Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 10 Mar 2011
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 10 MARCH 2011
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:04.
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 1293.
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr L RAMATLAKANE: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of Cope:
That the House debates the continuous intimidation and attack by the government on the Public Protector.
Mr M WATERS: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates the conditions of neonatal wards across the country, and the government’s response to the high number of baby deaths in public hospitals.
Mr G D SCHNEEMANN: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House debates the mobile police stations in remote rural areas to combat crime.
Mrs H LAMOELA: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates the impact of the War on Poverty campaign on unemployment in South Africa and ways to improve the strategy in the future.
Mnr N J VAN DEN BERG: Speaker, ek gee hiermee kennis dat ek op die volgende sittingsdag van die Raad namens die DA sal voorstel:
Dat die Raad –
- die kontraktering van jong belowende sportlui in Suid-Afrika deur die sogenaamde ryk sportunies in Suid-Afrika debateer; en
- kennis neem dat —
- dit nie bevorderlik vir sportontwikkeling is nie;
- dit nie noodwendig tot die volle ontwikkeling van die tiener as mens lei nie;
- dit ontwikkeling van sport op die platteland verhinder; en
- dat dit ontwikkelende jong sportlui van geleenthede in ’n oopgedrewe samelewing ontneem.
(Translation of Afrikaans notice of motion follows.)
Mr N J VAN DENBERG: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House —
(1) debates the contracting of promising young sportspeople by the so-called rich sports unions in South Africa; and
(2) notes that —
(a) it is not conducive for the development of sport;
- it does not necessarily contribute to the holistic development of the teenager as human being;
- it hinders the development of sport in rural areas; and
- it deprives developing young sportspeople of opportunities in an open society.]
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Speaker, on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, I move the draft resolution printed in his name on the Order Paper, as follows:
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 on the Division of Revenue Bill [B4 – 2011 (Reprint)] (National Assembly – sec 76.)
Motion agreed to.
POLITICAL LANDSCAPE IN NORTH AFRICA
Ms L JACOBUS (ANC): Hon Speaker, we note that the political landscape of North Africa and the Middle East has been rewritten. It is a landscape which favours greater democracy and independence in the region, critical for a whole range of vested interests. It’s a people’s call for democracy, change for a better life and involvement in deciding their own destiny. In line with the principle of an enhanced African agenda and sustainable development, we should ensure that peace, security and stability returns to Libya and its people.
As Parliament, we should protect people’s rights and fight for the realisation of the African century. As government and Parliament, we should therefore intensify our efforts to stop the violence and support Libyan efforts to resolve the conflict. One life lost is one life too many.
We should also take this opportunity to express our condolences to all the families who have lost their loved ones during this very unfortunate and unnecessary conflict. We therefore call for a speedy resolution to the conflict situation in Libya. We have hope for a solution considered within the United Nation’s framework, in close co-ordination with the African Union and the Arab League. Thank you. [Applause.]
BABY DEATHS AT CECILIA MAKIWANE HOSPITAL
Ms E MORE (DA): Speaker, the DA reiterates its call today for a full independent inquiry into all neonatal wards across the country after recent news of 29 babies deaths at the Cecilia Makiwane hospital in East London. The DA extends its condolences to the parents of these babies that died so tragically. It has been reported that 29 babies died in a three-week period from late December 2010 to mid January 2011, 13 due to bacterial infections. These deaths were entirely avoidable if the hospital had had proper hygiene procedures in place.
It seems nothing had been learnt from the tragic deaths at Vrede two and half years ago. Vrede forms part of the same hospital complex whose CEO, Vuyo Musani, is an ex ANC councillor, and is — we believe — unqualified for the position he holds as CEO of the hospital. It has been reported to the DA that the neonatal ward at Cecilia Makiwane has run out of basic supplies such as antiseptic soap, gloves and hands-free spray containers used to fight killer infections.
Despite these latest tragic incidents, Mr Musani’s contract has again been extended — what a shame - this time, until the end of June this year. He also apparently received a performance bonus of R19 000. The DA has written to the Minister of Health and the MEC for Health in the Eastern Cape, calling for a copy of Mr Musani’s performance contract. Thank you, Chairperson. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
PRESIDENT’S ALLEGED WORDS TO MUAMMAR GADDAFI
Mr L S NGONYAMA (Cope): Hon Speaker, South Africa, as a constitutional state, would really like to know what the President actually said to Muammar Gaddafi. Recently, BBC monitoring has reported that Libyan TV has been quoting President Zuma as saying:
Stressing the need to depend on tendentious reports circulated by foreign media outlets
... during a phone call with Gaddafi.
President Zuma was also reported to have called on the African Union to “take decisive action and uncover the conspiracy that Libya is facing.”
This alleged conversation is alarming, as the government, through the United Nations Security Council, is condemning the killing of people and denouncing the use of violence. On the other hand, it might also be saying the opposite in private. These acts of violence undermine human rights and threaten the lives of innocent citizens.
Cope supports the need to protect human rights and human lives.
The President of South Africa must stand squarely behind the international position, and not be seen as providing any sort of comfort to Gaddafi — who has been using war planes and tanks and has heavy armaments to attack civilians. If government is using a double standard on this issue, our Constitution, as well as the principle of foreign policy, which stresses strong respect for human rights and democracy, will be severely compromised. We cannot be a laughing stock within the nations comprising the United Nations Security Council. Loss of civilian life on any scale cannot be justified. Cope insists that a crystal-clear message emanates from the President. South Africa’s position should come first. I thank you. [Applause.]
BILL OF RESPONSIBILITIES TO INSTIL VALUES IN YOUTH
Mr C M MONI (ANC): Hon Speaker and members, our statement reads as follows: The ANC welcomes the announcement that Lead SA and the Department of Basic Education, with the support of National Interfaith Movement, will soon launch a nationwide programme to teach learners the Bill of Responsibilities. For the first time the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa has been transformed into a practical document, the Bill of Responsibilities.
The Bill of Rights is a legal document, while the Bill of Responsibilities provides a framework of values which we all need to embrace. It will be especially aimed at the youth, but will in time filter into families and the community at large.
The Bill will seek to inculcate the values of rights and responsibilities amongst school children. In particular, the Bill focuses on respect for human dignity and the work ethic. Among the aspects covered in the Bill of Responsibilities will be issues such as the right to education, and the responsibility to attend school regularly, to learn and to work hard, to co-operate respectfully with teachers and fellow learners and to adhere to rules and the codes of conduct of the school.
Other issues that will also be covered include how to be a good and loyal South African citizen — obeying the laws of the country and contributing in every possible way to make South Africa a greater country.
The ANC-led government is committed to building a caring society. The Bill of Rights will play an important role in building the character of children, deterring child pregnancies and the youth’s abuse of drugs and alcohol. I thank you. [Applause.]
ILLEGAL STRIKE BY SAMWU MEMBERS
Mr K P SITHOLE: Hon Speaker, the IFP has noted with grief and concern that a new tendency has been established in South Africa. The labour union fraternity is engaging in acts of intimidation and violence. The latest strike by Samwu is a primary example of a union overstepping the line and overestimating its rights.
This particular illegal strike started three days after the dismissal of seven of their shop stewards from Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality on 26 May 2010. On 12 March 2011, the above-mentioned shop stewards illegally assaulted a presiding officer during a disciplinary hearing. It happened when the council meeting was violently disrupted by the unions.
Cosatu and ANC-affiliated trade unions are gradually exposing themselves as vigilante groups with no regard for others. It is clear to the IFP that the ANC has lost its leadership role in terms of its relationship with its alliance partners. Therefore, it is being disregarded by unions acting in such a destructive manner. The IFP condemns what has been caused by Samwu, and the ANC’s inability to call its alliance partners to order. I thank you.
NATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS AND EMPLOYMENT EQUITY
Dr C P MULDER: Agb Speaker, die VF Plus is van mening dat die bepalings in die wysingingswet op gelyke indiensneming, byvoorbeeld dat die nasionale demografie vir regstellende aksie wat in die Wes-Kaap geld, tersyde gestel behoort te word. Die VF Plus stel verder voor dat die volgende verdere aanpassings aan die wetsontwerp aangebring word: Eerstens, die verskuiwing van die fokus van uitsetgebaseerde regstellende aksie tot insetgebaseerde regstellende aksie, deurdat meer klem gelê word op ontwikkeling eerder as die blote meganiese vul van posisies ter wille van getalle.
Tweedens, die inagneming van die beskikbare bron van geskoolde arbeid uit die aangewese groep wat die aanstelling van wittes ook sal toelaat indien geen kandidate uit die aangewese groep beskikbaar is nie.
Die VF Plus se posisie is verder dat hierdie veranderinge van kardinale belang is om in die eerste plek die status quo te herstel, waardeur daar wegbeweeg word van die antibruin en –Indiër rassistiese beginsels van mnr Jimmy Manyi en die ANC. Die volgende stap is om dan in die teenoorgestelde rigting te beweeg, deur die saak te voer dat regstellende aksie finaal uitgefaseer behoort te word om sodoende die land te verlos van die huidige antiwit arbeidsregime wat talle lewens verwoes.
Die eerste stap in hierdie rigting is om alle jong mense wat, byvoorbeeld, na 1990 gebore is, vry te stel van regstellende aksie. Dit sal ’n manier wees om werklik by ’n meriete-samelewing uit te kom waar daar nie onbillik teen enigeen op grond van sy velkleur gediskrimineer word nie. Dankie. (Translation of Afrikaans member’s statement follows.)
[Dr C P MULDER: Hon Speaker, the FF Plus is of the opinion that the provisions in the Employment Equity Amendment Bill, for example that the national demographics that apply for affirmative action in the Western Cape, should be set aside. The FF Plus further suggests that the following additional amendments be made to the Bill. Firstly, that the focus be shifted from output-based affirmative action to input-based affirmative action, by putting more emphasis on development rather than on the mere mechanical filling of posts for the sake of numbers.
Secondly, that the available source of skilled labour from the designated group be taken into consideration, which will also allow for the appointment of whites should no candidate from the designated group be available.
Furthermore, the position of the FF Plus is that these changes are of vital importance, in the first place, to restore the status quo, whereby there will be a move away from the anticoloured and anti-Indian racist principles of Mr Jimmy Manyi and the ANC. The next step would then be to move in the opposite direction, by putting forward a position for affirmative action to be phased out in the end in order to rid the country of the existing antiwhite labour regime that is destroying many lives.
The first step in this direction is to exempt all young people who were born, for example, after 1990, from affirmative action. This will be a way of really getting to a society based on merit where there will not be unfair discrimination against anyone on the basis of skin colour. Thank you.]
INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION INVESTMENT IN GREEN ECONOMY
Mr Z C NTULI (ANC): Hon Speaker, the ANC welcomes an announcement made by the Minister of Economic Development that the Industrial Development Corporation, IDC, has committed R25 billion to a new investment in the green economy over the next five years. In addition, the IDC will also make R5 billion available in funding over the next five years to the Agro-processing sector.
The Department of Economic Development, in partnership with the IDC, has started with the installation of solar water geysers in new low-cost houses. To date, it had 25 000 units installed, with a further 170 000 units planned. This project will contribute to employment creation, as well as strengthening the local manufacture of components, as we intend to improve the sourcing of components to at least 85% local content shortly.
The ANC-led government is committed to improving the lives of our people, and will continue to engage with various stakeholders to find an integrated approach towards job creation and poverty alleviation. Together we can make this the year for consolidating people’s power for the national democratic society as we move towards the 100 years of a selfless peoples’ struggle. I thank you. [Applause.]
PRESIDENT ZUMA’S STAND ON CÔTE D’IVOIRE CRISIS
Rev K R J MESHOE (ACDP): Hon Speaker, the ACDP commends the principled stand taken by President Jacob Zuma on the Côte d’Ivoire crisis. While many African leaders do not insist on getting the true facts of what happened there; before, during and after the second round of the presidential elections, President Zuma called for a thorough investigation into what really happened.
Former President Thabo Mbeki was requested by Mr Jean Ping, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, to intervene in Côte d’Ivoire, where he spent two days in Abidjan. What is surprising is that Mr Mbeki’s report has not been made public, nor have his recommendations been acknowledged or taken into consideration. We question why so many African leaders don’t want their people to know the truth about what happened in Côte d’Ivoire.
The ACDP, that believes in righteousness, fairness and justice, wants to know why the African Union, AU, does not publicly state whether or not they agree with Mr Mbeki’s report, and why they have not accepted his recommendations. That, we believe, would go a long way towards helping to resolve the Côte d’Ivoire crisis.
The ACDP calls on African leaders to be honest, fair and principled on the Côte d’Ivoire debacle, and refuse to be manipulated by foreign powers that appear to be demanding their unquestionable support in exchange for foreign aid. Thank you. [Applause.]
RESPONSE BY GOVERNMENT ON FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE IN KWAZULU-NATAL
Dr L L BOSMAN (DA): Mr Speaker, the response by government to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in KwaZulu-Natal left much to be desired. The department of agriculture and veterinary services waited until it was too late to effectively control the area where the outbreak started from. As of yesterday, no movement control had been implemented, even though the defence force was on standby.
It has come to the DA’s attention that the border fence between Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal has fallen into considerable disrepair, while the inland foot-and-mouth fence is also in a poor state despite the huge budgetary allocations to maintain it.
The foot-and-mouth disease was detected in Southern Mozambique in December last year, where 179 animals tested positive. Swaziland took immediate steps to prevent it from entering their territory, while our own Department of Agriculture did not take any action, resulting in the World Health Organization for Animal Health’s, OIE, foot-and-mouth-free status being withdrawn.
The main stumbling block appears to lie in the lack of capacity and knowledge of the control systems in government, as there are currently 184 vacant veterinary posts in the border and control staff of the department. There is also lack of proper control of our borders. Farmers will, as a result of the closure of our borders for exporting livestock and agricultural products, suffer significant losses and some farmers may even become bankrupt.
The agricultural sector in South Africa already faces significant financial strain and this sector can ill afford more stresses. The sector is not only a significant provider of employment, but also guarantees food security for our country.
The government needs to explain why it took so long to identify the outbreak, as well as why its control measures to stop the spread of the disease were not put in place immediately. Thank you. [Interjections.] [Time expired.] [Applause.]
LAUNCH OF SOCIAL RELIEF SYSTEM FOR VICTIMS OF NATURAL DISASTERS
Ms H F MATLANYANE (ANC): Thank you, Speaker. The ANC welcomes the launch of the social relief system by the Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs, which aims at giving support to those severely affected by floods, lightning and other forms of natural disasters. Rural communities throughout the country will receive social relief to the value of R27 million. The official unveiling will take place on the 15th of March in the Amajuba district in KwaZulu-Natal, before it is rolled out into the Eastern Cape, where many people were killed by lightning.
The department aims to conclude the social relief system by the 26th April in the Sedibeng district in Gauteng. Natural disaster victims will be provided with basic needs such as emergency houses, gel stoves, oil lamps, solar lights and radios so that they can be aware of pending storm weather conditions. They will also be provided with lightning conductors to protect them against lightning strikes which recently killed many people in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
In the short term, government will provide emergency housing in eight provinces, with each province getting 100 emergency houses while the department continues to develop medium-term strategies for rural infrastructure development in areas heavily affected.
The ANC applauds this initiative by government which aims at providing relief to heavily affected areas, especially where families were left destitute, without food or shelter. I thank you.
SALARY DEDUCTIONS FROM ALL TEACHERS IN KWAZULU-NATAL
Mr A M MPONTSHANE (IFP): Hon Speaker, the decision by the Department of Basic Education to impose a blanket deduction of salaries for teachers in KwaZulu-Natal following last year’s strike is a source of concern to the IFP. It is totally unacceptable that teachers who did not take part in the strike should be deprived of their hard-earned money for the actions of others.
