COVID-19.
To this end, hon Speaker, Ministers have since reprioritised proposed legislation and the 2020 Legislative Programme with new Executive Bills that will be submitted for Cabinet approvals the end of June 2020. This has already happened. Thank you very much, Speaker.
Ms N W A MAZZONE: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Deputy President, may I say it’s rather nice to see you. We were getting a bit concerned as to where you were. So, it’s good to see that you are healthy and with us today. Deputy President, here’s the thing, we have a Command Council and until very recently no one really knew who form part of this Command Council. So it’s a very new entity to Parliament. The problem is no one elected this Command Council but Parliament, in actual fact, was elected by the people of South Africa. Now it cannot be denied that the
regulations that have come out that are devised as you told us today collectively by this Command Council had been a hard mess. In actual fact, at most times its quite embarrassing for a country.
It also undeniable that Minister Dlamini-Zuma now has an incredible amount of power because she’s in fact in charge of running of this Command Council given the fact that she’s in charge of the Disaster Management Act. So, what we have Deputy President is the unelected prime minister whose governing over an unelected subParliament of Ministers with a Deputy President who is the leader of government business, who is somewhat side-lined and a President who is seemingly powerless. Why is Parliament not being used to conduct oversight on this specific Command Council because we have a constitutional mandate to conduct oversight on this specific Command Council?
In responds to your response Deputy President about fast-tracking of legislation, I must bring into your attention that I was deeply concerned that the President announced to the Republic of South Africa that Parliament was derelicting its duty by not processing GBV legislation that was before it. We now know, confirmed by the Speaker that there is no such legislation before Parliament. Are you, as the leader of government business going to give this House
assurance that GBV legislation is going to be fast-tracked as a matter of urgency because women in this country are under siege?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, I must correct one assertion that the Command Council is the substructure of Cabinet. It’s a structure that has been formed by Cabinet. Who is sitting there in the Command Council- are Ministers. The President is chairing the Command Council. I sit as the Deputy President and we have Ministers and net joints and that’s it. Now this structure is processing on a daily basis the impact, looking at the spread of this virus, needs and recommends certain decisions to Cabinet. So that means Cabinet is still in charge. So, Cabinet is accountable in terms of its own work. As Members of Cabinet, we are accountable to Parliament in terms of what we do on a daily basis. We answer questions to you. We have not abdicated that responsibility and it will be incorrect to say that Minister Dlamini-Zuma is now prime minister. It is because of her role as Minister of Cogta and Cogta is the one that administers the Acts under which we have declared our National Disaster. Therefore, the Minister has been given the role together with other Ministers to sit down and workout on regulations. Every time we make a movement from one level of our Disaster Management to another level, whether we are easing or locking down, all Ministers will go and explain exactly the intention and the process. So, Minister
Dlamini- Zuma is just doing her job like any other Minister. We don’t take it that the President is no longer President. The President is still the President and he is commanding the Command Council. He is also commanding Cabinet. Nothing has gone wrong, probably there was a period of lull when the lockdown was announced. Hon Mazzone I think that was the time where you missed me because we were all lockdown for a month. We could not see each other. I could not see you, I missed you too but the condition at that time dictated that we stay at home. After easing to level 4, we started easing up. We started moving around and I am sure down the line we are going to see things improving.
What is important about this virus which we must communicate is that the benefits of a lockdown, we think, we have benefited and it’s over. Now we are going to rely on the behaviour of an individuals. Our people must wear the mask. Our people must observe the necessary social distance and our people must wash hands. In that way, we will be preparing to coexist with the virus. Thank you, hon Speaker.
Mr N SINGH: Thank you very much, hon Speaker and thank you, hon Deputy President for your response. Hon Deputy President, one of your roles of being the leader of government business is as you said to ensure that the Cabinet Members attend to the
parliamentary responsibilities. You referred to the two question sessions that we had in the House but not one Member of the Executive appeared physically in the House. Now hon Deputy President surely there’s some Members of the Executive that also support Parliament in this regard. Parliament has adopted hybrid system and up to 100 Members of Parliament can come in to the House.
The second question will arise from unanswered questions while you say there has been progress, Deputy President. There are still 172 unanswered written questions, some of them from 13th of February this year. My question is: Will you crack the whip as leader of the government business on the Members of the Executive that are not doing their work? Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, yes of course, I will follow up on the 172 questions that are outstanding. Yesterday, we have indicated to the Members of the Executive those that are still having questions that are outstanding and we are going to insist on that. It’s very difficult to manage the business of the Executive and the business of Parliament. I find it difficult every time there is a friction, there is a clash. There is a moment when Members of the Executive must be in Parliament and they’ve got meetings of the executive. For instance, of late we
have an additional meeting that has been included which is a standing meeting of the Command Council that takes place on a Tuesday. So, Tuesday is now off, then on a Wednesday normally is Cabinet. One week it’s Cabinet committees. So, Members of the Executive have a very tight space. Now we are going to sit down with the members of the programming committee in Parliament so that we address this question, allow Members of the Executive to be effective where they are deployed, where they must be doing their work but also allow them to find time and do work in Parliament.
We are not saying that they must run away from their responsibilities but they can’t be always on the road with their bags, moving around up and down. They must find time to work.
Thank you very much.
Mr L M NTSHAYISA: Madam Speaker, Deputy President you seem to be excelling in answering questions today, not that you have not been excelling before. [Laughter.]
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: He is always excellent.
Hhayi, buza umbuzo uyeke uSekela Mongameli.
Nk N NDABA: Akabuze umbuzo. Yini le nto ayishoyo?
The SPEAKER: You are protected. Hon members, let hon Ntshayisa put his question.
Mr W M THRING: On a point of order, Speaker we’ve heard over the last few sessions of Parliament a number of interruptions by Minister Zulu who has not been reprimanded and I know that we all apply the Rules of Parliament and those particular Rules indicate that we have to keep our mics muted but the hon Minister continually interrupts without being reprimanded.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: This is Parliament. Where do you think I am? I am in Parliament.
The SPEAKER: Hon Zulu, you will not interact when the member is still on the floor. Please continue, hon Thring.
Mr W M THRING: She has just proved my point, hon Speaker. I think that it is time that hon Zulu be reprimanded and told like every other Member of Parliament to mute her mic when other Members of Parliament are speaking. Thank you, Speaker.
The SPEAKER: In fact, just to correct you, hon Thring. Hon Zulu has been called to order several times by myself on this platform. Hon members will remember that we actually came out with a set of rules for a virtual sitting. When we are all in the House it is easy for us to interject and to do what is parliamentary. On the virtual platform it becomes difficult because then as your mic goes on you drown the person who is on the floor. That is why we have been insisting members that you mute your mic, you allow the person on the floor to finish. Now can we do that and now can we go back to you, hon Ntshayisa because you were on the floor and you were interrupted. You will have to start your supplementary time all over again. Hon Ntshayisa.
