Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard

House: National Assembly

Date of Meeting: 28 Oct 2010

Summary

No summary available.


Minutes

UNREVISED HANSARD

 

THURSDAY, 28 OCTOBER 2010

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PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

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The House met at 14:02.

 

The Deputy Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS - see col 000.

 

NOTICES OF MOTION

 

Mr A M FIGLAN: Deputy 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 insufficient provision of basic services in many informal settlements throughout the country and comes up with solutions to improve the delivery of services to these settlements.

 

Ms S P RWEXANA: Deputy 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 shocking revelations of the alarming rise in maternal deaths in South Africa and consequently urges government to meet its priority commitment set down in the Millennium Development Goals.

 

Mr M S F DE FREITAS: Deputy 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 measures by which prioritisation of rail projects are determined and comes up with means by which the determination of priority projects can be improved to take into account the needs of the country.

 

Mr I VADI: Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:

 

That the House debates the establishment of a parliamentary radio and television channel.

 

Mr G D SCHNEEMANN: Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:

 

That the House debates cyber crime as a new-generation crime, which has a negative effect on the economy of the country, and the role of the SA Police Service to combat it.

 

Ms T E LISHIVHA: Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ANC:

 

That the House debates the celebration of 150 years since the arrival of Indians in South Africa and the significant role they have played in shaping South Africa.

 

Mr M MNQASELA: Deputy 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 effect of late registration of births on the accuracy of the National Population Register and whether the government is doing enough to protect the identity details of its citizens, and to come up with solutions to improve the situation.

 

Dr H C VAN SCHALKWYK: Deputy 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 lack of professional ethics in the Public Service, and comes up with recommendations on how a climate of ethics can be cultivated throughout the Public Service.

 

Mr M WATERS: Deputy 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 quality control of food in South Africa and comes up with solutions to improve consumer protection and consequently the health of all South Africans.

 

BANYANA BANYANA TO REPRESENT SOUTH AFRICA AT 2010 CAF AFRICAN WOMEN’S FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

 

(Draft Resolution)

 

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:

 

That the House -

 

  1. notes that Banyana Banyana will represent South Africa at the 2010 CAF African Women’s football championship, which will be held in Ekurhuleni, from 31 October to 14 November; and

 

  1. wishes Banyana Banyana well in their upcoming matches and calls on all South Africans to rally behind them and give them the support they need to make it to the finals.

 

Agreed to.

 

PHOTOGRAPHER JOÃO SILVA INJURED IN AFGHANISTAN

 

(Draft Resolution)

 

Mrs S V KALYAN: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:

 

That the House -

 

  1. notes that acclaimed photographer João Silva was seriously injured in a mine explosion whilst covering the war in Afghanistan;

 

  1. further notes that Silva is associated with the Bang-Bang Club, a group of photographers who covered the political violence in South Africa leading up to the first democratic elections in 1994;

 

  1. acknowledges Silva’s bravery and dedication to his profession as he continued to take photographs whilst injured; and

 

  1. sympathises with Silva and his family during these difficult times and wishes him a speedy recovery.

 

Agreed to.

 

JOHANNESBURG SOCIAL HOUSING COMPANY WINS SCROLL OF HONOUR AWARD

 

(Draft Resolution)

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:

 

That the House -

 

(1)        notes that the Johannesburg Social Housing Company an entity of the City of Johannesburg, recently won the United Nations 2010 Scroll of Honour Award for providing innovative rental housing products – a panel of judges unanimously selected Joshco from organisations around the world;

 

(2)        futher notes that this international award recognises the holistic approach to providing human settlement and service delivery to communities; and

 

  1. congratulates Joshco for winning the United Nations 2010 Scroll of Honour Award.

 

Agreed to.

 

MENTAWAI ISLANDS IN INDONESIA HIT BY TSUNAMI

 

(Draft Resolution)

 

Mrs S V KALYAN: Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:

That the House -

 

(1)        notes that the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia, were hit by a tsunami on late Monday evening, 25 October 2010, triggered by an earthquake off the coast of West Sumatra;

 

(2)        further notes that most recent reports state that an estimated 112 people lost their lives and 152 were missing;

 

(3)        acknowledges that this tragedy struck amidst the volcanic eruption of Mt Merapi on Tuesday, 26 October 2010, that left 24 people dead and thousands fleeing for their lives;

 

(4)        sympathises with the Indonesian government and general populace during this time of hardship and grief; and

 

  1. calls upon the international community to assist in any way possible.

 

Agreed to.

 

ESTABLISHMENT OF AD HOC JOINT COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT AND REGULATIONS ON JUDGES’ DISCLOSURE OF REGISTRABLE INTERESTS IN TERMS OF JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION ACT

 

(Draft Resolution)

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move the draft resolution printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:

 

That an ad hoc joint committee be established in terms of Joint Rule 138, with the concurrence of the National Council of Provinces, the committee to –

 

  1. consider the Code of Judicial Conduct and the Regulations on Judges’ Disclosure of Registrable Interests tabled on 20 October 2010 in terms of the Judicial Service Commission Act (Act 9 of 1994);

 

  1. conduct public hearings in accordance with the provisions of the Act;

 

  1. consist of 9 members of the National Council of Provinces and 14 members of the National Assembly, as follows: ANC 8, DA 2, Cope 1, IFP 1 and other parties 2;

 

  1. exercise those powers in Joint Rule 32 that may assist it in carrying out its task; and

 

  1. report to the House by 16 November 2010.

 

Agreed to.

 

SUSPENSION OF RULE 214(6)(C) REGARDING AD HOC COMMITTEE ON PROTECTION OF INFORMATION LEGISLATION

 

(Draft Resolution)

 

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move the draft resolution printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:

 

That the House –

 

  1. notwithstanding –

 

  1. Rule 214(6)(c), which provides that an ad hoc committee ceases to exist if it has not completed its task by the date set for the completion of its task; and

 

  1. a resolution adopted by the House on 11 May 2010 that the Ad hoc Committee on Protection of Information Legislation had to report by 30 September 2010;

 

  1. condones the continued existence of the ad hoc committee; and

 

  1. extends the deadline by which it has to report to 16 November 2010.

Agreed to.

 

MEDIUM-TERM BUDGET POLICY STATEMENT WELCOMED

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Ms P E ADAMS (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, the ANC parliamentary caucus welcomes government’s 2010 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement. We further congratulate the SA Revenue Service on its exceptional performance in revenue collection, which will go a long way in ensuring that government realises its commitments to the people.

 

The statement has put a strong focus and emphasis on the robustness of the South African economy within the context of the prevailing financial market economic crisis. The South African economy is on a recovery path – doing much better than other developing and developed countries.

 

The statement has also put, at the centre of our recovery path, the countercyclical fiscal policy measures, that we have followed in the past years which, to a large extent, made it possible for the South African economy to sustain infrastructure spending on the social infrastructure security net.

 

We welcome various measures proposed in the statement to encourage participation of independent power producers in the energy sector to complement efforts by Eskom to meet the expanded increase in household and industrial power consumption. This will, among other things, enhance our economic growth, create jobs and enhance measures to fight and combat fraud and corruption. The measures are in line with the ANC’s commitment to intensify the fight against the cancer of crime and corruption, particularly in the public sector. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]

 

EIGHT TOWNS IN FREE STATE FACING ELECTRICITY DISCONNECTION

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Mr D C ROSS (DA): Hon Deputy Speaker, the DA has written to the Public Protector about eight towns in the Free State that face electricity disconnection on 23 November 2010 as a consequence of the failure by the ANC administration that runs these municipalities to pay their bills.

 

In addition, Eskom has issued two public-participation notifications to discuss the possible termination of the electricity supply to the Ngwathe and Mohokare Municipalities in the northern Free State. The notification indicates that both municipalities owe Eskom more than R32 million each.

 

In an unprecedented move, Eskom now expects interested parties, ratepayer groups and the like, to make presentations to the retail manager of Eskom, citing why the power should or should not be terminated. This, we believe, is a massive red herring. The fact is, the fault here does not lie with the ordinary citizens, but with the ANC municipalities which have chronically failed to pay the electricity bills.

 

I have made it clear to the Public Protector that the position of ordinary citizens must be considered and respected. Ordinary South Africans cannot be held responsible for the maladministration of these dysfunctional municipalities. Thank you. [Applause.]

 

NEW GROWTH PATH TO BOOST JOB CREATION

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Prof B TUROK (ANC): Deputy Speaker, we welcome the New Growth Path announced by the Cabinet this week whose principal aim is to boost job creation, and we hope that our journalists tried to understand what was being said and did less speculation.

 

The proposal constitutes an important milestone in economic policy-making in a country which still has powerful interest groups such as business and labour, which are powerful components of the mass movement of the historically dispossessed. The New Growth Path is an attempt to find common ground, so that the country’s economy can advance more rapidly. It recognises the necessity of a strong leading role by the state with an equally important role by business.

 

A central idea is that we need to mobilise the whole country to transform what remains of the apartheid legacy, and I hope the House supports that idea. [Applause.]

 

APPOINTMENTS TO NATIONAL YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AGENCY’S PROVINCIAL ADVISORY BOARDS

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Ms S P LEBENYA-NTANZI (IFP): Deputy Speaker, it has come to the attention of the IFP that the selection process for appointment to the National Youth Development Agency’s provincial advisory boards has been hijacked and manipulated by the ANC Youth League to such an extend that of the 63 positions filled, 62 have gone to ANC Youth League comrades.

 

Many of the worthy applicants from different political organisations and youth formations, who were successful during the interview process, were rejected for appointment in favour of weaker ANC applicants.

 

The NYDA intends to implement and monitor youth development interventions to reduce youth unemployment and promote social cohesion across cultural, racial and political divides, but we are now witnessing an illegal takeover of the NYDA by the ANC Youth League. The NYDA’s core mandate has been subverted and now will serve only the interests of the ANC Youth League.

 

The IFP believes that this is yet another example of abuse of power by the ANC and the ANC Youth League, which places our democracy at stake. In the interests of all South Africa’s youth, the IFP Youth Brigade will explore all avenues to have these appointments nullified. We have also written a letter to the Minister in the Presidency, the hon Collins Chabane, to look into the matter urgently and to nullify those appointments without delay.

 

Finally, I call on this honourable House to launch an urgent investigation into this matter. I thank you. [Applause.]

 

CHILDREN KILLED IN ALEXANDRA CAR ACCIDENT

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Mr N M KGANYAGO (UDM): Deputy Speaker, the UDM extends its condolences to the families of the two children who passed away and to the others who were injured when an allegedly drunken 16-year-old ploughed into a group of pedestrians in Alexandra with a vehicle which was taken without permission. How do we calculate the loss to the families and to the rest of society when two young people are suddenly removed so tragically?

 

This incident is just one of many such incidents. Our people, and especially our young ones, are dying in unprecedented numbers as a result of so-called accidents. Ninety-nine percent of the time there is no accident, but rather an incident involving reckless or incompetent behaviour on the road.

 

South Africa loses thousands of people every year on our roads. No other comparable country has such a high incidence of death and injury on their roads. Something is inherently flawed in the manner in which we as South Africans in general behave on the roads. Have we really sunken to such lawlessness that we simply cannot change our ways, even if we keep losing our loved ones?

 

We are again approaching the busiest season on our roads, and the UDM appeals to government and civil society alike to recommit themselves to road safety. We owe it to the victims, such as 17-year-old Mpho Nyembe, whose memorial service was held yesterday. I thank you. [Applause.]

 

PREPARATIONS FOR THIRD NATIONAL CENSUS

 

(Member’s Statement)

Mr D D VAN ROOYEN (ANC): Deputy Speaker, Statistics SA has announced the date of the third national census since the advent of democracy in South Africa. Statistics SA will deploy 120 officials, dressed in yellow bibs, across the country to document all people, including illegal immigrants and the homeless, from 10 October to 31 October 2011. As part of these preparations for the census, Statistics SA is currently conducting countrywide “dress rehearsals” between 10 October and 31 October 2010.

