Hansard: JS: Unrevised hansard
House: Joint (NA + NCOP)
Date of Meeting: 21 Oct 2020
No summary available.
WEDNESDAY, 21 OCTOBER 2020
WATCH VIDEO HERE: JOINT SITTING (HYBRID)
PROCEEDINGS OF HYBRID JOINT SITTING
Members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces assembled in the Chamber of the National Assembly at 15:03.
The Speaker of the National Assembly took the Chair.
The Speaker requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The SPEAKER: Hon members, may I take this opportunity to acknowledge the presence of the President on the hybrid platform for this sitting. Mr President, we welcome you.
DEBATE ON THE PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS ON THE ECONOMIC RECONSTRUCTION AND RECOVERY PLAN
The MINISTER OF TOURISM: Let me also acknowledge His Excellency the President. Madam Speaker and Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy President, hon members, good afternoon. In order to deal with the economic challenges our country is facing, President Ramaphosa stood before this august House last week and presented South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.
Fundamentally, the plan outlined by the President is about the continuation of the transformation of our society towards creating a better life for all. I think we can all agree that meaningful transformation of our society can only be achieved by building an economy that is growing in an inclusive manner.
Our economy has been underperforming for an extended period of time and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has further deepened our economic crisis by, amongst other things, disrupting global value chains. This health crisis, which has turned into a severe economic crisis, happened at a time when we were just about to enter the last decade of the National Development Plan’s Vision for 2030. The NDP aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. The plan that is the subject of the debate today outlines the work that should be
done to make it possible for our country to achieve this vision.
The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan is a product of lengthy and robust discussions amongst social partners: government, labour, business and civil society, who came together at the National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac. Although there are areas that are still subject to ongoing discussions amongst the social partners, the plan outlines major areas in which social partners have agreed and committed to working on together.
The Nedlac agreements and ongoing discussions are a clear demonstration that, when faced with challenges, South Africans are able to put the interests of the country first and come together and work towards resolving the country’s challenges.
The social partners have agreed that for our country to recover and grow at a pace that will restore growth and the capacity utilisation in our economy, there needs to be a focus on the implementation of the plan in the following areas: aggressive infrastructure investment; employment-oriented strategic localisation, reindustrialisation and export
promotion; energy security; support for tourism recovery and growth; gender equality and the economic inclusion of women and the youth; green economy interventions; and mass public employment programmes.
Many people have been telling us that the problem in our country is not a lack of planning but the implementation of our plans. It is true that the success of the plan, as outlined by the President, relies on the capacity of our government to implement it. It is for this reason that the plan has identified a capable state as one of its key enablers. Attention is being paid to ensuring that the right skills are deployed in critical areas where the projects will be implemented in the recovery programme. An example of this is in the infrastructure plan that is being implemented.
Moreover, following the completion of the plan, we have also put together an implementation plan that identifies various key projects, identifies the stakeholders responsible for the implementation of each project and outlines timelines for the completion of each project. The implementation plan is broken down into various areas. For example, we have within the implementation plan immediate actions that need to be taken –
which we have already started to implement – and there is medium to long-term implementation or areas of projects that need to be implemented within the immediate to long term. This we have done because we have learned lessons from the past.
To ensure that there is close monitoring and evaluation – so that the implementation plan can actually be implemented and evaluated – monitoring and evaluation by government is going to take place within structures that will oversee the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan so as to avoid “mission drift”. The economic cluster will receive monthly reports which, after processing and compliance, will be consolidated into a report that will be submitted to the Vulindlela and presidential team. Their responsibility, after receiving these reports, will be to interrogate them and analyse them in terms of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. These reports will then be submitted monthly to the National Economic Recovery Council which will be chaired by the President.
This will not only ensure constant monitoring of the implementation and impact of the plan, but will ensure that those given the responsibility to perform tasks are held
accountable. We learned this from the system we introduced as government when we dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the criticisms that has been levelled against government is the slowness with which decisions are made that are important in facilitating economic activities. To address this challenge, the National Economic Recovery Council will be constituted by the relevant members or Ministers of Cabinet to provide political oversight and enable rapid decision-making.
The council’s priority will be to hasten decision-making to unlock any blockages standing in the way of the implementation of the plan. Both the Vulindlela and the presidential team will assist in gathering information that will help to measure whether the economic implementation and growth levels are consistent with the planned vision.
One of the key interventions that the plan has identified as the key driver of the economy is the resuscitation of the tourism sector. The tourism sector has done well for the past decade, but has been hit hard by the pandemic. One of the things that we intend to do, as the President announced, is marketing: be able to go out and ensure that we can rebuild
our brand, bring in tourism across international borders and ensure that South Africans support our domestic marketing campaign. This will be vital for us to be able to see the recovery of the tourism sector.
Another key enabling factor for the success of the implementation of the plan will be our ability to deal decisively with the issue of criminality in all its manifestations. Whether it is violent crime or corruption, it is important that we deal with those decisively.
I agree with the words attributed to Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to the United States Congress, who said, “You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” [Applause.]
Hon members, standing here before you, I can say without fear of contradiction that government is committed to working together with you as South Africans to reignite and rebuild our economy.
We call on all of you as South Africans to join South Africa in rebuilding our economy. We have started to turn the tide. The South African economy will rise again. Thank you. [Applause.]
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, I think it would be inappropriate to commence the sitting today without expressing our concern for, and condolences on, the loss of hundreds of thousands of hectares of livestock and farming land in the Free State. Certainly, our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are suffering at this time.
We are here today to debate the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan announced by the President last week. But before we get too far into this, it is important that we clear up one very crucial misconception that has somehow found its way into the language of this debate. We’re not trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, as has been repeatedly claimed.
COVID-19 did not destroy our economy. We’re trying to recover from decades of bad governance and poor ANC policy. And it is disingenuous – and extremely opportunistic – to try to claim otherwise.
Our economy was in a recession, more than 10 million South Africans couldn’t find work and we’d already been relegated to junk status long before anyone had heard of the word “coronavirus”. And when the virus did arrive, it wasn’t the pandemic that worsened our situation. It was the heavy-handed response by government – the hardest, longest, most unscientific lockdown in the world. That is what closed down factories, restaurants, retailers and thousands of other businesses, and that is what has destroyed our tourism industry.
So let us approach this debate on the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan with that truth in the back of our minds.
But here’s the other problem: This isn’t a plan. A plan has a list of steps. A plan has details of resource allocation and funding. A plan has deliverables and timelines. This has none of those things. It is a wish list of worthy intentions.
This is a letter to Santa. That doesn’t mean it’s all bad. There were some good points in the plan. The auctioning of spectrum to bring down data costs is one of them. But this should have happened a long, long time ago, and this is not the first time it’s been promised. Make it happen.
Similarly, reforms to Eskom and the opening of the energy market to more independent power producers are long overdue. You’ve listed this in your plan; now let’s make it happen.
Extending the COVID-19 grant is also a welcome inclusion. This is a necessary stopgap measure for desperately poor South Africans.
But there is also a lot that’s missing in the plan, and none more important than reforms to our labour legislation – the most taboo of all topics in the tripartite alliance. We will not reverse our unemployment trend in South Africa until we make our labour market far more flexible. Everyone in this House knows this.
Staying with jobs, the promised 800 000 job opportunities in the public sector is not the solution we need either, and particularly not when the same plan speaks of cutting the public sector wage Bill. Even for a letter to Santa, that makes absolutely no sense. Meaningful, permanent jobs can only be created by the private sector, and that is where our stimulus and focus should lie.
This plan should have also pulled the plug on bailouts to state-owned enterprises, and particularly the failed SA Airlines. And it should have addressed our spiralling national debt with a practical debt-stabilisation plan.
We can go on like this all day, listing the good, the bad and the missing. But until we address the actual implementation of these things, we’re just going through the motions. We’re dancing in the dark. And we’ve been through these motions countless times in this very House, listening to a President or a Finance Minister wishing out loud from the latest plan, promise or manifesto.
