Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 04 Mar 2010
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 4 MARCH 2010
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:00.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS – see col 000.
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr V B NDLOVU: Mr Speaker, on behalf of the IFP, I give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House debates the coexistence of and respect for different cultures and understanding within the South African context.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that I intend moving, on behalf of the DA, the following motion:
That the House debates, in light of the fact that today marks the 30th year of President Robert Mugabe’s rule in Zimbabwe, the adverse implications that having a ruler for life has had and will continue to have on the constitutional democracy, national stability and prosperity in Zimbabwe.
[Interjections.] Thank you.
Mr L S NGONYAMA: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting of the House I shall move:
That the National Assembly debates the escalation of service delivery protests over the length and breadth of the country in recent days and weeks, and the detrimental effect thereof on the stability of the country.
Mr G G BOINAMO: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that I intend moving the following motion on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates the sector education and training authorities in relation to their mandate for developing the skills of the South African workforce, and come up with better solutions.
Ms C DUDLEY: Mr Speaker, on behalf of the ACDP, I give notice that I shall move:
That the House –
- notes that on 11 February at the Legal Business Awards 2010 in London, England, one of the most prestigious accolades in the international legal world was awarded to the South African lawyer who has been defending the athlete Caster Semenya pro bono;
- recognises that the global award recognises a truly exceptional individual contribution to the legal profession during the course of 2009 and singled out the lawyer for his demonstrable commitment to pro bono and human rights, and
- congratulates Greg Nott of Dewey & Le Boeuf in Johannesburg for his work for this South African athlete, undertaken without payment, and for his recognition by the international legal profession as lawyer of the year.
Mr A LOUW: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that I intend moving, on behalf of the DA, the following motion:
That the House debates the need for the creation of decent sustainable jobs other than the job opportunities created by the Expanded Public Works Programme.
Mr P D POHO: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that at the next sitting of the House I shall move on behalf of Cope:
That the House debates the need to ensure that transport projects throughout the country are completed in time to ensure that all visitors to the Fifa World Cup will be able to travel in comfort and safety to the different stadia.
Dr S M VAN DYK: Mnr die Speaker, ek gee graag kennis van die volgende voorstel, naamlik:
Dat die Raad, in die lig van die President se besoek aan die buiteland om onder meer finansiering vir Eskom te bekom, die bronne van finansiering vir Eskom se kapitaalinvesteringsuitbreidingsprogram debatteer.
Ek dank u. (Translation of Afrikaans notice of motion follows.)
[Dr S M VAN DYK: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that I shall move:
That the House, in light of the President’s foreign visit to obtain funding for Eskom, amongst other things, debates the sources of funding for Eskom’s capital investment expansion programme.
I thank you.]
Mrs J D KILIAN: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that at the next sitting of the House I shall move on behalf of Cope:
That the National Assembly debates the statutory requirement for editorial independence of the SABC in the wake of serious concerns with regard to news bulletins, as well as recent allegations that a board member of the SABC instructed the news head to censor news that could have embarrassed the president of the ANC Youth League.
Mr D C ROSS: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that on behalf of the DA, I shall move:
That the House debates the participation of the state-owned African Energy and Mineral Finance Company in prospecting and mining activities in competition with private entities in the mining sector.
Mr M S F DE FREITAS: Mr Speaker, I hereby give notice that I shall move, on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates the financial state of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, PRASA, and the problems it is currently facing in light of media reports and information that has been made available to the DA, and come up with possible solutions.
FATAL MUDSLIDE IN UGANDA
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes that on 2 March 2010 a disastrous mudslide in Uganda claimed the lives of 86 Ugandans and displaced 200 people;
(2) further notes that authorities anticipate further landslides during the period known for its heavy rain which commences next month;
(3) extends its deepest sympathy to the Ugandan government and the Ugandan people who have lost their homes and whose lives have been affected by the mudslide and, in particular, to the friends and family members who lost loved ones in the mudslide; and
(4) urges all South Africans who are able to, to answer the Red Cross’s request for assistance to help search for victims of the mudslide and contribute to the medical treatment of survivors of the mudslide.
CELEBRATION OF NATIONAL WATER WEEK
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Mr Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes that -
(a) National Water Week is celebrated annually, often to coincide with World Water Day, and this year it is being celebrated from 2 to 8 March 2010;
(b) during this week, the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs raises the importance, awareness and understanding of water issues and challenges;
(c) the theme for this year is: “Water is Life – Securing the Nation’s Water Needs across Generations”; and
(d) projections by experts point to the fact that demand on water resources will continue to increase at a fast pace in the coming decades with Africa, the Middle East, Central and Eastern Asia being the most affected;
(2) recognises that South Africa is one of the driest countries in the world; and
(3) supports the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs in its awareness campaign to ensure the long-term sustainability of our water resources.
KIDNAPPING OF SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNALIST AND NIGERIAN NATIONALS IN NIGERIA
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Mr Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes with serious concern the kidnapping of Nick Greyling, a journalist working for M-Net SuperSport and two Nigerian nationals in Nigeria on Monday, 1 March 2010;
(2) deplores the kidnapping of people and holding them hostage for ransom or any other reason;
(3) wishes that this matter is resolved quickly and that Nick and the two Nigerian nationals are released unharmed to their families;
(4) expresses support to the families during these difficult times; and
(5) congratulates the high commissioner in Nigeria for acting quickly and swiftly on this matter and trusts that they are monitoring developments and will continuously keep the family and the country informed of any developments.
CONDOLENCES TO FAMILIES OF THOSE KILLED IN UGANDAN MUDSLIDE
Mr L S NGONYAMA: Mr Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes with deep sorrow that a massive landslide down the slope of Mt Elgon in the Bududa district of Uganda wiped out three villages and killed at least 90 people and probably as many as 450 people altogether;
(2) further notes that many of those killed were school children taking refuge in the local hospital;
(3) notes even further the point made by President Museveni that the cutting down of foliage and the clearing of trees had played a significant role in the tragedy; and
(4) expresses its condolences to all afflicted families and shares with all Ugandans a deep sense of sadness and loss.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Mr Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes that 8 March is annually observed as International Women's Day, a day to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations and that this day is also known as the United Nations, UN, Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace;
(2) further notes that the United Nations organisation designated this day to give women the opportunity to review how far they have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development and it is also an opportunity for women to unite, network and mobilise for meaningful change;
(3) believes that to secure peace and social progress and enjoyment of human rights requires equal and full participation and development of women; and
(4) supports all endeavours geared at the realisation of women representation and participation in all decision-making structures.
SUSPENSION OF RULE 253(1)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Mr Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House suspends Rule 253(1), which provides inter alia that the debate on the Second Reading of a Bill may not commence before at least three working days have elapsed since the committee’s report was tabled, for the purposes of conducting the Second Reading debate today on the Division of Revenue Bill [B 4 - 2010] (National Assembly – sec 76).
TRAINING OF YOUNG WOMEN IN BUSINESS SKILLS
Mr V V MAGAGULA (ANC): Mr Speaker, the ANC government in Gauteng has partnered with the Gauteng City Region Academy in the training of young women as auxiliary social workers, shop fitters, air-conditioner technicians and lift technicians. An additional 1 000 young women will also receive training through various skills development programmes, giving them the opportunity to earn a decent living instead of relying on government grants.
Moreover, the government has plans to establish 15 co-operatives in previously disadvantaged areas where the community will render cleaning, gardening and laundry services to the government. This effort is part of the ANC plan to address poverty by empowering people with skills while creating adequate social means to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
The ANC believes that these interventions should be encouraged and should be implemented in other provinces, because they seek to develop exit programmes that capacitate households and communities to empower themselves. I thank you. [Applause.]
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY AND CRIME ON CAMPUSES
Dr W G JAMES (DA): Mr Speaker, it is in part the purpose of the DA’s education campaign to prod unfocused decision-makers like Minister Nzimande into action. In his address to the National Council of Provinces, Minister Nzimande said that, and I quote, “We were happy to note that there were fewer disruptions on campuses this year.” The facts are not altogether clear, but I believe that the Minister understates the severity of the problem.
At the start of 2010 there were major clashes between nursing students and security at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Dozens of students were injured in clashes with the police at the Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi.
During the course of 2009 and 2010 I visited the Tshwane University of Technology, Soshanguve campus, and discovered that students had rented their rooms to nonstudents who conducted themselves in a manner that is reminiscent of criminal entrepreneurs. These individuals engaged in activities such as stealing toilet seats to sell, growing marijuana in the horticulture facility and rigging tenders by smashing kitchen equipment.
The DA is insistent that a decisive effort is needed to deal with crime on campus and calls on government to proactively assist in this regard. [Applause.]
PROTESTS BY STUDENTS ON CAMPUSES
Ms N Y VUKUZA-LINDA (Cope): Mr Speaker, I rise to emphasise the same point. While Cope is sympathetic to the plight of poor students who struggle against great odds to put themselves through university, it asks government not to condone disruptive acts by the SA Students Congress to bring learning at several universities to a complete standstill. The rights of educators at tertiary institutions to teach without intimidation and of learners to attend lectures without hindrance should be sacrosanct and fully protected.
Sasco is within its right to criticise President Jacob Zuma for paying too little attention to education and to the plight of the poor during his state of the nation address last month. It is also within its rights to demonstrate peacefully or to stage an orderly march to Parliament to hand over a memorandum.
Sasco, however, does not have the right to bring campuses to a standstill, and Minister Nzimande and the government should make this abundantly clear. Thank you. [Applause.]
HI-TECH CENTRE TO IMPROVE BLOOD SUPPLY
Mr T E KENYE (ANC): Mr Speaker, on Monday, 22 February 2010, the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, officially opened a new, state-of-the-art medical training centre which will ensure the safe supply of blood and blood products to patients.
The ANC views blood safety in this country as an important component of the fight against HIV/Aids. Blood collection, banking and transfusion medicines are an essential part of any modern care system that can help to save millions of lives each year.
The ANC government therefore fully supports this initiative. Moreover, it views education and training as fundamental to every aspect of blood safety and the successful utilisation of blood and blood products to save lives. This initiative demonstrates the ANC’s commitment to the improvement of standards in both the public and private health sectors. I thank you. [Applause.]
GRANTS FOR RENOVATION OF HOSPITALS AND HEALTH SERVICES
Mr N SINGH (IFP): Mr Speaker, the provision of adequate health services to the people of our country should be a sine qua non. It is therefore quite disturbing that, while the Department of Health transferred R14 billion in conditional grants to provinces in the 2008-09 financial year especially for the construction and renovation of hospitals, we have discovered that much of this money was not spent and that there was inadequate control and monitoring of the expenditure of the funds.
We would like to call upon the Minister of Health and the Cabinet to note that health services should be a priority and that, while this country has the money, we discover it was not adequately spent by those at the lower levels of government. I thank you. [Applause.]
INTENSIFICATION OF PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND TRADITIONAL LEADERS
Nkosi Z M D MANDELA (ANC): Mr Speaker and the Deputy President, at the opening of the National House of the Traditional Leaders on 23 February 2010, President Jacob Zuma called for a stronger partnership between the ANC government and traditional leaders. He said the partnership would contribute to sustainable development, especially in rural areas.
In his Budget Speech, the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, prioritised R860 million to be used for the Comprehensive Rural Development Strategy. Furthermore, the Minister announced a new grant to support on-site water and sanitation infrastructure as part of the rural housing programme. An initial R1,2 billion has, over three years, been made available for this purpose.
Thus the ANC government is committed to strengthening the partnership between government and the Institution of Traditional Leadership as part of its Comprehensive Rural Development Programme. Ndiyabulela. [Thank you.] [Applause.]
DEMONSTRATIONS BY STUDENTS ON UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES
Mr N M KGANYAGO (UDM): Mr Speaker, the UDM notes that a student protest is under way at various university campuses today, under the auspices of the ANC-aligned SA Students Congress, Sasco.