 

The real census of 2011 will consist of three questionnaires; one for households, one for institutions and one for people in transit. The census is vital, as it also enables the government to cross-check administrative systems that register events such as births and deaths, and it provides the basis for other important surveys that inform decision-making at government level, such as the labour force survey, the demographic and health survey and the general household survey.

 

Therefore, as the ANC we urge all South Africans to stand up and be counted. Be part of the South Africa we know and be part of South Africa our home. Thank you. [Applause.]

 

LAND REDISTRIBUTION PURCHASES

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Mr M SWART (DA): Madam Deputy Speaker, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform informed the Standing Committee on Appropriations that the previous director-general of the department had officially authorised junior officials of the department to enter into negotiations with farmers to purchase their farms in terms of the land restitution programme.

 

It appears that there has been some 4 000 such transactions, although the final audit is yet to be concluded. The monetary value of these transactions is also not yet known, but is estimated to be in the region of R7 billion - this for a department with an annual budget of only R6,8 billion. Already the department has had to make provision for R12 billion in respect of court cases lost against farmers for nonpayment of signed agreements.

 

One can only guess when the government will be able to pay the additional 4 000 contracts entered into. The additional R2 billion in terms of Maritime & Transport Business Solutions yesterday for the 7 000 additional restitution cases is welcomed, but it is only a drop in the ocean.

 

The previous director-general also informed the committee that market valuations by valuators were sometimes done as much as three times to get valuations satisfactory to farmers in order to reach agreements. The consultants were paid for each valuation. For the one-year period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010 the department paid these valuators an amount of R180 million. We are also aware of many corrupt valuators.

 

Complaints are often heard about the slow pace of land restitution and reform. The problem is clearly not unwillingness by the farmers to sell the land or the principle of willing-buyer, willing seller. It is simply a case of poor management and planning by the department. [Applause.]

 

QUALITY HOUSING SETTLEMENTS

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Mrs G M BORMAN (ANC): Hon Deputy Speaker, the ANC-led government is committed to accelerating the delivery of housing within the context of sustainable human settlements; to provide quality housing within human settlements to turn homes into assets; to create a single, efficient formal housing market; and to abolish apartheid spatial planning, thereby restructuring and integrating human settlements.

 

Therefore, we welcome the announcement made by the Minister of Human Settlements that the department is rolling out a project to eradicate all informal settlements. A total of 8 700 human settlement projects are currently under way across the country. The Minister has committed his department to building dignified homes for people.

The ANC-led government is dedicated to accelerate the delivery of housing within the context of sustainable human settlements. The ANC-led government will turn the tide of housing delivery in the country. Together we can do more! [Applause.]

 

FATAL ATTACKS ON FAMILIES IN KWAZULU-NATAL

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Prof C T MSIMANG (IFP): Madam Deputy Speaker, the IFP is shocked and saddened to hear of another deadly attack on a family in KwaZulu-Natal early this morning.

 

Four people, including a six-month-old baby, were found dead in a remote homestead outside Mariannhill in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday, police said. In addition, a nine-year-old boy, Simphiwe Buthelezi, and his 52-year-old grandmother, Thoko Sibiya, were shot dead in their home in Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday evening. The woman was with her two nine-year-old grandsons when they were attacked by unknown men. The grandmother and her grandson were killed, but the other grandson managed to escape unharmed. They were killed barely hours after six people, including two young boys, were killed at two homes at Shongweni Dam outside Durban.

 

The IFP calls on the local residents, community policing forum representatives, the police and traditional leaders to work together to find the ruthless criminals who are responsible for these hyenas’ crimes. We also call on them to bring an end to senseless killings. The brutal murders must be stopped.

 

The pre-eminent responsibility of any government is the safety of its citizens, especially the safety of its children and the elderly. When one hears about such brazenly deadly attacks, one cannot but feel a sense of betrayal that government is failing in its duty to protect its citizens. Thank you.

 

ECONOMIC POLICY AND THE NEW GROWTH PATH

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Mr P D DEXTER (Cope): Deputy Speaker, while Cope acknowledges some of the good news that the Minister of Finance has reported in the National Trade Policy Background Papers, such as a decrease in the deficit, an increase in tax revenues, and especially some of the steps around tender corruption and fraud and so on, the overall view is that this is disappointing. The Minister has continued to follow the same policy continuity that we have seen all along and it begs the question: Where is the new growth path?

 

In some sense what we heard was really mutton dressed up as lamb. There are good intentions that we really welcome – the view of creating five million new jobs, keeping inflation in check and so on. This continues to be a call of the ruling party but, as the Minister has pointed out, and Cope has stated all along, things like the value of the rand are determined neither by the wishes of Members of Parliament, nor by that of the ruling party. The key issues of investor confidence and promoting and supporting entrepreneurs, especially in small and medium enterprises, were simply paid lip service, and even some of the targets in the so-called new growth path were just smoke and mirrors.

 

In short, it seems as if it is more of the same and not enough of anything new. The achievements of the past few months in the economy flow off the back of global trends, increased investment into developing countries and the slow, but important global recovery. The government may claim credit for some things, but not for what is happening globally. It must, however, take responsibility for the lack of vision and leadership that seems to characterise it. [Applause.]

 

YOUNG EMERGING COMMERCIAL FARMERS AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Mr M I MALALE (ANC): Hon Deputy Speaker, the ANC government has acquired a portion of Leeuwfontein Farm. It covers an area of about 342 hectares and is situated near Bronkhorstspruit in the Metsweding district. This farm was then leased to Mr Mafuleka for five years. Mafuleka is one of only a few young emerging commercial farmers.

 

In addition to granting this lease, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform approved funding of over R1 million to cover essential overhead expenses.

 

Mr Mafuleka’s efforts are already reaping fruit. The first crop of pears is flourishing and is due to be harvested soon. Plans are also in the pipeline to plant cabbage, baby marrows and spinach for the local market and local vendors. He has also employed 11 workers, all of whom are women. Five of them are earmarked to be employed permanently.

 

This initiative is part of the ANC government’s proactive land action strategy which aims to accelerate the land restitution process and ensure maximum productive use of the acquired land.

 

The ANC hopes that this project will serve as a sustainable model for the future and will further enable more young historically disadvantaged people to follow their dreams of becoming commercial farmers. Thank you. [Applause.]

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, RIGHTS AND SUSTAINABILITY

 

(Member’s Statement)

Mrs S V KALYAN (DA): Deputy Speaker, realising environmental rights in our Constitution requires greater focus going forward.

 

Our sustainability as a country underpins the majority of the Millennium Development Goals, the MDGs. A population that lives in a healthy environment is more likely to be productive, healthy and make use of opportunities. But, according to a report of Statistics SA, it is very likely that the Millennium Development Goal with regard to environmental sustainability will not be met on time.

 

Environmental challenges are not unique to South Africa, but, as South African legislators, this is where we have the ability to intervene. We need to take stock of the World Wildlife Fund’s latest living planet report released this month, which reveals that the world’s ecological footprint exceeds the earth’s biocapacity by 50%. That means it will take one and a half years for the earth to produce the resources humanity consumes in a single year.

 

The question of what has become of South Africa’s National Framework for Sustainable Development needs to be asked, the framework being an outcome of the 2002 World Summit in Johannesburg. Which department is driving this?

 

Owing to the nature of environmental protection and sustainability, it cannot just be the work of the Environmental Affairs department. It concerns practically all departments, and I trust therefore that it is getting the attention of the National Planning Commission. [Applause.]

 

ABET PROGRAMME IN POLOKWANE

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Mrs F F MUSHWANA (ANC): Deputy Speaker, employees are learning to read and write in Polokwane. The Limpopo department of agriculture has embarked on a drive to encourage all its illiterate employees, most of whom are general workers such as cleaners, gardeners and tea makers, to learn how to read.

 

It has registered employees for the Adult Basic Education and Training programme. This programme has proved to be a success and, since its inception four years ago, 132 out of the 200 employees have registered for Abet programmes. Most of them are illiterate. It is really amazing to see how this initiative has changed their lives as many of them can now sign their names instead of making a cross. Some can read forms that are written in English. This year already 34 people have received their Level 4 certificates.

 

This programme forms part of the ANC government’s commitment of ensuring that South Africa is completely liberated from illiteracy by 2014 through our Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign. It should be emulated by other rural communities right around the country. I thank you. [Applause.]

 

THREATS TO SUPPLY OF SAFE DRINKING WATER

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Mr T BOTHA (Cope): Chair, the Department of Water Affairs is presiding over a catastrophe. It has failed dismally to maintain and upgrade infrastructure. Serious problems with grave health and economic implications are looming. The country is sitting on a ticking bomb.

 

The Moqhaka Municipality reported a thousand cases of diarrhoea. At least 350 people were treated in hospital because they drank either untreatable or untreated water.

 

Last week a staggering 500 children were sent home after 100 people who allegedly drank contaminated water became sick. The town is now relying on local farmers in Kroonstad for its water supply. Kroonstad could soon be without electricity because it has an unsettled bill with Eskom running into millions of rands.

 

What is happening in the Free State is happening in other parts of the country too. A clear trend is emerging. The system of municipal services is breaking down. Commentators are fearful about what would happen if a mainline sewer pipe, stretched to breaking point, were to explode. The situation in Gauteng, the Free State, Mpumalanga and elsewhere is dire. What are the problems? They are inadequate infrastructure, a countrywide lack of technical skills, incompetence, poor leadership, and delays in creating new infrastructure.

 

The goal of the department of ensuring that the country’s drinking water is safe, accessible and affordable will remain a distant hope. A major disaster is looming. If Cabinet fails to act right now the responsibility of water provision in the water and sanitation sphere will rest solely with this government. I thank you. [Applause.]

 

LACK OF SKILLS IN HOUSING GOVERNANCE SECTOR

 

(Member’s Statement)

 

Mr A M FIGLAN (DA): Enkosi. [Thank you.] Madam Deputy Speaker, the establishment of viable and sustainable human settlements is critical in achieving human dignity for our people and in creating opportunities for individual citizens to be productive and healthy.

 

The Department of Human Settlements is tasked with the co-ordination of building sustainable human settlements. Despite some positive moves to root out corruption in this field, it is faced with a severe lack of skills in the housing governance sector.

During the 2009-10 financial year, the department invoked sections 26 and 27 of the Division of Revenue Act by directing funds from the Eastern Cape and the North West. It transferred R52 million from the North West to the Northern Cape, whilst R270 million was transferred from the Eastern Cape to Gauteng, the Free State and Mpumalanga. This occurred because the two provinces, the Eastern Cape and the North West, lacked the necessary skills and capacity to deliver the houses that they were expected to deliver.

 

House-building skills are something that the ANC government needs to take very seriously. If the ANC cannot deliver the houses which have been budgeted for, then it cannot be considered to be a party that lives up to its promises to the poor. I thank you. [Applause.]

 

CHILDREN KILLED IN ALEXANDRA CAR ACCIDENT

ECONOMIC POLICY AND THE NEW GROWTH PATH

 

(Minister’s Response)

 

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Deputy Speaker, this side of government would like to associate ourselves with the statement made by the hon member of the UDM, and express first and foremost our condolences for the families of the two students who were tragically killed in Alexandra. We also agree with him that many of these so-called motor accidents are not accidents at all, but incidents in which driver behaviour in particular is responsible.

I don’t know if the hon member is aware that Minister Ndebele was involved in a road block arrangement outside East London in which 450 cars were stopped as part of October Transport Month. Two hundred and fifty-eight of those cars had drivers who were contravening the law in one way or the other. More than half of the drivers were under the influence, hadn’t fastened their seat belts, etc. That, therefore, underlines the point that the hon member of the UDM was making. It is driver conduct, overwhelmingly, that we need to address.