Year after year we’ve heard how unemployment numbers will be halved, how 5 million jobs will be added in 10 years, how 6 million jobs will be added in five years. These are all magic numbers pulled from magic hats. We all know that none of these things happened. No matter what the new promise was, the critical stats just continued moving in the wrong direction.
There is always a vast chasm between goals and implementation, and there are important reasons for this. Our incapable state is one of them. And we have to fix this by abandoning cadre
deployment in favour of a true meritocracy. Systemic government corruption is another reason. We can fix this by going hard after the corrupt and reaching very hard into the benches of Parliament and into the governing party to solve this.
But the biggest reason for this gap between talk and action will be the hardest for the President to solve. And that reason is that the ANC itself is forever opposed to its own plans. The enemies of growth and the blockers of reform are not some outside force. They don’t sit in the opposition benches here, Mr President. They sit all around you in your own party.
Every single time someone in your government has stood up with a proposal for meaningful reform, they have been dragged back down and neutralised by their own comrades. You just need to ask your Finance Minister. He will tell you all about that.
You are surrounded by people who are ideologically incompatible with the reforms needed to kick-start growth in our economy; people who are wedded to an economic system that has never worked; people who think that the state should own all property, steer the economy and control every aspect of
people’s lives; people who genuinely believe that businesses and employers are somehow the enemy; people who have convinced themselves that it is more noble for someone to go jobless and hungry than to work for a wage that doesn’t meet their threshold of a minimum wage; people who think that paying out
17 million social grants every month is somehow a huge government success story, and not a shameful indictment of this government’s ability to deliver dignity through employment.
Those are the enemies of growth, Mr President, and they sit all around you. But there is a way around this. There is a way to sidestep the enemies of growth and get your reform agenda passed. Bring them to the House, Mr President, and we will help you pass them. “Thuma Mina,” you told us back when you stood here at the start of your presidency. Send me. Well now it’s our turn to return the favour. Send us, Mr President.
Let’s use our combined numbers to push through labour reforms, energy reforms, fiscal reforms. Let’s do what we all know is in the best interests of South Africa, even if it means going against your colleagues. Between those on your benches who believe in the power of economic reforms, and the members here
in my benches, we can have a majority. We can pass any reform we like in this House.
On your own, you don’t have much of a hand to play, which is why you are going to be locked in a stalemate. But if you let us help you pass these reforms, you can forget about the Aces and the jokers. You won’t need them. You will have a winning hand. Let that be your legacy, Mr President: the president who finally chose to put his country before his party. Thank you, Madam Speaker. [Applause.]
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Thank you very much, hon Speaker, we want to send our deepest condolences to the defenceless people of Nigeria, who continue to be killed by their own government and condemn the senseless action of the Nigerian government.
Hon Speaker, all the rational and sober people of South Africa will agree that the so-called economic recovery plan presented by the president of the ANC, last week, Thursday, is underwhelming. It will not expand the economy, create the promised jobs and will not dent the multidimensional poverty that defines millions of largely black South Africans today.
If anything, the economic recovery and reconstruction plan will serve to solidify the new colonial character of the economy that continues to be white dominated, jobless and the most unequal in the world will shrink.
In the so-called recovery plan, there is not a single mention of the land question, and perhaps because the president of the ANC and the ANC as a whole are scared of the thugs who burned police vehicles and had shotguns inside a court of law in Matwabeng, in Senekal, Free State.
By the way, mentioning of agriculture and agro-processing outside the land repossession programme, which this Parliament agreed it must be expropriated without compensation is a sign of cowardice, typical of the so-called freedom fighters and collaborators who are leading this country today. What type of economic recovery plan omits the land question? Land and all that it comes with is at the centre of any economy.
The people of South Africa must know that any leader who does not currently and relentlessly to the return of the stolen land, is a sellout and must never be taken seriously. The reason he did not mention the land question is because deep in
his liberal thinking and conviction, he does not believe that South Africa must expropriate land without compensation. You are deeply happy with the status quo. The reason you did not mention the land question is because deep in your liberal reactionary convictions, you believed the only way out of poverty for black majority is through a job, which in this context can only and must only be provided by white males both domestic and global, who continue to dominate ownership and control of South Africa’s economy.
Nothing in your so-called economic recovery plan suggests that the black majority and Africans in particular, must reclaim the land and gain independent access to the economy without the assistance of and reliance on white people. You are not convinced that the wealth of the land must be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole. You are not convinced that the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industries shall be transferred to the ownership and to the benefit of the people. That is why you gladly, knowingly and approvably got a pat from the back and shook hands with a white male in a manner that you advised South Africans not to when handing over a multibillion housing project in Mooikloof, Tshwane. The only thing that excited you
then, and seemingly now is that black people will be suppliers of cheap and easily disposable labour because in your world view, we are not deserving of control and ownership of the economy.
While quality jobs are an important redistributor of wealth, they are not the only mechanism to redistribute wealth and economic participation in South Africa.
Black people in South Africa and black females in particular, must own the land, control the banks, retail stores, the mines and all industries that were monopolised by colonialism and apartheid. There is nothing in your economic recovery plan that suggests that the wealth must be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole.
What needs to be done in the immediate? Let us pay particular attention to the real economy in light of the growing doominess of meaningless and of mostly jobless financialisation of global capitalism. Modern day capitalism has find ways of profiteering without producing. There is no short cut to re-economic development than thorough going
domestic development of the productive forces, particularly in the manufacturing sector.
The development of the productive forces needs a decisive government, which must maximally use its legislative policy, monetary, fiscal and procurement power to protect and promote local industrial expansion. Instead of an industrial policy that heavily depends on attraction of external over subsidised industrial investors, the South African government must decisively use its procurement power, monetary, fiscal and trade policies and strategic import substitution to develop localised industries.
It is unthinkable that South Africa continues to virtually all finished goods and products, which includes food, automobiles, match sticks, tooth picks, almost all furniture products, electronics, textile, health care facilities and protective equipment whilst there is an option to locally produce all of those and thereby creating bigger economic activities, jobs and larger revenue base for the state.
We also need to expedite a feasible and decisive mechanism to maximally collect revenue from the digital economy because
domestic, global and multinational companies are mastering aggressive tax avoidance through the digital economy. We need to localise the entire value chain on essential services.
Health care value chain must be locally produced.
Chinese imports might be commercially profitable for retailers but it is not economically viable for our economy. We need to build adequate state capacity in all economic sectors. We must stabilise Eskom and its mutilation is not part of the solution. ... [Time expired.] ... We need to deal with those issues.
The PREMIER OF GAUTENG: Madam Speaker, the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, the President of the Republic, Deputy President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, the Premiers, the mayors, the leadership of SA Local Government Association, Salga, hon members, fellow compatriots, the President made a clarion call to the nation to rally around directing all our creative energies to the reconstruction of the recovery of our economy so that we can emerge from Covid-
19 with a new economy. It will be a new economy which will create decent incomes, sustainable livelihoods and wealth for all, not only for some or the few.
This is not just about growth; it is not just about recovery; it is about different type of growth and a different type of recovery. It is about a different path to growth and a different path to recovery. We have chosen an inclusive and a sustainable as well as a transformative path to growth and recovery. It is a growth and recovery that leaves no one behind; and a growth and recovery that leaves no part of our country out; a growth and recovery that is based on the District Development Model so that every part of our Republic has its own economic development potential unlocked.
Hon members, this is not just some other plan. We have had enough plans but this is a different plan and a plan of action that must take all sectors of society along. We in Gauteng are ready to ignite growth, reconstruction and recovery but through a path of transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation. Of all major sectors of our economy, including the revitalisation of the township enterprises, we are ready to do so.
Firstly, we are already working with national government on this major infrastructure investment drive. We are directing investment. Firstly, we have public investment to unlock the
potential of various economic nodes in our province so that these economic nodes can have new type of enterprises. This includes the establishment of special economic zones in various parts of our provinces and new cities in different parts of our province. It also includes those parts of our province that have overtime been left behind – those are the West Rand and Sedibeng districts.