Mr L M NTSHAYISA: Madam Speaker, comparing these two platforms, virtual and being in the Chamber I just want to check with you, Deputy President that do you think these Ministers in terms of answering questions or coming to Parliament have been doing well before, because to me it seems now being on virtual they are attending their businesses in answering these questions. But I am nursing fears that when getting to level 1 and things become normal. Do you think they will be in a position to comeback or they will be spoiled by being on virtual and not come to Parliament? What is your take to be on virtual or not to come to Parliament? How can you rate their attendance when they are on
virtual as compared to when they were in the Chamber before? How can you rate their attendance? Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, I think it will be best for all of to be in the Chamber to minimise disruptions and all that. I am sure you are not in the Chamber because of a situation that we understand. Maybe in future we can try a few of us who must answer questions must come down to Parliament. However, we should be mindful that even transport logistics and all those things are still not easily practical. So, I suggest that let us move with the adjustment that are before us, if we can respect this virtual system. I heard the President saying next time he answers questions he suggests he will go to Parliament. Maybe because our session tends to be long so that we avoid disruptions on the virtual system. At least it’s better that if the one who’s answering the questions is in the House. That will minimise some disruptions but we still keep into the number of less than 50.
That is why we still have that number in the Chamber. So, as long as we keep to that number I think we are still adhering to the regulations, but so far so good. I think, Madam Speaker the system it’s normalising and members are getting used to the system. I think we will overcome. Thank you very much.
Mr H O MKHALIPI: Madam Speaker, Deputy President as a leader of government business are you not concerned with the length of time it takes the President of the country to sign bills process by Parliament into law, if you are, what conversations have you had with him to ensure that he signs the bills without extensive delays, more specifically have you engaged him on his recent misguided decisions to send back the Performers Amendment Bill and the Public Investment Amendment Bill that have been sitting in his desk for over a year? What are his reasons for denying artists a legislative mechanism through which their rights could be protected? Thank you, Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Speaker, and thank you for the question. Well, we may be worried about the time lag/left that the President takes to sign Bills into Acts. To me it’s a necessary step. It’s a necessary step because the President must satisfy himself – that is the last signature on the Act. Other than that, the Act will be dismissed by the Constitutional Court which will go back straight into where it started. Its two ways, it’s either you get this Act to be dismissed by a Constitutional Court and you are given a timeline on when to amend this Act. Now, already that will emanate from a court case and then you are required to correct the situation within a certain stipulated timeline.
We have so many Bills that have been referred back by a Constitutional Court which is not a good thing for us. Now the President has surrounded himself with a team that will help him reprocess. Now when you see the President sending a Bill back, they have scrutinised the Bill, they have checked everything and they can realise that this Bill will not pass the Constitutional line. And therefore, those things must be identified by the President unlike just appending a signature. With all the support he has, it should assist the Parliament to say no, I do not agree with that as advised by my legal team. Probably that can be corrected. What we are encouraging is that the President must apply his mind in whatever he puts his signature on. Thank you very much.
The SPEAKER: We proceed to Question 3. Question 3 was put to you, Deputy President, by the hon Shivambu. My instruction is that the hon Ndlozi will take care of the question.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: We can confirm, hon Speaker, that we have, through the Minister of Public Enterprises as a shareholder representative, had sight of the contents of the internal report of Eskom into the investigation of allegations against the chief operating officer. As a point of departure, we must state the
importance of good corporative governance in our state-owned enterprises, especially those as strategic to our country as Eskom.
In an environment of prevailing financial challenges faced by Eskom, our public should, at all times, have confidence in how this power utility is being managed. That is why we have appointed the board and put in place a shareholders’ compact to guide our relationship, including setting the parameters of the responsibilities, duties and rights of shareholders, directors and executives.
At all times, we look to the board to ensure that the affairs of the power utility are well managed, including dealing with allegations of corruption, the abuse of power, dishonesty and conflicts of interest wherever they may arise, notwithstanding the fact that we have no basis to doubt the fairness and the integrity of the investigation process, as conducted against the COO.
We call on the board to ensure that the recommendations are fully implemented. We find comfort in the commitment expressed by the CEO in that he will act should new evidence arise. Thank you, hon Speaker.
The SPEAKER: Thank you, Deputy President. The hon Ndlozi? The hon Ndlozi? Hon Mkhalipi, can you help?
Ms H O MKHALIPI: ... give me a few minutes, Speaker.
The SPEAKER: That’s difficult. That’s difficult, Sisi, because that supplementary must go to the party first.
Ms H O MKHALIPI: Okay, Speaker. Let me try and help.
The SPEAKER: Yes, ma’am.
Ms H O MKHALIPI: Deputy President, Jan Oberholzer, as the COO, presided over illegal attempts to steal more than R40 million from Eskom to pay Aveng. The Zondo Commission prevented the attempt to loot from Eskom and ordered investigations. The former chairperson, COO and supplier Jabu Mabuza resigned for misleading the country about load shedding. Matshele Koko and Anoj Singh were removed from Eskom on allegations of corruption even before there were investigations ... are people whose appointments were presided over by Pravin Gordhan, who were not subject to the same rules even when there was evidence of corruption and were allowed to investigate themselves. Thank you, Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, and thanks for the question, hon Mkaliphi. We have a board that we appointed at Eskom and we have a CEO. So, that structure is fully fledged, and we have the Minister who is a shareholder. Most of the time as government we have been condemned in that we are seen to be interfering in the running of all these SOCs. Some people refer to this as politically connected people who are deployed and all that
– all sorts of things have been said. I think we must try very hard to give the people that we have appointed to the board – the leadership there – the chance to lead, to lead those utilities.
Now, as far as the hon Mkaliphi is concerned, I think you must find solace in the fact that the report we are talking about will find its way into Parliament. One day you will sit down and discuss this report. I’m reliably informed that the Minister of Public Enterprises will present this report to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. That is where Members of Parliament will be able to enter into the discussion. In this way, they will be discussing a report that is kept by the board and a report that is being challenged by other people. I think it would be incorrect
... the time will come when all of us will be afforded the opportunity to discuss the report as Parliament. We can even request the report as Parliament. Thank you very much.
The SPEAKER: Thank you, Deputy President. The first supplementary question, I’m advised, goes to the hon Mazzone.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you very much, Speaker. Thank you, Deputy President. Deputy President, I’m very pleased to hear that these investigations have been ongoing, and I must say that one of the proudest things in my life was that I formed part of Team One South Africa, the team that uncovered the corruption that was going on at Eskom. At the time, criminal charges were laid against Brian Molefe, Ben Ngubane, Anoj Singh, Matshele Koko, to name a few.
One of the things, Deputy President, that happened was that that committee brought to Parliament a report that actually instructed Parliament to show its teeth and, in doing so, to lay charges, to conduct a series of investigations as to why certain people hadn’t appeared before the committee, and, given the evidence before us, to lay criminal charges.
So, may I ask you, Deputy President, as Leader of Government Business, if you know how far these charges are and if you have an intent to actually fulfil the mandate that Team One South Africa gave Parliament, which was to make sure that the full might of the law was thrown at those who were the architects of state capture?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, hon Speaker. The question of fraud and corruption is a permanent agenda item at our task team meetings. I must say that there is a list of more than 600 cases of fraud and corruption that are being followed, that are on our rudder screen as the task team.