 

Where I do depart a little from him is that we must be careful of not becoming so cynical that we think we can’t do anything. Some of the statistics are beginning to show that, as a result of incessant campaigns by all of us, not just by the ruling party or government, we are beginning to make a dent in the very high and unacceptable levels of incidents, road fatalities and serious injuries on our roads. It is very important to be very firm and to continue to send this strong message about the need to drive safely, carefully and responsibly on our roads.

 

The kind of cynicism that sometimes prevails and which was exemplified by the hon member from Cope about the New Growth Path is an example of the way in which we undermine ourselves generally and not have a sense of hope about a caring society. It is particularly cynical when it comes from the hon Dexter and his giving us a lecture about lack of leadership in government. It is very rich when it comes from a party called Cope. [Applause.]

 

APPOINTMENTS TO NATIONAL YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AGENCY’S PROVINCIAL ADVISORY BOARDS

 

(Minister’s Response)

 

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Mrs T V Tobias-Pakolo): Deputy Speaker, I can’t help but laugh at the suggestion that there is an organisation called Cope. I suspect there isn’t one. [Interjections.] Can I speak, please?

 

I want to respond to the submission made by the IFP member, the hon P Lebenya-Ntanzi. Firstly, I appreciate the role she played when the legislation on the establishment of the National Youth Development Agency was legislated by Parliament. At that time she made a meaningful contribution.

 

However, I feel disappointed by the type of input she made today, to actually defeat the intentions of the establishment of that legislation which was aimed at ensuring that youth development is put high on the agenda of government. This Parliament cannot take the blame for the ANC Youth League having the majority of youth in this country. We cannot take the blame for it being an organisation that leads the majority of young people in South Africa.

I am saying this because there is no need for us to play to the gallery by bringing politics into the legislature. Our responsibility as government is to ensure that youth development is important on the agenda. Therefore, the appointments to the Youth Development Agency boards is the prerogative of the Presidency. Therefore, I think the Presidency has followed due process in the appointments to such boards. In the event that a member or any other party feels aggrieved, I think they need to know where and who to approach and not play to the gallery by bringing up these matters here.

 

Secondly, I need to speak about the issue of investor confidence. I think the hon member would appreciate the fact that our government is addressing structural imbalances by trying to create jobs in the market. That is why we are talking about the value of the rand. We are the ones who spoke about the appreciation of the rand, and we are the ones who spoke about the currency wars currently taking place. Yesterday the Minister spoke about quantitative easing; trying to caution those governments that seek to pump money into the economy to undermine job creation and continue jobless growth. I think we need to appreciate that.

 

This government has a responsibility of investment promotion, hence the Industrial Policy Action Plan, Ipap 2, as a strategy. [Interjections.] Give me a chance; give me a break. Hence, Ipap 2 has been put before us and we as this Parliament have adopted it as a strategy to focus on growth. Therefore, we have provided incentive schemes for foreign direct investments, including reducing taxes on companies prepared to invest in South Africa. We, at least, need to appreciate that fact because it is a fact on the table. I thank you. [Applause.]

 

ECONOMIC POLICY AND THE NEW GROWTH PATH

 

(Minister’s Response)

 

The MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Hon Deputy Speaker, we welcome the statement made by the hon Turok on the New Growth Path. The New Growth Path is intended to significantly increase the number of jobs in the economy and to reduce the carbon emissions in the economy. We have identified opportunities in 10 areas. We have prioritised six of these. They are infrastructure investment; the green economy; the agricultural value chain; mining and mineral beneficiation; manufacturing activities identified in Ipap 2; and tourism.

 

Hon Dexter, government is indeed giving leadership. It is setting out a compelling vision. It has come out with concrete targets, with identified resources and with clear policies. It is very important that we move beyond a point-scoring mentality and a spirit of pessimism. We have shown an enormous capacity as a country to achieve what we set out to do when we are focused. We now call for a national focus on jobs.

 

The New Growth Path will require strong partnerships between the state and the private sector and with organised labour. Each will need to contribute to inclusive growth and to the jobs that we have identified. It calls for shared solidarity and a willingness to work together. We intend to provide further briefings to this House and to the portfolio committee. Thank you. [Applause.]

 

PREPARATIONS FOR THIRD NATIONAL CENSUS

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, RIGHTS AND SUSTAINABILITY

ABET PROGRAMME IN POLOKWANE

THREATS TO THE SUPPLY OF SAFE DRINKING WATER

 

(Minister’s Response)

 

The MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to welcome the statement by the hon member from the ANC concerning the census that will be conducted in 2011. I think it is vitally important that we encourage our citizens to participate in the census. I am hopeful that as we hold meetings with the public, all our constituency offices will ensure that we communicate about the work that is being done and will be done as part of the census.

 

I would also like to direct the hon member Kalyan to study the contents of Outcome 10 of the 12 outcomes that have been adopted by government as our priority focal point. Outcome 10 deals with the matters that the hon Kalyan correctly raised around the environment and the accessibility of the environment, its sustainability and strategies both in terms of research and development, as well as in terms of other areas that would assist us in enhancing the protection of our environment.

 

Outcome 10 contains the details of what government will do. It is an important priority and one that we will pursue vigorously. As the hon Kalyan said, that work will involve departments across the board, including Environmental Affairs, Energy, Science and Technology, and so on.

 

Finally, we are certainly pleased to hear the report from the hon Mushwana concerning the efforts of the Department of Basic Education to advance mass literacy in South Africa and ensure that opportunities for adult education go beyond basic education and to a post basic level of access. We certainly congratulate the Department of Basic Education on the work that is being achieved through the Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign, as well as the adult basic education and training, Abet, programmes that are under way.

 

With respect to Water Affairs, again, I would not say that we are on the verge of a catastrophe. I think there are many challenges to be addressed. The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs has been very upfront about alerting us to the challenges with respect to water resources. She responded that her department is putting in place the necessary measures in order to address the challenges with respect to clean water and sustainable resources.

 

We are a water-scarce country and one that has not always provided access for all its citizens to quality water resources. In the past 16 years, I think this government has certainly led the way in ensuring that more and more people have access to water. Through the efforts of the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs we will continue to ensure that those who continue to lack such resources are catered for, and where there are gaps, that we certainly address this. I thank you. [Applause.]

 

LAND REDISTRIBUTION PURCHASES

YOUNG EMERGING COMMERCIAL FARMERS AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

 

(Minister’s Response)

 

The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM: Deputy Speaker, the hon member from the DA was correct in what he said concerning the land claims and exposure to government. We acknowledge that we have done verification of the outstanding land claims. We have the conclusion of that work.

 

The second thing that we acknowledge is that perhaps we could have managed and planned better. I think the hon members should acknowledge the pressure of time. This has been a massive programme of government: trying to address a very emotive issue, with no previous experience. Now we understand that the challenge is in the processing. When you gazette, the farmer stops the development, we sign, make an offer and agree.

 

There is much goodwill amongst the farmers out there in terms of their understanding of the challenges facing government - the inability of the fiscus to deal with this. We are trying to engage with them to try to make them understand further, because the court orders are not in the interests of the state as a whole.

 

The reason I am acknowledging this is because we did not think it was supposed to be made into a political issue. We thought maybe it was just a matter of national interest, and that all of us, both the opposition and our side in the ANC, should acknowledge that we have an equal responsibility to ensure that the stability we are experiencing right now in our country should remain as it is.

 

Secondly, I wish to acknowledge and thank the hon member from the ANC who spoke about the farmer from Bronkhorstspruit. We think that is the way to go. We have created a fund. This year we have R900 million to try to work out a strategy of recapitalisation and development. This is part of the programme. There will be more of these. We hope that the hon members will appreciate that those terms were made to stabilise the country, not only for the ANC, but for the betterment of the country as a whole, including the hon members of the DA. I thank you. [Applause.]

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: MUNICIPAL ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL

 

(Second Reading debate)

 

The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon members and colleagues, the right of all eligible citizens to vote was a major tenet of our struggle for freedom. It stands as one of the cornerstones of this country’s democracy, now firmly entrenched in our Constitution. This young democracy is proud to have held four successful national elections and, as we know, we are currently preparing to have local government elections in 2011.

 

As a caring government, we believe strongly in the right of all citizens, including those who may be physically challenged, to use their vote to choose the leaders they want to choose. Therefore, when the Independent Electoral Commission, the IEC, identified certain aspects of the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act of 2000 which needed to be amended to cater for the needs of all citizens, we felt that this needed to be addressed before the 2011 local government elections. The proposed amendments contained in the Bill resulted from consultations convened by the IEC with various stakeholders, more particularly, the political parties.

 

Let me briefly outline some of the proposals in the Bill, which aim to amend the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act of 2000. Firstly, the IEC saw the need for an election timetable.

 

Secondly, the Bill provides for the submission of an undertaking binding the party, its representatives, members and supporters to a code, as well as to a declaration that none of the candidates is disqualified from standing for elections. It also makes sure that the candidates submit a certified ID. If the party omits certain documents, the commission must notify the party in writing by no later than the relevant date and time stated on the election timetable. If there are still no documents forthcoming, the commission has the right to remove the name of the candidate from the party list. It also has the right to remove the name of a candidate who is not registered as a voter on the municipal segment of the voters’ roll. Again, the commission must inform the party of such removal.

 

Thirdly, it has a new provision regulating central payment of the prescribed deposit by parties contesting the election. It says that a party contesting elections in more than one municipality must deposit the relevant amount at the commission’s head office through a bank-guaranteed cheque, detailing each municipality that the deposit applies to.

 

Fourthly, it gives powers to presiding officers to redemarcate the boundary of a voting station, because sometimes the voting station is too small and the queues are too long. So, it empowers the presiding officer to do that to ensure proper control and security at the voting stations. Obviously, this would be done after consulting with the party agents and the security people that are there.

 

Fifthly, it provides that if voting takes place in more than one room, there should be two party agents in each room. In the case of a ward election, if it is an independent candidate, there must be one party agent in each room.

 

Sixthly, it empowers presiding officers to assist physically challenged voters, including those who are blind or who are unable to hear. For the first time, it also allows special votes for those who, on voting day, are unable to cast their votes at the voting station or in the district in which they are registered.

 

Lastly, it empowers the commission to apply to the Electoral Court for an extension of the period to determine and declare results of the election if it is unable to do so within the specified seven-day period.

These amendments, we hope, will facilitate efficient preparations for the local government elections in 2011. It is my hope that, as these amendments will go a long way towards ensuring a smooth local government election in 2011, the House will actually support them.

 

In conclusion, I would like to thank the chairperson of the portfolio committee, hon Ben Martins, for steering the work of the committee in such an excellent way. I would also like to thank all the members of the portfolio committee for their guidance and support during the deliberations on these proposed amendments. I thank you. [Applause.]

 

Mrs M M MAUNYE: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon Ministers, Deputy Ministers, comrades, hon members, today’s debate is about deepening democracy and the pivotal role that the ANC has played in bringing into reality the ability of all South Africans to elect a representative local government of their choice.

 

This amending Bill is the result of a political process that we, as the ANC, have brought about. It is one in which all political parties, informed by their experiences of local government elections, have come together in order to effect changes to ensure a better functioning local government election process in 2011.

 

Throughout its 98 years of existence, the ANC has fought for the voice of the people to be translated into a national democratic society whose values and principles are to be found in the guiding policy document, the Freedom Charter, of 1955; one of whose principal clauses states: “The people shall govern”.

 

With this amending Bill we seek, therefore, to deepen democracy in that the clauses we seek to amend will benefit the masses of our people by enabling them to access and enjoy their right to vote in their choice of local government, and in a manner that is easier and more efficient.