We have had a development path that is concentrated in the metros. The reconstruction and recovery plan tabled by the President enables us to decentralise economic development, not just in these major cities but throughout the Republic. It is also not just in the most urban parts of our country, but even in the rural countryside of our provinces. It is not just in the urban economic core but it will also be in the townships and the villages of our country.
Through this economic recovery and reconstruction plan, we in Gauteng are already doing extensive work with different sectors of the economy to ensure that the priority sectors we have identified – those sectors of the economy that are going to be the key drivers of this reconstruction and recovery - will bring in their women, black entrepreneurs and young
people. We are doing so by focusing on the digital economy, and by ensuring that the manufacturing sector is revitalised and modernised. We are doing so by ensuring that the creative industry realises its full potential in our province and by directing significant support to urban agriculture and agro- processing because food is important. We are doing so by focussing on localisation as we build new industries to support the special economic zones that we are establishing in our province.
One of them is the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone which is already drawing entrepreneurs. It is not just drawing people who are working in the economy for example in Mamelodi as sources of labour, but business people to support them to grow. This is a concrete step; it is a practical way of realising the dream and the vision outlined in the reconstruction and recovery plan. We are already doing work in the area stimulating public employment schemes.
One of the examples of the public employment schemes that offer young people in our province is how we have drawn in the youth into supporting our schools with regard to the management of Covid-19 cases. Five thousand young people are
already participating in this. Public employment schemes have their own role, and they can contribute quite significantly. It is something that we are focusing on. But we are also focusing on major sectors of our economy.
Those major sectors of our economy have to be supported in a very significant way on the basis that they will be transformative. This includes the green economy and the tourism sector in our province. We are also ensuring that women are brought into the key sectors of our economy, particularly black women.
I want to focus very specifically now on the work we are doing in ensuring that the township economy is integrated fully in all sectors of the major economy of our province. We have put forward at the moment the township economic development Bill which is being discussed widely in our province. The focus of the Bill is firstly to remove all the legislative and regulatory hurdles that have undermined the development of township businesses that have been stimulated against township businesses.
This township economic development Bill will bring major opportunities for entrepreneurs in our townships. It will also ensure that South African local businesses in the townships are supported without any apology. This is not about discriminating against nationals who are involved in businesses, but it is about prioritising and supporting local businesses that are running in our township. There is a difference between discriminating against those who may need opportunities as well as those who have always not been supported.
We are going to ensure without any apology that local township businesses are supported. These township businesses also need their own place in the value chain of major sectors of our economy, and that is why in every special economic zone; in every region of our province; in every district of our province we are building new nodes. We are also building new cities in support of the President’s vision as well as the plan tabled here. This we can only do by mobilising the various sectors of our economy. We are working in partnership with various state-owned enterprises to also expand the logistics hubs and unlock the blockages that we find between Gauteng province and KwaZulu-Natal as well as between Gauteng
province and the Eastern Cape ... [Time expired.] [Inaudible.]
... of goods and services to our ... [Time expired.] We are working also with these provinces to ensure that we succeed in growing South Africa together. [Time expired.] Our focus is not only on Gauteng but also ensuring that the whole of South Africa must grow. [Time expired.]
The SPEAKER: Hon members, I am aware that maybe on the virtual platform when the time expires members might not hear. But in the interest of being fair to everybody, I shall cut off the microphone after giving the speaker extra 10 seconds just in case you did not catch that. I am going to be very consistent on that because we need that consistency. I now want to invite the hon M G Buthelezi to the virtual platform.
Prince M G BUTHELEZI: Hon Speaker of the NA, hon President, hon Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Ministers and hon Deputy Ministers, hon colleagues of the NA and also of the National House of Traditional Leaders, the global pandemic has devastated our economy. So, in a time of war, there is widespread pain, hardship and loss. So, I believe that like a country at war, we must put aside our political agendas in order to rebuild. We applaud our President and his Cabinet for
all that they have tried to do. As a body politic, I believe the President has done his best.
This plan is not intended to simply placate. Nevertheless, I hear that it may be absolutely unattainable. Having sat in Cabinet for a decade, I know that a growth rate of 3% cannot be achieved in the near future. The President’s own advisory council explains it like this: For every R10 that government spends, over R3 goes to social grants, another R3 is spent on public servants’ salaries and R1 only on government debt.
Finally, corruption and mismanagement take their piece. As we can see from the State Capture Commission, it is quite a large piece. Only then can government start to fund this plan. So, the question is the same as always: Where will the money come from? One cannot duplicate a wish list, Mr President. As a wish list, this one is excellent.
We have welcomed these measures before, after all - job creation, a massive build programme, reduced data costs, buying local, focusing on exports, establishing our energy supply, but why will it work this time, one asks. The President urged us ... [Inaudible.] ... he said: “Have faith,
things will be done differently.” Has ... [Inaudible.] ... really been removed?
This time, there is no room for ... [Inaudible.] ... solutions, Mr President. It seems premature to say we have the buy-in of social partners, as you said in your speech, while labour threatens further protests, if salaries are not increased.
The Economic Advisory Council was clear that we cannot talk salary increases when we are building from ashes. Of course, they have the democratic right to protest, but what do you say at a time like this? Why does one ... [Inaudible.] ... and ends in a time like this. What does he say when an extension of the ... [Inaudible.] ... R100 more?
Government is facing an impossible situation. The fiscus is depleted. Seventeen million citizens depend on social grants and borrowing has left us with almost R4 trillion of debt. We therefore need to be realistic. Since 1994, there has been a drastic tendency of expecting government to do everything for the people. In 2020, we were forced in a new direction.
Handouts must give way to hand ups. We need to empower our people to achieve self-reliance.
Dr P J GROENEWALD: Hon Speaker, I think there i broad consensus amongst economists and role players in South Africa that this recovery plan of the President contains nothing new. There is nothing new in this recovery plan that the hon President has not mentioned, since he became the President in 2018.
We must ask ourselves why we are in this situation presently. Firstly, I want to say it is because of poor governance by the ANC, on all three levels of government, especially on local government level. That is why we see all these protests against poor service delivery. What do we expect if you have communities that must go without water for days? It is because of poor governance
Secondly, we have corruption. I want to make the statement that I don’t think that there is any level of government or project where corruption is not involved. If you look at the latest report of the Special Investigating Unit, stating that for more than two thirds of the budget for personal protective
equipment maladministration has been found, or it has been stolen, or it was not administrated according to the correct procedure. despite the fact that the hon President, in the start of the lockdown gave the assurance to the people of South Africa that there will be no corruption. So, the corruption disease or the corruption pandemic is even worse than the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thirdly, we are in this situation because of the incorrect, poor management of the Covid-19 pandemic from the hon President and the ANC government. Many calls were addressed to the hon President asking him to open the economy because if you don’t open the economy in time, you are going to pay the dear price. That is exactly what happened.
Die werklikheid is dat die agb President ’n kopskuif moet maak. Hy is vasgevang in die ANC se ideologie van sosialisme en kommunisme. Hy vra dat die privaatsektor toe moet tree tot projekte, om werk te kan skep.
However, the problem is that government is inviting public partners, but you want to be the project manager. That is the problem. If you change it and make the public partners the project manager of these developments, you may have success.
Laastens wil ek sê dat die regering moet begin besef dat die staat nie werk kan skep nie. Om 800 000 werksgeleenthede te skep moet hy die belastingbetaler se geld gebruik. Hy het nie geld nie. Die skuld van die staat aan die einde van hierdie termyn beloop R4,8 biljoen of [R4,8 trillion].
U moet belasting verminder, maar u gaan dit moet verhoog, om te kan verseker dat u geld kry. U moet gunstige omstandighede vir beleggers skep om te kom belê en daarom moet u met byvoorbeeld onteiening sonder vergoeding wegdoen. Ek dank u.
Mr M N PAULSEN: You must clean the microphone there for that one, just now he gets corona.