By these actions the Department of Basic Education has not only failed these teachers, but also its learners who are the ones who will ultimately pay the price for the department’s ill-advised decision if and when teachers have no reason to teach during the strikes.
The IFP urges the Minister and the department to rethink its policy on this matter and not to punish loyal teachers who walk the extra mile for our children’s education and teach under very difficult circumstances. I thank you.
GOVERNMENT’S INTERFERING WITH THE PUBLIC PROTECTOR
Ms L H ADAMS (Cope): Hon Speaker, Cope supports the position of the Public Protector with regard to the report being final and that she is not prepared to engage any office bearer of government to review it.
It is unacceptable for the Minister to reject any report from a Chapter 9 institution — let alone a report on a matter that was thoroughly investigated over a period of six months. This House should be informed why the Minister did not make use of at least five opportunities to comment on the draft report.
Is this perhaps some dogma of government which has come to believe that they are above the law and even the Constitution of the country? The Public Protector found the process of arranging the R500 million lease agreement for the SAPS headquarters as fatally flawed.
She also made clear recommendations on steps that should be taken against officials in the Department of Public Works responsible for the fatally flawed lease agreement. The fact that damning findings were made is not a reason for any political pressure on that institution.
The responsibilities of the Public Protector have been determined by statute. What appears to be tension between the previous Minister of Public Works and the current incumbent can never be allowed to undermine the role of the Public Protector.
We as Cope demand an unequivocal statement from government that they will not interfere with the work of the Public Protector or any other Chapter 9 institution. If they are not willing to state that categorically, it means that this government regards itself above the Constitution of this country. Thank you.
BASIC SERVICES FOR REMOTE RURAL VILLAGES IN LIMPOPO
Mrs N T NOVEMBER (ANC): The ANC views the expansion of basic infrastructure, which includes roads, electricity, water connections and public toilet systems in rural areas, as critical in the rural development strategy.
More than 500 homes in Limpopo will have electricity for the first time, following the handover of the R7 million electrification project on 22 February 2011 by the Polokwane Mayor, Freddy Greaver, to residents of the three villages of GaKgole, Mohlakeng and Makgabeng outside Polokwane.
This project, therefore, underlines the ANC’s effective rural development programmes, and ensures that investment in infrastructure and services reaches those areas of the country that have been most adversely affected.
UNDERSPENDING OF BUDGETS
Mr P J RABIE (DA): Speaker, in the state of the nation address, the hon President promised the nation a whole host of new projects and two weeks later, the Minister of Finance announced the Budget to deliver on the President’s commitments. But does this government actually have the ability across the board to spend the budgets allocated to it?
At the end of the third quarter of the financial year, that is December 2010, departments should generally have expanded 75% of their budgets. The fact is that overall expenditure by all the departments reached a level of only 73%, leaving billions of rand unspent.
The main perpetrators during this period were Public Works which spent 71,7%, Defence and Military Veterans which spent 70,9%, Rural Development 66,5%, Education 66%, Home Affairs 64%, Water Affairs 61% and Communications which spent a pathetically low 45,2%.
Underspending against budgets by only these departments mentioned, amounted to R5 billion at the end of the third quarter. No figures are available for the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities as this department neglected to submit figures to Treasury as required by the Public Finance Management Act, PFMA. I doubt if it had anything to crow about.
Major underspending occurred on important programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme and the infrastructure improvement programme, and there was no expenditure on the loveLife project. The main reason given for the failure to perform is almost always a lack of capacity, yet the departments do very little to fill their vacancies.
How does government aim to achieve service delivery objectives if the departments continuously fail to spend the money they have received? The situation might improve if government appoints competent managers and fires the comrades. Thank you. [Applause]
PLAN TO IMPROVE GAUTENG HIGH SCHOOLS
Mrs H H MALGAS (ANC): The improvement in the 2010 National Senior Certificate results proves that the ANC-led government is on the right track. Thus, riding on the success of the 2010 matric results, Gauteng Education unveiled the expanded Secondary School Improvement Plan on 26 February 2011, which is aimed at assisting schools that achieved less than 80% pass rate in last year’s matric exams.
This year the programme has expanded the number of sites throughout the province from 94 to 109 classes, which are being held every Saturday and during school holidays, as well as targeting 51 000 Grade 12 learners in 390 schools, and employing 1 800 expert tutors. The tutors will provide tuition to learners in Grade 12 in subjects like maths, maths literacy, accounting, physical science, life science, history and geography.
This project reasserts the ANC’s resolve to improve the quality of schooling, particularly focusing on performance in mathematics, science and technology and language development.
Therefore, the ANC supports this initiative and hopes that other provinces will initiate similar programmes at the beginning of the year in order to produce even better results for 2011. Just to note, Gauteng’s results - they were first in South Africa — were 78,6%. Thank you.
PRESIDENT’S ALLEGED WORDS TO MUAMMAR GADDAFI
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Mr E L Ebrahim): Speaker, I think there was a question about our President having a discussion with Col Gaddafi. I wish to state that Col Gaddafi did ring our President. He wanted to inform him about his point of view on the situation in his country.
The President asked Col Gaddafi that he should immediately stop the violence. The President condemned the act of violence against unarmed civilians and reiterated our support for the UN Security Council resolution. Thank you. [Applause.]
ILLEGAL STRIKE BY SAMWU MEMBERS
NATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS AND EMPLOYMENT EQUITY
BILL OF RESPONSIBILITIES TO INSTIL VALUES IN YOUTH
UNGQONGQOSHE WEZABASEBENZI: Ngiyabonga Somlomo, ngiyethemba ukuthi nginemizuzu emine ngoba ngizophendula imibuzo emibili. Owokuqala yilowo ophakanyiswe yilungu le-IFP, othi i-ANC ayisakwazi ukulawula izinyunyana. Ngifisa ukusho ukuthi i-ANC ihola umbimbi kodwa izinhlangano ezingaphansi kombimbi zizimele. Okwesibili ngokoMthethosisekelo waleli lizwe, izinyunyana zinalo ilungelo lokuteleka. Thina njenge-ANC esingahambisani nakho wukuthi uma betelekile bese kuba nodlame. Ngiyethemba ilungu elihloniphekile lizokhumbula ukuthi lwalungakanani udlame olwalukhona KwaZulu-Natali ngenkathi beyothula i-Wusa. Asihambisani nokuthi amalungu ezinyunyana abe nodlame uma eteleka.
Okwesibili kubheke kwilungu elihloniphekile le-Freedom Front eliza nezincomo kule Ndlu. Lapha sikhuluma ngomthetho osahlongozwa, ongekabekwa ezithebeni zale Ndlu; okusenokuthi ohlelweni lwe-National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac, i-Nedlac yenze izichibiyelo, kwenzeke iKhabhinethi ithi ayiqhubeki nalezi zichibiyelo. Ngakho-ke ngiyafisa ukuthi Somlomo uke uqeqeshe amalungu ale Ndlu — ikakhulukazi angaphesheya — mayelana nokuthi uhlelo lokumiswa kwemithetho luhamba kanjani ngoba kuyacaca ukuthi hhayi kumnyama. [Ihlombe.]
Ngiyafisa-ke futhi ukuthi asingavimbeli ukuthi amalungu omphakathi ajule ngengxoxo, yithi siyile Ndlu esathi iNingizimu Afrika ayijule ngengxoxo; asibayekeni-ke baxoxe bese beza nezincomo noma siyaqhubeka noma asiqhubeki. Ngifuna ukuthi-ke “hlehla bheseni akukaphakwa”. Ngiyabonga. (Translation of isiZulu speech follows.)
[The MINISTER OF LABOUR: Thank you, Speaker. I hope I have four minutes as I will respond to two questions. The first one is the one raised by the member of the IFP, stating that the ANC is no longer able to control the unions. I wish to state that the ANC leads the tripartite alliance, but all organisations in the alliance are independent. Secondly, according to the Constitution of this country, unions have a right to strike. We, as the ANC, don’t support violence when they go on strike. I trust the hon member will recall the amount of violence in KwaZulu-Natal when they launched Uwusa. We don’t support the actions of union members who become violent when they go on strike.
The second one is directed to the hon member of the Freedom Front Plus who presented recommendations to this House. Here we are talking about a White Paper, not a Bill tabled before this House; amendments might be made during the preparation by the National Economic Development and Labour Council which the Cabinet might not approve. I therefore wish, Speaker, that you train members of this House – especially those from the opposition — on how legislation is drafted since it is clear that they are not clear about this. [Applause.]
I again wish that we don’t prevent the members of the public from deeply discussing issues; it is us as this House who said South Africa must discuss issues deeply, so let us allow them to discuss them and come up with recommendations whether we must or must not proceed. I want to say, “let’s not rush, the right time will come”. I thank you.]
BASIC SERVICES FOR REMOTE RURAL VILLAGES IN LIMPOPO
The MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Speaker, we welcome the statements by colleagues from the ANC concerning the advances that are being made by government with respect to the provision of electricity and basic services for the people of our country. This clearly indicates that resources are being utilised and that they are being utilised according to the programmes that government has established and set in place as its objective of ensuring that the people of our country have access to services and enjoy access to housing, electrification and water, as promised by government in the various programmes that we have announced.
It is absolutely not true that government is unable to act on programmes that it has said it will pursue. The fact of the successful achievement of objectives that has been outlined by members in their statements, clearly indicates that progress is being made. President Zuma has indicated that we wish to see faster progress and that we wish to see many more areas benefiting from the programmes. If truth be told, the ANC is achieving progress in ensuring that the people of South Africa enjoy more services than they ever did at any time in the history of this country. Thank you, Speaker.
BASIC SERVICES FOR REMOTE RURAL VILLAGES IN LIMPOPO
UNDERSPENDING OF BUDGETS
RESPONSE BY GOVERNMENT ON FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE IN KWAZULU-NATAL
The MINISTER OF WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: Hon Speaker, just to add on to what the Minister of Science and Technology said, ...
... ka Setswana gatwe setopo re supa nakedi magogwe re mmega a sule. Ka mantswe a mangwe ke gore ... [... in Setswana it is said that the proof of the pudding is in the eating . In other words ...]
... we can indeed prove that this ANC government does deliver from information that has been tabled in this House.
I stand to make comments on the issue raised about a number of departments that have not been able to spend their budgets as at the third quarter. Firstly, we would like to assure hon members that indeed we are also of the view that it is necessary — it is not even just a view — that we spend the entire budget as it has been allocated to all of us. I just want to assure the hon members that we will be able to spend our budget, particularly that of the Department of Water Affairs.
There are reasons at all times why particular aspects of the budget have not been spent. One of the reasons is not what the hon member said – employing relevant or qualified people, especially with regard to Water Affairs, because we do have qualified people in the infrastructure budget that was not spent in that particular unit. There are aspects of the work we do where we have to pull up our socks, and we will definitely do so. Rest assured, hon member. All departments will be able to spend their budgets, as I said.
On veterinarian services, this government does its level best to provide all skills that are required in all areas of the work we do. We are confident that we will be able to provide skills in this area of veterinarian services, as the Minister of Higher Education and Training and all other colleagues involved in this field continue to train those of our people who require the skills. We are aware of the shortage of skills in this regard. However, we must also indicate that even if we acquire or have adequate skills in veterinarian services, it’s not a given that these will stop a disease like foot–and-mouth, because if it comes, it will come. We will have to fight it. [Interjections]. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
PRESIDENT’S ALLEGED WORDS TO MUAMMAR GADDAFI
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Hon Speaker, I think it is necessary just to follow up a little bit more on what my colleague the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation said in response to the hon Ngonyama. Hon Ngonyama, I want to say that I am disappointed in you. But that would imply I had some expectations of you. So, I can’t even say that I am disappointed. [Laughter.]
What have you chosen to do? First of all, the hon Jacobus stood up and read an ANC statement on the Libyan situation, and I quote some of the things she said:
We — that is the ANC — strongly condemn the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and call upon the Libyan authorities to end all acts of violence. We support the UN Security Council resolution ...
You then stand up and choose to quote the BBC quoting the Libyan government authorities on some spurious story about what the President said on a telephone call. The Deputy Minister has already clarified the matter. Yes, indeed President Zuma received a call. He did not initiate a call from Col Gaddafi ... [Interjections.]
He wanted to explain his side of the story.
The Deputy Minister very clearly said that we condemn the violence and that the violence must end. He also said that we as South Africa and the South African government support the UN Security Council resolution. I think it’s very important to say that. It is very important as South Africans — all of us, regardless of our party political positions — not to fall into the game of forces outside of our country, whose interests are not in African lives and in African development, but oil wells. They are trying to cover up their complicity in supporting the regime in Libya. Let us not fall into that trap. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members!
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I didn’t want to interrupt the hon Deputy Minister because he was making quite an interesting point. But the point of the matter is that one Deputy Minister has already replied to this particular statement. It’s not usual ... [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order! What is your point of order, hon member?
Mr M J ELLIS: Well, the point, Mr Speaker, is that one doesn’t have two people responding to one statement. I believe this is against the Rules of Statements to the House. Why are we having one response adding to another, sir?
The SPEAKER: Hon member, nothing precludes it, and members have a right to express their views and complement what has been said. [Interjections.]
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Are you saying that we can have seven different responses ... [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, please take your seat.
Mr M J ELLIS: But Mr Speaker ... [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order! No, this is not a point of order. I have already ruled on the matter.
Mrs J D KILIAN: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I just want to have clarity about Rule 105(6). It says:
At the conclusion of statements by members, a Minister present may be given an opportunity to respond for not more than two minutes to any statement directed to that Minister or made in respect of that Minister’s portfolio.
I think this is the Rule that the hon Whip of the DA is referring to, and I believe we should all abide by the Rules. Thank you. [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Hon member, we have ministerial responses. Questions have been raised and the Ministers are here to respond. There is a slot for ministerial responses. So, shall we continue?
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Taking into account what we just heard from the hon Whip from Cope, why is the hon Deputy Minister of Transport responding to an issue on foreign affairs which has already been answered? Somewhere down the line, sir, we as the opposition are not allowed to stand up and make copious resolutions or statements on an issue. Why is the Cabinet allowed to do so?
The SPEAKER: Order! Ministers can respond on behalf of other Ministers. [Interjections.]
Mr M J ELLIS: According to ... [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, please take your seat. I have made a ruling on the matter.
Mrs J D KILIAN: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: We do not want to belabour the point. But the Rules are actually very clear, sir. Yes, another person may respond instead of the relevant Minister. But this refers to “a” Minister and not “any” Minister or Ministers. So, we really need to look at the detail of this.
The SPEAKER: Order! We will check this point and come back to you.
BILL OF RESPONSIBLITIES TO INSTIL VALUES IN YOUTH
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Mr Speaker, I don’t want to offer any advice to you on the Rules. Suffice it to say that I am not a Minister, but a Deputy Minister.
The issue that was raised, which I wish to support and commend, is an issue relating to the Department of Basic Education, as well as Lead SA’s initiative on the Bill of Responsibilities. I do believe that this will fill an absolutely vital lacuna in our national psyche.