Despite assurances of peaceful demonstration by Sasco, the day started with violence, class disruptions and road blockages at the University of Johannesburg. It provides a stark contrast to the recent peaceful mass demonstration at the University of Cape Town, UCT, led by its vice chancellor, who spoke with eloquence of the pain and suffering that we all experience at the hands of criminals while the state fails to provide the protection that is constitutionally applicable.
How ironic it is that the local ANC Youth League branches are complaining about the vice chancellor’s dignified words in defence of our most basic civil rights. There is a worrying trend among so-called “youth leaders” aligned to the ruling party who seem to celebrate brashness and hooliganism above everything else.
Sasco’s supposed concern about certain students who have not been able to study is in complete contrast to their actions that prevent others from studying while they protest. As for the ANC Youth League, the attack on the UCT vice chancellor looks petty. It is disrespectful of university students and staff who have been victims of a spate of unsolved murders. The youth of this country is facing severe economic and social challenges. The last thing they need right now is a group of charlatans who are claiming to speak on their behalf when they really do not care... [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mrs I C DITSHETELO (UCDP): Mr Speaker, yesterday the media covered the riots by students at the University of Johannesburg. It makes a mother’s heart bleed to read the placards they carried, in particular the one that read, “Education remains an important pillar in community development”. It seems we are back in the 1970s when young people, students in particular, had to take upon themselves the responsibility of forcing a self-absorbed government to halt and take notice of issues that our young people faced.
What was interesting to note was the heavy police presence. However, we just cannot tell if the intention was to keep the peace or to intimidate. Section 29 (1b) of the Constitution states:
Everyone has the right ... to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.
The fact that we still see students rioting over the issue of education means that the state has instead progressively failed to make available and accessible the right to further education. The system of funding needy students in tertiary institutions is flawed and it ties them to huge debts when they finish studying. The majority of students that suffer in that process are black and as such it delays their full participation in the economic stream.
We need to change government’s culture of keeping on making promises and having to be reminded by riots of the promises they made. Thank you. [Applause.]
SKYROCKETING AIRFARES DURING WORLD CUP
Mr E J LUCAS (IFP): Mr Speaker, the IFP is in possession of invoices that are of great concern to us and it warrants an urgent response from all stakeholders involved in the 2010 World Cup. Our research shows that while a return ticket to America during June 2009 would have set you back R15 000, it has now skyrocketed to R35 000 for a return ticket for June this year. This amounts to a shocking 100% increase.
The IFP has said before that it believes the actions of airlines who were hoping to capitalise on the flow of traffic to and from South Africa before, during and after World Cup by doubling, tripling and quadrupling ticket prices are highly distasteful. Something needs to be done to stop that. We are again calling on government to inform the public what measures are being put in place to prevent this price collusion and blatant profiting by airlines. South Africans are being taken for a ride and it is our belief that the prices of these tickets should be revisited and adjusted accordingly. Government could be of great assistance in this regard.
Seekers Travel deals with parliamentary travel. The invoices I have with me are for a group of young people under the age of 18 who are going to an interfaith conference in New York.
CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT IN DARFUR
Mrs N B GXOWA (ANC): Mr Speaker, hon Deputy President, the ANC welcomes as a big step forward the ceasefire agreement signed between the Sudanese government and the Justice and Equality Movement, a rebel group in Darfur. The agreement paves the way for the ending of a seven-year conflict. The temporary ceasefire deal is considered a prelude to a permanent peace framework agreement that includes a permanent ceasefire deal. It is expected to be finalised by March, ahead of the country’s April presidential and legislative elections.
The ANC, working with other formations, will spare no energy in the effort to find urgent, democratic and lasting solutions to the situation in Sudan and other countries in conflict. I thank you. [Applause.]
Me A M DREYER (DA): Mnr die Speaker, 10 dae gelede op ’n rustige Sondagoggend in Krugersdorp was daar ’n ontstellende voorval op ’n supermarkparkeerterrein. ’n Ou man in ’n bakkie veroorsaak per ongeluk ’n klein skrapie aan ’n Mercedes Benz se buffer. Die bestuurder van die Mercedes Benz is woedend, en sy maak dadelik ’n selfoonoproep na iemand. Binne twee minute is daar twee polisievoertuie met ses polisiemanne op die toneel.
Die ou man is bleek geskrik, en hy bewe van angs toe die een polisieman aggressief teen hom staan en sy vinger in sy gesig druk. Omstanders wys die polisieman dat daar slegs ’n klein skrapie is, maar die polisieman beskuldig hulle hatig: “Nee, dis ’n crime [misdaad]”. Mense neem foto’s, maar die polisie dreig hulle ook.
Een persoon wat die situasie probeer ontlont, word sommer hande agter die rug gearresteer en in die polisievoertuig gestop. Die boeie is te styf, en binne oomblikke is sy hande rooi en opgeswel. Hy skreeu van pyn en smeek om hulp. Dis tevergeefs; hy is nou in die polisie se sorg.
Hierdie soort brutaliteit is die vierde in ’n maand in een kiesafdeling. Mense behoort op die polisie te vertrou vir beskerming, maar hulle word geviktimiseer, soos deur die President se eie bloulig-brigade. [Tussenwerpsels.] Intimidasie deur enkele polisielede gee aan almal ’n swak naam. Dit moet stop. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans member’s statement follows.)
[Ms A M DREYER (DA): Mr Speaker, 10 days ago on a peaceful Sunday morning in Krugersdorp, an alarming incident took place in a supermarket parking area. An elderly gentleman who was driving a bakkie accidently scraped the buffer of a Mercedes Benz. The driver of the Mercedes Benz was furious and immediately made a call on her cellphone. Within two minutes six police officers in two police vehicles arrived on the scene.
The elderly gentleman was in a state of shock and started trembling with fear when one of them stood aggressively in front of him and shoved a finger in his face. Bystanders pointed out to the police officer that the damage was only minimal, but the policeman responded accusingly: “No, this is a crime.” Some people were taking pictures, but the police threatened them as well.
An individual who attempted to defuse the situation was arrested with his hands tied behind his back and thrown into a police vehicle. The handcuffs were too tight and within seconds his hands were red and swollen. He was shouting in pain and pleading for help, but to no avail. He is currently in police custody.
This is the fourth incident in a month of this type of brutality that has happened in our wards. People should be depending on the police for their protection, but they are being victimised, even by the blue-light brigade of the President. [Interjections.] Intimidation by a single police member is tarnishing everybody’s name. It must come to an end. [Applause.]]
COMMENTS BY PRESIDENT ZUMA ON BRITISH PRESS STATEMENTS
Ms A MDA (Cope): Mr Speaker, Cope believes that the President of the Republic, President Zuma, has again turned what should have been a great public-relations exercise on a global platform into a huge embarrassment and a diplomatic furore for this country.
We say this as Cope, because we have consistently been critical of the President of the Republic appointing friends and cronies to high, influential and diplomatic positions of this country and abroad, not taking into consideration the issues of capability, capacity and their suitability to the office.
As a result of naive advice President Zuma unfortunately asserted that it was the British people in general who held the view that Africans were barbaric. This is not only unfounded, as is evident from an examination of facts, but it is also deeply embarrassing to the people of South Africa in their entirety.
The ANC spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu, has engaged in quick damage control to restore the reputation that the President painted of our country. We have missed another opportunity to fly the flag of South Africa high in an overseas land and to make great impact. I thank you. [Applause.]
CO-OPERATIVE AGREEMENT ON INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
Mrs G M BORMAN (ANC): Speaker, a co-operative agreement between the private sector and government in KwaZulu-Natal to provide 3 500 families with affordable housing is to be applauded. This is a new R1,5 billion integrated residential, commercial and light-industrial development on the Natal North Coast. It will target the lower- to medium-income market where people are earning up to R15 000 a month or more, but do not qualify for the government subsidy.
The project has been developed by Standard Bank’s integrated residential development division. The MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Maggie Govender, signed the memorandum of understanding with Standard Bank at the launch of the project.
Kevin Duncan, the managing director of integrated residential developments, said: “This type of project is a first for Standard Bank in KwaZulu-Natal, and it is part of our mandate and the financial sector charter to increase investment in the affordable residential market.” It will also provide work opportunities, schooling and recreational and social facilities in a self-contained community, which will include community halls, crèches, open public spaces and public transport.
Work has already begun on bulk services and will take five years to complete. This is in line with the ANC policy to develop integrated human developments. Working together, we can do more. Thank you. [Applause.]
DIRECTORATE OF RADIATION CONTROL IN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ON VERGE OF COLLAPSE OWING TO MORATORIUM ON STAFF APPOINTMENTS
Mr M WATERS (DA): Speaker, the Directorate of Radiation Control within the Department of Health is on the verge of collapse due to the chronic lack of staff and the moratorium on the appointment of new staff. This leaves anyone needing x-ray examinations and a range of other uses of radioactive nuclides vulnerable to machinery and sources that have not been tested and will potentially be delivering too much or too little radiation, which can result in serious health risks.
The directorate regulates the possession, use, transport, import, export and disposal of radioactive materials and x-ray machines that are used for a variety of medical, scientific, agricultural, industrial and commercial purposes. However, the DA has been informed that the backlog in the inspections of the x-ray machines is over 6 000 out of a total 15 000 machines, and the backlog for radioactive nuclides is over 1 400 out of a total of 2 600.
The Durban office, for example, which is responsible for KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and parts of the Eastern Cape, does not have one single inspector, and certain areas of this office’s jurisdiction have not been inspected for nearly nine years.
The Cape Town office, which is responsible for the Western Cape, Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape, has only one inspector, with the other post vacant for over a year. The DA is calling on the Minister of Health to immediately lift the moratorium on the appointment of staff and to set up a task team to investigate how the situation came about. [Time expired.] I thank you. [Applause.]
KHA RI GUDE LITERACY CAMPAIGN
Ms F I CHOHAN (ANC): Mr Speaker, the Kha Ri Gude Literacy Campaign concluded its second successful year of adult literacy classes in January, which means that South Africa now has approximately one million newly literate adults. This, Mr Speaker, is cause for enormous celebration.
A United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Unesco, report on adult learning and education refers to the failure of most countries to report on the quality of programmes aimed at adult learners. However, in South Africa the literacy campaign is able to effectively report on the quality of the learning experience and also on completion rates.
International and national statistics show that the current Kha Ri Gude rate of 87,2% of learner attendance and participation is extremely high for a campaign of this magnitude. The Eastern Cape has the highest completion rate with 98% of the enrolled learners surviving the programme, followed by the Limpopo province with a completion rate of 92%.
The ANC welcomes the results of this project and views it as a big step forward in the process of ensuring that South Africa is completely liberated from a century of illiteracy by the year 2014. I thank you. [Applause.]
SKYROCKETING AIRFARES DURING WORLD CUP
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Mr Speaker, the IFP made a statement about excessive pricing by airlines during the hosting of the 2010 World Cup. It’s always a bit ironic when parties that stand for a free market, which says that pricing must be driven by supply and demand, ask government to step in and make sure there’s no overpricing.
Nonetheless, we do take this challenge seriously, and what we are told for the moment by the airlines is that there will be seasonal adjustments. This will obviously be a peak period for them and they do not envisage going beyond seasonal adjustments. However, we are not simply reassured by that, and the Competitions Commission is already looking into any possibilities and signs of collusion.
We also need to take a wider stance on this – take a broader perspective. What we’re saying not only to the transport sector, but to all other sectors that will be actively involved during the 2010 World Cup, is that this is not just about making a quick buck during this period. It is about laying down a legacy, and it is about, among other things, presenting South Africa as a wonderful place to come to – affordable, accessible, safe and so forth. Therefore excessive pricing, whether it’s in the hospitality or in the aviation sector, or in any other sector, would be extremely short-sighted. But, of course, since we do have a mixed economy, we can’t step in and simply regulate airline prices, but we will certainly watch very carefully for any signs of collusion. [Applause.]