Rev K R J MESHOE: Speaker, the ACDP will support all efforts and workable plans to restore our economy to its inclusive growth, following the devastation caused by Covid-19 to the
country’s economy. Sadly, because of the hard lockdown imposed by government to mitigate the effects of Covid-19, our economy contracted sharply, businesses have shut down and approximately 3 million workers have lost their jobs in the second quarter of this year.
The interventions introduced by President Cyril Ramaposa this past week are not new but a repeat of what government said many times before. As always, government is very good with new ideas on paper but very weak with implementation.
News about the infrastructure fund that will provide R100 billion in catalectic finance over the next decade, leveraging as much as R1 trillion in new investment for strategic infrastructure projects are welcomed, but we wonder whether corruption that is endemic in this country will not derail the noble intentions that the President highlighted in this House.
The ACDP reiterates its call to focus more on recovering the more that R500 billion lost as a result of corruption. The Hawks and the SIU and other law enforcement agencies have wide powers to freeze bank accounts and attach assets worldwide, but we ae not convinced that these powers are being used
optimally to send a clear message to corrupt tenderpreneurs and looters that crime is not profitable.
All fake millionaires enjoining their ill-gotten gains must pay back what they have stolen. The ACDP would like to encourage the Hawks and the SIU, in particular, to accelerate their investigations of the 67% of companies that won tenders related to PPEs. It is scandalous that much of the R50 billion that was spent on PPEs went to companies that are politically connected, such as the President’s spokesperson’s family who received a contract of R139 million.
To ensure that such an unfair and unethical practice is not repeated, the ACDP endorses a proposal by the SIU that a legislative amendment should be made to prohibit civil servants, public representatives and their families from doing business with the state. In addition, the ACDP proposes that the tender system be reviewed, due to ongoing abuse that costs the country billions.
If government is to succeed in their plan of economic reconstruction and recovery, they must be relentless in pursuing all those who have been implicated in corrupt
dealings, including senior political officials and those in the House. Thank you.
Mr W M THRING: Speaker, on a point of order, just before Rev Dr Kenneth Meshoe came up to the podium, we had hon Paulsen from the EFF who said something like: When this one comes up, we have to be careful or clean the podium and mentioned something with regard to corona virus. I think hon Paulsen from the EFF was out of order. He needs to be called to order and he needs to withdraw and apologise to Dr Meshoe for those comments that he made. You can actually listen to the recording and find that he actually made those comments. Thank you.
The SPEAKER: I will definitely listen to the recordings. Hon Paulsen, if you have uttered those words, you are out of order. However, to be fair, I shall satisfy myself with the audio to come back and rule. Thank you very much for bringing that to our attention.
Mr D RYDER: Mr President, mark me down as disappointed. Last week Thursday you were due to appear before the members of the National Council of Provinces to answer questions of national
importance. When we saw the notice calling a Joint Sitting we were, of course, disappointed that you would not be giving account to the nation and yet we hoped that you would be taking the country into your confidence in your speech to the Joint Sitting. Well that didn’t happen. Instead, just like with the ANC, who’s also got no new material, we got a re-run.
Mr President, you had the chance to give us all hope. To show that decisive leadership had emerged from the crises caused by lockdown; to prove that you are in charge, and not some faceless committee. Sadly, you chose to rebrand existing ideas and not really address the hard issues.
A Tweet that I read summed it up well, it said: “Even the Rand turned to the other channel halfway through that SONA speech re-run.”
So, let’s reflect on why it was necessary to re-run state of the nation address, Sona. The fact is, Mr President, that you made promises each time you deliver your state of the nation address and that’s where we’ve heard all the components of last Thursday’s speech before; they were just old promises.
But your Cabinet has ignored your Sona instructions. Why has the broadband access not been released by Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams? What about sorting out e-Tolls? Gender-based violence remains largely unaddressed, and in fact worsened under lockdown. Infrastructure instructions have not been taken and they haven’t taken traction; where they have, they have been used for corrupt ends. And the issues around power generation, the unbundling of Eskom and greater capacity for growing our country were largely ignored until just last week.
The core problem, Mr President, is that your Cabinet is not implementing your vision and your instructions. They continue with their transgressions uninfluenced by your instructions. Either this is a sign of an administration who is in their comfort zones, ignoring political guidance due to their ability to baffle politicians with voluminous documentation and frustrate interventions with technicalities; or, it is a case of an executive who is not taking instructions from their President. Either way Sir, you need to take control, and this is your chance.
Thank heavens for the opening, albeit reluctantly, of the electricity supply regulation published last week. Your
Minister has defied you since Sona, Mr President, What have you done about that? What about the broadband auction that has been promised for 10 consecutive Sona speeches?
It’s common cause that access to fast and cheap internet improves an economy by between 2% and 5%, and it is also a great leveller of an economy. And yet, the hon Stella, and Nomvula Mokonyane before her, have defied instructions from two Presidents to release bandwidths. What have you done about that? You are the President. Preside. And let there be consequences for those who do not do your bidding. Shuffle the cabinet if you need, to assert yourself, but more importantly, to save the nation.
The power plays within the ANC have held South Africa back for far too long, they’ve caused us to stagnate, all because you are too cautious to take a stance that will weaken your political position.
The Leader of the Opposition, the hon Steenhuisen, has addressed the issues of policy uncertainty and the need to stabilise investor and international sentiment in his speech earlier.
Expropriation without compensation, nationalisation and monopolisation are not favoured in modern politics and economics. The lack of response to land grabs has got people worried. We need to get back to basics and remember what is core to government responsibility. Look for the enablers. Look at electricity, infrastructure, bandwidth, quality education and the rule of law.
The ego-driven projects, the self-flattery, that must all stop. This is what we hoped you would announce last Thursday. Cut the unnecessary spending. Stop the theft by locking up the crooks on your benches and in your departments.
The goose that lays the golden egg is in intensive care; there’s is nothing left in the fiscus. Every programme in the budget of every department needs to be re-evaluated, and where necessity cannot be shown, the project must be cut.
The developmental state has become the survival state. The message needs to go to every Minister and every department. The developmental state is a worthy ideal and redress is key to building a cohesive South Africa, but survival is more so, and the effect of sovereign debt default will be devastating
to developmental projects in the longer term. Short term pain for longer term gain is now the only option. This is a time for urgent implementation of best ideas, not rhetoric.
Do the right thing, Mr President, and we will support you. You will find the allies where you never expected, so long as you have South Africa at heart, so long as you put South Africa first. But continue to dilly-dally around the important matters, and you will isolate yourself even further. Continue to place the ANC before South Africa, a strategy that seems to have failed you so far both in your presidential duties as well as within the ANC. Continue to place South Africa second and you will be short on support. Yours is a lonely position, you need all the friends you can get.
Mr President, you have followed the advice of the DA on unbundling Eskom and now finally agreed to allow municipalities to procure power elsewhere, although it took the initiation of a court case for this to happen.
The DA’s insistence that the public sector wage bill needs to be cut has now even been acknowledged by Congress of SA Trade Unions, COSATU, as an imperative.
Is it not time Sir to take some other suggestions from the DA in the interests of saving our economy?
There are three important Private Members’ Bills have been proposed by DA members of Parliament, MPs: The Fiscal Responsibility Bill, to ensure controlled borrowing and spending; another Bill, to ease the regulations around access to pension funds to allow South Africans some flexibility to navigate through these unprecedented times; and the third Bill, to outlaw cadre deployment in order to ensure the efficient operation of government without the rampant corruption that has become synonymous with the ANC government.
Let’s get beyond the politics and pass the Bills for the sake of our people.
In summary, Mr President, you need a new Cabinet that can take our country forward. Parliament needs to embrace new thinking to adapt to this changed world. South Africa needs a government that will fulfil the promises to take us out and forward of this mess. It’s your move, Sir. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N S BUTHELEZI: Hon Speaker, Chairperson, Your Excellency President Ramaphosa, Your Excellency the Deputy President, Mabuza, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon premiers, hon members, hon councillors, compatriots and ladies and gentlemen, let me start by the biggest denialist I have ever heard - the Leader of the Opposition. I have never heard of somebody who denies that the coronavirus has had a devastating effect on the economy. Where do you start?