One of the most important rights that South Africans have is the right to citizenship. It’s an absolutely fundamental right. The right to an identity document and birth certificate is a fundamental right. It is hoped that, as part of this campaign, we are also taught about our responsibilities to protect those rights, our ID documents and birth certificates. At the moment the department is in the midst of a campaign called the National Population Registration Campaign, where we are going around the country encouraging South Africans to register their children within 30 days of being born and making sure that all South African citizens who are 16 years and older have identity documents. It is hoped that as part of the Department of Basic Education and Lead SA campaign, South Africans are encouraged not just to support this campaign, but also to ensure that identity documents are kept safely. There are far too many reissues that the department has to deal with on a day-to-day basis. This creates all kinds of problems relating to identity theft and even company theft. There are also marriages that South Africans are entering into. They are marriages of convenience to foreigners that I also think we should discourage as responsible citizens. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: The hon member across the floor shouted out “What about the babies? You don’t care”. I think that impugns our honour. I certainly care and I know that so do all members. [Interjections.] The fact of not responding does not mean our integrity can be impugned, as the hon member is suggesting. We wish he had responded many years ago.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can we be honourable members in the House, please?
DIVISION OF REVENUE BILL
(Consideration of Report)
There was no debate.
The Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party: Chair, I move:
That the report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
DIVISION OF REVENUE BILL
(Second Reading debate)
Mr E M SOGONI: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon members, comrades and distinguished guests, the African National Congress sees the Division of Revenue Bill as a critical financial instrument by which the state ensures equitable allocation of resources, to effect economic and social transformation that will bring about a prosperous nation, based on nonracialism, nonsexism and equality. We recognise the enormous economic imbalances that exist in our country between and within provinces, as well as between and within municipalities.
Our country is still characterised by unequal developments and deep social and economic inequalities, the persistent legacy of the apartheid racial-spatial planning and development. This is particularly evident when we look at the massive backlogs in social and economic infrastructure development, the distribution of people living in extreme poverty, and high rates of unemployment in the former Bantustan geographic areas, the predominantly rural provinces and municipalities.
Underdevelopment, squalor, crime, poverty and unemployment are equally the defining features of our predominantly black townships and villages. These conditions make it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve financial viability in the majority of municipalities and it therefore affects their ability to provide services. It is these challenges that define the basis on which we assess this Division of Revenue Bill of 2011 and the debate thereon.
The Reconstruction and Development Programme says:
Our history has been a bitter one, dominated by colonialism, racism, apartheid, sexism and repressive labour laws. The result is that poverty and degradation exist side by side with modern cities and a developed mining, industrial and commercial infrastructure. Our income distribution is racially distorted and ranks as one of the most unequal in the world. Lavish wealth, side by side with abject poverty, characterises our society.
The economy was built on systematically-enforced racial division in every sphere of our society. Rural areas have been divided into underdeveloped Bantustans and well-developed, white-owned commercial farming areas. Towns and cities have been divided into townships and villages without basic infrastructure for blacks and well-resourced suburbs for whites.
Segregation in education, health, welfare, transport and employment left deep scars of inequality and economic inefficiency.
The Division of Revenue Bill we are debating today is firmly responding to the challenges raised in the Reconstruction and Development Programme, RDP. It is a fact that since 1994, much work has been done to turn the plight of our people around. The ANC-led government has achieved so much in just 16 years.
Hon Speaker, it is clear that we are continuing to fulfil the aspirations of the overwhelming majority of South Africans, black and white, to live in peace in the country of their birth, to reconstruct its future and share its fruits, to put an end to the centuries of racist tyranny, exploitation, misery and humiliation.
We agree entirely with the Minister of Finance when he says:
All South Africans aspire to these freedoms. Freedom from poverty; freedom from need; freedom to exercise our talents and thrive as individuals; freedom to work together as communities, as organised social formations, as business enterprises and as a proud and forward-looking nation.
A number of changes are introduced in this Division of Revenue Bill and allocations to provincial and local government this year. Revisions have been made to conditional grants to differentiate between and better respond to the needs of rural and urban municipalities. The formula to allocate the equitable share to municipalities has also been adjusted to direct more resources towards poorer municipalities. The changes will be built on after a review of the local government’s fiscal framework to be conducted later this year.
In debating our national revenue and how we should use it to drive transformation and achieve the kind of society we aspire to, as enshrined in our Constitution and the Freedom Charter, we must always remind ourselves of the principles upon which this ANC government was elected. These principles include continued democratisation of our society based on equality, nonracialism and nonsexism; national unity in diversity, which is the source of our strength, and building on the achievements and experience since 1994. It also includes an equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth path that brings decent work and sustainable livelihoods, education, health, safe and secure communities and rural development as well as, targeted programmes for the youth, women, workers, rural masses and people with disabilities, and a better Africa and world.
In our analysis and debate we need to use these principles to ask the following questions regarding the Division of Revenue. Firstly, to what extent does it provide adequate financial resources to the least developed provinces and municipalities in order to address uneven development, disparities and to promote inclusive growth?
Secondly, does it adequately provide financial resources for the most critical priorities of the present government, such as job creation, health, training and education?
Thirdly, does it adequately provide financial resources to support the implementation of the New Growth Path programmes in order to transform our country’s economy to benefit the majority in our society?
We pose these questions because of the recognition that policy and plans are only good and achievable when backed up by appropriate resources; otherwise they remain pipedreams.
From the ANC’s perspective, the financial allocations, as tabled in this Bill, have provided us with positive answers to all these questions. We believe, furthermore, that these questions are not only important for the technical assessment of the budget allocations, but that they are particularly important to the Division of Revenue Bill because it is at the heart of the nature and character of our nation state.
The nature and character of our state is unitary and developmental within a constitutional democracy which is underpinned by the principles of co-operative governance. One of the most important building blocks for the maintenance of the unitary, co-operative and developmental character of our state is the Division of Revenue Bill. Provisions such as equitable share and allocations of both conditional and unconditional grants, and the formulae by which these allocations are determined, are made through division of revenue.
The allocation of financial resources to the three spheres of government is a critical step in the budget process, which is required before the national government, the provinces and municipalities can determine their own budgets. The allocation process takes into account the powers and functions assigned to each sphere of government. The process for making this decision is at the heart of co-operative governance as envisaged in the Constitution.
Section 214(1) of the Constitution of South Africa requires that every year a Division of Revenue Act determines the equitable division of nationally-raised revenue between the three spheres of government. The Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Act ... [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, I can’t hear the speaker. You are out of order. Do you know that? I can’t hear the speaker. Please, those who prefer to talk, I am sure can leave the House so that others who want to listen can do so. They are missing something if they can’t hear.
Mr E M SOGONI: Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker, for protecting me against hon Ellis. Conditional grants to local government aim to eradicate backlogs and build institutional financial capacity in local government. The total value of conditional grants, directly transferred to local government, including the water operating subsidy, increased from R27,5 billion in 2011-12 to R30,4 billion in 2012-13 and R32,7 billion in 2013-14.
The allocations referred to previously will indeed strengthen the developmental agenda of local government throughout the length and breadth of our country. As an activist Parliament, our committees are therefore called upon to exercise quality oversight to ensure that funds go where expected.
We must ensure that there is value for money, quality in spending, sustainability of projects and that the developmental impact is felt by our communities.
The current Bill under consideration is most important in the sense that it forms the foundational base for financing the New Economic Growth Path which takes the country into an innovative developmental trajectory. It is a path that focuses on the sustainability and inclusiveness of our economic model. It promotes economic growth, but also the quality of that growth, in the form of equity, job creation, improvement of the quality of all the people’s lives, irrespective of their economic or social status.
It is a growth path that takes us to the society espoused in the Freedom Charter. In this regard, we welcome the emphasis it has placed on providing financial resources towards job creation programmes, education and training, social and economic infrastructure and health services. Most importantly, we are pleased with the progressive increase in the allocations towards local government, as this is the bedrock of service delivery to our people.
Going forward, we wish to continue on this path in order to increase the capacity of the provincial and local spheres of government. The
2011-12 Division of Revenue Bill places us firmly on course for addressing uneven development, economic disparities, unemployment, poverty, and the legacy of the past apartheid spatial planning and development. As the ANC, we commend and support this Division of Revenue Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M SWART: Madam Deputy Speaker, as members know, the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill in essence provides for the division of revenue between the three spheres of government. An amount of R808 billion is made available for division in the 2011-12 Budget. National departments are allocated 47%; provinces 44,3% and municipalities 8,7% of this amount.
Special emphasis was placed on the provision of funds for job creation by all three spheres of government in both the state of the nation address and the Budget Speech. By creating jobs, citizens are able to move out of the cycle of poverty, which in turn could assist in reducing the huge provision required for social grants. The emphasis on job creation by government as one of its main priorities is therefore supported, but the way in which government wants to achieve this objective is questionable.
The first problem is the R73 billion provided for the Expanded Public Works Programme over the next three years. There is nothing wrong with the principle of providing these funds. The inability of government, however, to actually spend the money is of major concern.
At the end of the third quarter of 2010, the Department of Public Works had spent only 49,75% of the R1,4 billion Budget allocated to it for this purpose. When asked for reasons for the underexpenditure, the department explained that the EPWP; are operated as incentive schemes for municipalities to create jobs. Municipalities have to apply to the department for approval of an EPW Programme; if approved, they may continue with the programme, but use their own money in the first instance. Once the programme has been completed, they can reclaim the money from the department.
It follows therefore that only those municipalities with the necessary human capacity and funds can gainfully make use of this system. Municipalities in rural areas, in particular, battle because most of them are cash-strapped and lack human capacity. The EPWP therefore does not help much in the rural areas or poor municipalities, and it is particularly in rural areas where jobs are more necessary than anywhere else. The result is that a majority of poor municipalities create very few jobs through the EPWP system. The system has to be changed to become effective.
Government has proclaimed its aim to create an additional five million jobs by 2020. Currently a gross domestic product, GDP, growth rate of just over 3% this year, escalating to just over 4% in 2013 is projected. At these growth rates, the five million jobs will remain a pipedream. Only with annual growth rates in the order of 7% per annum is the target likely to be attained. The goal of five million jobs by 2020 seems to ignore the major structural changes required in our economy to reach the necessary growth rates and further disregards the possibility of another global recession in the next nine years. Five million jobs by 2020 sounds like a great election promise, just like the ANC has been promising “jobs, jobs, jobs” since 1994, without making any progress.
Creating jobs requires outstanding organisational skills and control over expenditure. One can therefore only laugh or maybe cry about the R1,2 billion made available to the National Youth Development Agency for job creation. They themselves have proved to be totally disorganised. They have a complete lack of skills as far as control of expenditure is concerned and what aggravates the situation is that they do not report to any parliamentary committee which could exercise parliamentary oversight. This organisation wasted R100 million of taxpayers’ money on a fruitless congress, or shall we call it a party, yet government seems so scared of losing the youth vote that they reward the National Youth Development Agency with a further R1,2 billion of taxpayers’ money for wastage. [Interjections.] A disgrace indeed! A serious rethink on some of government’s job creation programmes is called for. [Applause.]
Mr L RAMATLAKANE: Deputy Speaker, Ministers, hon members, today the committee tables its report to the National Assembly. We do so as directed by the Money Bills Amendment Procedure Act. It is important to remember that as Members of Parliament we are empowered in terms of the Act to amend the Budget. Through acting in the spirit of democracy and accountability, we, as the committee, must engage with the departments on the details of their forthcoming strategic plans.
The year 2011 has been announced as the “year for job creation”, which we support. Therefore, each one of us must ask our departments to demonstrate how the twin problem of unemployment and poverty will be addressed in a sustainable manner in using this Budget.
We must look closely at the performance output throughout our government institutions. Currently South Africa is faced with a number of burning and worrying issues that have to be addressed if we want to build on our democracy base. It is disturbing, to say the least, when those in positions of authority do nothing when public reserves are misdirected and officials misuse public funds. There is little or no evidence that the Public Finance Management Act, PFMA, or Municipal Finance Management Act, MFMA, is strictly adhered to.
Our future is in jeopardy if we do not attend to the education of our children. It is unacceptable when our school children have to walk more than 5km to get to school because of the poor or improper transport that has been arranged for them. It is even more worrying when school nutrition programmes are disbanded and those who are appointed to operate them open spaza shops and redirect the bread from the feeding scheme. We must stamp our authority and demand that our children receive proper and fair treatment from the state.
Cadre deployment is rife in every level of government. We are short of critical skills. In 1994, 5 100 engineers served 14 million people outside the former homelands. Today, an estimated 1 800 engineers serve almost 47 million people. Minister Blade Nzimande must do something to address this issue and change the skills arrangement.
Nothing is done when officials of the state direct the very meagre resources to close relatives and their businesses, only to find that this money is used corruptly. We want to see action when these misdemeanours are detected. So far we have seen little, to say the least, only the rewinding of the corrupt practices.
The adoption of the Division of Revenue Act, Dora, and the allocation of over R888 billion therein, R288 billion to provinces and R34 billion to local government, should not and must not communicate the message “it’s our turn to eat”. Creating a strong political will is a starting point to a sustainable and effective anticorruption programme. Preventing changing values, creating a culture of professionalism with punitive measures, will be a deterrent measure for all.
Accountability, transparency, integrity and oversight are essential elements of a democratic institution and its processes. Accountability is a pillar of democracy and good governance. We are concerned and worried that the performance auditing is being delayed. These delays are of course not giving us the opportunity to interrogate the value for money as in terms of the Auditor-General’s auditing.
We are aware that national government’s net loan is projected to increase to R1,3 trillion in 2012-13. South Africa’s debt, as well as the Public Sector Wage Bill, remain a concern and need serious management. We do believe that the Minister of Finance will manage this with the able director-general.
In closing, the fact that the department has been given an overall mandate for “jobs, jobs, jobs” requires a plan that must be tabled. All social partners have a role to play and this must be taken into account. These plans must be comprehensive and it is our responsibility to engage with the details of this department, monitor its implementation and ensure that all are sustainable, moving forward. Cope will, in fact, support this Bill. Thank you.
Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: Madam Deputy Speaker, Minister, the Division of Revenue is all about how much money you put where. And in determining the need for how much money needs to be put where, the issue is how much is going to be spent. We are in a situation where what needs to be spent is not just determined by the money which is available, but by overspending.
Two days ago, I raised, once again, I don’t know whether it was the third or fourth time in this House, the issue of the skyrocketing hidden unaccounted for municipal overspending and the municipal indictment. The Minister, who is not here today, saw fit to mock me. He did not provide me with an answer and in mocking me, he mocked all those of you who may have an interest in knowing how much we are really responsible for and how much our children will have to pay.
That was not the first time that the Minister addressed my questions and those of the country by being mocking in his answer. I’ve asked twice in parliamentary questions about the size of the municipal deficit and received no answer. I’ve asked him twice about how he intends to pay ... [Laughter.]... silence please — for the national debt. By 2015 there will be R1,5 trillion, which means R300 000 for each of you to pay. That’s the nature of our indictment and I’m asking a very simple question: How are you going to answer? I’ve written an open letter and received only answers which mock the question, the same way as he mocked me two days ago in front of you.
This is, in short, irresponsible. [Interjections.] I’m sorry, do you want to ask something?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Continue, continue.
Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: Come on, ask! Do you have the answer? [Laughter.] Perhaps you can tell me how we are going to pay for the national debt. Where will the money come from? How much money are we overspending? Without answers to these questions, the understanding of the Bill before us is short from complete and it is the attitude of the Minister, who on the one hand is extraordinarily charming, extremely capable, and on the other hand has the capability of cutting down the guillotine on the real and hard issues. And from a parliamentary point of view, I find this extraordinarily difficult to digest.
We appreciate the effort made in pushing money to local government. Not enough has been done. The amount of money allocated by our government remains disproportionate, but it is a vertical division. If you look at it segment by segment, take education for example, money is not spent on schools and teachers or on school books or on structures. Well, structures are public walls, but if you do it horizontally, that will come under the same picture. It is part of the governance of a system.