Now, these 600-odd cases are in different phases of investigation, and I’m sure that when it comes to this information - when Eskom is called to come and meet Parliament - that Parliament can always request this information. But the best thing to do is to allow the qualified law enforcement agencies to pursue these cases, otherwise the more we talk about these cases in the open the more we might be damaging the prospects of full prosecution.
So, I suggest that whoever has information about anyone should approach the leadership of Eskom. If you are not happy about the leadership of Eskom, you can approach the law enforcement agencies so that they can investigate those matters. I am sure the Minister will also favour Parliament with a list of all the fraud and corruption cases that we are dealing with that are on our agenda in the task team, so that Members of Parliament can be aware that the leadership of Eskom is not just sitting on their laurels, but that they are pursuing cases in which they can reclaim some of their money. They are working together with law enforcement
agencies. So, yes, I am quite satisfied with the progress they are making. Thank you very much.
The SPEAKER: Thank you, Deputy President. The third supplementary question comes to you from the hon M Hlengwa in the House.
Mr M HLENGWA: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Hon Deputy President, I can confirm that we want that report and the Minister has committed to having it sent to us by tomorrow, so we will be interrogating it.
But let’s get real, Deputy President. The investigation into such grave allegations against the COO was completed in 11 working days. So assuming that we accept that to be a legitimate process - and the operative word there is assuming - why is it taking so long then for Eskom to complete all other investigations if it has this kind of efficiency in dealing with matters? This is because this calls into question the speed at which we are moving on some matters against that of other matters.
So, are you satisfied with the credibility of Eskom’s pace in fulfilling its investigation responsibilities as part of consequence management, because then the solid cases that you
speak about should have been finalised by now if this investigation took 11 working days? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, hon Speaker. The hon Hlengwa is asking very important questions but probably of the wrong person, because I am not Eskom. But let me try to answer some of your concerns. I think it was very important for Eskom to respond promptly in this case because one of their top managers was being accused of corruption and fraud. That would have capsized the entire leadership. That needed Eskom to act decisively so that if that allegation was true it should ascertain that to be true. If that allegation was not true, the same should apply.
Now, whether Eskom does have this kind of capacity in all the cases that they are before them to process them with the necessary speed, I think that you will be able to ascertain yourself when you are looking at the number of cases – the list of cases – that there are and the amount of money that Eskom would spend in trying to follow up on these cases. This is because in this case alone a senior advocate was appointed externally to come and investigate. From where we stand as government, I don’t think we suspect anything sinister, not unless there is something that we can call sinister.
But from where I’m sitting I should not really go around casting aspersions on this report. I’m happy that the Standing Committee on Public Accounts will have an opportunity to sit down and look at the report, and that you will probably be satisfied about the process and the product is genuine or not. Thank you very much.
The SPEAKER: Thank you, Deputy President. Your last supplementary on this question comes to you from the hon Dyanti. He is in the House.
Mr Q R DYANTYI: Thank you very much, hon Speaker. Hon Deputy President, as you sign off on this question could you share with the House and the nation the general progress being made in terms of the new road map of Eskom including the success of the anticorruption drive ...
Ndizakucela ke ukuba unabe, utyatyadule, uthethe noMzantsi Afrika.
... request that you dwell and give us all the details as ... [Inaudible.]
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Speaker. I can say without any doubt, hon Speaker, that the Eskom that we are talking about today is a different Eskom. It is a different Eskom that has taken it upon itself to revive itself. We must commend that attitude – the change in attitude in the leadership - and this should happen with all our power stations. I’m happy with the programme that Eskom is following, without failure, in terms of the maintenance of our power stations. Yes, we agree our power stations are old, but Eskom is doing a wonderful job in order to keep the lights on.
When it comes to fraud and corruption, we want to request communities, especially where you find these power stations - or request of anyone who has information - to work with the law enforcement agencies and Eskom so that we can speed up these cases that are before us and close them. It is very important that we close this past and open a new chapter.
I am confident that the fraud and corruption is being rooted out in this institution. Whether this leadership is going to succeed will depend on whether they have the staying power to proceed even if that is difficult. I’m also happy with all the efforts by the leadership to cut costs in order to save money. I am also opening my eyes very wide. I want to see how we are losing money here,
because, from time to time, government is expected to bail out Eskom. I can assure you now that I am just one eye close to seeing where this money is being spent.
What I have seen is that there is an attempt by the leadership of Eskom to save money. We want to see this happening. What we need to do as the task team is to assist that leadership to ensure that municipalities do pay and that provincial and national departments do pay. We need to assist Eskom to complete its build programme.
That will take us closer to a stable solution in which we have a reliable supply of energy. So, things are not yet good but it looks like we are on a sustainable path. Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, the She Conquers Campaign for Adolescent Girls and Young Women was borne out of the vulnerabilities of adolescent girls and young women in experiencing violence and contracting HIV and AIDS. The campaign core package of interventions addresses the biomedical, socio- behavioural and structural factors that contribute to gender-based violence. In the main, the campaign was established to decrease new infections in girls and young women, decrease teenage pregnancies, increase the retention of adolescent girls in schools
until matric, decrease sexual and gender-based violence amongst adolescent girls and young women, and increase economic empowerment opportunities for young people particularly young women.
The target of the campaign was to reduce sexual and gender-based violence that is experienced by adolescent girls and young women by almost 10% over three years. Although the term campaign suggests a limited and time-bound effort, the project goals require and deserve a longer-term footing and even wider application so that we can appreciate the impact. The campaign has, since its launch in June 2016, more than 90 000 adolescent girls and young women who have received post-violence care and nearly 19 000 young boys and girls have participated in violence- preventing programmes in the 22 priority sub-districts. Under the umbrella of the campaign, the SA National Aids Council’s Social and Structural Technical Task Team provided substantial written inputs into the National Strategic Plan for Gender-Based Violence with a specific focus on the intersections of HIV and gender-based violence.
The National Youth HIV Prevention Technical Working Group developed a standardised HIV Prevention Risk Assessment Tool which included gender-based violence screening questions, helplines and
referral tools. The gender-based violence prevention services that educate and empower adolescent girls and young women on safety and health include interventions which are community based, multisessions which are delivered through contact sessions in schools and community engagement. These sessions address bullying and links to gender-based violence, gender dynamics, power and violence, social norm change, gender equality, dealing with violent situations, avoiding risk, abuse and sexual violence.
In the first analysis, hon Speaker, the She Conquers campaign is focused on investing in institutional capacity, strengthening our implementing partners and striving to ensure that campaign agents, youth ambassadors, youth connectors and ground-breakers including civil society and volunteers implement their programmes at grassroot level. In this instance, multi-media campaigns were implemented to intensify effort in raising awareness of the child- protection risk of lockdown including sexual and gender-based violence as well as providing targeted support through remote case management and physical visits to vulnerable households.