 

This year we celebrate the first decade of being able to democratically elect a local government that represents the people’s choice, enhancing the principal value of “The people shall govern”. As we move towards the third democratic local government elections in 2011 we have, today, the opportunity to ensure that we stand strengthened by the system and functions that will govern these elections.

 

South Africa’s system of local government is one of the youngest and most democratic in the world. The first democratic local government elections held in December 2000 enabled South Africans to vote for public representatives and parties within a transformed local government.

 

With this amending Bill we have the opportunity to qualitatively improve the participation of registered voters in the process of influencing decision-making by electing candidates who will represent the aspirations of the masses of our people in the allocation of resources and the identification of local government needs and priorities. We have, through this amending Bill, the opportunity to enhance the participation of our people at the centre of development, not merely as beneficiaries, but as drivers of transformation.

 

This amending Bill provides for the opportunity to strengthen the system of electing public representatives, drawing on the lessons derived from our collective experience of the need for a more effective and accountable manner in which we elect our public representatives to local government.

 

There are those who will suggest that this Bill is a mere technicality; it is not. This amending Bill is a product of the national Political Party Liaison Committee process in which robust discussions have taken place. The mere fact that this Bill deals with critically important matters such as party agents and their representation at voting stations, which is the lifeblood of political-party intervention at this level of the election process, informs us that we are dealing with issues of power and regulation of power with regard to electing party and public representatives.

 

The first 10 years of democratic local government have registered remarkable achievements at the front line of change in improving the lives of our people. We have, indeed, achieved a great deal, and although much more needs to be done, many communities around the country have seen positive change in the past 10 years.

 

One of the component parts in the theory of the national democratic revolution is the creation of a democratic state; the establishment of democratic institutions that derive their authority from the people; regular elections; and continuing popular participation in the process of governance, giving expression to the statements in the Freedom Charter that “All people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country,” and that “Every man and woman shall have the right to vote for and stand as a candidate for all bodies which make laws”.

 

For this amending Bill to be operationalised it requires two important institutions of democracy to support its spirit and intention. These are the Independent Electoral Commission, the IEC, whose duties are, among other things, to manage elections of national, provincial and municipal legislative bodies in accordance with national legislation and to ensure that those elections are free and fair. The second one is the SA Local Government Association, Salga, since local government elections are dependent upon the infrastructure that exists.

 

The reality is that, from time to time, we shall have to bring to this House amendments to the principal Act. Assessments and evaluations of each election inform us of strengths and weaknesses and the need for amendments.

 

Another institution that plays a pivotal role in the local government democracy and electoral process is the Municipal Demarcation Board. It has recently completed its work and finalised the demarcation of ward boundaries for the 2011 local government elections. Municipal wards are crucial units of our democracy, because they serve as the core of ward-based development, apart from being regarded as units that hold the electorate accountable to the people.

 

The Bill has been considered thoroughly by the portfolio committee, which has received inputs from the IEC and the Department of Home Affairs. It, however, transpired that Salga was not provided with the opportunity to make inputs prior to the introduction of the Bill to Parliament, as required in terms of section 154(2) of the Constitution. This has been addressed among the IEC, the department and Salga.

 

One issue that was raised by the Minister is the issue of the redemarcation of the boundary for the voting station where the queues are long, a technical aspect which will be elaborated on by the hon Thibedi. Thank you. [Applause.]

 

Mrs A T LOVEMORE: Acting Speaker, today I will be addressing the broader environment of which this Bill forms part – that of electoral reform. I will briefly address the issues that should, in fact, have formed part of this Bill and which did not.

 

In 2002 an electoral task team was established to draft legislation for the next national and provincial elections. The provisions of the final Constitution did not extend beyond the elections held in 1999, and there was no electoral system prescribed for the 2004 and subsequent elections. Therefore, there was and still is something of a legislative vacuum in this regard and much scope for the reform of the electoral system in South Africa.

 

The report of the electoral task team which was chaired by the late Dr Frederik van Zyl Slabbert was released in January 2003. To date, the majority of the recommendations contained in that report have not been implemented. The report referred primarily to national and provincial elections. However, all of the values and much of the content are equally applicable to local government elections. The DA electoral system policy mirrors the majority conclusions of Dr van Zyl Slabbert and his team. However, the majority party has not subscribed to the recommendations. We certainly hope that they will consider doing so.

 

Four core values that guided the work of the task team were fairness, inclusiveness, simplicity, and accountability. My focus this afternoon will be on fairness and accountability.

 

Fairness means that every eligible voter must be able to vote and that every vote carries equal value. The body that is elected must fairly reflect the wishes of the voters. This is the case in South Africa with one very important exception - the President, the premiers and the mayors are not chosen by the electorate, but are deployed by the ruling party, and often also removed when their level of favour within the party declines.

 

The DA believes that voters must directly elect the public representatives who will head a specific sphere of government - the person who will be ultimately responsible for providing political leadership. We call, thus, for future municipal electoral legislation to include the direct election, by the people, of the mayor of their town or municipality.

 

The Independent Electoral Commission’s own 2009 survey showed that 27% of voters found voting stations difficult to access, particularly for the disabled and the elderly. Almost five million voters struggled to access their voting venues. If fairness means that every eligible voter must be able to vote, then accessibility to voting stations must receive urgent attention.

 

Accountability demands full understanding of the power of the vote. In April of this year, Dr Mamphela Ramphele began her campaign for extended voter education. She said, and I quote:

 

The quality of political education has not served voters well. Most South Africans are new to democracy and the exercise of their vote. Much more effort is needed in educating them about democracy, but the IEC has unfortunately not focused enough attention on the principle of choice in voter education.

 

Our schools have also not utilised the life orientation programme in the curriculum to educate about democracy. New voters are not provided with enough opportunities to understand the role of citizens as sovereigns to hold public officials accountable. Affirming the power of the individual vote to signal pleasure or displeasure with the performance of public officials needs to be at the core of our political education programmes.

 

Dr Brigalia Bam told the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs recently that the commission does not intend to extend its education programme to include the use of a vote to vote out a government that is not delivering. This is disappointing. It will be up to civil society and to the parties that truly believe in democracy to spread this message.

 

What certainly can and should be legislated is the electoral task team’s majority recommendation of a mix of a constituency-based and proportional system for all levels of government and not only at the local government level.

 

Dr van Zyl Slabbert’s team found that approximately 40% of voters felt that the current system - the PR: proportional representation system - does not help voters hold individual representatives accountable. The electoral system should put a face to a party, somebody who has responsibility for a designated area, who is identifiable and accessible between elections, and who is directly accountable to the voters. Lack of accountability was seen as a weak point in a system with which voters were otherwise generally satisfied.

 

The task team’s majority finding that a constituency-based electoral system should be implemented at all levels of government is fully endorsed by the DA. However, it was rejected by the ANC. The ANC owes the public serious consideration of the value of accountability in the crafting of future electoral legislation. The value of accountability is only achieved at local government level. Electoral reform must address this. I thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]

 

Mrs Z B BALINDLELA: House Chairperson, experience is the best teacher. The principal Act of 2007 obviously had certain shortcomings which became evident over time. This Bill addresses those shortcomings and the Minister has enunciated some of them.

 

A good example is the drawing up of a pro forma timetable for the local government elections and giving attention to the fact that all candidates on the list are indeed eligible to stand for elections. The amended law will authorise the removal, from the party list, the names of candidates who did not submit the required documentation within the prescribed period of time.

 

The Bill also makes provision for the central payments of deposits by a party, using a bank-guaranteed cheque when it is contesting an election in more than one municipality on the same day. All of the matters I have mentioned so far have been of a technical nature. Clearly, they are an advancement on what we have had before.

 

The amendment of section 21 of Act 27 of 2000 will now empower presiding officers to alter boundaries of voting stations, if necessary, and after consultation with party agents and the members of the security services who are on duty.

 

The next two amendments are outwardly very good. However, they both have the potential for being corrupted. There is nothing wrong with a presiding officer or a voting officer assisting a voter when requested by a voter in terms of section 1, or when a voter is unable to read. However, this must be done to the satisfaction of all the agents to ensure fairness and impartiality.

 

The provision which is made for special votes to allow a voter, who is unable to cast his or her vote at the voting station on voting day, to apply to cast a special vote within that voting district is also acceptable. This provision has to be monitored because it could have the potential for corruption. This request is often made to avoid standing in queues.

 

Cope has no fundamental problem in enhancing the powers and functions of the Electoral Commission to apply to the Electoral Court for extension in declaring the results of an election where it cannot do so within the seven-day period required by section 5 of the Electoral Commission Act of 1996. The reasons the commission advances must be solid and have the support of political parties.

 

On the second day after voting, through a written notice, objections can be lodged by a person who has an interest in the elections. Such a person must provide detailed reasons for the objection and point to the aspect of the election which was deficient.

 

The reasons for the amendments are acceptable to us in Cope. We only trust that no unintended consequences will arise to undermine the good reasons. The commission should undertake adequate training so that everyone understands the full implications of the amendments that are in front of us - including community education and the members - of the voting. Therefore, Cope will support the Bill as amended by the portfolio committee, hoping that the Constitution will play an important role in whatever we do. I thank you. [Applause.]

 

Ms H N MAKHUBA: Chairperson, the Independent Electoral Commission of the Republic of South Africa is required to be an independent body and subject only to the Constitution and the law. It has to be impartial and should exercise its powers to perform and function without fear, favour and prejudice.

 

One of its core functions is to manage elections. The amendment of the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act seeks, among other things, to amend provisions relating to the nomination of candidates; to empower presiding officers to alter boundaries of voting stations; to clarify the rights and responsibilities relating to assistance to certain voters; and to provide for special votes and the procedure related thereto.

 

The IFP would like to make mention of the amendment to section 21 of the Act. This amendment makes provision for the empowerment of the presiding officers, after consultation with the party agents and members of the security services who are present, to redetermine and redemarcate the boundary of a voting station at any time, if it is necessary to do so, in order to ensure proper control and security at voting stations.

 

Whilst the IFP welcomes this amendment, we would like to stress that we believe the consultation process in this regard, between the presiding officers and the party agents, will be of the utmost importance. We must ensure that presiding officers do not act unilaterally in making decisions on the demarcation of the voting stations. We must ensure that all party agents are involved in the process. If not, this process will, without doubt, lead to unnecessary tension and could jeopardise the voting process and credibility of the results.

 

Furthermore, we welcome the fact that the amending Bill now states, in black and white, exactly how many party agents are allowed at each voting station. The amended section 39 of this Act now states that no more than two party agents are allowed per voting station or, if voting takes place in more that one room or a separately enclosed area, two agents in respect of each room are allowed, and one party agent for the independent candidate.

 

The IFP believes that this is a step in the right direction and that it will go a long way in ensuring that there is equal and fair representation of party agents at voting stations. There have been too many instances in the past where we have seen one party’s agents flooding voting stations, which gives that party an unfair advantage. This amendment seeks to put a stop to this practice and we therefore welcome the amendment.

 

The 2011 local government elections are just around the corner and they will, as always, be hotly contested elections. We believe that these amendments will go a long way to ensure that the playing fields are level at all local government voting stations. It will strengthen monitoring and oversight at the local polls.

 

The IFP hopes that amendments to this Bill will strengthen the Independent Electoral Commission of the Republic of South Africa’s ability to perform its function without fear, favour and prejudice. The IFP therefore supports the amendments to this Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]

 

Mr N M KGANYAGO: Chairperson, the Bill before us deals with the very sensitive matter of electoral law. We must always remain vigilant when it comes to amendments to electoral law as it deals with an intrinsic democratic right. For most South Africans, the right to vote is the most tangible expression of the freedom we attained in 1994. Unfortunately, whenever amendments are made, there is the real danger that the authors of such legislation purposefully or unwittingly introduce measures that will compromise the electoral process.