This is a major flaw and it compounds with the tendency, which is horizontal, of allocating the bulk of the money that we are spending today, that we are authorising to be distributed today from the highest level of government. It’s money spent by government to run itself; and until or unless there is a fundamental revision of what government needs are at the top level and whether or not we need to involve national departments, these allocations will remain flawed.
In conclusion, my main thrust was lost, as the Minister is not here today, to stop mocking and begin answering. I want to refer him to the answer given by Richard V, the dauphin’s ambassador — this is the last sentence — he can research it himself and read in there how I feel about him. [Laughter.] [Time expired.]
Ms R M MASHIGO: Deputy Speaker, hon Ministers, Members of Parliament and listeners at home, today is a big day for South Africans who are waiting out there to listen how the money is appropriated and distributed from national, provincial and local spheres of government. Our people out there are happy to get something that will keep them going. They are happy to see that the projects that are there and that are being promised by the ANC-led government will be attended to.
In the Preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa it is stated that:
We, therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person.
In the January 8th Statement, President Jacob Zuma mentioned that:
We know that we have not succeeded in the economic liberation and advancement of the majority of South Africans. That is why the ANC is adamant; we will pursue this aspect of the national democratic revolution with more vigour and dedicated attention in this phase.
As we all know, the state of the nation address speaks about jobs, jobs and jobs, and that is what we will be discussing in this Division of Revenue, because we need decent employment opportunities, which have the modern infrastructure, a vibrant economy and high quality of life. I mean that we don’t start today talking about the Division of Revenue; we started long ago, before 2009 when we planned for the manifesto. Our manifesto comes out very clearly that decent work embraces both the need for more jobs and a better quality of life for all. The creation of decent work and a sustainable livelihood will be central to the ANC’s agenda. As it is today, it will always be.
I am focusing my speech on the recommendations of the Financial and Fiscal Commission, FFC, which we all know is mandated by Chapter 13 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. It is an independent institution that has to be consulted by Parliament with regard to Division of Revenue.
The recommendations, as I continue, are interrelated and evidence-based as the result of consultations with various stakeholders and research.
With regard to the Fiscal Framework and coping with vulnerabilities, it deals with consolidation and limiting spending on successful programmes; expanding social grants; and reprioritising expenditure towards maintenance and repairs. Government has prioritised very important departments, such as Health and Education, because there should be access to these services as a matter of policy.
The new infrastructure grant backlogs will address eradication of mud schools and inappropriate school infrastructure and provide water, sanitation and electricity because we need accessibility to health therefore, children will be willing to go school. The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, has allocated R8,2 billion to eradicate all the backlogs and will lapse at the end of this period.
We also spoke about the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, whereby poor students at the end of their third year will be able to convert their student scheme into a bursary. That is a very good effort based on the fact that poor students who were unable to access funds and stressed about the fact that they have to start refunding this money, will start building their own lives.
With regard to school learner transport, the Bill of Rights on Basic Education, hon members, states that measures should be taken to progressively make education available and accessible. When a child misses a school bus in the morning and doesn’t go to school, the child, parent and the community as a whole will expect answers from the Department of Basic Education on why it did not provide transport. This is a burning issue, hon members.
In 2009, the Financial and Fiscal Commission recommended that national norms and standards for the provision of learner transport should be established. This will be possible once the location of this function has been clearly demarcated between the national Departments of Education and Transport.
In this regard, the commission recommends that the location of the responsibility for the provision of learner transport should be clarified as a matter of urgency. As Parliament, we really request that this be clarified as a matter of urgency because the people who are suffering are our children — the future leaders of tomorrow.
With regard to access to health, hon members, the overused and underresourced health facilities are found in the public sector, and the private sector only caters for 20% of the population. The introduction of the National Health Insurance that is under way will address these imbalances in health care. It will address this in the way that you will share the facilities with all of us wherever we are.
Spending on programmes should be cost-effective and outcomes-based. We should refocus on reprioritisation of spending, but not compromise the importance of social infrastructure.
With regard to the social assistance reform, we know that people are poor, and 15 million of them depend on social grants in the form of pension, disability and children living in poor households. In the state of the nation address, it was stated that this intervention is a necessity and not a creation of welfare; it is a means towards a developmental state. We have to start somewhere by intervening in the form of social grants. As time goes on, we will reach where we all want to be at the developmental state.
Regarding the efficiency and transparency of the intergovernmental fiscal system, we know that much as they recommended it, we have the Public Finance Management Act, PFMA and the Municipal Finance Management Act, MFMA, to address the issues of efficiency, effectiveness and transparency.
With regard to the urban public transport, hon members, we know that people moved to urban areas for economic reasons; they ended up living as squatters and creating informal settlements. This problem is not of our making. We are addressing apartheid spatial planning which created dormitory type townships and underdeveloped rural areas. As a result, the ANC-led government is addressing that issue of informal settlements where an urban settlement grant of R21,8 billion will be allocated for the next three years to address the targeted upgrade of 400 000 homes in informal settlements.
Regarding the transport grant, the involvement of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa, is to bring integration of transport between the cities where there will be transfer of funds from Prasa to address the local issues like local government issues. This integration will be much appreciated, and the amount will be moved from R66 billion to R80 billion at the end of the MTEF.
Another issue of concern, hon members, is the recommendation from FFC which states that the government should make a concerted effort to estimate the fiscal capacity and fiscal effort of the municipality to dispel the perception that certain municipalities will never be financially viable. The reply from government is that the notion that certain municipalities will never be financially viable is a misrepresentation of both the design of the local government fiscal framework and the practical reality of local economies.
There are obviously divergent issues here. Respecting all the legislation governing municipalities, we cannot only rely on systems, but we also need scientific and empirical evidence to inform this discussion. Municipalities can be self-sufficient, but they also need capacity, on the other hand, to expand their local economies.
In conclusion, to succeed in transforming local government, the ANC must continue to be part of the lives and experiences of our people. The fundamental principle is that we must remain faithful to our people at all times, as we are, hon Swarts, even when we have not met their expectations. We must tell them the difficulties we come across, including the reality that resources are not limitless.
This is not a campaign, hon members; it is what people expect from us at local government. They know that the ANC is there to listen to them and give them feedback and listen and listen and attend to their problems. The local government elections are coming and people are relying on the ANC to address their local issues. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Mr S Z NTAPANE: Hon Deputy Speaker and hon members, the Bill before us is the main thrust of government’s expressed policy for the coming year. Let me then hasten to add, however, that our biggest concern lies with the huge discrepancy that exists between what we approve here today and what actually gets delivered to our people.
At the heart of the matter is a severe lack of skills. We cannot build a winning nation against the backdrop of an institutional culture that celebrates ineptitude, and turns a blind eye to cronyism and tender fraud. We must go back to basics.
National government must take steps to improve its ability to monitor expenditure at all levels of government, starting with its own track record. All national departments must lead by example, including the Presidency. Despite our numerous calls in the past for the national government to lead from the front on this matter, there does not seem to be an improvement in national government’s expenditure priorities and wasteful expenditure.
The recent wasteful expenditure of R100 million by the National Youth Development Agency, NYDA, on some preposterous jamboree is a case in point. We are doubtful whether the NYDA will be able to account for this wasteful expenditure, as required to do so by the diligent Public Protector. Nor will they be able to account for the R385 million allocated to them for this fiscal year.
It is these basic issues which undermine the beautiful intentions of the budget process. Once again, we need to go back to the basics. We ought to replace the culture that celebrates ineptitude with one that celebrates and rewards competence and dedication. The UDM supports the Bill. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Agb Adjunkspeaker, daar word baie oor plaaslike regering gepraat, maar ek wil vandag vir die ANC-regering sê een van die basiese aspekte en funksies, as dit gaan oor plaaslike regering, is die betaling van dienstegelde. Daar word in hierdie stadium R34,1 miljard onder plaaslike regerings verdeel, maar die jongste syfer wat ek vir die uitstaande dienstegelde gekry het, is R56 miljard.
Dit is ’n totale onreg wat op plaaslike regeringsvlak gepleeg word. Mense wat wel vir hul dienste betaal, moet daardie mense wat nie vir hul dienste betaal nie, subsidieer. Moet nie vir my kom sê dat dit arm mense is wat nie kan betaal nie. Hulle kan betaal, want daar is basiese watertariewe en basiese elektrisiteitsvoorsiening vir die armstes van die armes wat nie kan betaal nie.
Voorsitter, die VF Plus wil aan u ’n voorstel doen omdat hierdie agterstallige dienstegelde net meer en meer word. Ek weet ander politieke partye is versigtig om hieroor te praat, want dit is mos nou verkiesingstyd. Hulle is bang hulle verloor stemme. Ek wil vandag vir u sê die agb Minister van Finansies moet aan daardie munisipaliteite wie se agterstallige dienstegelde vergroot is, nie ’n enkele sent van die sentrale fondse gee nie. Dit sal hulle dan laat besef dat hulle iets omtrent agterstallige dienstegelde moet doen.
Dan moet daar ’n glyskaal ingestel word. Daar moet ’n sekere persentasie vermindering van die agterstallige dienstegelde wees alvorens hulle kan kwalifiseer om verdere fondse van die staatskas te kry. Anders sê ek vandag vir u gaan die agterstallige dienstegelde net groter en groter word, en die onreg groter en groter, aangesien dié wat wel betaal diegene moet subsidieer wat nie betaal nie. Dis onaanvaarbaar. (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)
[Mr P J GROENEWALD: Hon Deputy Speaker, much is said about local government, but I would like to say to the ANC government today that one of the basic aspects and functions, where local government is concerned, is to ensure payment of service fees. At this stage R34,1 billion is apportioned to local government, but the latest figure I received for outstanding service fees amounts to R56 billion.
What is happening at the level of local government is a total injustice. People who are actually paying for their services must subsidise those people who are not paying for their services. Don’t tell me it is poor people who cannot pay. They can pay, because there are basic water tariffs and basic provision of electricity for the poorest of the poor who cannot pay.
Chairperson, the FF Plus would like to make a proposal to you because the outstanding service fees are just increasing. I know that other political parties are wary to discuss this, because it is election time, of course. They are afraid to lose votes. I would like to say to you today that the hon Minister of Finance should not allocate a single cent of the central funds to those municipalities whose outstanding service fees have increased. They will then realise that something has to be done about outstanding service fees.
Then a sliding scale should be introduced. There should be a certain reduction on a percentage basis in the outstanding service fees before they can qualify to get further funds from the Treasury. Otherwise, I am saying to you today, the outstanding service fees will just increase some more, and those who are actually paying will feel greater injustice because they are subsidising those who are not paying. This is unacceptable.]
Mr S N SWART: Deputy Speaker, provinces and municipalities are assigned key service delivery functions such as school education, health, social development, housing, roads and the provision of electricity, water and municipal infrastructure. That we all know. We are also aware of the provincial equitable share formula that was reviewed last year, and we notice that a new health component has been introduced in this Bill, which the ACDP supports.
A review of the local government equitable share is also under way, with a new formula expected to be introduced only after the data from this year’s census is made available. We also see that a series of municipal boundary changes comes into effect in May. This will impact the equitable share, so there will be some changes in the equitable share.
However, the ACDP’s main concern lies with project management capacity. We know departments overspend on current expenditure, such as salaries, as Mr Oriani-Ambrosini pointed out. However, underspending of capital budgets is evident at various levels, particularly at provincial and municipal levels. We also notice that, for the 2009-2010 financial year, government failed to spend R12,4 billion budgeted for capital expenditure, and that, I am sure, is a cause for concern for all of us.
As for municipalities, they struggled to spend their capital allocations. They also found it difficult to collect their revenues, with aggregated municipal consumer debts amounting to R62 billion.
The Finance and Fiscal Commission recommended that government adopt standard indicators or early warning systems to measure and detect municipalities facing fiscal stress. Improving municipalities’ management of their own revenues will yield substantially greater returns than those given through the equitable share that I referred to earlier, but not along the lines of the billing chaos that we see in Johannesburg.
The ADCP particularly supports capacity-building grants aimed at building management, planning, technical, budget and financial management skills, as contained in this Bill. We also welcome the changes to the conditional grant framework for provinces and municipalities in an attempt to address the persistent capital backlogs.
We trust that the Infrastructure Development Improvement Programme will ensure that government builds capacity in provincial treasuries and the Departments of Health, Education, and Public Works, to smooth out the roll-out of capital projects. This is long overdue, as the shortage of engineers and project managers at local and provincial levels has meant that government has had great difficulty in finalising these capital projects. Hopefully, we have learnt from the Fifa Soccer World Cup experience on how to complete massive capital projects on time and within budget.
We, as parliamentarians, must ensure that all spheres of government have the capacity to spend the vast monies allocated for capital projects, and that rollovers for capital underexpenditure do not occur again. The ACDP will support this Bill. I thank you.
Dr P J RABIE: Hon Deputy Speaker, the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill provides for the division of revenue between the three spheres of government. The emphasis of this Bill is to create jobs. The DA agrees that dramatic measures are required to create five million jobs by 2020, given that 75% of the presently unemployed, unskilled are between 18 and 35 years of age.
The current budget deficit is 5,3%, which is manageable by international standards. Allow me to congratulate the hon Minister of Finance in that, despite criticism from the left wing in his own party, he maintained countercyclical fiscal policy in the 2011 Budget.
The following measures are welcomed, and should encourage employment: a R5 million youth subsidy, tax incentives for manufacturing investment of R20 billion and R10 billion on an industrial investment promotion.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee, it is evident to me that a budget allocates funds, but sadly, cannot guarantee that the money will be spent in an acceptable and efficient manner. My colleague, hon Marius Swart, mentioned specific examples, but what this country needs is an environment with the political will to attract investment and encourage business to employ more people. The fact that 16 million people depend on social grants places a severe financial constraint upon government.
At present government signs performance measures and outcomes agreements in departments. Whether this will have the desired effect is uncertain, especially if the generous, well-above-inflation salary increases of public servants are taken into account. Education, for example, will rise to R190 billion in 2011-12, or 21% of noninterest allocations. However, our standards in Mathematics and Science are well below acceptable international standards, and there is no evidence that they will improve in the foreseeable future.
South Africa lost more than a million jobs during the past recession. This led to a decline in our tax base and a decline in our economic growth rate. One of the reasons is that our labour laws are restrictive and contribute to low absorption of labour. Treasury’s 2011 Labour Review says that the unit cost of labour in the formal sector has risen by 14% over the past two years. Our productivity growth is far below that of our trade partners in the Brazil, Russia, India and China, Bric, bloc.
The DA has a solution. We believe in an open society with equal opportunities. A free labour market will mean more jobs, faster economic growth, higher standards of living and less crime. The country with the highest economic growth rate, namely China, has a flexible labour market that absorbs millions of workers. The sooner we review our current labour legislation, the better.
The bottom line is that it is easier and less burdensome to do business in developing countries, such as Brazil, than in South Africa, because there is less red tape and less of an administrative burden of compliance on issues of labour. We will only attain an economic growth rate of 5% or more if the ANC finds the political will to implement a modern, free labour regime. South Africa is a commodity-driven economy with vast mineral resources, which, if properly managed, can provide thousands of people with jobs.
A survey conducted by the Fraser Institute, which was released in the last week of February, showed that South Africa slipped further down the rankings. South Africa ranks 61st out of 72 countries in the 2009-10 survey, according to page 37 of the Financial Mail on 25 February. What it means, in essence, is that South Africa is not investor friendly, and that the scary talk of nationalisation of the mines has had a profound effect on growth and jobs.