SKYROCKETING AIRFARES DURING WORLD CUP
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Mrs T V Tobias): Hon Chairperson, Deputy Minister Cronin has responded to the question of competition in South Africa. It’s a pity that in South Africa people always speak from both sides of their mouth. People always question government intervention in the market, because they say that they want an open-market system, but if we enable the environment to make everybody a player, we’re then expected to actually regulate prices. So, it’s contradictory. We need to be very clear that South Africa is a developmental state. Therefore, it will intervene to regulate the market to make sure that there’s fair play in the market, and we’re doing that very well.
I also want to speak on issues of education. We need to be honest. The Department of Education received a 20% budget increase – above that of all other government departments. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme of South Africa, NSFAS, fund has been increased since last year. Therefore government is trying its level best to attend to the financial problems of students, hence we should appreciate that we cannot only look at one priority above others. Government’s key priorities are social responsibility, education, social grants and skills development. Therefore, there are interventions in that regard, and the UCDP should appreciate that intervention.
Somebody spoke about the ANC Youth League as having nonchalants and panderers in it. The ANC Youth League is an organisation of integrity. [Interjections.] If you look at its ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Order! Order, hon members!
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Mrs T V Tobias): Of course, it’s only the ANC Youth League that could have produced Nelson Mandela. It’s only the ANC Youth League that could have produced Oliver Tambo. [Interjections.] It is the same youth league that has produced the current leadership of the ANC. Are you suggesting today that Nelson Mandela is not a leader of credibility? [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Hon members, we can no longer hear the speaker. [Interjections.] If there could be order, please, so that the speaker can be heard.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Mrs T V Tobias): Hon Chair, you see the problem is that they don’t like the president of the ANC Youth League, and they go above principle and equate him with an organisation. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Hon Deputy Minister, could you conclude? Your time has almost expired. You were interrupted. That’s why I’m giving you a few seconds to wrap up.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Mrs T V Tobias): May I speak on just one more issue, hon Chairperson?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Speak quickly.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Mrs T V Tobias): I want to give the DA a task. [Interjections.] I want them to go and draw up statistics on a weekly basis of how many policemen, on duty, trying to do their work, are brutalised by criminals. When they have got that empirical evidence, we can speak about police brutality. [Applause.]
KHA RI GUDE LITERACY CAMPAIGN
PROTESTS BY STUDENTS ON CAMPUSES
DEMONSTRATION BY STUDENTS ON UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY AND CRIME ON CAMPUSES
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Chairperson, thank you very much. There is a large number of matters that dealt with education and I will try to be as quick as possible in dealing with them.
Firstly, to the hon member Fatima Chohan, I’d like to thank her and perhaps emphasise the fact that Kha Ri Gude has not only contributed to the eradication of illiteracy, but has won two prizes, one from the Pan South African Language Services Board, PanSALB, and one from the Government Communication Information System, GCIS, for its achievements.
Secondly, there are 40 000 practitioners, mainly between the ages of 25 and 35, that assist in this particular process, and they receive a stipend. So this provides for economic empowerment, and many of these youth have decided to pursue a teaching career as a result of this initiative.
Thirdly, the programme is available in all indigenous languages, as well as sign language and Braille. So it is a remarkable achievement and it is something that we have to celebrate as a country. Beyond that, 650 000 adult learners are enrolled for this year, and another 650 000 for next year.
With regard to the issue of progressive realisation of the right to education, I want to tell the hon member that it is not derived from the Constitution but from the Freedom Charter. The Freedom Charter speaks about our commitment to provide opportunities for those who do not have means, but have merit and ability. In fact this ruling party, as well as government, is committed to this achievement.
What we should celebrate is that 10 years ago only R25 million was set aside for tertiary education in the form of bursaries. Currently more than R1,2 billion is set aside for higher education in universities and universities of technology. [Applause.] Beyond that R800 million has been set aside over a period of three years for further education and training, FET, colleges. This increased access has contributed to the fact that more than 520 000 students are enrolled in FET colleges, which was regarded as the Cinderella of skills development.
With the regard to the member who spoke quite correctly about empowering provisions of auxiliary services, the culmination or creation of a Department of Higher Education and Training will look seriously – in fact, is looking seriously – at out-of-school opportunities. This means that we should not pretend that the only skills we require are professional skills or high-level skills. There are artisanal skills and there are intermediate skills, which are critical. The list that has been provided, in fact, speaks to the response of the Department of Higher Education and Training.
Finally, with regard to the issue of misconduct and deviant behaviour on campuses, the ANC, as well as government, is very clear that everybody has a constitutional right to peaceful protest and that that constitutional right does not involve vandalism, intimidation and destruction of property.
So government reaffirms its position in that regard, whether it is the SA Students Congress, Sasco, or any other student organisation. That commitment of government to the right to peaceful protest is something that we will protect, but we certainly do not condone any deviation from that right which results in violence or gross misconduct.
However, universities, given the fact that they are autonomous, have a particular responsibility to ensure that their rules provide for measures to deal with these transgressions. In fact, universities that have been proactive have successfully dealt with issues where there have been criminal tendencies. Thank you.
COMMENTS BY PRESIDENT ZUMA ON BRITISH PRESS STATEMENTS
The MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Chairperson, I just thought it important to advise the hon member Mda of Cope that it is not useful to draw one’s information from a tabloid newspaper, the Daily Mail. It doesn’t help one at all to get a factual account. She may wave her arms as much as she wishes, but unfortunately that is not a respected journal from which to gain one’s information. If one follows the response to the visit of the President, the statements made at business dinners as well as other state occasions, one will note that a very positive message about South Africa is being conveyed and is being received positively by a range of constituencies. [Applause.]
Finally, I would like to direct the hon member to perhaps visit a few history books in order to get the sense that imperialism and colonialism certainly emerged from across that part of the sea and not this one. [Applause.]
Nkosi Z M D MANDELA: On a point of order, Chairperson ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Hon Deputy Minister of Health ... Where is the point of order?
Nkosi Z M D MANDELA: Over here, Chairperson. I would like to know if it is parliamentary for a member, when a Minister is speaking, to point out her hands like this to an adult. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Well it is quite difficult to say now, because we didn’t see the action. Secondly, the one which was ruled out was the one that was gesturing like this. This one is just – I’m not sure what it means – so I will just look at the interpretation of that gesture, because this one we all know means “death”. I don’t know what this gesture means, whether it is a violent threat or whatever else, but we will look at it. Can we just leave that matter until further notice?
Mr H P CHAUKE: Chairperson, can we clarify it? No, we just want to clarify what it means.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Do you know the gesture? What does it mean?
Mr H P CHAUKE: Yes. When you gesture like this, it means, “go away” or “stupid”. [Interjections.] This is what we are saying. That is exactly what it means, and this hon member must stop it. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Hon members, order, please! Can you stop that? What we want for the sake of decorum in this House, because we don’t know the meaning ... that explanation is his interpretation of the gesture... Whatever the meaning is, can we refrain, as hon members, from making gesticulations that might be misinterpreted? Please stop it. Can we proceed to the hon Deputy Minister of Health?
HI-TECH CENTRE TO IMPROVE BLOOD SUPPLY
DIRECTORATE OF RADIATION CONTROL IN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ON VERGE OF COLLAPSE OWING TO MORATORIUM ON STAFF APPOINTMENTS
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Chairperson, I appreciate the words of support from the ANC on the Minister’s launching of the state-of-the-art blood-testing facility. It is part of our effort to protect the health of all recipients of blood in state facilities, but this was amidst concerns that we did not have sufficient blood donors in this country. We have a chronic shortage of blood supplies through the blood transfusion services of our country. So we would like to continue to appeal to the hon members and citizens of South Africa to enrol as blood donors.
Ho fana ka madi ke ho fana ka bophelo. Ha o fane ka madi o ka bina mmoho le mminathoko ya reng: E sehlabelo sa ka ke nna ka sebele. [Mahofi.] [Donating blood gives life. When you have donated blood, you may join in the chorus that goes: Yes, I offer myself as a sacrifice. [Applause.]]
To the DA, there is a statement here that says: “... on the verge of collapse due to chronic lack of staff and moratorium on the appointment of new staff”. There is no moratorium on the appointment of new staff in the Department of Health. There is a general measure of saying that we should delay on those noncritical and nonfrontline personnel that we can do without that do not directly affect patient care and so on, but all critical personnel that are immediately necessary for patient care should be appointed. That would include this category of inspectors for radioactive nuclides and such technologies.
I just want to tell the hon member from the DA that the shortage of inspectors is a result of history, where nuclear sciences and radiation sciences were the preserve of the white minority of this country, because they were classified as state secrets to protect the secret nuclear programme of the apartheid regime. As a result of that we have not had sufficient training of radio and nuclear scientists.
We are trying to catch up. The shortage is not only as a result of a moratorium, it is also as a result of the fact that there is no formal programme to train radio and nuclear scientist in this category of work. We will attend to this, but do not distort our policy position, nor the history and the cause of the situation.
[Time expired.] [Applause.]
DIVISION OF REVENUE BILL
(Consideration of Report of Standing Committee on Appropriations)
There was no debate.
Mr C T FROLICK: Chairperson, on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, I move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
DIVISION OF REVENUE BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE: House Chairperson, Mr Deputy President and hon members, section 214 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa requires that government ensures a transparent and equitable system to divide nationally raised revenue between the three spheres of government. The Division of Revenue Bill and its underlying allocations are the culmination of an extensive consultation process between all three spheres of government.
By setting the three-year allocations for the equitable shares and conditional grants for provinces and local government, the Division of Revenue Bill entrenches transparency and accountability in our governmental fiscal system. It allows all spheres of government to plan ahead and get down to the business of delivering services to the people.
The Division of Revenue Bill tabled in this House by the Minister of Finance on Budget day, 17 February this year, was, for the first time, processed in terms of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, Act 9 of 2009, where a report was tabled with the 2010 Budget which explained how the division of revenue and national Budget give effect to, or the reasons for not taking into account the recommendations contained in the committee reports on the 2009 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement. I am pleased to announce that the recommendations by the Standing Committee on Appropriations were taken into account when the 2010 Division of Revenue Bill was drafted.
This Division of Revenue Bill contains details on each grant, its purpose, criteria for allocating the grant and an account of the performance of each grant. Such information should contribute towards deepening parliamentary oversight over the executive.
It gives effect to the priorities articulated by the President in his state of the nation address on 11 February this year. These priorities are: Improving the quality of education, as we all know; upgrading health care; promoting public safety; supporting rural development; creating decent jobs; building sustainable human settlements; encouraging efficient local government; and combating corruption.
As government is shifting to target-based outcomes in order to increase efficiency and improve performance to support inclusive development, these priorities are unpacked in 12 measurable outcomes. Due to savings of R25,6 billion identified through shifting towards priorities, the budget framework allows us to provide an additional R112,2 billion in spending over the next three years in comparison with our spending plans from a year earlier. Of the additional resources, national departments will receive R56,2 billion or 50,1% of the additional resources; provinces R46 billion or 40,6%; and municipalities an additional R10,5 billion or 9,3% of this allocation. The largest growth in allocations is to local government where its share of the total available resource envelope increases from 7,3% in 2009-10 to 8,8% in the 2012-13 financial year.
Schedule 1 of the Bill – if I may just quickly go through the Bill itself – provides a summary of the allocation of funds to the three spheres of government. Of the R818,1 billion Budget for this year, national department functions amount to R527 billion. This includes debt service costs amounting to R71,4 billion and a contingency reserve of R6 billion. Provinces receive R261 billion and R30,2 billion is allocated to local government.