With the outbreak of Covid-19, the campaign continues to work with communities, traditional and religious leaders to avoid transmissions of Corona Virus infections and to provide training to those well-placed to care for vulnerable adolescent girls and
young women. During the Lockdown Alert Level 5 and 4, community gender-based violence prevention services that educate and empower adolescent girls and young women were not available due to Lockdown regulations and restrictions.
However, during the same period, biomedical and psychosocial services were available and continue to be available during Lockdown Alert Level 3. Staff that is providing trauma, containment and immediate support continued to work as essential staff and so did linkage officers who provide virtual support and psychosocial support services to clients.
Madam Speaker, it is now evident that Covid-19 and the lockdown has brought along an increase in cases of gender-based violence. Empirical research and data trends have shown that adolescent girls and young women face enormous hurdles that impact on the quality of their lives in various ways, including adverse effects on their education, personal safety, rights over their bodies, health, peer support, social connection and economic prospects.
The need for the She Conquers campaign is more important during this time and gives us an opportunity to go back to the drawing board, and to adopt a different approach in uprooting this social cancer from our society. If anything else, the campaign for the
empowerment of adolescent girls and young women, raises sharply the need to concentrate on the family as an important unit for the regeneration of the new society we envisaged in our country’s Constitution.
The recent incidents of gender-based violence perpetrated by men, continue to undermine our national commitment towards the protection of the rights of women. These incidents negate the noble objective of our social compact that was forged through the 2018 Declaration of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Summit that was led by the President.
Among other key focus areas, the Declaration calls for leadership across all segments of South African society, including political, government, business, and community leadership to take collective responsibility and accountability for responding to the scourge of gender-based violence and to actively play a role in supporting the cause of eradicating gender-based violence and femicide. It is a call for collective action and partnerships across all sectors of society.
On our part as government, we are committed to providing the necessary leadership required to galvanise society towards a unified vision, purpose, and broad-based implementation programme
aimed at eradicating the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide. This includes the process of setting up appropriate institutional mechanisms, capacities and resources to ensure that, as a nation, we respond decisively to the challenges of gender- based violence and femicide.
Earlier in the year, Cabinet approved the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide National Strategic Plan and the establishment of the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide. The National Council will be an inclusive multi-stakeholder body tasked with leading and coordinating the implementation of the National Strategic Plan.
Cabinet also approved the setting up of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Gender-based Violence and Femicide, which will play a key facilitation and political liaison role in the National Council processes, and ensure the effective implementation of priority programmes.
The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, is in a process of consultations with civil society formations to engage and forge a roadmap for the establishment of the National Council. Notwithstanding the need for broad and intensive consultations, we are confident that these processes will be
expedited within the framework of deadlines agreed by all parties. For us, the time for talk on issues of gender-based violence is over. Time is of the essence. We need to act and act now.
In pursuit of our social compact commitments to end gender-based violence and femicide, government is progressing on the implementation of some of these key measures. These include: Ensuring legislative amendments such as minimum sentencing in cases of gender-based violence, bail conditions for suspects, and greater protection for women who are victims of intimate partner violence; The Draft Amended National Policy Framework on the Management of Sexual Offences Matters, which has been developed and aligned with the Presidential Summit Declaration against GBVF, 2019; and Cabinet approval of the GBV Policy Framework in Post- School Education and Training System in order to respond to the increased number of GBV-related cases at institutions of higher learning; an important step in the right direction during this Youth Month.
There is no doubt that more work lies ahead. Collectively, we can make a difference to the lives of all South African women so that, they too, can enjoy freedoms and liberties, with no fear of being raped and murdered by men. Unless as a society we fight this scourge with the same vigour that we fought the oppressive system
of apartheid, the freedoms we envisaged at the dawn of our democracy will remain elusive. Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
Ms F A MASIKO: Thank you very much hon Deputy President for the response. With regard to gender-based violence and femicide and the President declaring gender-based violence as Africa’s second pandemic, reference to the Deputy President’s responsibilities as the Leader of the SA Aids Council and to the She Conquers campaign, what similar campaign does the Council hold to include young boys and men between the ages of 15 and 35 years as many perpetrators of violence are young men and boys in the above age groups? Thank you, hon Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Speaker, yes, I think working with the Department of Social Development and the SA National Aids Council, we have developed such programmes specifically looking at young girls. We have gone beyond looking at girls and we are looking at young men. I remember attending Boys Parliament organised by the Department of Social Development talking about these gender issues. I am quite impressed by the work done by the Department of Social Development and I am happy that this is going to be reinforced by the IMC that is going to be led by the Minister of Women, which is going to be solely focused on gender-based violence. That Inter-Ministerial Committee, IMC will culminate
into a platform like the council where all the role-players - civil society, women themselves, business and government – can work together and design programmes that will address this scourge.
I must say, hon Speaker, this is a very challenging problem before us. If we are to succeed as a country, this is just but one test that we must pass. I don’t see a society that deserves to be called a society when it kills its women and children. So, as a South African society, I think we must correct this one aspect about us otherwise people outside are going to misunderstand this society. So, all of us have a duty to stand up. We are calling everyone. Let us not leave this matter to women, girl children, boys and men. We must make it a collective responsibility. Thank you very much.
Mr W M THRING: Hon Deputy President, your position as the Leader of the National Aids Council carries with it a weighty responsibility on one hand as we have 240 000 new infections per annum and 71 000 deaths in South Africa due to Aids-related illnesses while on the other hand we now have the effect of Covid-
19 on those already infected with HIV particularly young girls, women and the vulnerable among us. Now, Deputy President, it has been widely reported that new Covid-19 trials include those
infected with HIV. Can you inform this House of the empirical process involved in the conducting of these trials such as whether they will involve double-blind tests and whether the vaccine contains human foetal DNA and/aluminium mercury elements as allegedly found in some vaccines produced by Big Pharma and the Gates Foundation where Africans and Indians were used as experimental guinea pigs? Surely, Deputy President, she and all lives matter. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much for taking me along the journey up to this far, hon Speaker. Well, I must say our journey as we were battling with HIV and Aids is known to everyone in the country. We have gone through a period where we were denialists to a point where we confronted the pandemic. By that time a lot of damage had happened. I am happy to say, as a country, we are now confronting HIV and Aids head-on. Our people are testing and taking drugs. Of course we are still aware that there is a missing number out there that is not in our system. We are going to continue going behind those who are still missing there, given time. We know that we have HIV cases and TB cases that are missing out there. What has probably occupied our minds currently is the Corona Virus.
As regards the relationship between the two pandemics, all what we know is that those who have comorbidities are easily affected by the Corona Virus. Well, scientists can attest to that because we are told that HIV/Aids affects your system and all those with a weak immune system can easily be affected by the Corona Virus. As much as we are trying to live with the Corona Virus, trying to wear our mask, observe social distance, wash and clean our hands, as long as there is no vaccine, we’ll have to find ways and means to live with the virus and we must keep safe.