Ngisho nezingane eziqala ukukhuluma ezincane zikhuluma ngayo. [Ubuwelelwele.] Izingane ezincane zikhuluma ngayo, yena akayazi.
The hon member from the FF Plus just reminded me of my days when I was still a student when we were protesting against apartheid and Bantu education. Back then, all they did was to bring up ...
... die Rooi Gevaar.
That’s what here came here and spoke about. I don’t think it needs to be taken any further.
Why there could have been some doubts from many people about the effectiveness of the national state of disaster when the President declared it in March? Now, with the benefit of hindsight, 2020 vision, I think you can all look back with pride and say, indeed, we made it. We avoided calamity, we ought to celebrate that. [Applause.]
However, that came at a huge cost to the economy. The economy shrunk. Revenue undercollection grew, debt soared and over two million people lost their jobs. That’s not only a South African phenomenon, it is a world phenomenon.
The plan is a clarion call to all of us to action and action. There is no time for bickering.
We agree with the President that social compacts are essential to effective and sustainable growth and development. [Applause.]
Let me talk about exports. The Continental Free Trade Area creates a market of about 1,34 billion people with the gross domestic product, GDP, value of R3 Trillion, it is about
R50 Trillion. The African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, promotes Intra-Africa trade. Africa trades with everybody but itself. Intra-Africa trade is at about 17%, which is far below other regions.
The President cautions when he talks about the AfCFTA and I quote: “The colonial era of Africa being a pit stop in the global assembly was over.” He continues to say that we must all ensure that:
“The AfCFTA does not become a conduit for products with a minimal African value addition to enter and penetrate our local markets under the guise of continental integration.”
It is an accepted truism that nations that have been able to develop have strengthened their manufacturing sector. I want
to commend the renewed focus on industrialisation and infrastructure in the President’s economic reconstruction and recovery action plan on manufacturing.
When we look at the source of fast growth for Germany and Japan after the Second World War, Korea in the 1970s and China in the 1990s, the common thing is that each of these countries built strong competitive industries. Wealth is created through investment in productive sectors of the economy and strengthening such value chains. Development is enhanced through decent jobs for workers. Transformation is achieved through opening the economy to small and medium-sized businesses, co-operatives and the focus on providing opportunities for youth, women and black industrialists. We see streams strongly embedded in the plan.
A careful reading of the economic plan shows that it contains both measures to promote aggregate demand and to improve supply side performance of the economy.
On the supply side, the plan identifies the practical steps that will now be taken to address the energy shortages, improve the spectrum allocation, strengthen the digital
economy, boost the investment, infrastructure and overhaul the country’s logistics and transport system. This is bold.
The new focus is on implementation. Mr President, Cabinet will have to work in new ways; during wars, countries have war Cabinets. During the COVID-19 crisis, we showed it. South Africa has a Command Council. Similarly, for reconstruction to be successful, clear co-ordinating structures that are lean and agile are needed. The plan will require full support of the private sector and we call upon the business community to step up investment in the domestic economy and to heed the call to localise more on their procurement.
On localisation, a key focus of our economic recovery will be on driving localisation and deepening local manufacturing value chains.
Every year, South Africa effectively gives 25% of its GDP away to other countries around the world in the form of imports of goods that do not add value here.
The plan contains a series of specific value chains where social partners ... please underline social partners ... [Interjections.]
Dr C P MULDER: Hon Speaker, I am sorry to disturb the hon member, I would like to know if he is prepared to respond to a question?
The SPEAKER: Hon Buthelezi, are you prepared to take a question?
Mr N S BUTHELEZI: Just keep it ...
Uma ngiqeda ngizobuya kuwena.
The SPEAKER: He is not prepared, sir.
Mr N S BUTHELEZI: ... will work together to localise more of the production. These include the following: health care value chains, pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipments, and medical equipments used in public and private health care
facilities; basic consumer goods, clothing and footwear, home textiles, consumer electronic products and appliances to mention but a few; capital goods, equipments and industrial goods particularly used in infrastructure projects; construction driven value chain such as cement, steel, piping, engineering products and earth moving equipments.
Some of these products are now designated by the state for local procurement. This allows our infrastructure investment to drive the local supplier industries. We are particularly pleased that the Nedlac agreement commits all the companies and government entities to publicly declare and disclose in their annual reports how much they have bought from local producers and what steps they would take to improve localisation.
Hon members, only components and products that are manufactured locally should be used on public infrastructure projects. This should apply to all constructions paid for by the state. It should also apply to renewable energy projects supported by the state.
We have an opportunity to take our economy forward and we must now keep all our focus on implementing this plan. The President argued and correctly so, that if South Africa were to manufacture 10% of its imports and supply 2% of Africa’s imports from outside the continent, that will add a whopping 3% to our normal GDP.
The ANC welcomes the commitment of social partners to prioritise a range of consumer industrial products for local procurement. Manufacturing, localisation and infrastructure development are key to inclusive economic growth and transformation.
We urge upfront companies not to repeat what they did during the 2010 soccer World Cup build programme. They should not collude to defraud the people of South Africa.
Let me close by borrowing patriotic words from JF Kennedy and say, I quote: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Let’s stop whinging, let’s stop complaining ...
Asikhumbule ukuthi ...
... only people who do something will be able to make mistakes.
Laba abahleli, behlala bebanga umsindo ...
They’ll never be able to do mistakes.
Asibayeke ke siqhubeke thina esinikwe umsebenzi wokuthi sihole abantu baseNingizimu Afrika siwu-African National Congress.
Mr B H HOLOMISA: Hon Speaker, Mr President and hon members, the UDM welcomes President Ramaphosa’s ideas around South
Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan, especially the use of massive infrastructure development projects and the rebuilding and cultivation of the manufacturing industries.
However, Mr President, we have heard this noise before and asked that you at least publish a map of the areas that will be targeted so that we can clearly see what is going to happen where and when. The role of the National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac, and their commitment were mentioned during your speech, but the UDM believes that we have not heard any meaningful commitment in terms of weak capital investment from big business.
An unfortunate state of our economy is that the government has become a main source of easy money through contracts and tenders which have been fraught with abuse and corruption. On this call I also want to add that government has become an extremely poor customer as it tolerates unfinished projects and shoddy workmanship. One matter, Mr President, which I would like to check onto the debate is government’s continuing use of the Government Employee Pensions Fund in an irresponsible manner. It is immoral that these monies are used to make instant millionaires and billionaires who are in it for themselves and their families.
The Public Investment Corporation, PIC, is supposedly investing these pension monies ... [Inaudible.] ... but it is unacceptable that the PIC’s funding models are not producing sustainable job creating businesses, moreover it is worrying that the PIC and ... [Inaudible.] ... the Development Bank of Southern Africa, DBSA, and the Industrial Development Corporation, IDC, are not administering their debts rosters properly and the hyenas are either unable to or wilfully do not service their billions friends and are lost to write off.
In conclusion, in addition monies lost to international that exploit the black economic empowerment, BEE, using local people to syphon...billions of rands ... [Inaudible.] ... of rand from our shores equally so at home we have seen the lights of Jayendra Naidoo using to stain of R15 billions of
... that is it. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Mr V ZUNGULA: Thank you, Speaker. Firstly, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families of the 13 people that lost their lives this morning in Ulundi. Mr President, you presented the economic recovery plan when two million citizens lost their jobs and the economy is in contracting.
The reality is that people are hopeless and they were hoping
for a clear practical plan that is not like in the other state of the nation addresses that you have presented in the past.
In 2018, you promised a million jobs; in 2019, two million jobs; and in 2020, 60 000 jobs per month for young people. Sadly, we don’t have anything to show for these promises as the unemployment rate has increased for 42%.
We would have hoped that we have mass economic participation of the citizens as a top priority, particularly for young people. The 68% youth unemployment rate is a ticking time bomb that requires urgent attention. Youth in business South Africa wrote to you in April have offered tangible solutions to reduce unemployment, but sadly you ignored them.