Schedule 2 presents provincial equitable shares and Schedule 3 allocates equitable shares to municipalities. Schedules 4 to 6 allocate conditional and other grants to provinces and local government. Schedule 7 allocates in-kind transfers to municipalities. Schedule 8 allocates incentives for provinces and municipalities to meet targets with regard to priority government programmes.
The Division of Revenue Bill provides for a substantial share of nationally collected revenue to go to provinces in order to strengthen social services programmes that have a great impact on human development, quality of life and social transformation. The increase over baseline for the next three years amounts to R45,6 billion. This is to sustain the social progress made in recent years, to meet government’s broader developmental objectives and mitigate the effect of the current economic downturn. Including these revisions, allocations to provinces will amount to R322,9 billion in the 2010-11 financial year.
Members of this House need to be alerted to the fact that wage agreements of 2009 have placed pressure on provincial spending over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework. Of the R33,9 billion added to the provincial equitable share, R30,9 billion is to cover the cost of general wage agreements and occupation-specific dispensation, OSD, agreements in health and education. While these additions should attract and retain experience and skills in the public sector, it is a substantial sum of money that does not necessarily translate into additional service-delivery outputs. We therefore cannot afford to continue expanding personnel expenditure, especially if we do not see a substantial improvement in the quality of service delivery from the public sector.
The President stressed in his state of the nation address that government will place education and skills development at the centre of its policies. A general adjustment of R3 billion over the MTEF is made to the provincial equitable share to cover health and education priorities. As in previous years, further investments are made to education to ensure that access and quality are improved.
Last year we announced that R500 million was added to the infrastructure grant for provinces to ensure that classroom space is available for Grade R learners entering the system. A further R1 billion was made available for schools to upgrade infrastructure, improve security and install libraries and laboratories. These improvements will become visible during this and next year.
R9 billion was added to the provincial equitable share to cover the cost of OSD agreements for educators and a further R1,2 billion was added to the FET colleges grant for OSD for lecturers. The future of this country depends on these additions being converted into improved teaching and learning at our schools. Collectively we have a responsibility to ensure that this happens.
In health, R3,9 billion is added to the provincial equitable share to cover the OSD agreements for doctors and health therapists. The HIV and Aids programme receives an additional R8,7 billion over the MTEF to ensure that sufficient resources are available for government to deliver on the commitments announced on World Aids Day.
The 2010 Budget introduces the Expanded Public Works Programmes for the social sector. In 2010 this grant will perform as a basic wage subsidy for nonprofit organisations working in home community-based care, allowing them to pay salaries to volunteers. This year an incentive model will also be developed for implementation in the 2011-12 financial year. This should create incentives for provinces to create labour-intensive employment that provides much-needed relief and support for the needy and vulnerable.
Over the next three years municipalities will receive R210,4 billion, including in-kind allocations and the sharing of the general fuel levy with metros, and an additional R12,2 billion. The local government equitable share receives a further R6,7 billion to protect the poor from increased electricity prices and secure the delivery of free basic services to all poor households.
It is critical that intergovernmental grants are designed in such a manner that they support optimal outcomes. It has become evident that there is a need to reform the municipal infrastructure grant to appropriately respond to the different demographic, economic, infrastructural and institutional challenges faced by the 283 municipalities in the country.
In the 2009 Budget the municipal infrastructure grant for cities was introduced to enable the cities to more effectively manage, support and account for built environment outcomes.
The allocations for capacity-building totalling R1,8 billion over the 2010 MTEF continue to be complemented by the Siyenza Manje programme, via the Development Bank of Southern Africa, to develop skills in engineering, planning and financial management within municipalities. The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs announced the Local Government Turnaround Strategy in 2009. Government works in a co-ordinated manner to ensure that capacity-building initiatives are implemented coherently and also create a supportive environment for municipalities.
Chairperson, I would like to thank the committee for the manner in which they dealt with the Division of Revenue Bill and I look forward to further engagements. We would want to say that the recommendations in the report will be implemented working together with the committee. It is clear that the allocations contained in this year’s Division of Revenue Bill should put government in a better position to accelerate service delivery and improve the efficacy of public services. Thank you.
Mr E M SOGONI: House Chairperson, hon Deputy President, colleagues, the ANC government’s steely resolution to create a better life for all and roll back the frontiers of poverty through focusing on its five manifesto priorities is demonstrated in the division of revenue across all three spheres. It follows, therefore, that the certainty of meeting these priorities is strengthened or weakened by the quantity and quality of resource allocation towards this realisation.
The centralisation of revenue raised nationally is intended to foster the centripetally and spherically autonomous implementation of the ANC government’s priorities to create hope and restore dignity to ordinary people. The idea of South Africa as a unitary state characterised by high inequalities should inform the division of revenue.
A division of revenue which is shorn of a historical basis is prone to inadvertently catalysing the equal treatment of unequals. Therefore, as a developmental tool, the division of revenue should be acutely aware of righting the wrongs of the past and redressing those imbalances.
South Africa is a country in transition from a past marked by the exclusion of the majority from decent services and amenities. This was engineered to perpetuate the system of coexistence between the opulent elite and toiling majority. The creation of Bantu native reserves had no developmental genesis and implementation, but ensured comfort and plenty to the ruling oligarchy. This malicious intent is what bequeathed to our young democracy the so-called rural and poor provinces and municipalities.
Section 214 (1) of the Constitution of South Africa requires that -
An Act of Parliament must provide for –
an equitable division of revenue raised nationally among national, provincial and local spheres of government.
This is the report of the Bill the Minister tabled in this House. The Intergovernmental Fiscal Relation Act, Act 97 of 1997 also prescribes the process for determining the equitable sharing and allocation of revenue raised nationally.
The Minister of Finance has, as required by the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, Act 9 of 2009, responded to the recommendations of Parliament at the adoption of the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, MTBPS. The response is contained in the Budget Review in Annexure A.
There is an urgent need for Parliament to train Members of Parliament on this Act and to accelerate the process of implementation because the Act guides us on the procedures of amending or not amending the money Bills, especially the Budget. Contained in the Division of Revenue Bill, as required by section 214 of the Constitution, is the share of national government and the equitable shares of provinces and municipalities, including conditional grants to provinces and municipalities.
The Bill seeks to regulate the procedures to be followed on how and when these resources should be transferred to provinces and municipalities. It spells out the roles of national departments as transferring offices and the requirements of the receiving offices.
During the hearings we observed that the National Treasury and the departments administering certain grants needed to pay closer attention to the procedures provided for in the Intergovernmental Fiscal Reviews, IGFR. A dispute arises when conditions of reporting appear to exclude the departments that are responsible for implementation. The reports from all the implementation agencies, municipalities or provinces must be communicated to the relevant departments without creating an unnecessarily complicated reporting regime for the implementing agency or municipality. These reports should be and can be co-ordinated at both provincial and national level. We expect the 2011 division of revenue to include a clause addressing this matter.
The Committee on Appropriations recommends that the National Treasury and the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, continue to engage on the matter of unspent conditional grants that municipalities fail to return to the national fiscus as required by the Public Finance Management Act and the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act. It should further investigate whether National Treasury can deduct a balance from the funds that have not been returned from the equitable share.
The Public Finance Management Act and the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act provide clear guidelines on procedures to be followed regarding unspent conditional grants. Therefore, we would encourage Cogta and National Treasury to hold workshops for their municipal treasuries and to report to Parliament by the end of May.
Treasury regulations require that agents apply for a rollover of unspent but committed funds. Parliament would like to engage National Treasury to withhold the funds of municipalities that do not have capacity to spend. As a committee we insist that any transferring national officer must produce proof of the steps taken to build capacity in that municipality, as required by the Constitution and the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act.
The withholding of funds is tantamount to penalising the communities that reside in those municipalities. Though withholding of funds is legal, punishment should be directed to the officials, not to the communities. In fact the next division of revenue must include a clause that allows for a fraction of the grant, for example, 4% or 5%, to provide for capacity-building.
Currently there are demonstrations demanding service delivery in different municipalities. Many of these demonstrations are directed at the wrong people. Demands for services such as housing, crime prevention and jobs don’t necessarily belong to the municipalities but to other spheres.
The committee supports the Expanded Public Works Programme, the EPWP, which intends to create longer working time. However, the national Department of Public Works must insist on portable skills that can be certificated, as was originally planned in this programme. We suggest that the Portfolio Committee on Public Works follows up on this matter.
The other challenge is that municipalities that can’t spend cannot report on what they have done. As a result they are unable to be allocated further funds. Again, poor communities get penalised if these municipalities have not provided a report. This department will review the system.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the members of the committee who worked long hours to produce the report; committee secretary, Mrs Thoko Xaso; the researchers in the committee; my secretary; and the other support staff who really supported us. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M SWART: Chair, Deputy President, on Tuesday Parliament approved the report tabled by the Standing Committee on Finance in respect of the fiscal framework. We now need to discuss the expenditure in relation to the fiscal framework and revenue proposals. In his Budget Speech the hon Minister of Finance highlighted the key spending priorities of government to create a better life for all.
One of the main focus areas raised by the Minister is job creation. The Minister quite correctly said that one in four adults seeking work is unemployed and that almost half our young people have not found work. We agree with the Minister that job creation is of the utmost importance. Not only will people with jobs be able to look after themselves and their families financially, but they will also be contributing to the tax revenue, growth in the economy, better schooling and opportunities for their children, as well as building a sense of self-esteem.
The Minister announced various measures by which government proposes to create jobs. These included, amongst others, a shift in emphasis towards labour-intensive jobs, increased public sector infrastructure investment of R845 billion over the next three years, increased expenditure on the Expanded Public Works Programme, increased investment in skills development, encouragement of small business development, and a focus on promoting youth employment.
These proposals are generally welcomed, particularly the one of a cash reimbursement to people who employ young people without experience, and whereby an expected 800 000 jobs will be created in the short term, with a further 500 000 jobs of this nature by 2013 – a DA policy, of course.
The proposed allocation of R52 billion over the next three years for the Expanded Public Works Programme, however, is disconcerting. Although it aims to create 4,5 million job opportunities, the jobs are, unfortunately, of a short-term nature, and no, or very little, skills transfer takes place.
The Department of Public Works, in a presentation to the Appropriations committee, admitted that it was impossible to train all people employed on the EPW programmes in order to improve their skills levels. The appropriateness of this programme is therefore questionable, as it does not create sustainable, permanent jobs nor does it equip recipients to find jobs more easily afterwards as a result of skills gain. In our opinion, the funds provided for the EPW programmes should rather be used to extend the Youth Employment Programme and grant more assistance to small and medium enterprises.
The proposal that a significant portion of the public sector infrastructure investment to create jobs be undertaken by state-owned enterprises is also disconcerting. These parastatals have received some R260 million in financial bail-outs over the past four years due to bad management. Eskom in particular, where the major portion of these infrastructural investment job opportunities is to be created, is a prime example of how business should not be managed. Instead of job creation, Eskom is likely to contribute to job losses in the economy with their huge proposed, inflationary tariff increases.
Soos daar in Afrikaans gesê word, dis soos om wolf skaapwagter te maak. [As the Afrikaans saying goes, that would be like setting the fox to keep the geese.]
In his speech on the fiscal framework in Parliament on Tuesday, the hon Mufamadi mentioned the example of a graduate known to him who finds it impossible to find a job. Yet we have government departments with vacancy rates of 25% and more, with funding available to fill these vacancies. Government should indeed be ashamed that, on the one hand, we have thousands of people out there looking for jobs, and on the other, thousands of job opportunities in government itself, which they fail to fill.
One of the greatest impediments to creating jobs in South Africa, of course, is the current labour legislation. In his Budget Speech, the Minister said, and I quote, “Organised labour must embrace and act on behalf of all our country’s workers, both those employed and those desperate for employment.”