Fortunately, as a country, we have not gone down in terms of our stock level as regards all other diseases. With respect to HIV and Aids, we have our stock levels in terms of ARVs as they are at an acceptable level. So, we are quite happy that all our people affected by HIV and Aids are still in a position to receive their treatment as much as we are burdened by the Corona Virus. So, we handling all these challenges together. The main important problem before us is the gender-based violence that has shown some signs of increasing during this lockdown period. Very worrying but there are efforts in the Presidency to set up structures that will respond to this scourge. Money has been set aside to respond to the scourge of gender-based violence. In the SA National Aids Council, it is still our responsibility to deal with young girls and boys. Also, as South Africans, it is our collective
responsibility not to fold our hands but to do something to facilitate change in the culture and the way we do things as a society. Thank you, hon Chairperson.
Mr W M THRING: On a point of order: Chair, I feel that the Deputy President has not answered my question. My question has reference to the empirical process with regard to testing particularly those with HIV and have contracted Covid-19, whether it involved double- blind test and the contents of also the vaccine. I know that you are going to say if I’m not happy I can follow that up and this is exactly what I am going to do. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you for saying what you said at the end. You know what to do.
Ms S GWARUBE: Deputy President, in 2018 the President launched the National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence. In it are action steps which need to be taken by the Executive including the allocation of funds towards GBV and NGOs in the space. Judging by the Emergency Budget that was tabled by the Minister of Finance yesterday, this issue seems to have taken the back seat once again. However, what is worse, there seems to be the evading of accountability by this government. The President told the nation a couple of weeks ago that Parliament would need to expedite the
processing of legislation that deals with GBV. There is no such legislation before this House. The Cabinet is meant to lead the charge in introducing such Bills but it has not done so! Will you concede that the President misled the nation by saying this and what will you as the link between the Executive and Parliament do about it?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I think we should accept that the President gave an instruction to all of us that we should prioritise legislation that will address gender-based violence and I am sure that it is my responsibility as Leader of Government Business with the Ministers to coordinate that and present such a Bill to Parliament. I think that is how we should respond to the instruction by the President. I don’t think the President has misled anyone. The President was giving a direction on how things should unfold. Maybe some of us were sleeping on the job. We are going to follow up on this legislation and make it a point that the intention of the President is realised. So, in a short space of time we are going to bring those Bills that look at how best we curb gender-based violence. Thank you very much.
Ms Y N YAKO: Chairperson, can you hear me?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Yes. You can continue.
Ms Y N YAKO: [Inaudible.] ... the host has blocked me from starting the video but I will pose the question anyway. Deputy President, the violence against women is endemic in this country and it has been with us for a while. Okay, let me start my video. It has been with us for a while. The problem is not women but men who feel entitled to violate women’s bodies and to murder them knowing fully well that there are minimal chances of them getting caught by the police. So, despite this being a social problem, it is aggravated by poor law enforcement. So, why has the SA Police Department been unable to be responsive to the levels of violence directed at women and what needs to be done to ensure that the SAPS is equal to the task at hand? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Chair, we appreciate the fact that all of us are looking at the police to help us. But we should agree that we can’t have a police man/woman for every individual in the country. You’ll agree with me that some of this gender-based violence incidents are happening between people who love one another and they happen in areas where police do not suspect anything. This is the problem with this gender-based violence. We have people who claim to love one another and all of a sudden the woman is killed. There is something wrong about the way we have been socialised; There is something drastically wrong with the way we grew up as men and boys. You can blame the police and so and so, but as the
family, I said we must take responsibility as to how we socialise our children. Of course, we are going to do all we can and implement all the programmes we have to mitigate the impact, but it is a societal problem. It is a societal problem which involves the way we mould and shape our offspring - the way we mould and shape our young ones. We must deal with that. Of course, for now, as a mitigating factor we’ll try this and that, but we’ll revert back to the family as a unit where we must shape and mould the future generation. Thank you very much.
Ms Y N YAKO: Madam Chair, I rise on a point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): What’s your point of order, hon Yako?
Ms Y N YAKO: My pointy of order is that the Deputy President is not answering my question with regard to cases that have gone to the SAPS, which have not been taken up by the police – where women who are abducted and go to the police station are not taken seriously by the police. What is he doing about that? We are not asking about the family structure; and we are not asking about the social connection. We are talking about women ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Yako, you have made your point. We hear you. Deputy President, do you want to take it or should we continue?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Yes, I will because it is a serious matter where people go to a police to report a case and they are not taken seriously. I’ll be happy to be cited about these cases so that if we can be of assistance, we should – and see that those cases are reported and victims finally have their day in court. So, our office is open. Hon member, I want a list of all those cases. We’ll give it to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Police because all of us must join hands and fight the scourge.
AN HON MEMBER: It is a joke. You are weak! You are weak! There is nothing there.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon members, what is happening now? Hon members on virtual platform - hon Ntlangwini and hon Langa please mute your gadgets!
Mr A N PAPO: Chair, I rise on a point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Papo, what’s your point of order?
Mr A N PAPO: When you are in the House, you can’t open your mic and heckle; you can heckle off the mic. Even on virtual you can’t open your mic and heckle. There are members who just did that. I am just saying on record that this is a problem. The Speaker earlier condemned that behaviour and these members are continuing as if that is allowed on virtual. Even in the House you are not allowed to open your mic and heckle.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you very much. I think the Speaker has addressed this point. Please, I plead with you members on virtual platform that this is not the way to go. Thank you very much. Let’s continue.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Honourable House Chairperson, under the leadership of President, social partners from government, business, labour and community constituencies are working towards finding lasting solutions to economic, labour and development issues that are facing our country.
This is in line with the dictates of the National Development Plan, NDP, which advocates for strong leadership throughout society to work together in crafting solutions for challenges that our country faces.
The parties in the National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac, as one of the vehicles that exercises this principle of active citizenry, have initiated efforts towards resolving the ongoing electricity supply challenges.
We are encouraged by the acknowledgement of all parties at Nedlac that the culture of non-payment for services rendered, is not helping the situation, neither the country. To this end, social partners have developed a Framework Agreement for a Social Compact on Supporting Eskom for an Inclusive Economic Growth, supported by an implementation plan which provides practical expressions to the social compact. This draft social compact will be presented to the Presidential Working Committee of the Jobs Summit on 06 July 2020, for final approval and sign off.
Through the compact, progressive steps have been suggested such as; each constituency identifying commitments and sacrifices that will be made towards contributing to resolving the energy challenges, addressing human capital issues and promoting labour stability while enabling an efficient and productive Eskom that plays its developmental role.
This includes enabling increased access and affordable prices to communities and allows industries to support job creation and
inclusive economic growth. Over and above the partners at Nedlac, it is incumbent on all South Africans to champion development efforts in their spaces wherever they are.
Through the Eskom Task Team, various strategic role players are put together with an aim of developing a comprehensive approach, and co-ordination of efforts to ensure that the power utility is
supported in the implementation of its turnaround plan. We are pleased to announce that there is a noticeable and improved coordination at government level with Eskom and South African Local Government Association, Salga, in developing creative strategies to increase optimal performance of the utility whilst ensuring security of energy.