Allow me to conclude. I think the controversial demographic quota which was discussed by Cabinet has also done immeasurable damage to our future labour prospects. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M E MBILI: Speaker, members of the executive, hon members of the House, in the 2011 state of the nation address, President Zuma re-emphasised five priority areas which continue to be the focal point of government this year and in the Medium-Term Expenditure Frameworks, MTEF, period.
This includes areas of job creation; enhanced quality of education; improved health and expectancy of our nation; vibrant rural communities and food security; as well as crime and rooting out corruption, particularly, in government. In supporting and financing these priorities, the allocation process takes into account the powers and functions assigned to the three spheres of government. The process of making this decision is at the heart of co-operative governance as envisaged in our Constitution.
Section 214(1) of the Constitution requires that every year a Division of Revenue Act determines the equitable share division of nationally raised revenue between the three spheres of government. The Division of Revenue Bill classifies nine schedules in order to divide revenue between three spheres of government. In support of the five million job creation targets which are spelt out in the Budget Review and state of the nation address, amongst other things, is the implementation of the new growth path. In this regard an amount of R94,1 billion was added to the baseline, R48,8 billion to the national government, R40,2 billion to the provinces and R5,1 billion for the local sphere of our government.
Furthermore, R10 billion is set aside to stimulate the economy, and coupled with that intervention is a special vehicle of R10,4 billion for mainly transport infrastructure, which includes roads and rail networks. If hon Lekota were here, I would have told him that these are the specifics that he demanded the President must address.
The area of skills development and up-skilling of our people is most welcome through a further injection of R9,5 billion. This will be channelled through the further education and FET colleges, amongst other initiatives. This is very important because after trainees have acquired their skills, they will be expected to open their businesses and employ more people.
Rural development is an important priority of government, hence we welcome a further R2,5 billion injection to develop a framework in support of emerging farmers, amongst others. It must be noted that most of our poor and vulnerable people in our land are found in the rural areas. So, in our quest to address the immigration of our people to big cities, we need to find meaning for them to participate in the economy where they reside.
On municipalities, my committee is awaiting with interest the consolidated report on the full state of our municipalities throughout the country on their readiness to implement the government priorities assigned to them. This is an important arm of government because it acts directly with municipalities in terms of service delivery.
We, therefore, as Parliament, need to engage with Treasury in order to access whether the interventions to assist mainly under-resourced municipalities are bearing any positive outcomes, for example, Project Consolidate. This also speaks to a number of conditional grants outlined by the Minister of Finance in this House.
The number of grants has increased from eight to nine this year as compared to previous years. This is due to a new conditional grant schedule earmarked to address disasters and flood relief, so this is a responsive government. While this is a step in the right direction, we are, however, very concerned about the accountability issues for some of these grants.
My committee uses the Section 32 Report by the National Treasury as a tool for in-year monitoring and expenditure patterns of provincial and national departments. It unfortunately does not give reports in some of the schedules 4 and 8 of the conditional grants. This is a concern to us as we want to engage with all stakeholders to address this issue.
This includes Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme, Casp; Further Education and Training Colleges Grant, National Treasury’s Grant to Provinces, Public Operations Grant and Public Works, EPWP Incentive Grant. We would like, therefore, to see a more co-ordinated approach in the way these grants are administered.
In this regard, it is with concern that a higher level of spending reported by some provinces, like the Eastern Cape and Free State should be looked at and addressed as a matter of urgency. According to Section 17 of the Division of Revenue Bill, a grant can be stopped if an unexplained expenditure is experienced, as was witnessed by the Standing Committee on Appropriation during its oversight visit to the Eastern Cape some time last year.
Before I deal extensively with the political issues, let me address the Minister of Finance in his absence, but his deputy is here. Let me address the issue of DFIs, particularly your Provincial Development Institution. I will cite two examples, that is, ECDC in the Eastern Cape and Ithala in KwaZulu-Natal. During the late 80s and early 90s, it was with pride for me as an African child to drive to Umtata from Durban, notwithstanding the fact that Transkei then was an apartheid-created homeland. The African black people of that area had something called their own. They owned properties; they had the best, clean and most vibrant town. Umtata was the place to be. Sasidansa khona. [We danced there.]
Today, if you go there, the town is dirty, there are potholes all over, most robots are not working and there are far less businesses run and operated by African black people. This is a concern, Minister, because I am going to ask the Treasury one day to show me anywhere in the country where black businesses are located. Had it not been for the current debate, I was going to tell you what that town looks like today, but I will leave it at that.
Here I am referring to business enterprises; I am not referring to deals. I just want somebody to tell me where black businesses are located in South Africa. In KwaZulu-Natal we grew up pointing up to success stories of our people who managed to build their own enterprises without any form of assistance from the regime of the time, because there was life in the townships.
We used to hear of successful people, the likes of the late Thalente Goqo of the famous Executive Hotel, and numerous other enterprises in and around Umlazi Township. In KwaMashu we heard of the late Mr Sifiso Dlamini of KwaMashu Shopping Centre who was the first black person to run a mall.
When the violence started in KwaZulu-Natal around the 80s, most businesses were severely affected. They relied on funding by Ithala to resuscitate their businesses. Twenty-five to thirty years down the line, all those businesses today have been repossessed by Ithala. All those thriving businesses of that time remain white elephants.
Ithala repossesses them without putting them to better use; they are left as white elephants. This is due to the lack of leadership which was meant to assist some of these businesses with strategies to revitalise their businesses. Ithala is destroying businesses in KwaZulu-Natal, businesses that have been developed over decades and people used their hard-earned money. In fact, this is how the former Deputy President of Nafcoc in KwaZulu-Natal described Ithala 15 years ago “Ithala is the worst and most vicious animal I have ever seen. It gave birth to children, it did not teach them how to crawl, how to walk, but it managed to kill them all prematurely.”
I concur with that sentiment; in fact I describe Ithala as the monster of our times. This must be corrected, because South Africa is in dire need of creating enterprises in order to absorb jobs. Coming back to politics, the underspending of conditional grants is a major concern, since they are an instrument of government to achieve its stated objectives. As a matter of principle, all spheres of government are mandated by the Constitution to implement some of the agreed national priorities as set out in the national agenda.
This is a unitary stage ... Alikho ixoxo eligxuma liye lapho lithanda khona. [No one does as one pleases.]
The affected provinces and national departments need to come with clear strategies to address these shortcomings.
South Africa is a user-friendly constitutional democracy. People who are tasked with implementing our policies and programmes of government are given a chance to develop strategic plans which talk to their service deliveries. They present that to Parliament and get approval. Therefore, it is absurd that 12 months down the line officers cannot account for the money appropriated to their programmes; that is not acceptable.
While on this issue, I agree with the statement that we need to respect the executive and the officials. Equally important, the executive and the officials must respect Parliament, the Constitution and most importantly, the people of South Africa. [Applause.] Those people put us into power, and they are waiting with patience. Let us not take advantage of them. The principle is simple: If funds have been appropriated to you, then you must to account for them.
Let me finish by saying that I am a member of the ANC, and 21 years ago I was made the chairperson of the KwaDabeka branch by Mr Mtshali. I still remained a committed member of the ANC. I want to say that the ANC does not condone corruption in any form or manifestation.
We remain the true leader of our masses. I have a story for corrupt officials. You may have succeeded in the short term to frustrate people, intimidate them, and instil fear of a robust debate and oversight. You may have managed to redeploy people through your influence, demote them and threaten them with all sorts of things, including recalling them, but the message is simple here.
Our people have resilience and patience, but they are not stupid. In less than a century they defeated apartheid, led by the ANC. Today they are saying that they are tired of waiting; they want service delivery today. That is why I dare say that victory against corruption is certain in our lifetime. And that project will be co-ordinated and led by the ANC and the ANC supports this Bill. I thank you. [Applause]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Before I call the Deputy Minister of Finance, let me just remind members that they may not address each other directly. They have to do that through the Chair. The Deputy Minister is a member of this House and a Member of Parliament, and he has been addressed directly several times. That is against the Rules.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE: Chairperson, hon members of this House, firstly, let me take this opportunity to thank all members for their valuable inputs in taking forward the process of the Division of Revenue Bill, which is an important part of our Budget process. As it has been indicated by a number of members and in terms of our Constitution, government ensures a transparent and equitable system in dividing the nationally-raised revenue between the three spheres of government.
This tabling of the Division of Revenue Bill and its underlying allocations is the outcome of extensive consultation between all spheres of government. The NCOP will continue with this process in the weeks to come as per its mandate. The lively debate one has seen here today will be seen continuing and it is the strength of this organisation that out of this debate come the products that will continue to make the lives of fellow South Africans better.
The proposed Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, has been structured to enable government’s policy priorities to be implemented in accordance with delivery agreements that Ministers have signed with the President. The Division of Revenue Bill, which sets out the three-year allocations for the equitable shares and conditional grants for the provinces and local government, will enable government to intensify its activities that will make a difference to the lives and prospects of all South Africans.
This is the second time that the Division of Revenue Bill is processed in terms of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, Act 9 of 2009. I am glad to report that substantial progress has been made in implementing the recommendations made by the Standing and Select committees on Appropriations when they commented on the 2010 Division of Revenue Bill and 2010 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, MTBPS.
Firstly, the Standing Committee on Appropriations recommended that the provinces should come up with detailed savings plans and promote value for money in their spending, and a lot of members alluded to this important element of our Budget process. Through implementing austerity measures and recovery plans, provinces were able to secure savings amounting to R13,3 billion during the 2010 MTEF.
Secondly, the committee recommended that, as government terminates grants for backlogs in electricity, water and sanitation at clinics and schools, sufficient funding should be provided to address the remaining backlogs. A grant-in-aid in order to address this, amounting to R8,2 billion over the 2011 MTEF, will enable the national Department of Basic Education, in consultation with provinces, to fast-track the eradication of unsafe school structures and eradicate water, sanitation and electricity backlogs at schools over a three-year period.
Thirdly, the committee also recommended that the national Department of Higher Education and Training should establish at least one university in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape provinces before the end of the 2009 to 2014 government term. An amount of R300 million has been made available over the MTEF for the establishment of these two universities. The Department of Higher Education and Training will be responsible for building these facilities. This reaffirms our commitment, as the ANC government, to access to education for all.
Fourthly, concerns were raised during last year’s deliberations on the Division of Revenue Bill on the section dealing with authorisation of expenditure, particularly virements and disaster funding. This section has been removed and the funding of immediate costs spanning a period of three months and related to disasters will now be funded through a new conditional grant, and the release of such funding will be expedited.
A number of members made some important points that might require some kind of response. The chairperson of the Standing Committee on Appropriations, Mr Sogoni, spoke about the local government equitable share formula and the inability of some municipalities to be viable. The formula, as you would note, has been adjusted to benefit poorly resourced municipalities. All municipalities, including those that are largely reliant on transfer, should also optimise their own revenues and a number of members made mention of that point.
We would like to sincerely encourage ... Mr Groenewald actually went to the extent of saying we should not allocate funds to those municipalities. I don’t think that would be responsible.
As far as we are concerned, we need to support those municipalities. We need to come up with monitoring mechanisms of making sure that those municipalities are supported. That is why there is now a capacity-building grant that has also been allocated in order to assist municipalities to be able to spend so that our people are able to access service delivery.
The chairperson also referred to the racial divide in large urban towns. The grant system has also been enhanced. For metros it has been amended so that they can take greater ownership of service delivery and spatial patterns — particularly housing, public transport and municipal services — so that these can be planned and funded in a more integrated manner.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon Deputy Minister, there is a request from the people sitting at the back that you kindly raise your voice. I took it for granted because I can hear you, but, perhaps, they can’t hear you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE: Mr Ellis has volunteered to lend me his voice. Hon Swart from the DA referred to job creation and also raised concerns with regard to R73 billion for expanded public works where expenditure is a concern. The oversight role of Parliament, hon members, cannot be overemphasised when it comes to expenditure of these funds. As we allocate funds to departments and spheres of government, Parliament has a critical role of ensuring that those funds are spent.
Fortunately, Mr Swart himself is a member of the Standing Committee on Appropriations that receives section 32 reports on a monthly basis, and I would imagine he would continue to actively participate in the committee and make sure that, through oversight, expenditure is improved. If there are concerns on how the funding system is structured, and a view that it should also be reviewed, we will await recommendations from the committee that he serves.
With respect to rural municipalities, the rules and conditions have been made easier. There is a minimum threshold that has been applied in the 2010-11 financial year, which was specifically made to take into account the concerns of capacity and lack of financial resources in those municipalities.
Mr Oriani-Ambrosini indicated that he has twice raised the question of how we are going to fund expenditure in this country. Even though this is not part of our Division of Revenue Bill, I would imagine that if he reads the documents carefully, he will again do himself a favour because he will then get a better understanding.
How does one fund a budget deficit? We have indicated that, with the countercyclical fiscal policy that we have adopted in this country, we will allow the deficit during the tough times to increase. However, when the economy recovers and he himself becomes a responsible taxpayer and pays his taxes instead of calling for the tax ombudsman all the time, Christmas will come every time. He says the Minister mocks him. The only thing we can request him to do is to read the documents.
He also complains about municipalities that have a large revenue base and compares what municipalities collect and what is outstanding. The property rates and the tariffs for municipal services are adequate, but we also, as I indicated earlier, encourage municipalities to improve their collection capacity.
Mr Swart from the ACDP complains about overspending on operating and underspending on infrastructure; this is a cause for concern for us as well. The provincial infrastructure grant has now been restructured — as I said earlier — to assist with building the capacity for spending. Also, we have since developed a requirement that project plans would now need to be submitted before funding is approved. And I hope Parliament would be able to use this as an instrument of oversight in making sure that oversight in provinces and allocation to provinces is strengthened.
Most members have indicated their support for this year’s Division of Revenue Bill. I therefore wouldn’t want to bore you with the figures and statistics as most members have alluded to that.
However, Mr Mbili has vociferously raised the issue of lack of support for small black businesses. His passion is understandable, and I agree with him that we might be running out of patience because we want to see change, and we want to see it now. A number of institutions and interventions are in place and I trust that, working together with Mr Mbili in his previous capacity as a member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa ... From time to time he forgets that he is no longer with Scopa, but it is a good spirit because it takes us to where accountability actually resides. Accountability does not reside with the opposition, and I am glad that Mr Mbili has raised the issues with the passion, vigour and as vocally as you have. I can give the assurance ...
... Baba uMpontshane ngeke axoshwe embuthweni, sifuna izinsizwa ezinje-ke. Ngakho-ke Baba uMbili angisho ukuthi ... [... Mr Mpontshane won’t be expelled from the organisation, because we want men of his calibre. Therefore, Mr Mbili, I must say that ...]
... the matter of development finance institutions, DFIs, is receiving attention at government level. There is a review on these DFIs and soon there will be a document before us. We will also look at the mandate of these DFIs and whether they are able to achieve what would be better than what the apartheid regime was able to achieve in our areas.
There are black entrepreneurs; there are people who are prepared. In his speech, the Minister referred to a number of people who have actually made a difference in their lives. It just depends where we are looking in order to be able to respond to some of these things.
Some specific sector concerns were raised in the report. One of them is the issue of the slow pace of delivery. It is agreed that appropriate investments in rural infrastructure and roads are critical. However, I want to say that this will only have the necessary impact if the current pace and quality of spending are improved. Again, Parliament has a critical oversight role to ensure that the latter is achieved. The importance of ensuring that sufficient funding is directed towards sport and recreation infrastructure funding in communities and schools is also supported and we agree with the report as it so states.