The Minister is quite correct. Conversely, Cosatu, in a presentation to the Finance committee, attacked the fiscal policy framework and contributed nothing in terms of recommendations with regard to the relaxation of our stringent labour laws in order to create more employment. They also failed to offer improved productivity in the workplace, as opposed to only demanding higher wages. Had they done this, our businesses would become more competitive in both the local and overseas markets, and more rather than fewer jobs would have been created. They are adamant that labour brokers be abolished, thereby shedding even more jobs in the economy.
Cosatu seems to be less interested in job creation and more in increasing membership to ensure a good life for leadership. They propose, instead, a wealth tax to balance the budget. They seem to forget that it is normally the wealthy investors who start businesses and thus create employment. If they do not believe me, I suggest they contact that wealthy businessman Julius Malema to establish how, through his endeavours and directorships of companies, he created a stream of jobs in Limpopo. Another alternative, of course, is Chancellor House.
Cosatu should rather follow and support the DA’s model of creating an open-opportunity society. It will lead to the attraction of more investments, which in turn will lead to economic growth and, hence, more jobs. Unfortunately continued talks about the nationalisation of mines, the takeover of the Reserve Bank, the scrapping of inflation targeting and the tendency of increased centralisation of power will negate any possibility of attracting more investment and, therefore, more jobs. [Applause.]
Mr L RAMATLAKANE: House Chairperson, Deputy President, we are dealing here with the basis for distributing revenue to the three spheres of government for the financial year 2010-11. The debate on the Division of Revenue Bill takes place against growing uneasiness and impatience across our country.
Service delivery rumblings, witnessed almost daily, are becoming ominous. The poor voters are at the receiving end. The passing of the Bill today must be meaningful to our people. As Parliament we must hold government accountable to its promises. No more hollow promises at all levels of government should be entertained. Government must address the plight of the people.
Cope welcomes the Budget reform which empowers Parliament to amend government’s budget so that the most urgent needs of South Africans are indeed addressed. The million dollar question is, however, whether this House is equal to the challenge of urgently appointing highly skilled people with real capacity and the ability to deal with budgets or will it just resort to cadre deployment rather than the skills that are appropriate for Parliament’s budget office.
Of course, because of the ruling party’s “sweethearts” we are about to encounter the issue of accountability. Regrettably, the developmental state is moving very slowly in respect of the development of our people, hence Balfour is on fire today.
Cope advocates an activist state wherein citizens will keep government accountable. We must understand that people are not taking kindly to this new segment of the ruling party called “tender-preneurs”, as confirmed by the SACP pronouncement on it. People are sick and tired of being used to keep the ruling few in their positions, from where they pick the public pocket for their own enrichment.
Cope confirms that the Minister of Finance performed a good balancing act with the Budget. Now government must walk the talk, so that the people who are protesting can see an honouring of promises that were made, leading to change in the places where they live.
We are concerned that the state-owned enterprises are treating the public purse as their own cash cow to be used for regular milking. In passing this Bill, we need assurances that they will be watched strictly by Parliament. We must stop making the people’s assets into plundering fields for those who are well aligned and connected. This cancer must be rooted out. I wonder, however, if the Minister of Public Enterprises has the power and the support of Cabinet to make sure that those who are “connected” are dealt with when they are discovered with their hands deep in the cashbox.
Government’s promise to focus more on job creation and rural development has our support. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and seeing is believing. This focus should not be undermined because some well-connected people are aiming for self-enrichment. The people’s patience is running thin. We are worried that we are seeing a repeat scenario of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
We agree that crime, health, education, jobs and poverty reduction are critical service-delivery barometers. In this debate today we are appropriating R902 billion of the Budget to the three spheres of government – a lot can be done for the poor with that.
Let me turn to the conditional grants and their potential for job creation. With the receiving entities unable to manage debt and lacking proper financial management, these grants are open to mismanagement. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that much of these grants will be used to cover debts in local authorities. We note that the Financial and Fiscal Commission will be reviewing the grants. Cope believes the review can be done quicker.
We believe further education and training colleges should be capacitated to address the shortage and mismatch of skills, and to prioritise the creation of those skills whose absence have been identified as limiting the growth of the economy.
As Cope we are delighted that the committee has agreed that the money allocated and appropriated will be accounted for by the Ministers, the departments and the local government.
We support the intention to recapitalise about 200 technical schools. We support the Dinaledi schools, but we want to emphasise that given the measures that have been put in place to deal with their failures, all schools must put programmes in place to enable them to perform appropriately and to implement what has been agreed upon.
We want to make this point very simply: Money that is intended for projects must be put to optimum use. The enormous leakages everywhere have to be stopped. This government was born out of the struggle of the people and that struggle must be rewarded. To abandon the people in whose name the struggle was waged to benefit a few is to betray the people. We support the Bill but we wish to warn that it could very well become the rope with which the ruling party hangs itself. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N SINGH: Chairperson, hon Deputy President, colleagues, the hon Ramatlakane has indicated that many members have their hands in the cashbox, but I can assure you that in many municipalities, and sometimes in the provinces, even the cashbox has disappeared. [Laughter.]
However, he also spoke about the question of municipalities using their conditional grants and the interest derived from them to pay operational expenditure within those municipalities. That is true; it happens. It is largely because National Treasury has not as yet devised a way of allowing municipalities to have separate banking accounts.
For example, if money is allocated for a water project in a particular municipality, there should be a trading account for that particular project. Municipalities now put these funds into a global account, hence there is no accountability. And if they have the opportunity to use some of those funds to pay staff and other expenses, they do so. Treasury should address this kind of situation as quickly as possible.
However, when one looks at the Division of Revenue Act, it’s about sharing amongst the three spheres of government. If you share funds between the three spheres of government, you’ve got to rely on credible statistics. It is, therefore, a matter of concern that the Financial and Fiscal Commission indicated to our committee that the data they are using at the moment for an equitable share was last updated in 2001. So, we cannot rely on data from 2001 to ensure that there is an equitable share. I hope Statistics SA takes note of this so that we can have an equitable share distribution.
We as the IFP associate ourselves with all the findings contained in the committee report, but it is quite ironic that the first finding of the committee is as follows:
The committee noted with concern the persistent delays in implementing the pronouncement by the President of the Republic of South Africa with respect to the reopening of nursing and teaching colleges.
This is déjà vu. As far back as 1994 the IFP said teaching and nursing colleges should not be closed because it would cause mayhem for our young people who would not be given the opportunity to be trained in those disciplines. What has happened today? We are returning to open teaching and nursing colleges. A number of those teaching colleges are in a dilapidated state and now we’ll have to spend a lot of money repairing them. I think it was political expediency to close those colleges at that time.
However, what we would like to see is the Department of Health doing an audit on all the institutions that offer training to the so-called nursing colleges, because many of them are fly-by-night institutions. Young people and their parents spend a lot of money sending the youth to these institutions only to find that the qualification they receive cannot be utilised to get a job in a hospital or clinic.
Our biggest concern with the Division of Revenue Bill and how things operate is the underspending of funds. It is criminal when municipalities and provincial governments underspend. To give you an example: In terms of the municipal infrastructure grant 2008-09, Umdoni Municipality, my neighbouring municipality, received R195 million but spent R6 million. They spent only 3,3% of their allocation. Umhlabuyalingana spent 19,5%, Mtubatuba 9,7% and Eden 9,4%.
This is something we as government should not tolerate. As I said earlier on, the money is there. The money is not being utilised properly because people are still putting their hands in the cashboxes and people are not skilled enough to ensure that they spend the money for its intended purpose. Who gets short-changed, as a result, are the millions of people out there who expect this government to deliver on its mandate and promises.
Lastly, I would like to speak about the water and sanitation grants. The intention exists to do away with some of these grants and to consolidate others, whilst money is allocated for new water projects. We have to think seriously about ageing infrastructure. In a number of municipalities throughout the country, there is water. We have been receiving water for about 20 to 30 years, but the infrastructure is ageing so much so that there are leaks all over and people don’t get water. We should therefore concentrate on providing funding for ageing infrastructure. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr S Z NTAPANE: Chairperson, hon members and Ministers present, Deputy President, the division of revenue is a vital instrument that provides the first step in the process of service delivery. It is necessary and logical that a large proportion of the revenue should be channelled towards the provinces and municipalities.
These two tiers of government have a constitutional service delivery mandate. What is more, they are, by virtue of proximity, supposedly better placed to deliver. Unfortunately this is where the entire process falters. We have, since the inception of democracy, witnessed a distinct inability amongst provincial and municipal administrations to manage these revenues and deliver the intended services.
Conditional grants do not solve this problem. At the heart of the matter is a severe lack of skills coupled with an institutional culture that celebrates ineptitude and turns a blind eye to crony-ism and tender fraud. National government will simply have to improve its ability to monitor the spending of provincial and local governments. We welcome the recent announcement of a dedicated unit to investigate tender fraud.
One of the leading causes of service delivery failures and key reasons that the division of revenue does not produce the intended results is the countless vacancies at provincial and municipal level in critical areas such as financial management and engineering.
As the UDM has indicated before, government is missing an opportunity. It could improve service delivery by providing jobs to qualified and skilled professionals whilst at the same time reducing reliance on expensive consultants. These vacancies present a major stumbling block. However, it will require political will to ensure that these positions are filled. By their nature, such positions will put the brakes on the gravy train.
It is time for those who ride on this gravy train to realise that they may be able to ignore our appeals to their consciences and moralities, but they cannot indefinitely ignore the increasingly frustrated communities marching in the streets. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr G T SNELL: House Chair, hon Deputy President, hon members, in 1987, in his January 8 Statement, the late ANC president Oliver Tambo said:
We must proceed from the position that our task is to win a revolution. Political revolutions are about the capture of state power and its use to advance the objectives of fundamental social transformation. This task must be carried out consciously and intentionally by the revolutionary forces to bring about profound change in favour of the social classes and strata that have gained power. Without the victory of the revolution, revolutionary changes are not possible. The state is a vital feature in an effort to bring about those revolutionary changes, because a new society cannot be built within the existing framework. Hence we’ll see the opposition’s attack on our progress as we incrementally achieve the revolutionary state that was envisaged.
It is critical that we bear this in mind at all times when addressing budgets as tools of transformation.
The Budget and Division of Revenue Bill allocate resources to give effect to the ANC’s objectives and policies, ensuring that the state’s resources are allocated in a manner that systematically and incrementally transform the state and concretise the people’s contract for a better life for all. The Bill, in our opinion, achieves these objectives in the 2010-11 financial year and beyond.
As an activist Parliament, it’s our responsibility to transform the budget process into one that will culminate in an activist budget, using organs of people’s power to achieve this. The Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act is a mechanism through which this can be achieved. It is our responsibility to begin engaging our people around the provisions in the Act and how these will be phased in over time.
Furthermore, the Act is an instrument that sets out a legal framework that gives a voice to the voiceless in determining how resources should be allocated amongst the various spheres of government. As public representatives, it’s our collective responsibility to ensure that all sectors of society are mobilised into organised constituencies.
In forming partnerships with the people and to give meaningful expression to the notion of partnership, we as Parliament must ensure that we strengthen our interaction with the organs of the people’s power that this very House, through legislation, gave effect to, namely school governing bodies, SGBs; community policing forums, CPFs; ward committees; hospital boards; clinic committees etc. These organs of the people’s power can play a significant role in assisting in the budgeting, monitoring and evaluation process, in turn accelerating the implementation of the five key areas of government. Our people must be involved in the planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation of services delivered to them as they are direct beneficiaries of these services. As such their participation is critical in advancing the national democratic revolution.
In ensuring that the strategic objectives are met through the Division of Revenue Bill, let me emphasise the following from the Bill: The ANC government’s commitment to the implementation of the five priorities demonstrates itself in the revenue allocation to provinces, as the Constitution confers concurrent powers to provinces with respect to, among other areas, education and the Expanded Public Works Programme, the EPWP, through the Department of Public Works. In that regard, equitable allocations should be made to provinces to capacitate them to contribute to their realisation of sustainable, quality public education and the creation of decent work.