To this end, Salga has mandated municipalities to embark on a rigorous debt collection and restructuring process in an effort to recover debt owed to them, and to curb escalating Eskom and Water Boards deb. According to Eskom, the total municipal arrear debt
has continued to escalate to unacceptably high levels of
R28 billion at the end of March 2020.This represents an increase of R8,2 billion increase.
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, is in discussion with relevant government departments to
embark on a campaign to enhance the culture of payment for municipalities. The objective of this campaign is to educate consumers about the benefit of paying for municipal services and
to instil a culture of payment for services.
Hon Chair, all these efforts are aimed at enabling municipalities to collect the required revenue in order to meet their obligations. As far as possible, we should all ensure that we resolve challenges linked to social development and economic growth through taking initiative, towards making our democracy work. With democracy comes taking responsibility. It is in this spirit that we continue to call upon consumers to embrace the user-pay principle to ensure that access to basic services such as electricity is on a sustained basis.
Similarly, we also call upon all government departments and municipalities to ensure that they pay and meet their obligations on time especially those obligations that relate to Eskom. We want to reiterate our call for accounting officers to settle all contractual obligations and pay all monies owed, including intergovernmental claims, within 30 days of the submission of an invoice, or on a specific period agreed with creditors or suppliers. Thank you very much hon Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G BOROTO): Hon Hlengwa will take charge of the question as was asked by hon Ngwezi, hon Hlengwa.
Mr M HLENGWA: Thank you very much hon House Chair. Hon Deputy President, we have heard all these things in this House before and in various committees of Parliament. In spite of us hearing it as you correctly point out, the Eskom debt by municipalities continues to escalate as it now stands at 28 billion as at 31 March 2020. We have been down this road before and have heard all these noble plans.
Where it has become a problem Deputy President is the fact that; nobody in the executive is prepared to account or take responsibility or ownership of this crisis as you are well aware of the correspondence between myself and yourself. Now that the matter is squarely on your table, can you confirm to this House that you are prepared to take responsibility and accountability to ensure that the programmes that you have set out now will actually be realised, so that when Parliament wants to hold people accountable there will be somebody who will be seated in the hot seat.
Secondly, Deputy President you spoke about the culture of payment. At some point Eskom was rolling out prepaid metres which was an
intervention to help under the circumstances, that has stopped. What will you be doing to make sure that it becomes part and parcel of the mix of options available to citizens and actually as they want to have their electricity? Some people have had their electricity cut off at this difficult time of COVID-19 because municipalities are not servicing their debt.
I hope Deputy President that you can confirm now that if you want to talk to somebody, it will be yourself. Over the past three years we have been chased from pillar to post as the executive bluntly refuses to actually take ownership and responsibility of this problem which continues to escalate on your watch. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G BOROTO): Before the Deputy President responds, I just want to remind all of us about Rule 142(7). You cannot ask more than one question. The Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much hon Chair and hon Hlengwa. You are correct that on several occasions you tried to reach my office. I must say and also thank public accounts for the efforts that you and the committee have put on this matter of Eskom and the debt that is owed to Eskom. Well, I must clear one point though that, I am only Chairing a task team. I am co- ordinating efforts that seeks to resolve the matter. The fact of
the matter is that the Department of Public Enterprises is still led by Minister Pravin Gordhan. The Department of Minerals and Energy is still les by Minister Mantashe. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, is still led by Minister Dlamini Zuma
We are co-ordinating all the efforts knowing full well that most of the municipalities are co-ordinated by Cogta. They are coming to the table and we are insisting that they must pay. If our behaviour last time was not really helpful, we want to apologise and seek to improve that behaviour. It is in the process where we are trying to facilitate. I will realise that you have just out of the stack of problems, have found a simple target that the Deputy President is Chairing; the task team. Maybe if I phone the Deputy President I can find all the answers. I am sure that, in future I am committing myself to work with you to resolve these problems.
The fact of the matter is that; the problem is twofold or threefold. There are problems that are Eskom nature. That affects the internal workings of Eskom. Eskom was itself losing where it was supposed to protect the money, so creating a hole.
Municipalities were not paying Eskom according to agreed schedules. Even if they have the money, they opt to start pay someone else before considering Eskom and the debt grew to a point
where the municipalities are unable. Of course it is not only municipalities alone, communities are not paying for services.
It is a known fact that there are illegal connections wherever we go. Some of these illegal connections we know them as Members of Parliament when we do our constituency work. This is energy that is stolen from the grid which is compounding our problem. The biggest problem comes when a provincial department does not pay a municipality for services, for water and electricity they consume, I find that to be irresponsible. A national department does not pay a municipality for electricity and water that they have used, I find that to be irresponsible. According to the task team, these are low hanging fruits that we should start with.
We must commit all national and provincial departments to lead by example. Of course, this is not going to be only - this is a fraction of the problem. I think the biggest problem was with Eskom itself, because Eskom will borrow money, was just a bottomless pit. Now that there is some work that is happening at Eskom that seeks to change the workings within Eskom, we are all confident that we are in the right direction. Hon Hlengwa we welcome your support and apologise where you felt not really acknowledged with all the attempts that you were trying to do to solve the problem. Thank you very much hon Chair.
Ms V T MALINGA: Hon House Chair and greetings to the Deputy President. As the economy opened up for alert level three and will later open to the other alert levels of the nationwide lockdown, the demand for electricity supply will increase, leading to increasing load shedding. Load shedding will be made worse by people who continue to interfere, steal, illegally sell electricity and its use without paying for it, causing overloading and tripping of the system.
This has led to unfair and wrong accusations being levelled against municipal councillors from the problem of load shedding. Can the Deputy President indicate what measures will Eskom put in place to mitigate the impact of load shedding and prevent criminal attacks against municipal councillors? I thank you House Chair.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon House Chair, I think we must say that as things stand, the amount of general capacity is at the required level. Load shedding only happens when the demand is more than what we can generate, then we should start rationing the energy.
As we stand now, the available energy in our grid is almost 31 000 megawatts, at any given time as a country, we can utilise 29 000 megawatts, 30 000 megawatts and we still have a space not unless there are unforeseen circumstances that might happen that might push us to utilise the little reserve that we have.
I am saying, that does not say I am ruling out load shedding completely. Why I am not ruling out load shedding completely is because we are operating plants that are old. Just two days ago, on Tuesday, we had an unexpected breakage where we have lost four units in Lethabo Power Station and in Majuba Power Station. Those are big units that we have lost and I think that we have a certain amount of megawatts. Such incidents can disrupt Eskom, but for now Eskom is going on a planned outage. It can only take certain units out for maintenance knowing very well that even if they take those units out for maintenance, it will not disrupt the energy on the grid.
Our concern of course is illegal connection. Illegal connection is a very funny phenomenon because you are taking energy from the grid, you steal this energy and you have not been accounted for.