Mr President, we are not going to solve the problems with the same kind of thinking used in the past 26 years. We need to transform our thinking and have innovative solutions. It is time to diversify the sources of income generation for the citizens and utilise the R400 billion informal economy as a means of driving mass economic participation of citizens in the economy.
Mr President, traders in the informal economy are the poorest and often flake for survival. It is cruelty not to reserve this sector for almost ... [Inaudible.] ... citizens. The over relying on formal employment is not working, we are a developing economy and we need to utilise the nature of our economy to our advantage. There must be a clear programme to use the artisan economy to absorb many frustrated young people who aren’t economically active. We would have hoped that the plan with the commitment for government procurements to be at least 50% from the small, medium and micro enterprises, SMMEs.
The reality is that SMMEs are the worse affected by the lockdown. The plan should have prioritised SMMEs. State-owned enterprises, SOEs, must be exempted and picked from the Public Finance Management Act and ... [Inaudible.] ... the Public Finance Management Act to enable them to compete an increase participation by the SMMEs. The government should ensure full compliance of immigration labour business laws for all companies and departments, all must be equal before the law regardless of whether they are rich or poor citizens or noncitizens with the unfortunate reality of noncitizens getting preference over jobs in business opportunities in our
country. All your plans mean nothing if citizen aren’t the preferred beneficiaries.
The priority of any economic recovery plan must be to diversify sources of income in order to have mass economic participation of citizens in the economy. Thank you.
The SPEAKER: Siyabonga Ntate Zungula [Thank you, Mr Zungula.] Before I call the next hon member, the two hon members right in front of me at the back, whatever you are conferring with must now come to an end. Please separate. Thank you very much. The hon the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure!
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE: Thank you,
Speaker. Hon Speaker and hon President, last week the economic reconstruction and recovery plan that will drive growth and inclusive transformation was presented by the President. I want to inform hon members that I have made a request to the Speaker to make an executive statement and address the House early next week where I will unpack the infrastructure components of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan in more detail. [Applause.] The plan aims to drive greater job
creation to infrastructure investment and mass employment programmes.
Infrastructure investment is one of the key drive to stimulate investments and economic growth and to create employment. The aim of the infrastructure project within the plan is to be a catalyst for the struggling construction sector which has been hard-hit in our economic recession. Since the end of 2019, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has worked very closely with the infrastructure investment office in the Presidency to put together a pipeline of projects that will transform the landscape of our cities, towns and rural areas. The first phase of the infrastructure investment plan includes projects from all three sphere of government, state-owned enterprises and the private sector.
The infrastructure plan not only speaks about new infrastructure, but also about maintenance and the repairs of existing infrastructure. 62 projects have been gazetted in July and prioritised for implementation with all regulatory processes that will be fast-tracked enabling over R340 billion in new investments from the private sector. Many questions rightfully have been asked about implementation and I’m
pleased to say that some of the gazetted projects are in various stages of projects life circle and some are already underway. Those projects that are already in construction will see the future phases also brought earlier for implementation including some human settlements projects which have already received bulk funding finance to unlock them.
The infrastructure plan projects that were also focus on critical network infrastructure such as ports, roads and rail that are key to our economy competitiveness. To ensure that there is active implementation of our infrastructure goal programme we have established infrastructure South Africa and the infrastructure funding has been operationalised to provide capacity to prepare and package projects.
Hon members, we are using three funding instruments to ensure that infrastructure projects will be implemented. The first funding is from the private sector and this include also funding from multinational bodies. The second source ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr S E MFAYELA: Hon Speaker, allow me to emphasise my leader’s words [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon Mfayela? Hon Mfayela, if your TV is on can you please switch it off? Or switch off your visuals. Thank you. You can proceed, sir.
Mr S E MFAYELA: Hon Speaker, allow me to emphasise the words of my leader, Dr M G Buthelezi when he said, “Handouts must give way to hand-ups”. We need to empower our people towards self-help and self-reliance on a life scale. The subsistence farming, small businesses collaboration and co-operation have become the lifeblood of our survival.
We have looked at the macroeconomic plan often enough. We now need to look at our people. There are individuals who have lost their income, whose businesses have been wiped out. We are struggling for hope. Big plans will not put food on the table today but a million small interventions that help us to help ourselves can restore what has been lost. By empowering our people, recovery will eventually become growth.
Madam Speaker, as the IFP we believe that SMMEs hold the key to unlocking potential within the economy, which according to research by Small Business Institute constituted the majority of business community in the economy in terms of
numbers - 98,5%. The President himself stated that SMMEs number between 2,5 million and 3,5 million and that they offer the greatest untapped potential for growth, employment and fundamental economic transformation. Why then did then the President’s speech dedicate a mere 4% to the role of SMMEs and support an intervention plan for research?
As IFP we will hold the President to his plans in creating enabling condition for a competitive, inclusive and fast growing economy. We further welcome his undertaking that government is fast tracking reform to reduce the cost of doing businesses and lower barriers to entry. Mr President, now it is time for action. Our people deserve no less than what you have promised. I thank you.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Hon Speaker, allow me to start off by wishing Minister Mkhize and his wife well in this difficult time of COVID-19.
Mr President, we welcome your recovery plan that you have put in place and have spoken to us about. However, a plan is as good as its implementation. You have given us a plan and we have heard these things before. Let me just indicate a few of
our concerns: First of all, you talk about infrastructure where you hope that we will be able to create jobs and boost the economic development in the country. But year in and year out we are underspending in infrastructure in our country and there is no doubt about it because the latest report from Statistics SA indicates that billions of rands are being underspent in as far as infrastructure is concerned.
The question is: Do we have the capacity to implement these plans? No! if you don’t deal with the capacity issue then you can forget about implementing those infrastructure projects that you are talking about. I will give you a good example that we observed on an oversight. There were companies that were putting on projects in Water and Sanitation who did not have the financial muscle to even buy the goods and those were being imported from India, China and the Unites States of America. We suggested that government provide the material if they want to promote BEE in South Africa. That has not happened up to this day. So, I am not sure how we are going to be able to implement that.
Let us talk about the jobs, Mr President. You speak about creating 800 000 jobs. Of this you talk about 363 000 jobs in
the public sector despite the fact that we had all agreed that we have a bloated public sector wage bill which we need to reduce. I am not sure how we are going to sustain this over a long period of time.
Let us talk about the manufacturing industry, particularly in localising. Have you, Mr President, spoken to National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac, and the different unions in the country? The cost of doing business means businesses in South Africa cannot be sustained because you cannot export at the high cost of doing business in South Africa. Added to that is the problem of imports that are coming into the country and the Chinese pay as low as R70 per day for labour in South Africa. That is why so many of our people remain unemployed.
You talk about corruption, Mr President, but corruption continues. You speak about the Procurement Bill while your colleagues from the ANC agree that the Procurement Bill is not good enough to stop corruption and the looting in the country. We need to relook at that.
You spoke about gender-based violence. Your very own have been alleged to have raped two little girls. You have done nothing about trying to oppose this or appealing this decision of [Inaudible] and yet you find that there are ANC members that are [Inaudible.]. You spoke about housing. Now that there is going to be a Mooikloof investment of R84 billion ... it is our land and our money. Somebody else is going to ... [Interjections.] [Time expired.]
Ms J TSHABALALA: Hon Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Members of Parliament and the viewers at home, good afternoon. Hon President, you are highly recognised and I want to categorically put it that as the ANC supports South Africa’s Reconstruction and Recovery Plan fully.
President, you have said to us, South Africa’s Reconstruction and Recovery Plan sets out both vision and immediate action to enable an economic rebound and to build the economy of the future. It brings together the work of government departments, the Economic Recovery Action Plan agreed by social partners at National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac and contributions from the Presidential Advisory Council. When we
say Nedlac, it means the society’s multi forces, so we agreed with the plan. Can we continue?