Over the three-year period, provincial transfers will grow at an average annual rate of 7,7% to R369,3 billion in the 2012-13 financial year. The total transfers to provinces for the 2010-11 financial year amount to R322,9 billion, with R261 billion allocated to the provincial equitable share and R61,9 billion to conditional grants.
Part of this adjustment is meant to assist provinces in accommodating the higher-than-anticipated wage settlements and the occupation-specific dispensation, OSD, payments for Health and Education. Despite the general challenges of scarcity of skills, there tends to be a higher turnover of skills in areas such as education and health. The highest skills turnover is often attended by skills concentration in urban areas and scarcity in rural areas. The OSD implementation should therefore be expedited to enhance retention and equitable skills distribution.
The ANC has always viewed education as an instrument of both liberation from poverty and underdevelopment and an empowerment tool to ensure that skills and training required to build a prosperous and equitable national democratic society are developed and retained. Education is one of the areas that still reproduce the imbalances of the past. Interventions made in education should be to ensure quality and equity in the education system through allocations that seek to empower and support learners.
To give further effect to these objectives, the Department of Basic Education administers the National Schools Nutrition Programme grant, the Dinaledi Schools grant, the Technical Secondary Schools Recapitalisation grant and the HIV/Aids Skills Education grant. As a result of the split in the education Ministry and the formation of the new Department of Higher Education and Training, the further education and training, FET, colleges grant is introduced to protect current spending on these colleges by provinces while the legislative processes required to shift this function to national government are completed.
Total expenditure on further education and training colleges was taken out of the equitable share and shifted into this conditional grant. The grant amounts to R11,9 billion over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period. It should be noted that the Department is to encourage FET colleges to develop courses that will be utilised by the various sector education and training authorities, Setas, for training purposes, thus creating revenue flows for the FETs and improving sustainable job opportunities for the participants.
Unlike the opposition parties, the ANC is planning ahead; it’s putting processes in place that will concretise our ability to deliver on our election manifesto.
Phase two of the Expanded Public Works Programme aims to create 4,5 million short-term jobs nationally that will last for 100 days. The effect of job opportunities which are created through the public works programme is not only poverty alleviation and skills transfer but the possibility of subsequent permanency in some of the jobs offered. The EPWP incentive grant to provinces for the infrastructure sector provides incentives to provinces and municipalities to increase spending on labour-intensive programmes.
The 2010 Budget introduces a new grant on the Public Works Vote, namely the Expanded Public Works Programme grant for the social sector. This grant receives R57 million in 2010-11 to subsidise nonprofit organisations that have been using the services of unpaid volunteers so that these volunteers can receive some form of remuneration.
During 2010 a comprehensive funding model for a programme that will incentivise labour-intensive employment in the sector and inform grant allocations for 2011-12 and 2013 will be developed.
Municipalities play a critical role in furthering the ANC’s policy objectives of providing services to all while facilitating local economic development. Over the next three years, national transfers to local government will grow to accelerate the delivery of basic services to households that cannot afford them. In line with the ANC policies, government is accelerating efforts to assist municipalities in improving service delivery capacity.
The 2010 MTEF will see an additional R10,3 billion allocated to the local government sphere, of which R6,7 billion is in respect of the local government equitable share to ensure conditional expansion of access to basic services, and to assist municipalities in dealing with increases in the cost of purchasing bulk electricity. The remainder of the R10,3 billion will be allocated to the infrastructure grants. [Interjections.] After 30 years, hon Mike, I thought you would’ve had enough.
It is recognised that economic disparities do exist between and within provinces and municipalities, and that provinces and municipalities have different demographic and economic profiles, and markedly different levels of economic development. The equitable share formulae are therefore redistributive, and in particular, allocations have been increased to invest in economic infrastructure like roads, social infrastructure and schools in order to accelerate economic growth and job creation.
The extent of interventions needs to differ among provinces and among municipalities, mainly due to the disproportionate development strategies of the apartheid era. The priorities of successive ANC-led governments over the years have sought to ensure that social and economic deficits inherited from the apartheid era are addressed.
It is in light of the above that we, as the ANC, are confident that the Division of Revenue Bill will give effect to the strategic objectives of government. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, I forgot to listen to what the hon member was saying. I wonder if he could repeat his speech. [Laughter.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Hon Ellis, this is not on.
Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, I’m just asking that the hon Ellis listen very closely so that I won’t have to repeat my three minutes of speech.
We had a lengthy debate earlier this week about the fiscal framework where it concerns - and the ACDP expressed concerns about this – the budget deficits and ballooning government debt levels.
Now as we deal with this Bill today, it is interesting that the Financial and Fiscal Commission warned that the fiscal situation in South Africa is very weak, especially regarding provincial and local governments. It added that, given the slow rate of economic recovery and the inherent lag in provincial and local government tax revenue growth, many provinces and local governments will eventually be forced to enact large cuts in public spending.
This is obviously a matter of great concern. In particular, the Financial and Fiscal Commission adds that public education and health are likely to be hit very hard. This is highly regrettable, but to a large extent unavoidable due to the fiscal framework and the situation with which we are faced. However, we agree with the commission that cuts should be limited to noncore areas to ensure that basic service delivery in the crucial areas of education and health is not compromised.
It is then very concerning to us as the ACDP that some conditional grants are being utilised to service overdraft debts at provincial and local government level. This is according to the report. This defeats the whole purpose of conditional grants, which are conditional on certain services being delivered and on compliance with specific requirements. We agree with the recommendations that have been made to address the issues of conditional grants.
We agree that “a more coherent and co-ordinated approach” is required in the management of conditional grants to ensure prudent spending and to achieve the intended objectives. Clearly as parliamentarians in our committees we will have to exercise better oversight, particularly in view of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act. The Parliamentary Budget Office, once it is up and running, will hopefully provide support to us in that regard.
Now as far as the report on this Bill is concerned, we clearly support the recommendation of the reopening of nursing and teacher-training colleges. The obvious question – as was raised before – is why were such institutions closed in the first place? Their closure resulted in a shortage of teachers, doctors and nurses.
We are also concerned that certain grants, relating to addressing backlogs in water, electricity and sanitation at clinics and schools, have been cancelled. Clearly there are still huge challenges in these areas and we wonder why that decision was taken.
Lastly, the Deputy Minister of Health stated this afternoon – if I heard him correctly – that there was no moratorium on the filling of vacancies in his department. I was then expecting him to object to the report on this Bill, which clearly states and recommends that, “the Department of Health should reconsider its moratorium on the vacancies”, yet he did not express any view on this statement and recommendation in the report. But the ACDP will support the Division of the Revenue Bill.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Chairperson, on a point of order: Is it correct for the hon member to misrepresent me and attempt to mislead Parliament in the manner that he is doing now?
Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, I indicated “if I understood or heard him correctly”.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Stay away from ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Hon member, don’t answer yet; let’s hear what the point is.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Chairperson, I said, “There is no moratorium on critical posts”. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Hon member, do you then want to correct this aspect, because he did not say generally, he said “on critical posts”.
Mr M J ELLIS: Chairperson, on a point of order: I think the difference of opinion across the House of Parliament is quite in order and I don’t think that that constitutes a point of order ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Can we allow the hon member to ...
Mr M J ELLIS: ... but, Chairperson, I’m trying to protect him because I don’t think he has to reply to it.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Thank you, hon Ellis. Hon Sefularo, can we see whether the hon member still insists on the issue?
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH: Okay.
Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, the recommendation in the report that was accepted by this House speaks about vacancies; it does not speak about specific vacancies. I would have thought that the Deputy Minister would have raised that matter. Obviously he might not have read the report, but if it is specific vacancies to which the report refers, then the report should have said “specific vacancies”. At the moment the report says “vacancies in general”.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): So what the Deputy Minister is saying is that he only spoke about critical vacancies, not vacancies in general.
Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, I accept his explanation.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Okay, thank you very much.
Mrs I C DITSHETELO: Thank you, Chair.
Ke a dumedisa bagaetsho. [Good day, ladies and gentlemen.]
The purpose of the Bill is noble. For a long time now we have seen an inequitable sharing of resources in terms of the provinces. The Bill needs to be properly consulted upon, and an issue that needs to be taken into account is how the national government can play an oversight role over how and what gets allocated to the local spheres of government. As it stands, whatever mechanism exists is not in the best interest of the people, who should be receiving such services at local level.
An oversight role should not only come into play when there is an unqualified report from the Auditor-General, but also when there is a need to develop mechanisms in which the national government plays such a role continuously. Thank you.
Mr R B BHOOLA: Hon Chairperson, the MF congratulates the Minister of Finance on the award he received in India recently. We are proud of that.
We are very positive about the allocation of funds for youth employment skills development and the policy shift in respect of the provision of housing for those who belong to the middle-income group. The mistake South Africa must not make is digging deeper into becoming a state giving handouts rather than being a developmental state.
A lot of money should have been given to education for the expansion of the technical aspect and to where there is skills development. In a country where you have to import skilled workers and essential workers in the government service – about 800 000 – and you pay them 30% more than the normal wage, there is definitely something wrong with the direction of our education.
If you look at Gujarat in India, for example, every year they build more technical institutions and medical schools. The MF strongly believes that as far as education and training is concerned in our country, the public sector is playing its role, but the private sector is not.
We have made the mistake of spending billions on capital-intensive projects instead of on labour-intensive projects, and we are going to pay a heavy price.
No country has economic spin-offs after a World Cup. German economists have confirmed that. Korea, Japan and the United States all suffered. Our job must be to make sure that everyone in South Africa has a house and everyone is skilled. Where are the agrarian, economic and industrial revolutions? Black Economic Empowerment, BEE, does not mean that somebody who has a firm gets a contract and farms it out to other people. The construction and the manufacturing industries are important.
However, notwithstanding all of these concerns, the first Budget of the Minister of Finance is welcomed by the MF. Remember, in the MF’s election manifesto, we demanded the following: Lifestyle and unaccounted-for enrichment checks, inspectors in education, and a planning commission. Sars is undertaking the lifestyle check, but add unaccounted-for enrichment checks and what we have developed is called “tenderpreneurship”.
There is another industry that has become very important, and that is the knowledge industry. It is high time that our country moves away from race. Forty-two per cent of scientists in the USA are Indians, and they do not take a ruler and measure an affirmative action policy.
The majority of the players in the New Zealand team are black, but the New Zealand whites do not have a quota for blacks. South Africa is going race crazy. The world is grabbing qualified people and South Africa is chasing qualified people out of the country. Study the wise words and the advice of world-renowned Professor Ramphele.
From today onwards the knowledge industry must grow, and we must count the number of graduates and middle-class people we are producing. India’s growth rate is what it is because of the knowledge industry. Qualified South Africans are getting e-mails from the US offering them jobs and asking when they can start, and in South Africa we parade matriculants. The MF will support the Bill. [Time expired.]
Dr P J RABIE: Hon Deputy President, hon Deputy Minister, hon members, the purpose of the Division of Revenue Bill is to provide for the revenue raised nationally among the national, provincial and local spheres of government for the 2010-11 financial year, and to see that the money raised is spent by these spheres of government. What is significant is that this Bill provides for the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Act, Act 9 of 2009, which empowers Parliament to amend the government Budget and to oversee government actions and monitor spending.
What is also noteworthy is that this piece of legislation will be phased in over a period of three years. The Standing Committee on Appropriations and the Finance committee met on a number of occasions to finalise the establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Directorate, and that will provide support to assist the Finance and Appropriations Committees to strengthen their legislative oversight. The DA supports the establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Office.
The 2010 Budget and the Division of Revenue Bill must be seen in the light that 900 000 South Africans lost their jobs due to the economic recession, that only 12 million South Africans are permanently employed, and that 14 million South Africans depend on some kind of government grant.