You have not been counted as the recipient of that energy. So, more and more energy gets taken in the grid to a point where the infrastructure then gets threatened. That is why at a certain point you will see a generator that will burns, because it cannot handle the fluctuations. That will happen in a very localised area where people are connecting and doing all sorts of things. A localised generator cannot handle those fluctuations, so that infrastructure can be damaged. If Eskom does not respond timeously
by switching off that infrastructure, it might lose that infrastructure.
This applies for all the outages that you have seen in Soweto over the past few days because that happens during certain peak hours where people are connecting illegally to the grid, overloading the grid and somewhere Eskom must step in to protect the network. Of course we still have to take a discussion on how best to secure the network because some of the transformers are getting stolen, electricity is stolen; that means there is a lot of security threats. Eskom is exposed to a lot of things. One thing that we must deal with if we want to get Eskom right, is to strengthen security around the infrastructure owned by Eskom. Thank you very much.
Mr I M GROENEWALD: Hon House Chair, am I audible? Hon Deputy President, with Eskom shifting the burden of load shedding to municipalities that are in arrears, but only supplying a noticeable maximum amount of to those municipalities like the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality. What steps is the Deputy President taking to lessen the burden due to illegal connections and ensuring that those ratepayers that pay their accounts diligently as well as businesses trying to build the economy especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic period, are not unfairly penalised
due to municipal mismanagement; corruption; theft; fraud; nepotism and unreasonable price hikes? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Chair, it is a fair question because in every municipality, we have got people that are honestly honouring their payments. Those people get affected blanketly, like the rest. For instance, I have paid my rates and taxes, I have paid my electricity. But, because of illegal connections, Eskom gets to switch off the entire infrastructure. I get affected, but I have paid.
These are issues that we are going to take forward as we discuss, but it all boils down to security issues. We must be able to separate those that are paying for their services from those that are stealing so that they can be arrested. Municipalities must ensure that people do pay and if they pay, municipalities must pay to Eskom. So, yes we are going to try very hard to protect those of our ratepayers who are very honest, loyal, paying for their services but there are those who are stealing, connecting illegally and all that. That as government we must stand up. We cannot allow this lawlessness to proceed. Thank you very much.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: Thank you, hon House Chair, Deputy President I think you will agree with me that the majority of South Africans
particularly black people are struggling to pay municipal services; property rates, water and electricity. What is more concerning Deputy President is that there is a lot of mismanagement of municipal funds that has been collected through water and electricity, which has never been paid to Eskom and is stolen through blatant inflated tender prices and looting. The money which was supposed to have been sent to Eskom.
Deputy President, is it not yet the time that we channel the money that is allocated to municipalities to first settle the Eskom debt before sending that money to municipalities?
Secondly, is it governments intention to prioritise Eskom? I thank you House Chair.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Well, I do not think that we should generalise the problem. Yes, most of our people especially black people do not afford to pay for these services, but there are those of our people that can afford to pay. We have got teachers, policemen and women, and nurses. We have got all those people that are staying there, that are earning a salary that are not paying.
So, we cannot just put a blanket approach and say that our people cannot afford to pay. Those that can to pay must be made to pay.
Those that cannot afford to pay because they are indigent, pensioners etc., I think there will be a different dispensation that will be accorded to them. We accept that, but let us not all hide behind the fact that we cannot pay, even if we can. That is to be irresponsible as a citizenry.
Yes, in some municipalities there is a lack of discipline, because it is not entirely do not receive revenue. You can only use revenue meant for electricity to pay electricity. You can only use revenue meant water to pay for water. You cannot be able to rob John to pay Peter every day. Municipalities cannot use money collected from water revenue to go and pay electricity. They cannot use revenue collected from electricity to go and pay water.
Somewhere, I want to agree with you that our finances are not managed very well, you can see that because the debt, we cannot be owing so much money if we have been trying to really manage this debt. So somewhere, the leadership of our municipalities has dropped the ball. So, yes I agree. It would be constitutionally incorrect to say that, if we want to correct this problem, National Treasury should withhold some of the grants, some of monies that has to go directly to municipalities. Remember, municipalities do not exist because of a favour that we do for them, they exist because they are a constitutional sphere of
government. You cannot say do this before I pay your money; you are obliged to pay the money. I think the arrangement to withhold some monies from municipalities because they owe certain people will be unconstitutional. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon House Chairperson. The hon member would be aware that the President established an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform and Agriculture at the beginning of the current Administration. The work of the Inter- Ministerial Committee is to resolve blockages in the acceleration of land reform, as well as ensuring the effective co-ordination of integrated farmer support interventions to this sector, and as the livelihood of our country.
Since the establishment of this Inter-Ministerial Committee, IMC, it has been seized with issues of land reform and co-ordination of agricultural support to farmers. For example, when we started experiencing this cycle of drought, as government, we implemented in 2019, a package of support to the affected areas affected by the drought. We supported provinces to drill boreholes. We supported provinces to buy feed stock
In areas like KwaZulu-Natal, we have made available livestock feed to targeted commercial and smallholder farmers. In Limpopo we have drilled boreholes supporting more or less 3 563 farmers.
Similarly, in the North West district of Dr Ruth Mompati, we have supported farmers through livestock feed to commercial and subsistence farmers. In Mpumalanga, the same is livestock feed and the drilling of boreholes. In the Western Cape we have supported through the supply of fodder which has benefitted more than 700 farmers commercial and smallholder farmers. In the Northern Cape, during our visit with the hon Groenewald and Minister Didiza, an immediate relief fund of R30 million was announced by the Minister, and a fodder bank was established. The province embarked on the planting of maize and lucerne for fodder supply and moreover, the extension of irrigation and input costs for fodder production which benefited almost 8 000 farmers.
As we have stated before, this support does not amount to agricultural subsidies, but this is part of our efforts to alleviate the negative impact posed by the drought on farmers and the sustainability of the sector. Government will continue to act as swiftly as possible in responding to challenges faced by farmers, especially in relation to drought and its accompanying effects of climate change. Among other interventions, would be able to continuously provide early warning information and drought
coping strategies. That is why considering the impact of persisting drought conditions in many parts of the country, on 4 March this year, the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs declared South Africa a national disaster area.
In implementing this decision, the affected provinces were advised and given the necessary allocations and in response they needed to present their business plans on how the indicated allocations are going to be utilised. The national lockdown disrupted this process as movement, which would have facilitated engagement with affected farmers was now becoming more and more limited. After the lifting of Alert Level 4, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and the Minister of Cogta, once again requested provinces to act on this matter in order to ensure that affected farmers are duly supported.
We expect that the business plans will take into account the diminishing fiscal resources and the negative impact of coronavirus disease of 2019, Covid-19. This calls on government to reprioritise the available resources to respond to the impact of the pandemic. This means that resources may not always match the needs on the ground including on this issue of drought. However, as government and all stakeholders in the agricultural, we should
work together with a common purpose, in ensuring that we optimise the usage of our limited resources to sustain this important sector and save jobs.