Now, I want to speak about what have we done and what the plan seeks to address. My apologies hon Chief Whip of the Majority Party, I was meant to speak to state owned entities, SOE’s, but I feel very eager to go to the plan and speak about what have we promised because that plan has got a timeline. If you care to read, these opposition parties who have been coming here and complaining every time. The next thing this this DA leader says to us, we closed the economy.
How do you open an economy when one million people and lives have been lost in the country? You want us to sit here and open the economy. We don’t care about the lives and the future, because we were saving lives [Interjections.] What the South African government has done; has done it very well as opposed to this DA who cries about corruption. Speak about corruption about your Personal Protective Equipment, PPE’s in the Western Cape. Did you do anything about it? You want a Cabinet reshuffle, reshuffle the MEC of Police in the Western Cape that fails to deal with gangsterism.
You want us to complain about issues of Gender Based Violence, GBV that affects the society, let’s speak about reconstructing a society in South Africa so that you don’t portion the blame to the President. The President tells us and says to us that GBV is a pandemic [Interjections.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: House Chair on a point of order. House Chair on a point of order. House Chair on a point of order.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Yes, what is your point of order?
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: House Chair, I’m afraid I have to rise on a point of order because the hon member at the podium has just told the House that COVID-19 has cost our country one million people.
Ms J TSHABALALA: The world, the world, sit down.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Chair we would like to know now, has Minister Mkhize lied to us or is the member in fact misleading the House? The last that I heard from the Minister of Health was not one million people [Interjections.]
Ms J TSHABALALA: You are out of order yourselves.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon member I’m afraid, that’s not a point of order. Please proceed.
Ms J TSHABALALA: You are out of order, that’s not what I said, you must listen. One million lives have been lost in the world due to COVID-19. [Applause] Let me speak about employment stimulus. We speak about employment stimulus and this is what the document says to us, it says to us, it says the urges to establish the social employment fund to support community driven work from the common good. Who must do that? It is the Presidency. Create 50 000 new opportunities in environmental programmes and 14 000 new opportunities in community forestry. Who must do that? Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries. Support 74 626 small scale farmers to expand production and excess market. Who must do that?
Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.
We must create 25 000 new opportunities in labour intensive municipality infrastructure and maintenance. Who must do that? The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure. Create 37 097 new opportunities in rural roads and maintenance and that
is infrastructure build programme. Who must do that? The Department of Transport.
We must create 5 531 new job opportunities in the common health work. Who must do that? The Department of Health. Create public employment in cities. Who must do that? The National treasury. Create 300 000 opportunities for teaching and school’s assistance. Protect, 44 933 vulnerable teaching posts. Who must do that? The Department of Basic Education. Provide support and livelihoods cultural and support sector. Who must do that? The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture. Support 5 000 young entrepreneurs and macro enterprises. Who must do that? The National Youth Development Agency, NYDA. The last one is to expand the Public Benefit Organisation, PBO incentive to create 8 000 jobs in global business services.
Who must do that? The Department of Trade and Industry.
Now, you want to tell me that there is something wrong with the plan? Clearly, there is something wrong in the country. If all political parties or oppositions do not want to address this and hear about this.
We want to call on a strategic based equity partner in terms of our SOE’s. We are making the call and we are committing ourselves. We are saying we are dealing with the issues of corruption in terms of our SOE’s. Transnet is a very ... [Inaudible and Interjections] ...locomotive industry. We have got Denel that is very important for the sovereignty of the country. We have got Safcol that is very important for our rural communities. We are dealing with these matters and we are there hands-on, you must not create almost as if there is hullabaloo.
Let me also tell you what we have done in Transnet [Interjections]. You are making noise. We are saying civil recoveries for Special Investigating Unit, SIU and Eskom. SIU launched civil claims against former executives to recover R3,8 billion that was illegally diverted from the company. The issue of criminal proceedings as we are speaking, the two former Eskom executives arrested and charged for corruption and fraud in relation to R745 million contracts.
The declaration of delinquency from a former board member of SAA, declared delinquency by the court, directed delinquency proceedings underway in former board members of Safcol.
Deregistration of professional bodies: Eskom former CFO found guilty of professional misconduct and deregistered from ... [Inaudible.]
I want to say to the country and the President of this country, we are well on the road. You do not need friends like these. These friends are very manipulative, do not allow them. They want to utilise you. They want to cause division on this side of the ...[Inaudible.] The ANC must be united.
The ANC issue around unity of purpose is very critical Corruption must unite us as the ANC. I want to also say in all provinces be it KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, corruption of whether PPE’s, as the first Auditor General’s, AG report speaks about it. All those things must unite all of us as a country because corruption manifests itself everywhere. It does not only rest within public servants only. It does not only rest within our own politicians. It is a system that we inherited, that we found ourselves of colonialism of this apartheid regime that really bought the minds of our people that it is good to steal from the vulnerable.
Now, as the ANC we are morally and duty-bound to correct and reverse these evil acts of apartheid against humanity.
Whether we like or not apartheid existed in South Africa and if you want me to speak about it, I am more ready to do so and address you.
I want to tell you, for instance on SAA, you said that it was better with SAA in the past, no it was better in your eyes because it was servicing the minority. Now we are speaking about the SAA that must service the majority of our people and not ... [Time Expired.] ... the ANC supports the Bill. Thank you. [Applause]
Mnr S F DU TOIT: Agb Voorsitter
Hon President, it may become time that the ANC deregister as a political party and register as a planning company. Since 1994 it is all that they had done, was exceptionally draining funds in the name of so called redress. What we have seen now is less of redress and more cadre advancement, mismanagement and corruption. You are attempt to mesmerise South Africans by
policies of job creation, industrial revolution and job prosperity without any specifics of how this will be achieved and with which funds.
Mr President, you urge all South Africans to work together but in fact, your party politics makes it impossible.
Die VF Plus dring aan op groter belastingverligting vir sakeondernemings en individue. Die enigste manier om die ekonomie oor die langtermyn te red is om belastings en tariewe te verlaag, besteebare inkomste te bewerkstellig en Suid- Afrika aanloklik vir beleggers te maak.
Mr President, it is evident that you so put the interest of the ANC above that of the country. You were also misleading the country when you said that the economy must be restored, blaming the devastation caused by COVID-19. Mr President, according to hon Buthelezi, it is in fact not COVID-19 that had the devastating effect on the economy, it was the draconically regulations and directives directed by you and your Ministers who are all members of the ANC. More
importantly it was the fact that the economy was in tatters even before COVID-19 struck. Do not conveniently hide behind the worldwide pandemic. Take responsibility of your comrade’s actions. Be a man, be a President.
Die Suid-Afrikaanse ekomomie kan nie floreer as die regering aanhou om dit te reguleer nie. Dit is ’n bewese feit dat Swart ekonomiesie bemagtiging, SEB, radikale ekonomiesie transformasie en onteiening sonder vergoeding nie die antwoord is nie Die regering moet dringend begin fokus op die belange en vooruitgang van die land en nie net sommige van sy burgers nie.
The irony is that over 2,2 million jobs were lost in just six months by the hands of the various Ministerial regulations and directives issued by your Ministers. Now that you realise the damage that has been done, you want to sweep in your self- created chaos and emerge as a hero by promising 800 000 employment opportunities that will be created or might be created in the months and years to follow. Still, we are sitting with a current economic crisis Mr President. It was
caused by your government, not by the white people of the country.
I challenge you Mr President, show us that you are a man of your word. You said that you will extend the natural resource management programmes such as working on fire and working on water. Please handle it as a matter of urgency, Mr President. South African farms are burning. Farmers need assistance urgently, now more than ever. Show South Africa that you regard the current crisis and the need for farmers who the producers of food for South Africans as a priority [Time Expired.] Thank you Chair.
Mr M P GALO: Hon Chair and Mr President, Prof Raymond Parsons of the prestigious North West University Business School recently acautioned drift poor governance and corruption as the big enemies of service delivery. Parsons findings dovetailed with the long held view of the African Independent Congress that to dent the effects of generational and structural poverty and inequality and now COVID-19 pandemic is through mass employment and enhance social security net a deliberate multiparty response targeted at state capacity and
financial mismanagement must define government’s long-term growth objective.