Again, the important point that funds should follow function principle and be adhered to is supported as we have seen in housing and in public transport. We have assigned those to municipalities and a number of new clauses give effect to this.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Standing Committee on Appropriations for the work that they have put into processing this legislation, the House and all those who participated and made inputs. Allocations contained in this year’s Division of Revenue Bill enable all spheres of government to intensify activities that will make a difference to the lives and prospects of all South Africans as per our mandate as the ANC since the advent of our democracy. I therefore request that this House passes the Division of Revenue Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]
Question put: That the Bill be read a second time.
Bill read a second time.
INDEPENDENT POLICE INVESTIGATIVE DIRECTORATE BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report of Mediation Committee thereon)
There was no debate.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: House Chair, I move:
That the Bill be passed.
Motion agreed to.
Bill accordingly passed.
CIVILIAN SECRETARIAT FOR POLICE SERVICE BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report of Mediation Committee thereon)
There was no debate.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move:
That the Bill be passed.
Motion agreed to.
Bill accordingly passed.
The House adjourned at 16:13.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
- Submission of Private Member’s Legislative Proposal
- The following private member’s legislative proposal was submitted to the Speaker on 8 March 2011 in accordance with Rule 234:
- Legislative proposal to amend the Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act No 55 of 1998) (Adv A D Alberts).
Referred to the Committee on Private Members’ Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions for consideration and report.
- Membership of Committees
(1) The following changes to Committee membership have been made by the African National Congress:
Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans
Appointed: Daniels, Ms P
Portfolio Committee on Health
Appointed: Motsepe, Ms R
(2) The following changes to Committee membership have been made by the Congress of the People:
Committee on Public Accounts
Appointed: Balindlela, Ms ZB
Discharge: Ramatlakane, Mr L
Constitutional Review Committee
Appointed: Koornhof, Mr N
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
1. The Minister of Arts and Culture
(a) Strategic Plan of the Department of Arts and Culture for 2011 – 2016.
2. The Minister of Communications
(d) Strategic Plan of the South African Broadcasting Corporation for 2011 – 2014.
Correction: The above entry replaces item 5(d) under Tablings in the name of the Minister of Communications in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports of 9 March 2011, on p 601.
3. The Minister of Economic Development
(a) Strategic Plan (Medium Term) for 2012 - 2016 and Business Plan for 2011/12 of the Khula Enterprise Finance Limited.
4. The Minister of Finance
(a) Proposed amendment of the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund to Expand the Investment Authority of the International Monetary Fund, tabled in terms of section 231(3) of the Constitution, 1996.
(b) Explanatory Memorandum to the Proposed Voice and Participation amendment of the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund.
5. The Minister of Trade and Industry
(g) Strategic Plan for the National Regulator Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) for 2011 – 2014.
(o) Strategic Plan of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) for 2011/12 – 2013/14.
Correction: The above entries replace items 30(g) and (o) under Tablings, in the name of the Minister of Trade and Industry in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports of 9 March 2011, on pages 608 and 609 respectively.
6. The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs
(a) Strategic Plan of the Department of Environmental Affairs for 2011/12 – 2015/16 and the Annual Performance Plan for 2011/2012.
Please Note: The above report has been submitted to Parliament on 9 March 2011.
7. The Speaker and the Chairperson
(a) Report of the South African delegation to the 123rd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Geneva from 4-6 October 2010.
Referred to the Parliamentary Group on International Relations for consideration.
REPORT OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN DELEGATION TO THE
123rd INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU) ASSEMBLY IN GENEVA, 4 - 6 OCTOBER 2010
Established in 1889, the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) is an international organisation of Parliaments of sovereign states. The IPU is one of the leading organisations in the promotion and strengthening of the institutions of parliamentary democracy. The organs of the IPU are the Assembly, the Governing Council, the Executive Committee and the Secretariat.
The IPU supports the efforts of the United Nations, whose objectives it shares, and works in close co-operation with. It also co-operates with regional inter-parliamentary organizations as well as with international inter-governmental and civil society organzations that are motivated by the same ideals.
The IPU’s membership currently comprises of 155 member parliaments and 9 international parliamentary assemblies who are associate members.
The agenda for the 123rd IPU Assembly was as follows:
- Election of the President and Vice-Presidents of the 123rd Assembly
- Consideration of possible requests for the inclusion of an emergency item in the Assembly agenda
- Panel discussions on the subject items chosen for debate during the 124th Assembly (Panama City, Panama, 15 – 20 April 2010):
- Providing a sound legislative framework aimed at preventing electoral violence, improving election monitoring and ensuring a smooth transition of power (First Standing Committee on Peace and International Security).
- The role of parliaments in ensuring sustainable development through the management of natural resources, agricultural production and demographic change (Second Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade).
- Transparency and accountability in the funding of political parties and election campaigns (Third Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights).
- Report of the IPU Committee on United Nations Affairs
The delegation to the 123rd IPU Assembly consisted of: Mr M V Sisulu, MP (Speaker and Leader of Delegation), Mrs N D Ntwanambi, MP, Mr C T Frolick, MP, Mr J Selfe, MP and Mr L Ramatlakane, MP. Ms T Kubayi, MP and Dr C P Mulder, MP were advisers to the delegation. Mrs M Oliphant, MP (House Chairperson: International Relations in the National Assembly) and Mrs M Magadla (House Chairperson: International Relations in the National Council of Provinces), as well as Mr G D Schneeman, MP, attended as observers.
The delegation was assisted by Ms T Lyons, Ms C Paulse and Ms J Paulsen from the International Relations Section of Parliament. Mr P Lebeko and Ms L Sait from the Office of the Speaker supported the Speaker during the conference. Ms Z Gcwabe supported the House Chairperson of International Relations in the National Assembly.
Mr Z A Dingani (Secretary to Parliament), Ms N Keswa (Division Manager: Legislation and Oversight), Ms P Davids (Office of the Secretary to Parliament) and Mr H Burger (Office of the Secretary to Parliament) attended the meetings of the Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP).
- Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians
The Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians met on Sunday, 3 October in closed session. The meeting was chaired by Ms. Syada Greiss, President of the Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians.
- Meeting of Southern Africa Group
The meeting was held on Sunday, 3 October. Speaker Sisulu chaired the meeting and informed those present that the SADC Secretariat had requested the South African Parliament to convene the meeting. At the start of the meeting only representatives from Namibia, Lesotho, Zambia and South Africa were present at the meeting.
Report of the representative to the Executive Committee
Dr Gurirab informed the meeting that the Speaker of Benin would give the report from the Executive Committee to the Africa Geopolitical Group meeting.
The meeting noted that two requests for an emergency item had been received. These two proposals were similar and related to the international relief for flood stricken Pakistan. It was agreed that the United Arab Emirates and Islamic Republic of Iran should consolidate their proposals into one. The group agreed that it would support the emergency item on Pakistan.
Vacancies to be filled during the 123rd Assembly
The meeting was informed that with regard to the vacancy for the Africa Geopolitical Group in the Executive Committee that consideration could be given to proposing a candidate from the Southern Africa region. The current vacancy arose as a result of the expiry of the term of office of Ms J Fotso (Cameroon).
Report of the working group on the reform on the IPU
Speaker Sisulu gave a brief overview of the consultation process currently underway on the reform of the IPU. The meeting was informed that the matter had been discussed at the SADC Parliamentary Forum Executive Committee meeting held in Zambia in May 2010. The SADC Parliamentary Forum Executive Committee agreed that a task team would undertake the consultation process to develop a common position for the Southern Africa region. The task team comprised the Speaker of Lesotho, the Speaker of Tanzania, the Speaker of South Africa, the Speaker of Tanzania and the Dr T Gurirab (President of the IPU).
It was noted that at the 3rd World Conference of Speakers the Africa Geopolitical Group gave its support to the principle of reform of the IPU. It was agreed at this meeting that the document produced by the Southern Africa sub region would be distributed to all African parliaments to assist in guiding their discussions on the matter. The group also agreed that the reform of the IPU should be debated at the level of both national and regional parliaments.
Dr Gurirab highlighted that the draft strategic plan for the IPU had been distributed to all Members of the IPU. The document contained seven strategic objectives.
On strategic objective 1 (facilitate parliamentary cooperation) and strategic objective 7 (modernize the IPU) that the Executive Committee members had a number of concerns. To ensure progress it was agreed that further consultation on the type of IPU that members would like to see in future would be undertaken. It was hoped that this would be a consensus building process. After this process had been completed a decision on the desirability of an international convention on the IPU could be taken.
Election for the Bureau of the Africa Geopolitical Group
The meeting was informed that according to the rules of the Africa Geopolitical Group the chairperson of the group would rotate alphabetically between regions. Each of the 5 sub regions would also need to nominate a member to serve on the Bureau of the Africa Geopolitical Group.
- Meeting of the Africa Geopolitical Group
The meeting was also held on Sunday, 3 October 2009 and chaired by the Speaker of Benin.
Report of the representative to the Executive Committee
The Speaker of Benin presented a report on the deliberations of the Executive Committee.
He reflected on recent IPU specialized meetings such as the 3rd World Conference of Speakers held in Geneva during July 2010 as well as the meeting of the Africa Geopolitical Group during this meeting. The discussions of the Executive Committee around the future activities of the IPU, the reports of the President of the IPU and the Secretary General of the IPU, the 2011 budget of the IPU, the reform of the IPU and the strategic plan of the IPU for 2010 – 2015 were also discussed.
The delegate from Namibia raised concern with the number of delegations comprised of a single sex and requested that this matter be considered by the Group.
The Group agreed that the United Arab Emirates and the Islamic Republic of Iran should be requested to consolidate their proposals for the inclusion of an emergency item into one proposal which would be supported by the Group.
Vacancies to be filled during the 123rd Assembly
It was proposed that in keeping with the statutes of the IPU consideration should be given to proposing the candidature of a woman from the Africa Geopolitical Group on the Executive Committee.
The delegate from Namibia raised a concern that the person nominated should not necessarily come from the Central sub region. The Speaker of Benin proposed that only the Central sub region would not be represented on the Executive Committee if a person was nominated from one of the other sub regions. The delegate from Namibia then indicated that Dr Gurirab (Namibia) could not be considered as a representative of the Southern Africa group as he was the President of the IPU.
After discussion it was agreed, by acclamation, that the Central sub region would propose a candidate for consideration by the Africa Geopolitical Group and that at the expiry of the term of office of President Gurirab in 2011 the matter of the
Report of the working group on the reform of the IPU
The Speaker of Benin highlighted that the working group established during the 122nd IPU Assembly in Bangkok had met around the nature of the reform of the IPU on two occasions.
The working group had given consideration to the nature of the reform of the IPU, the form it should take and the concerns raised by other parliaments. It was noted by the working group that there was dissonance around the issue of the reform between some members of the IPU and that it was preferable to proceed slowly in order to build consensus.
Speaker Sisulu indicated that the working group recognized that there was a need to modernize the IPU, but while the principle of the reform of the IPU was agreed upon there was recognition that reform should not change the character or culture of the IPU. It was also keenly felt that this process should not fragment the IPU. He indicated that he hoped that the document would serve as a discussion platform for the various sub regions. The Southern Africa sub region remained committed to continue to work on this process of change.
It was also noted that the report presented should be engaged with by parliaments and regional parliaments and that the matter would continue to be considered by the Africa Geopolitical Group. A substantive discussion on matters contained in the document did not take place, but an opportunity for general comments was provided.
The issue of the role of parliaments in concluding international agreements and that this was largely the prerogative of the Executive was raised by a number of delegations.
Delegations also expressed their appreciation for the work done by the Southern Africa sub region around the reform of the IPU.
Election for the Bureau of the Africa Group's meeting
It was agreed that the current representatives on the Executive Committee would continue for a further period of one year on the Executive Committee.
It was also noted that each Geopolitical Group should propose a Vice President to the Executive Committee for a period of one year. By acclamation, Ms Z Bitat Drif (Algeria) was elected.
The meeting proceeded to the election of a Bureau of the Africa Geopolitical Group. The following members were elected:
- Vice President (Central): First Vice President of the Senate Mr E Mokolo (Democratic Republic of Congo)
- Vice President (Eastern): Deputy Speaker Mr F M Maalim (Kenya)
- Vice President (Northern) First Vice President Mr S Karoui (Tunisia)
- Vice President (Southern) Speaker Ms N Motsamai (Lesotho)
- Vice President (Western) Second Vice President of the National Assembly Ms M M Guigma Diasso (Burkino Faso)
Representative from the Africa Geopolitical Group on the IPU Budget
The meeting agreed, by acclamation, that Mr J Selfe would represent the Group’s views on the 2011 budget of the IPU. Members were requested to present their inputs to Mr Selfe by Tuesday, 5 October.
- Meeting of the Governing Council
The Governing Council met on Monday, 4 October and Wednesday, 6 October. South Africa was represented in the Governing Council by Mr Sisulu, Mrs Ntwanambi and Mr Selfe.
Approval of the summary records of the 186th session of the Governing Council
The summary records of the 186th session were approved.
Questions relating to IPU membership
The Governing Council decided on requests for affiliation to the IPU.
The Governing Council approved the request from the Inter-Parliamentary Union of the Member States of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IPU-IGAD) and the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries (TURKPA) to be given observer status.
Report of the President
The President reported on his activities since the 186th session of the Governing Council and on the activities of the Executive Committee.
Interim Report by the Secretary General on the activities of the Union since the 186th session of the Governing Council
The Secretary-General presented a report on the activities of the IPU since the 186th session of the Governing Council.
He also presented a report on the annual reporting exercise of IPU members. It was noted that fewer than 50 Members had fulfilled their statutory obligation to submit annual reports on how their parliaments had followed up and implemented recommendations of the three resolutions adopted at the 120th Assembly, namely: advancing nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and securing the entry into force of the comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; climate change, sustainable development models and renewable energies and freedom of expression and the right to information.
In regard to the International Day of Democracy, celebrated on 15 September annually, it was noted that 36 national parliaments, including South Africa, informed the IPU of events to commemorate the day. Many parliaments organized their events around the theme of accountability. The South African Parliament held a debate in the National Assembly with the theme “A review of progress made in meeting international commitments in the area of democracy and human rights, with a focus on areas for future efforts”. Members of the public and civil society were invited to attend the debate.
Financial situation of the IPU
Assessed contribution totaling CHF 11,913,700 were invoiced at the beginning of the year and recognized as revenue. The internal assessment on staff salaries had produced a higher than expected level of revenue due to the increases in salary scales that were approved by the United Nations General Assembly during early 2010. The Secretary General had identified voluntary funding needs totaling CHF 5.1 million for 2010.
The 122nd Assembly in Bangkok, the largest expenditure for the first semester of 2010, was CHF 50,000 under budget due to lower costs for interpretation, translation and publishing. Other areas showing savings were the Division of the Promotion of Democracy and External Relations.
The Governing Council approved the reallocation of the sum of CHF 513,000 from the existing budget to finance the following activities: the overhaul of the IPU website, the preparation of an IT needs assessment, the IPU contribution to the organization of a meeting of the Pacific Island State parliaments, the IPU’s participation in the Climate Change Meeting in Mexico and the IPU contribution to the Global Report on Parliaments.
Arrears of Contribution
On 30 June 2010 the total amount of contributions in arrears was CHF 3.6 million which was higher than previous years as several larger members had not yet paid their annual contribution. On 1 January 2010, CHF 96,440 was written off pursuant to the Council’s decision to suspend Somalia for its accumulated arrears.
Draft programme and budget for 2011
The Executive Committee has recommended that an amended zero-growth budget should be approved by the Council for 2011 along with an updated scale of contributions. The budget seeks to ensure that resources are available to continue work in the areas of the promotion of democracy, capacity building in parliaments, development of standards for democratic parliaments, the promotion of peace and security amongst others. The budget also provides for a 21% increase to promote gender equality and women’s participation in politics.