 

With that in mind, the UDM would like to raise the following issues as potential areas of concern.

 

Clause 4 of the Bill introduces section 17(a) with the aim of allowing for the central payment of deposits by a party that is participating in the election in more than one municipality. On the surface such an arrangement would simplify administration for political parties who choose to deal with the matter in that way. However, what it does do is to transfer an additional administrative burden onto the electoral authorities. It is likely to result in some very complicated book-keeping and potential disputes regarding whether payments were made and correctly made.

 

The concern with clause 6, which provides for two or more agents per voting station if the commission allows voting to take place in more than one room at that voting station, is that it legitimises an unhealthy situation. There is no guarantee that there will be sufficient voting agents where voting is allowed in more than one room. Allowing voting in such a manner is a risk to the integrity of the voting process.

 

Our biggest concern lies with the amendment in clause 8 that relates to special votes. Whilst we do not disagree with the need to provide mechanisms for citizens to exercise their right to vote in circumstances that prevent them from voting on election day, we have, however, on numerous occasions received reports from our party agents that cast strong suspicions on the manner in which special votes are exercised in practice. For political parties and their agents, these special votes are very difficult to monitor in any reliable way. Such uncertainty casts a shadow over the integrity of the results.

 

Notwithstanding these concerns, the UDM supports the Bill and calls upon the Independent Electoral Commission to implement these changes with impartiality and fairness. Thank you. [Applause.]

 

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order! Before I call the next speaker, I want to appeal to hon members to regulate their conversations. The volume is too high now. I want to say this: I think we are dealing with one of the most important aspects of democracy - elections. The aspects that we are debating now are crucial to the voters that don’t really know what to do with them. If we don’t know how to advise them because we haven’t heard ourselves, then we are going to create conflict out there.

 

Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Agb Voorsitter, die VF Plus ondersteun die wysigingswetsontwerp.

 

Ek dink die kern van hierdie wysigingswetsontwerp is geleë in klousule 8 vanweë die feit dat daar nou ook op plaaslike regeringsvlak spesiale stemme toegelaat word. Ons verwelkom dit, want ons moet onthou dat, in die vorige verkiesing, dit veral nadelig was vir lede van die polisie, byvoorbeeld, wanneer hulle diens moes gaan doen het by ander stemburo’s as waar hulle geregistreer is. In sulke gevalle het ons hulle eintlik effektief hul grondwetlike, demokratiese reg ontsê. Nou kan die lede van die SA Polisiediens en die ander veiligheidsdienste wat diens doen op daardie dag ten einde te verseker dat ons ’n demokratiese verkiesing het, ook hul stem uitbring, waar hulle dit voorheen ontsê was.

 

Ek het destyds vrae gevra en ons het ook by die Onafhanklike Verkiesingskommissie, OVK, gevra dat dit verander word, so ons verwelkom dit.

 

Ek wil tog ’n beroep doen op die OVK om meer aandag te skenk aan die versekering dat hul voorsittende beamptes by die stemburo’s beter opgelei word in aspekte van die wet. Hulle moet dit op die punte van hulle vingers ken, want dit is waar baie probleme ontstaan. ‘n Mens sien dat daar mense in beheer van die stemburo’s is, maar hulle ken nie die wet nie.

 

Die DA het verwys na die verslag van die Van Zyl Slabbert-kommissie. Ek wil vandag vir u sê dat die standpunt van die VF Plus daaroor is dat daar baie meer navorsing gedoen moet word as ons die kiesstelsel van Suid-Afrika wil verander. Ek dink dit is ’n mite om te dink dat die blote verandering van die kiesstelsel verkose verteenwoordigers meer verantwoordbaar en meer aanspreeklik teenoor die kiesers sal maak.

’n Tipiese voorbeeld is die wyksraadslede. Waar kan jy ’n beter bedeling kry waar die raadslid meer in kontak met sy kiesers is as ’n wyksraadslid? Maar hulle doen nie hulle werk nie. Daar is ander meganismes om te verseker dat ’n raadslid meer aanspreeklik is teenoor sy kiesers.

 

As ons teruggaan na ’n kiesafdeling-kiesstelsel – en dit is totaal onaanvaarbaar, Voorsitter – dan sê ek vir u die ANC kry onmiddellik ’n 78% tot 80% meerderheid in hierdie Parlement. Dit is totaal onaanvaarbaar en ek kan maar vir u sê dat, om ’n kiesstelsel te verander, ’n wye veld van studie is; daar is baie elemente. Ek kan vir u 10 punte noem van die kriteria wat behoort te geld vir ’n goeie kiesstelsel.

 

Ons is nog ’n jong demokrasie en ons moet nie die fout maak deur te dink dat ons dit kan verander en daardeur sekere minderheidsgroepe uitsluit, en dan dink dat ons die demokrasie bevorder nie.

 

So, in hierdie stadium is die standpunt van die VF Plus dat die huidige proporsionele kiesstelsel sal geld. Ek weet die voorstelle van dr Van Zyl Slabbert en sy komitee – of die meerderheidsverslag wat toe nie aanvaar is nie – is ’n gemengde stelsel, maar dit is nie by uitstek ’n oplossing nie. Ons moet mooi daaroor dink en meer navorsing doen. Ek dank u. [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)

 

[Mr P J GROENEWALD: Hon Chairperson, the FF Plus supports the amending Bill.

 

I believe the essence of this amending Bill lies in clause 8, owing to the fact that special votes will now also be allowed at local government level. We welcome this because we have to keep in mind that with the previous elections it was especially members of the police who were disadvantaged, for instance, when they had to perform duty at polling stations other than at the one where they are registered. In cases like this we have effectively deprived them of their constitutional, democratic right. Now members of the SA Police Service and the other security services, who are on duty on that day to ensure that our elections are democratic, are also able to cast their votes, whereas before they were denied this.

 

At that time I did ask questions and we also approached the Independent Electoral Commission, IEC, for this to be changed, so we welcome this.

 

I do, however, want to appeal to the IEC to devote more attention to ensuring that their presiding officers at the polling stations are better trained with regard to aspects of the law. They should have the law at their fingertips, because this is where most of the problems stem from. There are people who are in charge of the polling stations, but they are not familiar with the law.

 

The DA mentioned the report by the Van Zyl Slabbert Commission. Today I would like say to you that it is the opinion of the FF Plus that in this regard more extensive research will have to be done if we want to change the electoral system of South Africa. I think it is a myth to think that by merely changing the electoral system, the elected representatives would become more answerable and more accountable to the voters.

 

A typical example is the ward councillors. Where would you find a better dispensation where the councillor has more contact with his electorate than a ward councillor? But they don’t do their work. There are other mechanisms that could ensure that a councillor is more accountable to his electorate.

 

If we go back to a constituency electoral system - and this is totally unacceptable, Chairperson - then I can assure you the ANC would immediately have a 78% to 80% majority in this Parliament. This is totally unacceptable and I may as well tell you that to change an electoral system entails a vast field of study; there are many elements to it. I can mention 10 points regarding the criteria that should apply for an effective electoral system to exist.

 

We are still a young democracy and we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that we can change it, and thereby exclude certain minority groups, and then think that we are promoting democracy.

 

Therefore, at this stage it is the point of view of the FF Plus that the current proportional electoral system should remain in force. I know the recommendations by Dr Van Zyl Slabbert and his committee - or the majority report which was not accepted as it turned out - called for a mixed system, but it is not a solution par excellence. We have to think about it carefully and do more research. Thank you. [Applause.]]

 

Mr M MNQASELA: Chairperson, Minister and hon members, the DA has some reservations with regard to the Bill. However, I need to point out that this Bill is a very good one. It has some very good intentions in terms of bringing about certainty in the voting process.

 

We welcome the proposed gazetting of the electoral timetable. One of the basic principles of legality is certainty, and the electoral timetable gazetted and available to all role-players will achieve just that. Certainty in the notoriously uncertain environment of politics is rare.

 

Akuthenjwana xa kusiyiwa kulonyulo. [People do not trust each other prior to elections.]

 

We welcome the amendment of section 55 of the local government election legislation which makes provision for special votes. For the first time in the South African democratic dispensation, we have a special voting day on which people other than those like me can vote.

 

Akuthenjwana xa kusiyiwa kulonyulo. ... [People do not trust each other prior to elections.] ... security personnel as well as the IEC officials ... abantu abadala ... [... the elderly ...]

 

We will be very much part of ensuring that the special votes are carried out in a manner that is transparent, open and accommodates everybody.

 

Municipal government is the sphere of government that is very close to the people. These are the individuals who are elected directly to represent the people in the area in which they reside.

 

Kwaye yenye yezinto esiyibulelayo leyo yokuba sibenooceba abathi bonyulwe ngendlela eyakuthi isincedise ekukhawuleziseni ukuhambisa iinkonzo kwiindawo esihlala kuzo. Kuyeke ukuqhuma ngenxa yokutshiswa kwamatayari koomaLimpompo, Gauteng, njl njl. [Uwele-wele.] Siza kuqinisekisa into yokuba ... (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)

 

[It is one of the things that we are thankful for, to have councillors who are elected in such a way that service delivery in our communities will be accelerated. This will put an end to violent protests in areas like Limpopo, Gauteng, etc, which result in great pollution due to setting tyres on fire. [Interjections.] We will ensure that ...]

 

This is the first process of the first-past-the-post electoral system which I think we need to support it in the SADC region.

 

It is essential that as many people as possible participate in the election of their representatives as it is only at municipal level where people elect their people and know the people they are electing, unlike ...

 

... kungafani nabanye bethu abalapha abangaziwa nokuba bakhona kwiinqila zabo. [... some of us here who are not even known to their constituents.]

 

The number of voters has been declining over time and I think we need to encourage more and more people to register and cast their votes whenever the opportunity arises, so that power is returned to the people where it belongs, not to politicians.

 

The IEC has indicated that they will be conducting voter registration next year in February and March. I think that process is very important. We as the DA are going to participate on the ground and encourage as many people as possible to register ... ezilalini, ezilokishini, njl njl. Okokugqibela ke Sihlalo, kukucacisa nje ... [... in the villages, townships, etc. Lastly, Chair, just to clarify ...]

 

... one of the concerns we had in the process is that the presiding officers must not be given too much power. That is unnecessary. On election day there must be proper consultation with the party agents.

 

Sizakubacela ke abantu bethu ukuba bagade khon’ukuze singaqhatheki. Okukugqibela ... [We appeal to our members to keep a very close eye so that we are not cheated. Lastly ...]

 

... the national party liaison committee was never properly consulted on the matter and, for the next Bill similar to this one, we need the consultation to be done through a much better process. And, on that note, we declare our support for this Bill and wish the Minister good luck. Thank you. [Applause.]

 

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order! Before I call the next speaker, I want to say that I was informed that this is the speaker’s maiden speech. I think we need to demonstrate that we are good listeners and good sympathisers. [Applause.]

 

Mr J D THIBEDI: Chairperson, Minister Dlamini-Zuma, hon members, comrades and friends, through gallant struggles guided by the application of strategy and tactics over time in different stages of our political struggle, we finally, in essence, ushered in a multiparty constitutional democracy in 1994. This opened the door for our people to take their future into their own hands.

 

We have chosen a combination of proportional and ward-based elections at local government level. The Constitution dictates that the object of local government is to provide democratic and accountable government for local communities and to ensure the provision of services to those communities in a sustainable manner, among other things.

 

Government by the people is the essence of constitutional democracy, which in principle is underpinned by the maxim: “The voice of the majority shall prevail, and the voice of the minority shall be heard.” In this regard, while the majority enjoys the prominence, the minority views are not disregarded.