The recent escalation of 24,8% in the price of electricity and other inflationary factors may mean that within two years the number of South Africans that depend upon social grants may even increase to 16 million.
The plight of the poor and the needy cannot be left unattended to, but it is also acknowledged that the very limited resources of government must be spent properly so that the benefits of the taxes flow through the system, such as health care, education, municipal infrastructure grants, etc.
In a submission to the Appropriations committee, the Financial and Fiscal Commission said that an in-depth review of the management of conditional grants was needed. It is an open question whether prudent spending and the intended objectives regarding the creation of jobs are attained by government agencies and parastatals. The DA will welcome a review. We urge the Minister to intervene and create the capacity so that proper performance audits can be conducted in dysfunctional entities.
Globally national, provincial and social governments do not grow economies or create jobs. Businesses do that. But governments, through their departments, provide an enabling environment - or a disabling environment, if the department is dysfunctional - which either encourages or discourages economic growth. The task ahead is to alleviate unemployment, which at the present rate is 26,5%. This, Mr Chairman, is clearly unacceptable.
The DA calls upon respective government departments to review our present rigid regulatory environment. The cost of doing business in this country is exorbitant. We need investment. It is said that it is possible to set up a company in less than three weeks in some parts of the world. If we want to alleviate poverty and unemployment, we must be able to compete with these economies if we want to attract sustained investment.
Poor delivery of services is endemic to South Africa’s largest parastatals. Telkom’s service is expensive, with a high fault vote; Eskom’s supply problems have cost the manufacturing and mining sectors millions, while Transnet’s rail division inhibits growth in the mining and agricultural industries. The Chamber of Mines has noted that the lack of rail infrastructure is a huge bottleneck in terms of the development of our mineral resources.
The present system of management within these parastatals is clearly not acceptable. Eskom and Transnet are, at the present moment, without a permanent chief executive officer. What is of further concern is that Eskom has stated publicly that South Africa’s electricity supply-and-demand situation will be tight by the end of this year. To bridge this difference, it is important to involve all role-players to take proactive steps to provide adequate services. I thank you, Mr Chairman. [Applause.]
Adv A D ALBERTS: Agb Mevrou die Huisvoorsitter, die VF Plus neem kennis van die konsepwetgewing ten einde uitvoering te gee aan die allokasie van staatsinkomste na al drie vlakke van regering. Minister Gordhan het ’n ewewigtige begroting aangekondig en daar is groot planne in die pyplyn om werkskepping te bewerkstellig.
Die bekommernis wat die VF Plus egter ten aansien van hierdie regeringsfunksie het, lê weer eens by die implementering van al die planne en die korrekte aanwending van die begrotings. Endemiese korrupsie, baantjies vir boeties, kaderontplooiing, regstellende aksie en swart bemagtiging is kritiese elemente wat die hele Suid-Afrikaanse projek tans van progressie beroof.
Trouens, dit vind reeds op ongekende vlakke plaas. Daar is ook ’n sterk persepsie onder burgery dat politici in die ANC net daar is om hulle eie sakke te vul, om die staat te plunder en om bloot lippediens te dien oor dienslewering. Hierdie sake sal met ’n ongekende aggressie aangespreek moet word. Die ANC-regering sal ook vir Malema moet aanspreek oor sy tenders en swak dienslewering, onder meer. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Adv A D ALBERTS: Hon Madam Speaker, the FF Plus notes of the draft legislation with the view to give effect to the allocation of state revenue to all three spheres of government. Minister Gordhan announced a balanced budget and there are major plans in the pipeline to bring effect the creation of jobs.
The concern that the FF Plus has with regard to this function of government lies once again in the implementation of all these plans and the proper employment of these budgets. Endemic corruption, cronyism, cadre deployment, affirmative action and black empowerment are critical elements that are at this time holding up the progression of the entire South African project.
As a matter of fact, this is already happening at unprecedented levels. There is also a strong perception among the citizenry that politicians in the ANC are there just to fill their own pockets, to pillage the state and to simply give lip-service with regard to service delivery. This matter will have to be tackled with unprecedented aggression. The ANC government should also speak to Malema regarding, inter alia, his tenders and poor service delivery.]
The unprecedented flare-up of service delivery protests is evidence of the uselessness of a Bill if it is not respected. The government and all its office bearers must be seen to respect the rule of law. If they do not, then the people who are paying the salaries of the government will not respect the government and its laws either.
It is a simple process of cause and effect. Therefore, when the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs says that it is the fault of white ratepayers’ associations that certain local governments are not financially viable, he is missing the point completely. If government did its job properly in the first place, citizens would not have to organise into ratepayers’ associations and make use of self-help to survive. It is truly that simple.
One of the ways we can create sustainable service delivery is to bring back the lost expertise forced out of the Public Service and the free market by interventions like affirmative action and black economic empowerment. Otherwise we will have to contend with the situation aptly described by Abbey Makoe in today’s The Star newspaper, and I quote him:
Never, it seems, can the ruling party rely on its rich history in order to curry favour with short-changed communities.
And then he asks: What is to be done? The FF Plus answers: Stop corruption and bring back the lost expertise from the minority communities to act as mentors for future generations. I thank you, Madam Speaker.
Ms R J MASHIGO: Hon Chairperson, Deputy President and Members of Parliament, before I get to my speech I just want to say that it is very interesting that FF MP Mr Spies requested that retired white technicians be employed and that the ANC government employ those people. So if they don’t make any difference, the hon member from the FF must go and talk to them and let them bring about the difference he said in this Parliament they would bring about. [Applause.]
In this debate I’ll focus on the division of revenue in order to determine the extent of the allocations for quality health care and sustainable rural development. Section 214 of the Constitution, as already mentioned, demands that in terms of the division of revenue, resources are allocated in line with provincial needs, fiscal policy and efficiency at all levels of government in order to provide a better life for all. The provinces and local government are best placed to meet the needs and demands of the people, as well as to monitor the expenses in terms of what is happening locally.
The ANC government is guided by the Freedom Charter in that there shall be access to health care for all. No doubt, the Freedom Charter committed government to promoting a preventive health-care scheme, free medical care and hospitalisation, especially for the needy, old, women and the young. As a consequence we all know that since 1994 there have been many achievements in health care.
I can make mention of just a few of these. Greater access and availability of health services has benefited the targeted people. There is free primary health care for all, and right now we are discussing the implementation of national health insurance. There is accelerated implementation of the HIV and Aids plan; and there is improved access and addressing of the needs of those affected by HIV and Aids, including ARV treatment both nationally and provincially.
Nevertheless, we know that we still need to do more - making services available to all South Africans and ensuring better health outcomes. The resources of the public health system need strengthening in the areas of personnel and diseases related to HIV and Aids, and with regard to tuberculosis, the infant mortality rate and the life expectancy rate.
Conditional grants in health care play a large part. I will just mention a few of them, owing to time constraints. We have a comprehensive HIV and Aids grant. We have the hospital revitalisation grant. We have the health professions training and development grant, which will address all the recruitment needs and developmental needs of people, and especially focus, again, on specialists in medicine.
We all know that in the Northern Cape hospitals have been revitalised. The Robert Ferreira Hospital, the Themba Hospital and the Ermelo Hospital are also nearing completion as a result of the hospital revitalisation programme. Similarly, we all know that in the Free State there’s a very intensive programme to address the HIV and Aids-related stigma, conscientising communities and making them aware of such health-related issues.
With regard to rural development, the ANC considers rural development a key pillar in addressing poverty, inequality and unemployment. Historically we know that people in rural areas were neglected owing to policies based on cheap labour and discrimination. We know that right now this is still continuing. We have the eviction of people on the farms. Rural people don’t get any basic services, and it is our duty as the ANC to remember what the Freedom Charter said to us – “The land shall be shared by all those who work it.” These people working the land will be helped with implements, seeds, tractors, infrastructure for irrigation and other forms of material support.
The hon Deputy Minister of Finance has already acknowledged that they have considered what the Appropriations committee has recommended to them, and that is highly appreciated, because it means they remember the mandate that was given to them by the people during the elections in 2009.
We can’t run away from our five basic priorities which were in the manifesto of the ANC and are now the ANC-led government’s policy. We can’t run away from them and try to address other issues in order to satisfy people who are not interested in the development and upliftment of our people. [Applause.]
We are happy that the hon Nkosi Mandela referred to the grant to support water and sanitation infrastructure as part of the rural housing programme. Some people should also appreciate it. The reason why some people don’t appreciate it is that they have never ever experienced what the people who voted for the ANC have experienced. [Applause.]
They never experienced the need for the Expanded Public Works Programme, which addresses the needs of all those people who don’t have anything to eat, people who go to bed hungry. So the only way to address the hunger and poverty of the people is to come up with programmes like the Expanded Public Works Programme.
We discussed that issue in our meetings. We all understand what the EPWP means, we all understand what the second phase of it means and we all know that these people are going to bed hungry. Most of us here have people who work for us and go to sleep hungry, who tell us that they have relatives who lie hungry and they say, “Thanks to the ANC for the Expanded Public Works Programme”. The fact is that the social factor of the Expanded Public Works Programme has been taken a step further and is going to employ these people on a permanent basis, and they are going to earn money like any other person. That will address the really basic needs of the people. They must not come here and grandstand and say that people have everything.
The people out there are listening to you. You go to people to vote for you but you say they must go to sleep hungry. I don’t know how they will go to the polls and vote for you when you still disregard the little that the ANC has done for them to be able to eat. Let’s do some introspection and ask ourselves: Are we being fair? Is the division of revenue unfair? It is quite fair, because it’s addressing the needs of the people.
Whilst on this issue, the purpose of the Budget is to promote rural economic infrastructure which involves the building of roads and railways; the revitalisation of irrigation schemes, dipping tanks, fencing, community gardens and infrastructure; and the erection of bridges. It also goes further to address ICT infrastructure, because people in the rural areas need to be connected like all other people. What labour do we need? We don’t need capital labour to do this. We need all these people to do that job, get paid the incentive - because we all know there’s an incentive - and eat and sleep happily, like any of us present here.
The rural local government has to lead the process of development, land reform and agrarian reform. We all know that we are held fast by the willing-buyer, willing-seller system. No one addresses us and tries to help the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform on how better to approach it, how not to sell the land to foreigners, but rather to sell it to the government with the price of the land not being market-related, and not ignore the needs of local people.
There is a lot of development in the agricultural sector. In KwaZulu-Natal there is the Agribusiness Development Agency, which rescued emerging farmers from collapse through its support. Consequently 13 farms, which fell mainly under the sugar production sector, were included in the sugar mills agreement with the Department of Agriculture.
Even in the Eastern Cape we saw on TV last week that people were happy, stating how the government has helped them. Let’s all see that. Let’s all think of the people. Let’s all think of those people who, in 1994, addressed the Freedom Charter of the ANC, who took part in the Congress of the People representing the ANC, speaking about the Freedom Charter, feeling very well how people felt. They went there to address what we are addressing here.
The hon Nel said, “Don’t retard our progress. Think of revolution and what our achievements are supposed to do.” [Interjections.] Everybody needs to have a better life. Fortunately our committee knows everything. We are liberated on everything. Whatever statements they change in here we are going to address in our meetings. We are going to address the monitoring and evaluation issues in our meetings. We are going to sit down together and address the issues and see to it that the departments are performing well. We are going to sit on them, and we are going to roll up our sleeves and say, “Let there be delivery; let there be monitoring; let the committees account to us; and let even the portfolio committees address all the issues that affect us”. The ANC supports the Bill. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE: House Chair, let me take this opportunity to thank all the members who contributed to the debate and supported this Division of Revenue Bill before this House. A number of issues were raised, but I am going to stick to those that relate to this Bill because some members happened to have brought the wrong speeches.