In the final analysis, the cumulative negative effects of climate change, resulting in severe drought and flooding, affects all of us, and as such, we have to find common ground and a unifying purpose to unlock the full potential of the agricultural sector presented by, among others, equitable land reform. Thank you very much, hon Chairperson.
Mr W W WESSELS: Hon Deputy President, I know that you are aware of the devastating effects of the multiyear drought and as you have mentioned that you visited a lot of those farmers that are facing bankruptcy or have already been gone bankrupt. For every commercial farmer that goes bankrupt, there are jobs lost and it threatens our food security and with all due respect, Deputy President, boreholes do not solve the problem and they do not assist in the financial woes of these farmers. Why is it then, since the declaration of the national state of disaster on 4 March, none of the R139 million allocated to the disaster has been spent?
The money and the intervention that you have mentioned, Deputy President, a lot of those money spent on feed and fodder has gone lost because of corruption and you do know that. You know of the situation in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State where the distributors sold the fodder that should have reached farmers.
However, the essence of the follow-up question, Deputy President, is that it is high time to prioritise assistance of commercial farmers who are providing food to more than 70% of South Africans, and who are creating jobs in this very difficult time. I thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. It is in our interest as government to try and support all farmers without really becoming selective. Of course, I get your point that our commercial farmers are putting the food on our table. Therefore, you are saying that we should leave the small farmers and support the commercial farmers. In fact, I would say no, assist both. Now, we have received the distribution of the money of the R139 million from the department. The Northern Cape will be given R36 million of that money. I think we are in process of finalising the paper work. Western Cape will be given R25 million. The Eastern Cape will be given R35 million. Limpopo will be given R18,5 million.
Mpumalanga will be given R12,5 million. North West will be given R80 million and KwaZulu-Natal will be given R4 million, and
nothing at this stage for Gauteng province and Free State province.
Therefore, definitely the money will reach those provinces and finally to reach the farmers, the desired destination. Thank you very much.
Mr N P MASIPA: Thank you, Chair. Deputy President, many provinces such as the Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape are still grabbling with drought, yet they fail to attract much needed support other than corruption, because the responsible departments are failing in their duties to co-ordinate their support, instead they co- ordinate corruption. Therefore, my question to you, Deputy President, is that, can you tell this House and the farmers out there that are struggling as to what have you done to hold the executive to account regarding the unco-ordinated support from Cogta, Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Treasury and Water and Sanitation so that they become quickly responsive to the plight of our struggling farmers? I thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, House Chair. Well I’m going to respond to a practical situation where I attended and I met the farmers that is in the Northern Cape. We met the farmers
and they presented their problems and I was with the Minister. There in there, together with the provincial government a plan was made and money was put on the table. R30 million was put on the table to provide fodder and that in that, and that in that. Now, the premier there requested us to say that we have been applying, we have been applying that the province should be declared a disaster area. Can we be assisted? Definitely, when I left there I presented the case to Minister Dlamini-Zuma and she took up this matter and there we are, and national state of disaster was declared and these R139 million was made available. Remember the benefit of declaring a state of disaster is not only because you will receive money, but ... [Inaudible.]... something about the money you always as a farmer, the kind of the debt you hold with the bank because that can be renegotiated because there is an understanding that there is a disaster.
Therefore, in a disaster situation, conditions get relaxed. So, with the Northern Cape, I’m proud and happy in the manner the premier handled the process and working together with the farmers. In addition to the situation in the Northern Cape, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development allocated its land to the government of the Northern Cape so that they can grow fodder to assist farmers. Some of the farmers were relocated next
to the Orange River. So, there have been a lot of work that have been done to try and rescue some farmers that were dying.
Of course, I don’t rule out corruption in areas where corruption have been noted. I would be happy for the hon member because when we are in this House, if we talk about corruption we must come close to presenting the evidence of that corruption. My office is available and I want to follow up on these issues of corruption so that we can root it out. It is our responsibility all of us to root out corruption. Thank you very much.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Thank you, hon House Chair. Deputy President, in respect of agricultural support, you will agree with me that, firstly, as the result of the drought and now very importantly as the result of Covid-19, we will have an increase in unemployment, the poverty, there will a rise or increase in the level of poverty in South Africa. Now, if you take many of these today, I will give you some examples here, Deputy President, Tsitsikamma, Woodlands, Storms River and all those areas which have fertile soil, beautiful land with water and all the resources. Will you consider as the Leader of Government Business together with the relevant Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to be able to put in place some mechanisms to identify unemployed people in these areas that you could make into successful potential
farmers? Not only in the agricultural sector, but also in the fishing industry.
Now, what they find is what they looking for and always alluded to. The ANC is a caring government, and those people are looking for this caring government to come and care for them and lift them up and change their lives for better, reducing the unemployment, and also developing these rural areas into semi-urban areas. Thank you, Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon House Chair. Let me welcome the suggestions. We are going to take these suggestions to the IMC. Of course, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development sits in the IMC so that we can pursue some of the suggestions. We will invite the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, to try and explore some of these options that you are proposing. Of course, we are mindful that post Covid-19 is going to be a very difficult period. We are ready to face this period; and we are going to be creative. We are ready in the IMC to do everything in our power to get our people back into tilling the land. Thank you very much.
Inkosi Z M D MANDELA: Thank you, hon House Chair. Hon Deputy President, the drought stricken areas have exacerbated the plight
of the rural small-scale farmers and hampered their potential to grow and develop their farming activities into viable commercial agricultural enterprises. What are the most pressing considerations that the Inter-Ministerial Committee is looking at in terms of availing the much needed support to small-scale farmers devastated by the impact of drought, and secondly, how will co-ordination at the level of the IMC ensure the speedy allocation of water licences to small-scale farmers, particularly in deep rural areas? I thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon House Chair. Well the last matter by the hon member Inkosi, we are going to consider this matter in our next agenda item of the IMC. This matter of providing water licences to small farmers, it is a matter that we are going to debate, but not only to small farmers, but to farmers generally because there are farmers that are farming and they are battling, and they don’t have these licenses. Therefore, we are going to review the entire situation. However, of course, you can talk about giving out these water licenses, but we are faced with a big problem of a drought that means you don’t have a water source.
Therefore, uppermost, in the mind of the IMC is to expand our sources of water. We are looking forward to a point where we will request the President to prioritise the building in these infrastructure build programme that we are talking about. We will request the President to prioritise the building of two of the three dams because by doing so we will be investing into our growth as a country. Water is a very important commodity; and it is the same as electricity. So, the more we invest in this resource water, the more we are sustaining our future as a country. We are of the view that we must expand the source as much as we must protect the existing sources.
I’m very worried though about some of our rivers that are getting contaminated and polluted by our actions. The Vaal River is a case in point that gets polluted by 18 municipalities, that from Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Free State and Northern Cape before it goes into the sea. I’m very worried about the condition of our water.
It is matter that we are going to address. However, definitely yes, the question of water licenses is going to be looked at, and we will be in the position to report progress. Thank you very much.
The House adjourned at 16:58