 

Our Constitution assures the protection of the rights of individuals, groups and communities by entrenching these rights in the Bill of Rights. Indeed, the rights entrenched in the Bill of Rights should be accessed.

 

In this regard, section 7(2) of the Constitution provides that: “The state must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights.” It is therefore incumbent upon Parliament, as the legislative arm of the state, to pass legislation that is in keeping with the spirit and purpose of the Constitution. Therefore, legislation that is passed should not only withstand constitutional muster, but should also give expression to the rights entrenched in the Bill of Rights.

 

We must therefore take the forthcoming local government elections as presenting us with an important challenge to ensure that this sphere of government performs optimally with regard to all our socioeconomic programmes directed at the further improvement of the quality of life of all our people.

 

We have to work to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our system of local government. Accordingly, we have to prepare the incoming councillors to understand their tasks and to enable them to properly discharge their legislative and executive responsibilities. This Bill is in line with the ideal to ensure that each of the districts and metropolitan municipalities have the necessary managerial, professional and technical staff to enable them to implement the required developmental programmes.

 

This has to ensure that our system of co-operative governance also functions optimally and thus creates the conditions for the provincial and national governments to work closely with our municipalities to improve their capacity to implement their programmes.

 

In the same vein, the 2004 ANC election manifesto made a commitment to promoting better co-operation among national, provincial and local government in an integrated manner. This amending Bill is within these broad principles.

 

Clause 3 of this Bill provides for central payment for parties contesting elections in more than one municipality on the same day. This clause amends the principal Act which does not allow for payment of deposits for candidates contesting an election to be paid centrally. This has been an administrative problem which created unnecessary restrictions for parties, whereas we do not want restrictions that can technically disqualify parties.

 

Clause 5 of the Bill gives powers to the presiding officer, after consultation with party agents and members of the security services, to redetermine and redemarcate the boundary of a voting station if necessary. It has not been possible under the principal Act to strengthen security and have flexible control. The issue of the voting boundaries is very important and here we want to promote access to this participatory democracy and ensure efficiency and access.

 

This Bill amends section 39 of the principal Act in cases where a voting station accommodates a big number of voters so that the voting process can be divided into streams in separate rooms. In this regard, the IEC may allow more than two agents for parties. This is indeed a very progressive amendment.

 

Clause 7 of the Bill entrenches another constitutionally fundamental right with regard to physically challenged persons. In this regard, the presiding officer may assist the voter that requires assistance due to physical disability, including blindness or other visual impairment, in order for him or her to cast his or her vote. Section 48 of the principal Act prohibits such specific assistance with the category of voters who are blind or have other visual impairments. This amendment is directly in line with the Constitution.

 

In clause 8 the Bill creates specific provisions for special votes. It allows any voter who is unable to vote on voting day to apply in a prescribed manner and be allowed, prior to voting day, to cast a special vote within that voting district. We must rally behind this amendment because it entrenches the fundamental right of franchise. It must be noted that section 55 of the principal Act, which is being amended, does not allow for any special votes. According to the principal Act, voting must occur on voting day and in the voting district where a voter is registered.

 

Clause 9 provides that if the commission is unable to determine and declare the result of an election within seven days as required by the Electoral Commission Act, it may, within that period, apply to the Electoral Court for an extension of the period and must furnish good reasons for doing so.

 

Clause 10, in essence, permits an interested party to lodge an objection material to the result of an election with the commission concerning various stipulated grievances. The Bill enhances an effective and fair process by way of entrenching the democratic right to object. In the same vein, the principal Act is a little bit rigid and narrow in this particular respect.

 

In conclusion, this Bill seeks to deepen participatory democracy to ensure that electorates, parties and independent candidates are accommodated. It further promotes transparency and accountability which is entrenched in our Constitution.

 

Indeed, this has a direct bearing on the local and municipal level of governance. This Bill promotes access of parties and individuals to all levels of the organs of popular people’s power in order to enhance the objectives of nation-building and the deepening of democracy.

 

We must rally behind this Bill to ensure its successful implementation. One thing for sure is that we agree on the importance of the local and municipal levels of governance in bringing representative democracy closer to our people.

 

In this regard, as the ANC we support the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Amendment Bill, 27B of 2010. We hope and appreciate everything the other parties have said in supporting this particular Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]

 

The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chairperson, I would like to thank all the participants in this debate for their support for the Bill. However, I would like to respond to a few comments that were made. I would like to start with a comment made by the hon Groenewald. I completely agree with him that presiding officers need to be properly trained to understand the detail of the law, so I think the Independent Electoral Commission will make sure that that happens.

 

I also agree with him that the recommendations that everybody from the DA is talking about are not necessarily the best recommendations for democracy. I do think he is right; we might just take you on, and you will disappear. He is right that the ANC will get much more than it gets now if we go the route that we are proposing, and smaller parties will disappear. Then you will turn around like you did with the floor-crossing and say that the ANC introduced this, and that it is antidemocracy. I think I really agree with the hon Groenewald on that.

 

I would also like to say to the hon Kganyago that I am sure that the IEC will ensure that the special votes are carried out in a manner that has integrity and fairness, and that there will be no problems. Hon Balindlela, I am not quite sure what you mean when you say that you hope that there will be no unintended consequences. The only unintended consequence that I can see is probably the further disintegration of Cope. [Laughter.] Other than that, I see no other unintended consequence.

 

Then coming to the hon Mnqasela, I think ... akekho umuntu ozonixhopha. Ningahle ningawatholi lawa mavoti eniwafunayo kodwa nizobe ningaxhoshwanga kodwa abantu abavotayo abazobe benganifuni. [Ihlombe.] [... no person will cheat you. You might not succeed in getting the votes that you want - not because the process has been fraudulent, but because the voters do not want you. [Applause.]]

 

Coming to the hon Lovemore, I just want to say that I agree with her when it comes to making sure that accessibility of the voting stations is ensured, and I hope that the IEC will make sure that the voting stations are accessible to all the voters. There I completely agree with you, but I think the IEC is wise not to take your advice on carrying out voter education that says that voters must take out the ruling party, because that is not their prerogative, and they then would not be doing what their mandate says they should do. I think they are wise to have said they will not do that.

 

When it comes to the mixture of constituencies and proportional representation, I think the ruling party did agree to that in local government, because that is where you need it most, and it is there, so I don’t know what the complaint is about. When it comes to the national sphere, I do think that you can’t just look at one aspect and say it will give more accountability. For all the other aspects that you mentioned, such as inclusiveness and inclusivity, when you then debate, you exclude that part which is very important.

 

The electoral law, as it stands in terms of proportional representation, is actually very good for inclusivity, and that is why we have so many parties here. If we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t have so many parties. Maybe we would have had three at most, and the others would disappear.

 

Secondly, the Constitution says there should be equality and we are building a nonracial, nonsexist South Africa. Part of the reason why the ruling party is able to fulfil its mandate when it comes to that aspect of gender equality is because of the proportional representation system, and I think it is important to keep to that. It is not only about gender; it is about youth, people with disabilities and so on. The electoral law is able to include them in our Parliament, precisely because it is using the proportional representation system.

 

It is also important that parliamentarians do not become captive of a particular lobby group that funds their election, because if we start going constituency by constituency, many people will end up being funded, as we see in big democracies: funding by this organisation and that organisation, and they end up becoming captive of a particular lobby group.

 

I think there is no problem with what the ruling party has accepted and, of course, recommendations are recommendations – they are either accepted or not accepted. There is nothing that says that when something has been recommended, the ruling party is under an obligation to accept it, but I can assure you that the ruling party has examined the recommendations, applied its mind and has come to the conclusion it did very wisely. Thank you. [Applause.]

 

Debate concluded.

 

Bill read a second time.

 

The House adjourned at 15:54.

__________

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

National Assembly and National Council of Provinces

 

The Speaker and the Chairperson

 

1.       Introduction of Bills - correction

 

(1)      In the ATC of 27 October 2010, the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill [B 36 – 2010] (National Assembly – proposed sec 76) was incorrectly introduced as B 26 – 2010. The correct number of the Bill is B 36 – 2010.

 

TABLINGS

 

National Assembly and National Council of Provinces

 

1.      The Minister of Finance

 

(a)    Consolidated Financial Information for the year ended 31 March 2010 [RP 265-2010].

 

(b)    Report and Financial Statements of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) Fund for 2009-2010, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements and Performance Information for 2009-2010 [RP 264-2010].

 

2.       The Minister of Police

(a)     Report and Financial Statements of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority for 2009-2010, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements and Performance Information for 2009-2010 [RP 205-2010].

 

3.               The Minister of Higher Education and Training

 

(a)     Report and Financial Statements of the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Services-Seta) for 2009-2010, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements and Performance Information for 2009-2010 [RP 114-2010].

 

Please note:     The above report and accompanying documents were submitted to Parliament by 30 September 2010.

 

National Assembly

 

1.       The Speaker

 

(a)     Report of the Public Service Commission (PSC) on the State of the Public Service for 2010 [RP 262-2010].

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

National Assembly

  1. The Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report of the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform on the performance of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform for the financial year  2009/10, dated 26 October 2010

 

The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform, having considered the 2009/10 Annual Report of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform together with that of the Ingonyama Trust Board and the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights, reports as follows:

 

1.       Introduction

 

The Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, 2009 (Act No. 9 of 2009) requires that the National Assembly conduct annual assessments of the performance of each national department with regards to the medium term estimates of expenditure, strategic priorities and measurable objectives as tabled in the National Assembly. In line with the Money Bills Act 9 of 2009 and the constitutional obligations for Parliament to conduct oversight over the executive, the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform (the committee) considered the Annual Report of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (the department) for the 2009/10 financial year.

 

The committee received briefings on the annual reports of the department, the Kwazulu-Natal Ingonyama Trust (the Ingonyama Trust Board) and the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights for the 2009/10 financial year. This report, therefore, provides the committee’s assessment of the service delivery performance of the DRDLR, Ingonyama Trust Board and the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights for the 2009/10 financial year. An assessment of the performance of the department and related public entities was based on of the following:

  • The mandate and strategic priorities of the department as per the Interim Strategic Plan.
  • Financial and non financial performance of the department for the year under review.
  • Expenditure reports of the department as published by the National Treasury in terms of Section 32 of the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA).
  • Report of the Auditor-General of South Africa.
  • Other reference documents such as the State of the Nation Address, the Budget Speech, and reports of the committee on public accounts.

 

2.       Mandate and strategic priorities of the Department

 

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, formerly known as the Department of Land Affairs, is one of the national departments established after the 2009 national elections. Its mandate was extended to ensure implementation of Outcome 7 of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF); which seeks to ensure the creation of vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities and ensuring sustainable food security. Outcome 7 constitutes the basis on which the performance of the department is measured.

 

The department revised its vision and mission during the restructuring processes in order to align itself with the new mandate. The vision, according to the Interim Strategic Plan (2009-2012) is “to create and maintain an equitable and sustainable land dispensation as a catalyst in rural development that ensures rural livelihoods, decent work and continued social and economic advancement of all South Africans”. The mission is “to provide enhanced land rights to all South Africans with particular emphasis on black people in rural human settlements that would result in increased food production, food security and improved quality of life”.

 

In line with the above-mentioned outcome 7, the department set the following main outputs over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period: sustainable land reform, food security for all, rural development and sustainable livelihoods, and job creation as well as skills training.