There have been a series of proposals to enhance the functioning and management of the Secretariat, including the creation of a division of communications. While several of these proposals will need to be put on hold until sufficient resources are available, the Executive Committee approved the plan to set up a new communications division within the Secretariat on the understanding that it would have to operate within the confines of existing resources.
Mr Selfe presented the input on the budget of the IPU for 2011 on behalf of the Africa Geopolitical Group.
He pointed out that the Secretary General had earlier in the week described drawing up the budget as “a challenging exercise”. He stated that the budget had come at a time when many parliaments were instituting austerity measures to help to reduce national deficits. It also came at a time of developmental challenges, natural disasters, conflicts and epidemics in many parts of the world. In these states, parliaments had to divert resources firstly to meet the basic needs of the people they represented.
It was indicated that this was particularly true of Africa, where many African parliaments had to continuously balance their expenditure on the IPU with pressing domestic issues. Although their contributions may have been modest, many African countries struggled to pay their membership contributions as was illustrated in the schedule of unpaid contributions distributed earlier.
It was noted that while most African parliaments are very proud to be members of the IPU they did not get the full benefits of membership. Ten African parliaments who were members of the IPU did not send delegations to the Assembly, mostly because of the cost. It was further noted from the report of the Secretary-General that while some regional conferences had taken place, most IPU activities had taken place in Geneva or New York, and for some parliaments, the cost of participating in these activities was too high.
Mr Selfe indicated that the central budgetary challenge faced by the IPU was a three-dimensional one:
- How to maintain and extend its role;
- How to facilitate a fuller participation in its activities;
- How to contain or reduce its costs.
Meeting these challenges involved what in South Africa could be termed as “business unusual”. In the current economic climate it was not possible to increase membership fees and at best, they would have to stay at the same levels.
The following suggestions were made about how to balance these demands.
- The Secretary General should undertake take the IPU to parliaments, rather than expecting parliaments to come to it. This meant more, smaller regional conferences focused on the needs of the parliaments in specific regions.
- The Secretary General should investigate ways in which parliaments with limited budgets could participate more fully in the IPU’s activities. This meant that scheduling meetings in such a way that delegations could attend successive sessions in the same venue. In particular, the Secretary General was urged to explore ways of subsidizing the transport costs of delegations which struggled to attend Assemblies and special meetings of the IPU.
- The IPU should make far greater use of electronic communication. While it was noted that the Secretary General had budgeted for the planned re-launch of the IPU website, more use needed to be made of telephone and video conferencing. It was noted that the IPU had never held a video conference.
- The IPU should monitor and limit administrative and travel expenses to only those that were necessary for the objectives of the IPU. Every post in the IPU administration should be justified and where possible, posts that had become vacant should be downscaled, absorbed in other posts, or left unfilled for as long as possible.
- In general, the IPU should monitor whether its expenditure was effective. In this respect, the format of the IPU budget had improved markedly over the years, and the budget now contained columns of Activities, Outcomes and Indicators. However, in order to be an effective tool of assessment the indicators should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The indicators in the budget were in places vague, which made it difficult to assess whether the objectives were being met. Moreover, the budget for the next year needed to contain a report of the extent to which the indicators have been achieved.
- The IPU should become increasingly project-orientated and partnership-financed. Voluntary funding, currently constituting roughly 20% of the budget, needed to become a much larger part of the IPU’s revenue. The IPU needed to become entrepreneurial in sourcing funding and providing services that are relevant to its member parliaments.
In conclusion Mr Selfe stated that while these steps may not be popular it was the firm belief of the Africa Geopolitical Group that they would allow the IPU to reach new levels of efficiency, and would lead to the IPU to be an integral part of the life of every member parliament. He reaffirmed that the Group wanted the IPU to succeed, and was proud of belonging to it, but along with everything else, it must adapt to the new realities.
In his response the Secretary-General said that the IPU was committed to keep contributions for the next two financial years at the same level. He also thanked Mr Selfe for his analysis of the budget and the proposals he had raised. He stated that the IPU had drafted an action plan which largely addressed the recommendation of the Africa Geopolitical Group to make greater use of information and communication technologies such as video conferencing to reduce costs. He also noted that the scale of contributions to the IPU was based on the United Nations scale for 2006 and that a working group would meet in Panama to look at the situation around contributions.
The Secretary-General stressed that the 2012 budget would ensure that savings were a priority and that the IPU remained very conscious of the situation that parliaments across the world were facing.
The budget was adopted by the Governing Council by acclamation.
Report on the 3rd World Conference of Speakers of Parliament
The meeting received a report on the 3rd World Conference of Speakers held at the United Nations in Geneva from 19 to 21 July 2010. The Conference was attended by Speakers and Deputy Speakers from 135 parliaments and was the largest parliamentary summit ever organized.
The Conference received a report on parliament’s interaction with the United Nations based on a survey carried out by the IPU in 100 parliaments. It also examined progress reports on developments since the previous Speakers Conference in 2005 on meeting the Millennium Development Goals, building global standards for democratic parliaments and strengthening the IPU and its relationship with the United Nations. At the close of the conference participants adopted a declaration on Securing global democratic accountability for the common good.
Reports on recent IPU specialized meetings
The Council also noted the following reports on recent IPU specialized meetings:
- The regional seminar for Latin American parliaments on violence against women (Ecuador, 21 – 23 April 2010).
- Third Parliamentary Forum on shaping the information society (Geneva, 3 – 5 May 2010).
- Parliamentary meeting on the occasion of the UN non-proliferation treaty review conference (New York, 5 May 2010).
- Regional conference “Towards enhanced parliamentary action to combat the trafficking of children for purposes of labour exploitation in West and Central Africa” (Cotonou, 26 – 28 May 2010).
- Parliamentary meeting on the occasion of the 3rd forum of the United Nations Alliance of Citizens (Rio de Janeiro, 27 – 29 May 2010).
- Parliamentary meeting on the occasion of the XVIII international Aids conference (Vienna, 20 July 2010).
- Regional workshop for Arab parliaments on “Implementing CEDAW and ending violence against women” (Lebanon, 27 – 29 July 2010).
- Regional seminar on parliamentary oversight in the area of security in West Africa (Senegal, 21 – 22 September 2010).
Cooperation with the United Nations System
The Advocacy Kit for Parliamentarians entitled “Disaster Risk Reduction: An instrument for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals” prepared jointly by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the IPU was launched. Dr Salvano Briceno, Director of the Secretariat, UNISDR presented the Advocacy Kit to the Governing Council.
The Governing Council examined a checklist of activities undertaken with the United Nations System since April 2010. It also discussed preparations for the debate that would take place in the United Nations General Assembly on cooperation between the IPU and the United Nations. The Council approved a draft United Nations General Assembly resolution on cooperation between the United Nations, national parliaments and the IPU. Members were encouraged to bring the draft resolution to the attention of their national governments and request for support for the adoption of the resolution by the United Nations. Qatar expressed its reservations on the draft resolution.
The Governing Council also adopted a statement reaffirming parliaments’ commitment to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Consolidation of the reform of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
The Governing Council gave consideration to the reform of the IPU. Members were also informed on the process that had been put into place to develop a strategic plan for the future development of the IPU. A draft strategic plan for the IPU for 2010 to 2015 was submitted to the Council (copy attached as an annexure to this report).
Members were requested to bring the document to the attention of their parliaments and submit responses on its refinement and amendment to the IPU by mid February 2011. The Executive Committee of the IPU would meet from 17 – 19 February to discuss inputs and refine the strategic plan. Further discussion on the draft strategic plan would take place at the 124th IPU Assembly in Panama in April 2011.
Activities of committees and other bodies
The Governing Council examined the reports of the following bodies and committees:
(a) Coordinating Committee of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians
(b) Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians
(c) Committee on Middle East Questions
(d) Gender Partnership Group
(e) Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS
124th IPU Assembly
The 124th IPU Assembly will take place in Panama City (Panama) from 15 to 20 April 2011.
Future Inter-Parliamentary meetings
The following statutory assemblies will take place:
- 15 – 20 April 2011 – 124th Assembly and related meetings (Panama City, Panama)
- 16 – 19 October 2011 – 125th Assembly and related meetings (Bern, Switzerland)
- 31 March – 5 April 2012 – 126th Assembly and related meetings (Kampala, Uganda)
- 21 – 26 October 2012 – 127th Assembly and related meetings (Quebec City, Canada)
The theme for the next IPU Assembly in Panama City would be “Parliamentary Accountability living up to people’s expectations”.
A list of specialized meetings was also distributed.
Appointment of two Auditors for the 2011 accounts
In accordance with Rule 41 of the Rules of the Governing Council the following two internal auditors were appointed:
- Mr Hector Tajam (Uruguay)
- Mr Duarte Pacheco (Portugal)
Amendments to the Statutes and Rules
The Governing Council approved amendments to Rules 8 and 9 of the Rules of the Standing Committees and Rule 3 of the Rules of the Secretariat as follows:
Rules of Standing Committees
- A Committee officer shall not be eligible for re-election to the same post, either as titular or substitute, after four years in office.
- When a Committee officer has served for four consecutive years, two years must elapse before that person may again be elected to the post held previously.
- In order to ensure as far as possible a fair distribution of these posts among the Members of the Union, representatives of a Member shall not simultaneously hold more than one post as President or Vice President, or hold a post in the same body for more than four consecutive years.
Rules of the Secretariat
- In accordance with the recruitment procedure appended to these Rules, the Secretary General shall be elected or re-elected by the Governing Council on the proposal of the Executive Committee for a four-year term, renewable twice.
- The Executive Committee may propose to the Governing Council that it waive the procedure set out in paragraph 1 above and vote on the re-appointment of the incumbent Secretary-General.
Elections to the Executive Committee
The Governing Council elected two members to replace Ms. J. Fotso (Cameroon) and Mr. G. Versnick (Belgium), whose terms expired at the time of the 187th session of the Governing Council.
Mrs Sophie Ngouamassana Moulengui-Mouele (Gabon) and Mr Donald Oliver (Canada) were elected to the Executive Committee. Mrs Maria Antonieta Saa (Chile) was elected to serve the remainder to the term of Mr J Coloma (Chile) on the Executive Committee. Mr Coloma had tendered his resignation.
- Meetings of the Assembly
The 123rd Assembly was opened on Monday, 4 October by the President of the IPU, Mr Theo-Ben Gurirarb.
The meeting proceeded to a statement on the current situation unfolding in Ecuador.
The meeting then considered the requests for the inclusion of an emergency item in the agenda of the Assembly. Two requests had been received, namely:
- The importance of international inter-parliamentary cooperation for natural disaster response, in particular with regard to relief aid to flood stricken Pakistan (United Arab Emirates).
- The urgent need for immediate action by the IPU and its Member Parliaments to encourage international relief efforts in flood stricken Pakistan (Islamic Republic of Iran).
After a brief introduction to each proposal the President of the IPU proposed the following consolidated text for consideration:
“Immediate action to support international relief efforts in response to natural disasters in particular with respect to flood stricken Pakistan”
The proposal of the President was accepted by acclamation.
During the debate on the emergency item Speaker Sisulu expressed the sympathy and support of South Africa to the people and government of Pakistan in the face of the devastation their country faced. He acknowledged the leadership role played by the United Nations to ensure a comprehensive response to the disaster, but raised a concern around the slow pace with which the international community had responded to this natural disaster. It was pointed out that the emergency resolution adopted during the 122nd IPU Assembly in Bangkok, as a result of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, had called upon governments to make disaster risk assessment an integral part of the planning for post disaster recovery and reconstruction. Sustainable development, poverty reduction, good governance and disaster risk reduction are mutually supportive objectives. It was for parliaments to advocate for intensified efforts to build the necessary capacity at community, regional and continental levels which would manage and reduce risks. Speaker Sisulu indicated that the main humanitarian challenges faced by the world were an increase in the number of catastrophic events, an increase in the numbers of people vulnerable to them, governments that failed or were unable to respond and an international humanitarian system that was unable to cope. He called upon those present to redouble their efforts to implement the Hyogo Framework for Action. This Framework was a comprehensive action oriented response to international concern about the growing impact of natural disasters.
Speaker Sisulu also expressed concern with the deliberate manipulation and denial of humanitarian aid. It was important to take cognizance that almost 90% of natural disasters are linked to climate change. This was especially important in ensuring that progress was made during the forthcoming Climate Change Conference taking place in Mexico at the end of the year and in South Africa in 2011. It was stressed that failure to reach an agreement could not be an option that the world or developing countries in particular could afford. He reiterated the call for developed countries to take the lead in mitigating the impact of climate change.
After a presentation by Mr B Rae (Canada), on behalf of the drafting committee on the emergency item, the resolution was adopted by acclamation (Attached as an annexure to this report).
Report of the IPU Committee on United Nations Affairs
Mr Frolick presented the report of the IPU Committee on United Nations on behalf of the committee’s Advisory Group. He addressed the subject items reviewed by the committee, namely, the outcome of the United Nations MDG Summit, Parliaments and the Brussels Programme of Action (BPOA): looking towards the 4th United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Cooperation between the United Nations, parliaments and the IPU and the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
On the last point it was noted that the Committee was of the opinion that in view of the poor results of COP15, urgent progress was needed to restore faith in the ability of the Parties to take the process forward. In this regard it was vital to achieve a tangible outcome in Mexico and parliamentarians should take up their responsibility of ensuring the success of the meeting. The need for a strong parliamentary presence at the conference was underscored.
The Committee also noted the new composition of its Advisory Group and indicated to the Assembly that the next meeting of the Advisory Group would take place in New York on 1 December on the eve of the Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations.
- Advisory Group on the Committee on United Nations Affairs
The Advisory Group met on 5 October 2010 to draft the Committee’s report and to discuss future action. Mr Frolick attended the meeting as the representative of South Africa on the Advisory Group.
The Group also considered the modalities for the functioning of the Advisory Group, the draft statement on the Millennium Development Goals and the proposed resolution to be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The Group was also requested to scrutinise the preliminary draft report of the IPU Committee on United Nations Affairs.
In addition, the Group deliberated on the following issues:
- 2010 Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations (2 – 3 December 2010)
- Field missions in 2011
- Consideration of the agenda for the April 2011 session of the IPU Committee on United Nations Affairs
Due to time constraints the Group agreed to revisit some of these issues and to finalise the discussions during the meeting scheduled for 1 December 2010.
- Meeting of the Committee on United Nations Affairs
The Committee on United Nations Affairs met on Monday, 4 October and resumed its work on Wednesday 6 October. Mr C Frolick attended the meetings.
Outcome of the United Nations MDG Summit
The Committee received a presentation on the outcome of the United Nations MDG Summit (September 2010) which focussed on the main lines of action and political messages for the next five years. The special guests were Mr Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr Nthoitha M’Mithiaru, a member of parliament from Kenya and Ms Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, a member of parliament for Indonesia.
In his presentation the Assistant Secretary-General highlighted the steps still to be taken in order to achieve the MDG targets. Gender equality in particular was considered as the largest multiplier effect and an area where the IPU could make a significant difference.
The leader of the delegation of Indonesia presented the IPU report on the MDGs, tabled during the 3rd World Conference of Speakers of Parliament. The report detailed the work of the IPU to help advance the MDGs, galvanize political support, make the case for more development funding and encourage action on the ground to achieve the goals.
The Committee then proceeded to a discussion on how parliamentary engagement in the MDGs could be enhanced in light of a new study conducted by the IPU and the UN Millennium Campaign on current parliamentary practices in support of the MDGs.