The issue of the conditional grants was raised by a number of members of this House and the committee. The performance of the grants has generally improved over the years. More children are being fed at schools compared to five years ago. Statistics also show improvement in terms of access to basic services such as water, sanitation, electricity and houses. HIV and Aids programmes are improving and a number of these grants are actually doing what they are supposed to do.
However, we agree that more needs to be done. Processes are currently underway to review these grants. We trust that working together with the committee and this House, we will be able to improve on performance and oversight. At the same time we will ensure that government’s programme of action is given effect.
Also, as Mr Singh indicated, we agree that provincial and equitable share formulas are based on outdated data. This is the reason that the matter is also being looked at and we trust that the 2011 Division of Revenue Bill will take this into account. One would recall that the last time we had a census was in 2001, hence the statistics we used are the only official stats available. However, we take the point, Mr Singh.
We also want to re-emphasise the fact that in order for us to ensure that these grants are not abused to pay debt or other unrelated matters which they were not meant for, as has been raised by some members, oversight in Parliament will assist us to identify those areas. The point you raised, Mr Singh, regarding the introduction of trading accounts, is a bit of a challenge because it would be difficult to monitor. We trust that you are going to work with us in finding a solution to this.
Regarding the issue of the Expanded Public Works Programme, phase two of the programme has a focus on increasing spending on labour-intensive programmes. I agree that these jobs are not sustainable, but research has also proved that once people have actually been in employ - no matter how short the period is - it provides them the opportunity to be able to move into other areas of employment.
The water services operating grant does make provision for the maintenance of existing water and infrastructure. We do, however, take the point and we should monitor whether municipalities utilise it according to the Act. Also, when it comes to the issue of capacity within municipalities, government is looking at the turnaround strategy. One would recall that the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs tabled the turnaround strategy of the department. Part of that turnaround strategy looks at building capacity in a number of areas, amongst them financial management, infrastructure delivery and improving governance. So those are the areas that we would be looking at to ensure that that happens.
With regard to the issue of the recommendations by the Financial and Fiscal Commission, the FFC, as members would know, there is a response to those recommendations. We take the recommendations seriously. We are working together with the committee to ensure that those are taken into account.
Ms Ditshetelo raised the issue that the Bill must be consulted upon. The consultation process is the one that took place in the committee where - I’m told - the member missed a number of meetings. It would help when members take those consultative processes seriously because that is an opportunity to do just that. [Interjections.] However, we shall continue working with them even if it means visiting some of the members at home so that the consultation can take its real course!
Hon Ramatlakane raised the issue of whether Parliament would be equal to the task of oversight. I would want to believe that because this Parliament includes the hon member, it is equal to the task. All other members will work together to ensure that that happens.
Chairperson, without taking much of your time, once again let me take this opportunity to thank members for their support for the Division of Revenue Bill. I trust that we are now going to go out there and ensure that its implementation delivers what it is supposed to. I thank you. [Applause.]
Bill read a second time.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS – 2008-09 ANNUAL REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS – FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND ANNUAL REPORT OF TRANS CALEDON TUNNEL AUTHORITY (TCTA) AND WATER RESEARCH COMMISSION (WRC) FOR 2008-09
CONSIDERATION OF JOINT REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY – DEPARTMENT OF WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY’S FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2008-09
There was no debate.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Honourable House Chairperson, hon Deputy President, I move:
That the Reports be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report on 2008-09 Annual Report of Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism accordingly adopted.
Report on Financial Statements and Annual Report of Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) and Water Research Commission (WRC) for 2008-09 accordingly adopted.
Joint Report on Department of Water Affairs and Forestry’s Financial Statements and Annual Report for 2008-09 accordingly adopted.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON MINING - OVERSIGHT VISIT TO FOUR PROVINCES TO INVESTIGATE ILLEGAL MINING ACTIVITIES
Mr M F GONA: Honourable Chairperson, hon Deputy President, hon members, the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources received reports in June 2009 that more than 86 suspected illegal miners died at Harmony Gold Mines in the Free State. True to being an activist Parliament, we immediately conducted public hearings followed by oversight visits that targeted other affected mines in the Free State, the North West, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. A detailed and unanimously adopted report on those oversight visits was submitted to Parliament on 27 November 2009. Our findings are that the phenomenon of illegal mining, which poses a serious challenge to the mining industry, is planned, funded and operated by highly sophisticated, well-armed and syndicated groups of criminals that are located within the country and beyond our borders. Their foot soldiers, who are at the coalface of these activities, are largely unemployed ex-mineworkers and general jobseekers, including ex-mineworkers from our neighbouring states. Apart from the ordinary people who engage in illegal mining activities such as for coal for subsistence purposes at Coronation Mines in KwaZulu-Natal, high-calibre weapons are used in forced mining in some of the mines such as Barberton Mines in Mpumalanga. Places such as G-Hostels in Welkom are used as treatment plants where the community gets exposed to high levels of toxic gases emitted during these primitive processes of smelting gold-bearing ore. Learners from the adjacent school are lured out of classrooms to participate in these hazardous production processes.
We appreciate and fully support the well-planned intervention strategy being executed by the security cluster in combating this scourge. The initial positive results have been registered in raids recently mounted by our security forces in Welkom and Barberton mines. This includes the offer of amnesty against prosecution to those illegal miners who surrendered to the police.
Multipronged strategies are required to rid the country of this phenomenon of illegal mining that has already killed more than 200 people and has cost us more than R5,6 billion in revenue losses per annum. We must remove these apparent and lucrative market conditions and strive for the eradication of conditions that are conducive to illegal mining. These strategies, therefore, must include the arrest and incarceration of identified kingpins and the withdrawal of licences for the gold dealers who are guilty of laundering illicit gold. Mining companies, however, must also be held directly accountable for access control in their mines. The Department of Mineral Resources and mining companies must be encouraged to assist small-scale miners to operate the mothballed and unused mine shafts that still contain gold-bearing ore deposits.
In conclusion, the portfolio commmittee is committed to processing all the necessary amendments to the legislation aimed at strengthening our legislative framework in dealing decisively with this scourge. I thank you.
There was no debate.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE ON AUDITOR-GENERAL ON STRATEGIC PLAN AND BUDGET OF AUDITOR-GENERAL
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE ON AUDITOR-GENERAL ON ANNUAL REPORT OF AUDITOR-GENERAL 2008-09
There was no debate.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move:
That the Reports be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report on Strategic Plan and Budget of Auditor-General accordingly adopted.
Report on Annual Report of Auditor-General 2008-09 accordingly adopted.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM ON 2008-09 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON RESTITUTION OF LAND RIGHTS
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM ON 2008-09 ANNUAL REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OF LAND AFFAIRS
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM ON 2008-09 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE INGONYAMA TRUST BOARD
There was no debate.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move:
That the Reports be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report on 2008-09 Annual Report of the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights accordingly adopted.
Report on 2008-09 Annual Report of Department of Land Affairs accordingly adopted.
Report on 2008-09 Annual Report of the Ingonyama Trust Board accordingly adopted.
The House adjourned at 16:29.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
1. The Speaker and the Chairperson
(a) Strategic Plan of the Office of the Public Protector for April 2010 – March 2013 and Annual Performance Plan for April 2010 – March 2011.
(b) Letter from the Minister of Trade and Industry dated 27 February 2010 (received 4 March 2010), to the Speaker of the National Assembly explaining the delay in the submission of the tabling of Strategic Plans in terms of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, 2009.
TABLING OF STRATEGIC PLANS IN TERMS OF THE MONEY BILLS AMENDMENT PROCEDURE AND RELATED MATTERS ACT, 2009.
The Office of the Leader of Government Business requested two weeks ago that, in terms of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, 2009 (hereafter referred to as “the Act”), strategic plans must be tabled after the fiscal framework is passed on 2 March 2010. The Department of Trade and Industry has reviewed the Act and noted that entities are also required to table. However, the Act does not define “entities”. According to legal advice provided to the dti, “entities” are defined in the PFMA, and therefore departments are required to table strategic of all entities listed in Schedule 2 and 3 of the PFMA by 03 March 2010.
Previously, in terms of the PFMA and Treasury Regulations only the dti, CIPRO and SAMAF were required to table. As you would note, the implementation of the new Act poses a significant challenge as 15 dti entities who were previously not required to table are now compelled to do so without sufficient notice. The dti is in the process of informing all 15 entities of this legal requirement and will ensure that all strategic plans are tabled by the end of June 2010. However, to facilitate the process, the department will ensure that, entities that are required to brief the Trade and Industry Parliamentary Committees, will provide sufficient information to the relevant Committees in preparation for discussion.
Should you wish to discuss the matter further, please contact me.
Dr Rob Davies, MP
Minister of Trade and Industry
cc: Ms J Fubbs, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry
Mr D Gamede, Chairperson of the Select Committee on Trade and International Relations
(c) Letter from the Minister of Science and Technology dated 4 March 2010, to the Speaker of the National Assembly explaining the delay in the submission of the tabling of Strategic Plans in terms of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, 2009.
TABLING OF THE STRATEGIC PLAN FOR THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCE OF SOUTH AFRICA
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) received a letter from the office of the Deputy-President, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, regarding the tabling of strategic plans by departments, entities or institutions on or before 3 March 2010. The request is in line with the requirements of section 10(1)(b&c) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act of 2009, which was assented by the President on the 16 April 2009.
The letter from the Deputy-President was received by the DST on the 9 February 2010 and all the DST based entities were informed about this request. All DST based entities have managed to submit their strategic plans for tabling, except for the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF).
ASSAF was established by an Act of Parliament. ASSAF has since updated their strategic plan in May 2006. Although the ASSAF strategic plan is still in action, the ASSAF Council is in the process of reviewing and updating this current strategic plan with the aim of presenting it later to Parliament. The Academy has also prepared copies on the current strategic plan and if granted permission could table to Parliament.
The problem is that previously entities used to present, on request, their strategic plans to the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology. In future, the DST will take the responsibility that all DST based entities submit their strategic plans as required by section 10(1) (b&c) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act. The ASSAF Council will also be required to finalise the process of updating their strategic plan and submit to Parliament.
Should the Speaker require additional information on this matter, please feel free to contact my office or the Director-General of the DST, Dr Phil Mjwara.
G N M PANDOR, MP
(d) Letter from the Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission dated 4 March 2010, to the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces explaining the delay in the submission of the tabling of Strategic Plans in terms of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, 2009.
Late Tabling of Statistics South Africa Strategic Plan
I have been informed by the Leader of Government Business that in terms of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, Parliament required all strategic plans to be tabled by 3 March 2010. This is obviously a departure from the previous guidelines in the form of Chapter 5 of the Treasury regulations that prescribed that strategic plans be tabled at least ten days before the discussion of the Budget vote in the relevant committee.
The Leader of Government Business’ correspondence (dated 8 February 2010) brought this change to my attention at a somewhat late stage as departments were still working on the basis of the timeframes set out in the Treasury regulations. As the correspondence received referred to a letter received from the Speaker to the National Assembly, we therefore wish to indicate that the strategic plan of Statistics South Africa will unfortunately not be able meet this deadline.
While I am aware that the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act does not require a written apology for late tabling of strategic plans, I take our responsibility to account to Parliament very seriously and therefore feel compelled to explain our late tabling. I have made the requisite arrangements with the parliamentary committee to ensure that the documents are tabled with sufficient time for them to interrogate the information.
I trust that this explanation will be given the desired consideration.
Trevor A Manuel, MP
Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission
Date: 4 March 2010
2. The Minister of Communications
(a) Strategic Plan of the South African Broadcasting Corporation for 2010 – 2013.
Correction: The above entry replaces item 14(e) published under the name of the Minister of Communications in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports of 3 March 2010, page 317.
3. The Minister of Economic Development
(a) Medium Term Strategic Plan for the Department of Economic Development for 2010/11 - 2012/13.
4. The Minister in The Presidency: Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
(a) Strategic Plan of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) for 2010 – 2011.
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