 

The department set itself the following key priorities for the 2009/10 financial year:

 

  • Fast-tracking land redistribution in order to meet the government target to redistribute 30% of white-owned agricultural land to historically disadvantaged South Africans.
  • Finalising outstanding claims. It set the target of settling all outstanding claims by 2011.
  • Speeding up the formulation of policy and legislation in order to regulate access to, and ownership of, land by foreigners.
  • Finalise the Land Use Management Bill for integrated spatial planning.
  • Linking land and agrarian reform to the broader integrated and sustainable rural development strategy.
  • Providing adequate post-settlement support to land reform beneficiaries.
  • Implementing the Communal Land Rights Act, No of 11 of 2004 (CLARA) in order to unleash development potential in the former homeland areas.
  • Identifying, acquiring and releasing appropriate land for sustainable human settlements in support of the initiatives of the Department of Human Settlement.
  • Develop programmes for the empowerment of women, children, people with disabilities and those living with HIV and AIDS, and older persons within the context of the mandate of the department.  

 

Table 1 (below) highlights programmes and measurable objectives of the DRDLR. These programmes were formulated to ensure that the performance of the department is geared towards the accomplishment of the strategic priorities outlined above. 

Table1:     Measurable objectives per programme   

Programme

Measurable objectives

  1. Administration 

Creation of an enabling environment for improved service delivery through leadership alignment and appropriate organization culture and architecture.

  1. Surveys and Mapping

 

Provision of accurate, up-to-date and accessible maps and other geo-spatial information imagery and an integrated spatial reference framework to enhance planning and monitoring of land reform, national infrastructure and sustainable development, nationally and regionally.

  1. Cadastral Survey Management

Approval, maintenance and archiving of cadastral survey documents submitted by land surveyors, facilitating the regulation of cadastral surveys and supply of cadastral information, in order to support and facilitate economic development, with specific emphasis on land tenure reform and rural development.

  1. Restitution

Resolve restitution claims within the target period through negotiated settlements that restore land rights or award alternative forms of equitable redress to claimants.

  1. Land and Tenure Reform

Ensure that sustainable benefits of economic growth accrue to previously disadvantaged communities, groups and individuals.

  1. Spatial Planning and Information

Provision of legislative, institutional and technical skills support to regulate and guide settlement development, land use and spatial information management.

  1. Deeds Registries

To provide a high-quality deeds registration system whereby secure titles are registered and speedy and accurate information is provided.

The department also created the following branches to implement the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP):

 

  • The Geo-spatial services, Technology Development and Disaster Management (GTD): To provide up to date and accessible disaster risk assessment, disaster mitigation and management as well as capacity building of the rural communities under disaster management.
  • The Social, Technical, Rural Livelihoods and Institutional Facilitation (STRIF): To create an enabling institutional environment for sustainable rural development.
  • The Rural Infrastructure Development (RID): To facilitate, initiate and coordinate the development of social, economic, ICT and public amenity infrastructure.

 

3.         Strategic and operational plans of the department (2009-2012)

 

The strategic plan sets out a path for the implementation of the priorities of the department. During the period under review, the department developed two strategic plans, that is the Interim strategic plan 2009 – 2012 (the focus of this report), and the Strategic Plan 2010 – 2013. The realignment of the strategic priorities and objectives of the department in line with the new mandate of the department, especially the CRDP component, determined the drafting of the 2010 – 2013 Strategic Plan.

 

An analysis of the strategic objectives of the department focuses on the following strategic areas: redistribution of 30% of the white owned agricultural land by 2014, finalisation of all outstanding land restitution claims, and the CRDP.

 

  • Redistribution: A shift of focus from quantitative targets to qualitative ones was welcomed by the committee, and is important. To increase the pace of land redistribution, the department should find mechanisms to ensure that the land acquisition is at an affordable rate. A number of interventions to find alternative forms of land acquisition, as well as underpinning these with specific purposes were proposed, for example, categorisation of land reform beneficiaries. In view of the actual budget allocation, the department adjusted its targets for delivery of land redistribution. This suggests a need to continuously explore alternative means for acquisition of land in a cost effective manner, rather than the current market driven approach. It is on this basis that the department sought to review the willing-buyer, willing seller model for land redistribution.

 

  • Restitution: The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights has settled 95% of the total 79,696 land claims lodged since 1998.  Figure 1 below suggests that it may have been less demanding to settle claims through cash compensation. The majority of claims settled were cash compensation as opposed to land restoration where little land was restored to land claimants. The overall picture is that the commission has processed more urban than rural claims. A bulk of the outstanding claims are mostly rural and are of a complex nature, involving national strategic assets such as national parks, forestry land, commercial farms linked foreign export markets, as well as land with mining operations. These claims will require a substantive budget allocation.

 

  • Land and Tenure Reform: A key aspect of the land redistribution for this period was the restructuring of land reform products to address different types of land reform beneficiaries, namely: landless households, commercial and subsistence producers, expanding commercial smallholders and well established black commercial farmers. The categorisation shows the redirection of land reform to shift towards being responsive to the needs of the people. The closing of gaps in legislation for tenure on communal land in the former Homelands and commercial farms are issues that are long overdue.

 

  • Comprehensive Rural Development Programme: The overall strategy for the department is agrarian transformation, rural development and land reform. A major focus of this programme was the launch and implementation of the CRDP with the intention to attain sustainable land and agrarian reform that contributes to rural development, food security and improved quality of life in rural areas.

 

4.   Analysis of the 2009/10 Annual Reports of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform 

 

During the 2009/10 financial year, the department witnessed a series of changes, from the change of name, realignment of its vision and mission to address the new focus of rural development, land reform and job creation. In addition, seven existing programmes were reconfigured into nine branches, including the newly formed GTD, STRIF, and RID. However, the department reported on the seven programs as per its strategic plan 2009-2012.

 

4.1.       Programme Performance of the DRDLR, including the CRLR

 

Table 2 below illustrates the non-financial performance of the department against the strategic and operational plan of the department. Overall, the department had a 78% rate of non-achievement or partial achievement on its targets across different programmes. Of the seven programmes being reported, only one had more than 50% achievement rate or exceeding targets, whilst six programmes had more than 70% rate of non-achievement or partial achievement on targets.

 

The programme that is of specific concern to this committee is the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme, which was added in the subsequent Strategic Plan (2010-2013). For this purpose, the committee makes reference to Programme 8: Comprehensive Rural Development Programme.

 

Table 2: Overview of the non-financial performance of the DRDLR

Programme

Strategic Objectives per programme

Performance Indicators per programme

Targets per programme

No. of Targets achieved and/or exceeded

No. of targets not achieved or partially achieved

% not achieved and/or partially achieved

1.

Administration

1

3

3

-

3

100%

2. Surveys and Mapping

2

5

5

3

2

40%

3. Cadastral Surveys Management

4

7

7

2

5

71%

4. Restitution

1

3

3

-

3

75%

5. Land and Tenure Reform

3

4

4

-

4

100%

6. Spatial Planning and Information

1

4

4

1

3

75%

7. Deeds registration

2

7

7

1

6

85%

TOTAL

14

33

33

7

26

78%

Source: Based on the 2009/10 Annual Report of the DRDLR (2010)

 

The following sections highlight some of the successes and challenges with the performance of the department according to programmes:

 

  • Programme 1 (Administration): This programme coordinated the transformation process of the department to ensure alignment with the new mandate. One of the critical aspects in this regard is the reduction of vacancy rate. During the period under review, the vacancy rate was reduced from 16, 7% to 10, 24%. This included the filling of 21 priority posts, 17 of those were for the senior management levels. Significant achievements included the development of the CRDP Framework by the policy unit. The same unit was involved with the development of the draft Green Paper on Rural Development and Land Reform. However, the draft green paper was not released during the 2009/10 financial year. The committee commended the department for progress with regards to the pilot of the CRDP. It awaits information from the department on the emerging lessons from the pilot projects across the eight provinces of South Africa. The committee expressed concerns with this programme because 100% of the targets were only partially achieved.

 

  • Programme 2 (Surveys and Mapping): The programme operates within a technical and highly specialised and well regulated field. This is the only programme that managed to achieve 60% of their targets. However, the committee believed that it could still improve to ensure 100% achievement. Some of the key successes were the acquisition of up to date maps, which includes the production of 1 900 up to date maps in compliance within prescribed standards.  This includes the 430,600km2 earth imagery at 0.5 ground sample distance against the target of the 290,000km2. The acquisition of this important data set can facilitate better spatial planning, tools and products for effective decision making, especially around land use management and development.

 

  • Programme 3 (Cadastral Surveys Management): The programme operates within a well regulated and highly specialised field. Its performance has been relatively consistent and was improving. However, the committee expressed concern over its 29% achievement of its targets. Its failures relates to targets regarding turnaround times for approval of diagrams, updating and archiving hard copies records. For example, the department targeted a turnaround time for updating and archiving hard copies of records to be 15 days. However, the programme actually took 18 days.  The production of accurate cadastral data and surveying underpins the production of accurate maps and spatial information for geographic information systems (GIS). Therefore, it is of paramount importance that this programme concentrates on achieving the targets set, as the products have wide applications across the sectors.

 

  • Programme 4 (Restitution): This programme is implemented by the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR) and is the most challenging for the department. This section draws from the annual report of the CRLR as presented to the Portfolio Committee.  According to the strategic plan, all claims were to be settled by the end of 2011. The target was revised due to budgetary constraints. By the end of March 2010, the CRLR was able to achieve 25% of its targets, that is; of the 131 claims processed during the year, 98 were dismissed and 33 were settled. If tracked for the last 10 years, the figures show a decline in number of claims that the CRLR can settle. A number of reasons were noted for this decline, namely: exorbitant land prices and the decline in budget allocation for restitution, complexity of the nature of outstanding land claims. Other factors that contributed to the decline in settlement of claims is the complexity of claims on large commercial agricultural land linked to international export markets, numbers of rural employment associated with such farms, inter and intra community disputes, and complexity of claims on national strategic assets such as national parks and forests.

 

 

Figure 1: Settlement of Land Claims between 1999 and March 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adapted from the Annual Report of the CRLR (2010)

 

The department reported that 75 844 land claims or 95% of total land claims lodged by 1998 were resolved by March 2010. However, the graph in figure 1 illustrates that majority were settled in cash compensation. The 3 852 outstanding claims involve very complex rural claims on high value agricultural land. However, the budget for land restitution has been declining.

 

The department and the CRLR developed a turn-around strategy for land restitution so that they could finalise the land claims by 2012 in line with the strategic plan. The strategy focused on the following issues: research and verification of land claims, settlement models, financing land restitution, communication plan and information management, and litigation and management. It is envisaged that the turnaround strategy will address challenges confronting the restitution programme or the CRLR with regards to exorbitant land prices, border disputes, settlement models and court cases. 

 

  • Programme 5 (Land and Tenure Reform): This programme forms part of the core business of the department, dealing with the following strategic areas: land redistribution, land tenure (communal and farm dweller land rights) and state land management.

 

Government had set, as its target, a plan to redistribute 30% of white owned agricultural land by 2014. The department targeted redistributing 656,000 hectares during the 2009/10 financial year. However, only 239,990.5363 hectares were transferred under 374 projects. The performance of the programme towards achievement of the targets was affected significantly by other programmes, such as the new rural development component (see financial performance for details).

 

The committee welcomed the department’s commitment towards protection of tenure rights for farm dwellers through the Land Rights Management Facility. This facility provided legal services to the victims of eviction or those under threat of eviction. While the committee remains concerned about the failure of the programme to achieve the target of confirming, it welcomed the achievement of confirming 438 people’s rights. The committee further requested the department to finalise the legislative framework to strengthen the tenure security for both farm dwellers and those living in the former Homelands. With regards to state land management, the department continues to experience problems around vesting parcels of land and surveying and registration of all state land in South Africa.

 

  • Programme 6 (Spatial Planning and Information): This programme attained 25% achievement on targets for their strategic objectives. Its major successes are in the areas of development, implementation and monitoring of the comprehensive rural development status quo, monitoring and implementation of CRDP and development spatial plans component of the rural development plans. A key challenge related to the Land Use Management Bill (LUMB) and its reintroduction in Parliament. However, it was reported that that the draft LUMB was developed by March 2010.