Parliaments and the Brussels Programme of Action (BPOA): looking towards the 4th United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The Committee received a keynote address by the United Nations High Representative on the LDCs. The special guests were Mr Check Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), Mr Arjun Karki, International Coordiantor, LDC Watch, Mr Ephraim Kayembe, a member of parliament from Malawi and Ms Alice Foyah, a member of parliament for Sierra Leone). An interactive discussion to assist in defining the parliamentary input to the LDC Conference taking place in June 2011 was held.
Cooperation between the United Nations, parliaments and the IPU
The Committee received a presentation on progress in United Nations – IPU cooperation since 2005. It also examined the 2010 report of the United Nations Secretary General and discussed elements for a General Assembly Resolution on cooperation between the United Nations, parliaments and the IPU. The need for member parliaments to engage with their representatives at the United Nations to garner support for the resolution was emphasised.
United Nations Climate Change Conference
The Committee received a presentation on the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 16) to be held in Mexico in December 2010. The Committee was briefed on the current negotiations, challenges and requirements for the conclusion of a global agreement on climate policies encompassing adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology, forests and capacity building.
15 year review of progress in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
The Committee discussed progress and setbacks in meeting the commitments set forth 15 years ago in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It also examined recent initiatives by the IPU in support of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The Committee also received a briefing on UN Women a newly established UN entity aimed at integrating and boosting overall United Nations efforts for gender equality.
- Panel discussion: Providing a sound legislative framework aimed at preventing electoral violence, improving election monitoring and ensuring a smooth transition of power (First Standing Committee on Peace and International Security)
A panel discussion was held on the subject to be considered by the First Standing Committee on Peace and International Security during the 124th IPU Assembly in 2011. Mr Schneeman and Mr Selfe attended the meeting. A draft report entitled “Providing a sound legislative framework aimed at preventing electoral violence, improving election monitoring and ensuring a smooth transition of power” was submitted by the co-rapporteurs Mr Jesudasu Seelam (India) and Mr Willias Madzimure (Zimbabwe) (the text of the draft report is attached as an Annexure to this report).
The panel discussion was led by the following panelists – Mr Nicolas Kaczorowski, Head Election Department, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Mr Andrew Bradley, Director of Global Programmes Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).
In his input Mr Schneeman indicated that elections provide citizens with the opportunity to determine their future and make their voice heard. It was of utmost importance that this was done in an environment free from violence, intimidation and fear. He stated that the South African parliament had passed legislation to ensure this and that the electoral system was guided by constitutional provisions which required elections to be held every 5 years. The Independent Electoral Commission was also established to oversee and process all matters related to the holding of elections. Disputes were resolved by the electoral court and an electoral code of conduct was in place.
It was indicated that despite the deeply divided past of South Africa, that elections held since 1994 have been largely peaceful. In this regard public representatives have played an important role in building a culture of tolerance. Continuous voter education also plays an important role in ensuring that the electorate are aware of their rights as well as the protection afforded in exercising their choice. Election monitoring also assists in ensuring that elections can be conducted in an environment which is free and fair. It is important that this be a process that starts months ahead of an election and not just a few days prior. Members of the South African parliament have also played an important role in the participation of election observer missions within the Southern Africa region and on the continent. Members are trained for this purpose and the approach is to ensure the mission is undertaken in an unbiased and neutral manner. In addition South Africa welcomes the participation of election observers in its own elections. The smooth transition of power and democratic elections that have taken place since 1994 is a direct result of the sound legislation in play. The proportional representation system in place in South Africa also results in an inclusive approach which gives a broad spectrum of political groupings and society the opportunity to participate in the political process.
- Panel Discussion: The role of parliaments in ensuring sustainable development through the management of natural resources, agricultural production and demographic change (Second Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade)
A panel discussion was held on the subject to be considered by the Second Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade during the 124th IPU Assembly in 2011. Dr Mulder, Ms Ntwanambi, Mr Frolick and Mrs Oliphant attended the meeting. A draft report entitled “The role of parliaments in ensuring sustainable development through the management of natural resources, agricultural production and demographic change” was submitted by the co-rapporteurs Mr Abdekkader Cherrar (Algeria) and Ms Kathleen Ferrier (Netherlands) (the text of the draft report is attached as an Annexure to this report).
The panel discussion was led by the following panelist – Mr Ulrich Hoffmann, Head, Trade and Sustainable Development Section, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The objective of the panel discussion was to provide an opportunity to the co-rapporteurs to interact with experts and members of the IPU on the topic under discussion. The input by experts and the membership would allow for the process of broad consultation and further aspects would be captured in the final report.
The Chairperson introduced the topic under discussion by the Third Standing Committee. He pointed out that the co-rapporteur from Netherlands is not in attendance due to political issues that requires her attention.
Mr Cherrar, presented the draft report and highlighted the following issues:
- The distribution of wealth and the reduction of poverty are key challenges that need to be addressed by the international community;
- Sustainable living conditions would have to be ensured for present and future generations;
- An integrated and sustainable approach within the three policy areas, i.e. the management of natural resources, agricultural production and demographic change was required.
The UNCTAD Secretariat representative, Mr Hoffman, provided an expert input on agriculture to assure food security under the challenges of global warming. His input provided an overview of what made agriculture important, the requirements for agricultural transformation and what policy changes at national and international levels would be required.
In his input Mr Frolick stated that parliamentarians are responsible for approving the budgets of the executive and therefore parliamentarians should ensure that sufficient funding was set aside for programmes that ensured environmental sustainability. Parliamentarians engaged with the budget process and should therefore argue for funding to support farmers, advocate for an increase in agricultural research and programmes for multinational climate change adaptation.
He further stated that parliamentarians should encourage governments to commit more funds to support small scale farmers, support renewable energy programmes and influence government policy to provide greater access to markets and export markets.
He stated that in South Africa land reform programmes were necessary to create opportunities for all and that parliamentarians should ensure gender mainstreaming of these policies and programmes.
- Panel discussion: Transparency and accountability in the funding of political parties and election campaigns (Third Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights)
A panel discussion was held on the subject to be considered by the Third Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights during the 124th IPU Assembly in 2011. Ms Kubayi and Mr Rametlekane attended the meeting. A draft report entitled “Transparency and accountability in the funding of political parties and election campaigns” was submitted by the co-rapporteurs Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi (South Africa) and Mr P Moriau (Belgium) (the text of the draft report is attached as an Annexure to this report).
The panel discussion was led by the following panelists – Mr Nicolas Kaczorowski, Head Election Department, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Mr Andrew Bradley, Director of Global Programmes Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).
In her input Mrs Kubayi highlighted that the rapporteurs had divided the work into a comparative analysis with her report focusing on Africa and Asia and Mr Moriau focusing on Europe and the United States. An area not focused on was Latin America and it was hoped that perspectives from this region would come from the panel discussion. She indicated that the report separated private and public funding for political parties. It was fairly straightforward to define what comprised public funding and how the funds allocated were used. In many countries public funding is allocated based on proportional funding based on how each party performed at election. The question which then arose was whether this could be considered as a fair funding model? It could be argued that it was not as it perpetuates political party inequality and gives support to those already in power. The converse argument is however that the issue of equality can’t be artificially promoted, as it is voters who express themselves on who their representatives are.
Mrs Kubayi indicated that while it could be argued that governments should allocate additional funds for political party funding that this was problematic for poor countries with huge social wage bills and was even more difficult for countries dependant on grants and donors to address the needs of their people.
A more contentious area related to private funding. The issue in this regard related to the disclosure of funding during elections. Systems in countries varied greatly and in many instances political parties had no choice but to run expensive election campaigns. For example, in most African countries where there are vast rural areas, poverty and high illiteracy, it is expensive to run election campaigns as you can not use technology such as TV, newspapers and/or social internet networking to reach voters.
Mrs Kubayi indicated that she did not support the notion of public funding for parties not represented in parliament as a party should be mandated by the people to access public funding. Furthermore, attempts to level the playing field or introduce campaign spending limits were not always practical. The issue of funding of individuals as opposed to parties needed to be addressed and a compromise position found in order to find a positive balance between the two.
Mrs Kubayi stressed that while she believed that regulatory mechanisms needed to be in place to protect both the public and politicians. However she indicated that it was her belief that these measures needed to be voluntary and non-punative. The best situation would be for political parties to self regulate and put their own measures in place to ensure accountability and transparency.
In conclusion Ms Kubayi stated that she believed that transparency and accountability were the pillars of democracy and that it was imperative that political parties should be part of the solution when it came to the funding of political parties.
In his presentation Mr Moriau indicated that it was difficult to find a linking element as all countries had different mechanisms in place. Political propaganda and awareness raising had changed a great deal due to the rise of television and other information and communication technologies. He focused his presentation on the funding of political parties, the regulations of campaigns and control and transparency mechanisms.
Mr Moriau also stressed that systems vary from country to country due to different political systems. He highlighted the difference between public and private funding specifically direct and indirect public funding. He stressed that there was clearly a need for control and sanctions and advocated for independent auditors to monitor the funding of political parties. He also indicated that included in the report was an example of the resolution adopted by the Council of Europe related to the framework for the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns.
Mr Bradley from International IDEA focused his presentation on four broad areas – political parties and finance; the role of parliaments, strategic options for dealing with money in politics and regulation.
In regard to political parties and finance he stressed the need for a legislative framework to regulate this issue. With regard to the role of parliaments in curbing corruption and ensuring accountability he urged parliaments to take steps to ensure that codes of conduct were adopted.
He outlined two strategic options for dealing with money in politics. If the focus was to curb money and corruption in politics then emphasis should be placed on providing a sound legislative framework for regulation. Should the main focus be on leveling the playing field in relations to political parties then the focus should be on looking at distributive measures.
He stressed that regulation contributed to the public confidence in political institutions and enhanced the credibility of political institutions of democracy. However, as political systems vary greatly between countries flexibility is advisable when deciding on a regulatory mechanism. He stated that it was more effective to focus on incentives rather than constraints and sanctions. In this regard it was important to assist political parties to build develop a sustainable funding base. He also noted that access to funding was hampered the access of women in the political domain. In ensuring a balance between public and private funding it could be noted that enforcement and sanctions posed the greatest threat and solutions should be tailored to mitigate this threat. Foreign funding also deeply effected political parties and hampered the delivery of services. In conclusion he remarked that there had been some positive actions at an international level in terms of conventions to combat corruption, transnational organized crime and the negative effect of foreign funding of political parties. He expressed the willingness of International IDEA to provide assistance to the drafting process on the resolution to be considered in Panama.
In general the following matters were raised during the discussion.
- The continued need for ensuring political pluralism.
- The undesirable situation with foreign funding of political parties.
- Public and private funding was required by political parties especially in developing democracies.
- The difficulty with providing uniform guidelines and regulation when political systems differed so substantially.
- The issues related to indirect funding of political parties and access to the media.
- How do we ensure transparency and accountability mechanisms that can be acceptable to the broadest range of countries.
In his input Mr Ramatlakane observed that there was a need to act in a manner that would enhance democracy and ensure trust in participatory democracy. The failure of national parliaments to comprehend and neutralize undisclosed private donor funding interests could compromise and weaken the governments’ ability to deliver quality services. It was, however, clear that public funding for election campaigns remained a critical contributor to the promotion of multiparty democracy. He stated that as an international associated institution of parliaments the IPU needed to create mechanisms to ensure that we achieve uniformity on how we manage political party funding and uphold transparency and accountability. He expressed the view that political parties should adhere to procedures that do not disadvantage them financially.
He stated that a balance should be achieved between the monitoring, evaluation and regulations and rules governing political party funding with special consideration being given to self regulation within an agreed framework for reporting donor or election campaign funding. The starting point would be to advocate the uniformity around the areas of regulatory requirements for compliance by member states of the IPU. He advocated for non-punitive disclosure with a “sunset” clause for a 3 year period during which voluntary mechanisms should be put in place by parliaments.
Mr Ramatlakane’s recommendation was that the IPU should advocate that all national parliaments should debate how to adopt uniform regulation rules that promote multiparty democracy which was free from corruption and that by the 124th IPU Assembly all national parliaments would have had discussions around the transparency and accountability in the funding of political parties.
- Special Session on Migration and Development
The panellists were – Senator Rosario Green (Mexico), President of the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, Ambassador Sergio Marchi (Canada), former member of parliament and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Commissioner on the UN Global Commission on International Migration, Ambassador Arturo Hernandez Basave, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations Office and other organizations in Geneva and Senator Rober del Picchia (France), member of the IPU Executive Committee.
It was noted that the current global economic context is characterized by new challenges which emphasise how interconnected migration and development are. In the future the issue of global governance of migration will prove to be a matter of crucial importance. The panel aimed to provide information on the work of various intergovernmental bodies, including the United Nations, to manage migration and development in a comprehensive manner.
17. Conclusion and Recommendations
It is recommended that the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces refer the subject items to the Parliamentary Group on International Relations (PGIR) for engagement with the relevant parliamentary committees. These committees should, through their interaction with the PGIR focus group on the IPU seek to engage with the subject items from the perspective of South Africa with a view to influencing the resolutions which will be adopted on these subject items during the 124th IPU Assembly in Panama.
The delegation further recommends that the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces consider referring the resolution on the emergency item, adopted by the 123rd Assembly, entitled “Immediate Action to Support International Relief Efforts in Response to Natural Disasters, in particular with regard to flood stricken Pakistan” to the PGIR for further consultation with the PC on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs with a view to informing the IPU on action taken by our Parliament to give effect to this resolution.
It is recommended that the PGIR engage with the content of the draft strategic plan for the IPU for 2010 – 2015. A submission on this should be formulated by 15 February 2011 for discussion by the Executive Committee of the IPU. Further discussions on the draft strategic plan will be held during the 124th IPU Assembly in Panama.
The 124th Assembly of the IPU will take place in Panama City, Panama from 15 – 20 April 2011.
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1. The Speaker
(a) The President of the Republic submitted the following letter dated 25 February 2011 to the Speaker of the National Assembly, informing Members of the Assembly of the employment of the South African National Defence Force for service in Mozambique waters and in international waters to monitor and deter piracy activities along the Southern Africa region of the Indian Ocean.
EMPLOYMENT OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE FORCE FOR SERVICE IN MOZAMBIQUE WATERS AND IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS TO MONITOR AND DETER PIRACY ACTIVITIES ALONG THE SOUTHERN AFRICA REGION OF THE INDIAN OCEAN.
This serves to inform the National Assembly that I have employed two hundred (200) members of the South African National Defence Force, for service in Mozambique waters and in international waters to monitor and deter piracy activities along the Southern Africa region of the Indian Ocean.
The deployment of the South African National Defence Force is for a period of 90 days as from 24 January – 20 April 2011.
This employment is authorised in accordance with the provisions of section 201(2)(c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 read together with section 18 of the Defence Act of 2002 (Act No 42 of 2002).
I will communicate this report to members of the National Council of Provinces and wish to request that you bring the contents hereof to the attention of the National Assembly.
J G ZUMA
1. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the Companies Amendment Bill [B 40 – 2010] (National Assembly – sec 75), dated 10 March 2011:
The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, having considered the subject of the Companies Amendment Bill [B 40 – 2010] (National Assembly – sec 75), referred to it and classified by the JTM as a section 75 Bill, and having obtained permission from the Assembly in terms of Rule 249(3)(b) to inquire into amending other provisions of the Companies Act (No 71 of 2008) [see Minutes of Proceedings of National Assembly, 9 March 2011, p 586], reports the Bill with amendments [B 40A – 2010] (DA and IFP abstaining).
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