 

  • Programme 7 (Deeds Registration):   Of the seven targets under this programme, only one was achieved. A significant improvement in this programme was the introduction of the day to day scanning in Kimberly, Vryburg and Mthatha. This is regarded as a secure archive against corruption of data.

 

  • New programme of Rural Development: The branches of GTD, STRIF and RID were established to enable the department to implement the new mandate of rural development. This programme managed to roll out CRDP pilot projects across the eight provinces, namely Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State, North West, Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.  

 

  1. Financial Performance of the DRDLR according to its Programmes 

 

The original 2009/10 total appropriation of the department was R6.099 billion. The amount was adjusted by R292 million to fund the new mandate of the CRDP in November 2009 to add up to a total appropriation of R6.391 billion. Of the final total appropriated, the department spent R5, 854 billion or 91.61% of the total budget. Table 2 below illustrates the financial performance of the department according to programmes.

Table 2: Financial Performance of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform

Programme

 

Final appropriation per programme R’000

Actual amount spent per programme R’000

Under-spending per programme R’000

Under-spending % per programme

1. Administration

 

652,244

573,225

79,019

12.11%

2. Surveys and Mapping

88,455

84,529

3,926

4.44%

3. Cadastral Surveys Management

140,824

127,662

13,162

9.35%

4. Restitution

2,338,393

2,331,634

6,759

0.29%

5. Land and Tenure Reform

2,787,536

2,569,601

217,935

7,82

6. Spatial Planning and Information

64,102

41,908

22,194

34.62%

7. Auxiliary and Associated services

67,197

63,171

4,026

5,99%

8. Rural Development

252,340

62,991

189,349

75.04%

Total

6, 391,091

5,854,721

536,370

8.39%

Source: DRDLR (2010)

 

The committee expressed concern over the financial performance of the four major programmes that are the drivers of the department, namely: administration, restitution, land and tenure reform and rural development. 

 

  • The programme of administration under-spent its allocation by R79 million or 12.11% of its final appropriation. It is reported that under spending under administration was mainly because of delays in the implementation of the new structure and filling of associated vacancies, especially those of the level of senior management. The department also saved money when it decided to end the use of recruitment agencies and focus on building internal capacity for recruitment. 

 

  • Restitution spent 99.71% of its total budget allocation. Although restitution spent almost 100% of its allocation, the programme remains beset with a huge backlog in terms of funds that the DRDLR/CRLR still has to pay to both land owners, who signed the offer to purchase with the CRLR. As early as the second quarter of 2009/10, the allocation for restitution was almost entirely depleted. This negatively impacted on the ability of the CRLR to purchase farms for land restitution. However, the CRLR continued to negotiate and commit the state to purchase farms for land restitution. By March 2010, the CRLR had entered into commitments to the total of about R7.5 billion, which is understood to have increased to R12 billion due to the court orders for enforcement of payments to land owners. As a result, R700 million of the restitution budgets were used to settle some of the court orders in terms of litigation awarded in favour of applicants.  Over the last couple of years, the budget for land restitution was declining, yet the price of land to be acquired was increasing. In addition, the types of land to be acquired comprised high value agricultural land, mining land and national strategic assets. In order to ensure that all outstanding land claims are settled by 2012, more budgets alongside alternative ways of acquisition of land in a cost effective manner would have to be sought. Furthermore, allocations for post-settlement support and recapitalization of failed land reform projects should be given considerable attention.

 

  • The programme of Land and Tenure reform under-spent its budget by R217, 935 million or 7.82% of its total appropriation. The under spending is mainly due to the non-disbursements of funds for the Land Reform Grants. The DRDLR submitted to the National Treasury a request of approval for the DRDLR to shift R500 million from land reform to restitution. However, the National Treasury only approved R100 million which was shifted in November 2009. The DRDLR therefore had R400 million under the Land and Tenure Reform Programme to spend before the March 2010. While Treasury Regulations permit shifting of funds, the department shifted funds from land and tenure reform, a key driver for the department, to restitution. As a result, fewer funds were available to purchase land for this programme. 

 

  • The new programme of rural development spent only R62.991 million or 25% of the total allocation of R252 million. This fund was made available in November 2009 during the adjustment period; and as a result, there was limited time for the department to spend it as planned.

 

  1. Expenditure report in terms of first quarter report for the financial year 2010/11

 

The total budget of the DRDLR for the 2010/11 financial is R6.7 billion. The department had projected to spend 25% of that budget during the first quarter. By June 2010, the department had managed to spend only 13% of that overall budget. According to National Treasury, the department fell below the 25% benchmark because of the redirection of funds towards settlement of outstanding restitution court cases, rather than settling new land restitution claims. Because of the focus on such payments of court orders, spending on transfers to households has been less than projected.

Spending trends on two major programmes of the department:

  • Restitution: From a budget allocation of R1, 5 billion for land restitution, R552 million or 35% had been spent by June 2010. The spending trend can be linked to the department’s settlement of outstanding restitution court cases.
  • Land reform: The department spent R162 million or 4% of the total budget allocation of R4.1 billion for land reform. According to National Treasury, this spending pattern can be associated with the fact that the department focussed on settlement of court cases and that funds for Land Reform Grants have been shifted to restitution grants in order to ensure that enough funds were available to pay for the court orders.

 

  1. Consideration of the Report of the Auditor General

 

The department received 1 qualification for the year under review. The qualification relates to tangible capital assets (immovable assets). The Auditor-General could not confirm the completeness and valuation of, rights and obligations regarding immovable assets. In addition, the milestones as per National Vesting Master Plan were not achieved. The committee noted that the department had been receiving a qualification on this matter for the past four years (2005/06 to 2009/10).  For the year 2009/10, the department received a qualification only on this matter.

 

The Auditor-General also expressed five emphases of other matters, namely: material losses through criminal conduct, significant uncertainties, irregular expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and commitments. With the material losses through criminal conduct - R53, 301 million losses were incurred as a result of fraudulent activities identified through forensic investigations in three land reform projects in KwaZulu-Natal. Those projects are the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD).  It was found that there was no compliance with laws and regulations, particularly section 38(1)(a)(i) of the PFMA. This matter related to adequacy of policies and procedures, database of beneficiaries receiving grant funding and adequate monitoring to detect fictitious beneficiaries.

 

7.         The observations of the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform 

 

The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform, having engaged the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform on the 2009/10 Annual Report, made the following observations:

 

  1.  

 

  • Strategic planning to ensure that the objectives and targets set are measurable and realistic. Majority of the objectives set were either not achieved or partially achieved as a result of poor planning.
  • Lack of leadership to ensure that the department maintains effective, efficient and transparent systems and internal controls with regards to performance management. Related to this matter are the inadequacies around staffing for the department. Of the eight senior management positions, five of them are on an acting capacity. In turn, a lack of dedicated full time positions impact on the efficiency and productivity of the ‘actors’ thus compromising the quality of the work.
  • Creation of systems that ensure risk management and fraud. The portfolio committee expressed concern over the material losses through criminal conduct, where an amount R53.301 million was incurred through fraudulent activities. However, the committee welcomed the information that the department initiated a forensic investigation to uncover such fraudulent activities.  
  • Research to ensure that credible and valid land claims are settled for the land reform purposes.
  • Monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure that the department remains informed of indicators of success or failures of the land reform projects. Additionally, research capacity to ensure evidence based land and agrarian reform policy development.
  • Weaknesses of the internal audit. Although, the audit committee reported that it raised some of the concerns highlighted in this report, for example, content and quality of quarterly reports, it appears that it is ineffective in terms of holding the accounting officer accountable.
  • Leadership to ensure that the department complies with regulatory requirements and achieve predetermined objectives. The committee was concerned about the lack of systems, as found by the Auditor-General. There were no adequate systems regarding performance management as well as compliance with section 38(1) (a) (i) and (b) of the PFMA.
  • Lack of adequate skilled human resources for the implementation of programmes, for example, skills in survey of communal in the former homelands.

 

  1.  
  • While the committee commends the department for development of the framework for the comprehensive rural development programme, it is concerned about the capacity and capability within the department to facilitate a meaningful rural development programme informed by the needs of the people.
  • There are critical challenges confronting South Africa with regards to the communal land rights tenure. The only legislation available to this effect is the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act. However, its enforcement is weak due to the absence of the regulations.
  • The committee noted the inability of the Commission of Restitution of Land Rights to finalise all the outstanding land claims by 2011 as well as the failure by the department to achieve the redistribution of the 30% of white-owned agricultural land by 2014. One of the reasons why the department fails to settle all the claims is lack sufficient financial resources to ensure that the state buys quality land for redistribution.
  • Rural development, as one of the key priorities of government, has spent 25% of its budget. The committee welcomed the explanation regarding failure to use the allocation for the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme, for example; that the allocation was received late in the year, thus limiting the extent to which beneficiaries can engage on critical issues such as land.

 

  1.  

 

  1.  

 

The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform recommends the following

with regards to enhancing the performance of the department:

 

The department should develop strategies and implementation plans to be submitted to parliament before the end of 2010/11 financial year on the following areas:

 

  • Recruitment of highly skilled leaders and senior managers of the department to curb the weaknesses regarding lack of leadership as identified by the Auditor-General and the committee.
  • Research and monitoring and evaluation to enable the department to track progress and identify problems and deficiencies in project implementation across the programmes.
  • A functional internal audit function to continuously highlight weaknesses in the systems as well as holding the department accountable, specifically on the three identified issues of risk management, predetermined objectives and fraud and corruption.

 

The department should submit a plan within the 2010/11 financial year and reports on systems put in place to ensure that the core business of the department is adequately administered and functioning. These should include the following:

 

  • Capacity for monitoring and evaluation of both land reform and CRDP pilot projects.
  • Recruitment and development of technical skills in the fields of surveys and deeds registries to ensure that the important areas such as surveying and vesting of all state land are accomplished.
  • Development of a database of all previous and current beneficiaries who benefited through land reform to ensure compliance with criteria for qualification as a beneficiary to land reform grants and subsidies.
  • Development of a plan regarding how the department will deal with the backlogs related to commitments made under the programme of land restitution. In addition, the plan should outline the overall figure of commitments and grants to be paid out.

 

The department must develop a legislation programme to create a coherent legal framework that will ensure, as a matter of urgency, secure land tenure for all South Africans, which take into account the constitutional court judgment in Tongoane. In addition, it should hasten the process of equitable land redistribution and settlement of all land claims. This will take into account the constitutional requirement for legislation providing for security of tenure in land. Section 25(8) of the constitution provides for this, as follows: “No provision of this section may impede the state from taking legislative and other measures to achieve land, water and related reform, in order to redress the results of past racial discrimination, provided that any departure from the provisions of this section is in accordance with the provisions of section 36(1).

 

The DRDLR to develop a strategy and realistic programme for land and tenure reform as well as the integrated approach to rural development with a focus on the following:

 

  • Completion of pilots for CRDP and plans with regards to a roll out of the programme.
  • Guidelines with regards to implementation of land restitution in line with the principles of land reform.
  • Recapitalization of all land reform projects

 

Parliament should consider increasing the budget allocation for the department in the following areas:

 

  • The programme of restitution, by ring-fencing funds to settle backlogs of commitments made to land owners who signed offers to purchase before March 2010.
  • The restitution programme to ensure that the CRLR settle all outstanding land claims.
  • Recapitalization of the identified failed land reform project. The Ministry estimated that 90% of the total land reform projects were in a state of distress or have collapsed.
  • Comprehensive Rural Development Programme to ensure that pilot projects were adequately resourced to provide sufficient space for lessons on a rural development path to be taken across the country, and staffing to ensure proper facilitation and coordination of rural development.
  • Capacity for implementation of the National Vesting Master Plan.

 

 

Report to be considered.