The reconstruction and recovery plan was announced by the President alongside its clearly defined and demarcated growth and enhancing pillars must therefore be fast-tracked by decisive collective leadership across the political divide.
The role of the social partners cannot be bane side. In our 2019 manifesto launch we advised this government to which many trade unions agreed that to create an enabling environment for the Small, Medium and Micro Economic, SMME, enterprises sustainability set aside preferential procurement funding and overhauling the exclusivity clauses maintained in various lease agreements needed to be speedily looked into and acted upon.
When the Competition Tribunal confirmed the consent agreement between the Competition Commission and Shoprite, we pride a place on our resolve to championing the cause of SMMEs development. At this juncture we wish to pursue to cause to congratulate Mr Sandile Zungu the new chairperson of the Amazulu Football Club for his new venture. Mr Zulu’s work on SMMEs development’s legend.
Hon Chair, to stimulate economic growth there by improving the lives of many South Africans trapped in cycles of grinding despair, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye on corruption.
It is not enough to allocate resources to stimulate economic growth if the people entrusted with responsibility of overseeing state-resources have a field day feeding at the trough with impunity. Corruption can no longer be tolerated. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr X PHAKATHI (Salga): Hon Chairperson, I am delegated by the national executive of SA Local Government Association, Salga. My name is Xola Phakathi. Hon Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Modise, hon Chair of the NCOP, Mr Masondo, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, premiers and mayors, Salga and the leadership, I greet you all. Hon Chair, we meet at the time when our country and the global community at large being decimated by COVID-19 pandemic which has posed a threat not only to lives, but to livelihoods. This pandemic has brought into sharp focus the deep and chronic inequalities bedevilling our country.
While these structural inequalities were prevalent preCOVID-19 they have none to lives become more glaring during the
pandemic. It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to use these crisis as an instigator of economic transformation and in the process create a new inclusive economy that works for all. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we dare not waste. As the saying goes, in every crisis lies an opportunity, the deeper the crisis the better the opportunity.
Hon Chair, the road to economic recovery will be long and hard, fraud with pitfalls along the way no doubt. Throughout this journey local government will serve as a beacon and the point of reference as we navigate this uncharted terrain. As a sector we are uniquely positioned. As a frontline sphere and a chief catalyst for economic development. With this we carry on our shoulders the hopes and aspirations of all South Africans.
The district-based economic recovery plan which is piloted on
44 districts and eight metros is a testament to the centrality of local government in the country’s economic future.
From the onset Chair, Salga has always supported the district delivery model as it is our firm believe that district and metro spaces offer the appropriate scale and arena for intergovernmental planning and co-ordination. This being said
we implore all that district plans be synchronised with integrated development plans of municipalities. This is of a particular significance as IDPP processes are subjected to a vigorous public participation process and as such they reflect the needs of communities.
Hon Chair a common factor in the economic reconstruction and the recovery plan is mega infrastructure investment undertaking. This commitment is evidenced by the gazetting of the strategic integrated projects in July which signalled the urgency of getting the economy back on track.
Infrastructure investment are the powerful multiplier effect, they enhance accessibility and facilitate trade, improve mobility, generate greater employment opportunities and boast overall economic productivity.
The SA Local Government Association on behalf of our members will work hand in hand with the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency. In the municipal infrastructure maintenance programme as we explore the most appropriate solutions to address the repairs and maintenance backlogs.
The rural Road Maintenance Programme is of particular significance to us in view of a sizeable number of municipalities being predominantly rural. In addition to providing connectivity and access to the market and to the economic opportunities, the labour intensiveness of the programme will go a long way in alleviating poverty in rural communities.
As a sector we will augment these initiatives by redirecting our capital expenditure to be oriented towards the reconstruction and the recovery plan.
Hon Chair one of the wall marks of the reconstruction and the recovery plan is unlocking investment and growth. Through our trade and investment programme, Salga will continue to support municipalities in dismantling the burdensome bureaucracy and the red tape that stifles investment.
This is even more pertinent now as we are in a period of economic uncertainty where new investments will be hard to come by due to low levels of liquidity in the market.
In the ease of doing business domain we will up the ante in support of the economic recovery efforts in the different sectors of the economy.
That being said, we remain conscious of the fact that good governance and the financial management are important proxies for investment which is why we will continue in our relentless pursued of getting the basics right and inculcating a culture of responsive and ethical leadership as well as making sure across all spheres we extract accountability through consequence management as provided by the legislation.
Hon Chair, through the first two SA Investment Conferences, Salga has managed to secure pledges of around R664 billion in new investments. It is however organised local government’s wish that municipalities be represented in these national conferences all investments Chair they land in municipal space and such the visibility of municipalities’ investment conferences will go a long way on recognising and positioning local government as a critical role-player in investment promotion, attraction and facilitation.
The SA Local Government Association further commends the positioning of South Africa as one of the most attractive destinations in the world for global business services through the ease of doing business reform programme. We seek to improve the country’s doing business world ranking from 84th to 50th by 2021. This ambitious target can only be achieved through the internalisation of the subnational doing business programme and the revision and the expansion of the World Bank methodology to include nonmetropolitan municipalities. Thank you very much. [Applause.] [Time expired.]
Ms S A LUTHULI: House Chairperson, South Africa is at the cross road. More than 30% of the pollution are unemployed.
Lezi zibalo zizakwenyuka uma kungekho shintsho olujulile.
We are the most unequal society in the world. This is all a recipe for a social unrest, which if it grows, it will spare no one in this country.
Lezi zinkinga esibhekene nazo zidinga abaholi abaqotho nabazothembeka kubantu baseNingizimu Afrika. Ayidingi amacebo akudala alokhu aphinda phindwa futhi le nkinga ayisadingi ubuholi obufuna ukubukwa kepha bube bungamavila okubhekana nqo nezinkinga zomnotho waleli lizwe. Iqiniso lithi lezi zinkinga besikuzo lungakafiki lolu bhubhane lwe-COVID. Kepha laba abaphethe abanalo uzwelo ngenhlupheko, nokushoda kwamathuba emisebenzi kanye nokungalingani kwethu kule lizwe.
The so-called recovery plan presented by the President here
... zingezinye zezindlela ezingenasiqinisekiso nezingacabangisisiwe kahle esifunzwa zona kuleminyaka eminingi eyedlule. Kepha isishiya sixakeke kakhulu kunakuqala.
Kunamhlanje kusayithina abantu abamnyama abangena misebenzi, amakhaya nomhlaba futhi esihlukumezekile. Yithi abantu abamnyama esidlala inhlupheko ngenxa yobuholi obusiphethe nobuhlulekile ukunakekela umnotho wethu. Izimo esiphila ngaphansi kwazo zinyantisa igazi ikakhulukazi kumuntu wesimame omnyama.
As a woman, we work as poorly paid domestic workers. We are excluded from meaningful economic opportunities in this country simply because we are women.
Mongameli uyakwazi lokhu, kepha ukhetha ukukuziba ungenzi lutho ukukhipha abantu besifazane kulolu bishi. Siyazi ukuthi ibala lethu lisetshenziswa ukuba sibandlululwe kanye nobulili bethu nabo busetshenziswa kanjalo.
We do have a legislative and policy framework for inclusion of an advancement of black people in this country. However, if these are poorly implemented ...
... ngeke kubasize abantu besifazane kule lizwe. Lamacebo okuhlenga lo mnotho ngeke asize muntu uma umuntu wesifazane engacatshangelwa.
It must be young black women who are given access to land, infrastructure and implements to use that land productively. It must be the young black women who are the focus of a skill development programme so that ...[Inaudible.] needed in our economic can be found in these women.
Mongameli kunamakhulu khulu abantu besifazane abacwaswayo emkhakheni wezokwakha nasemkhakheni wezokudayiswa kwezindlu. Bazitshwa yilohulumeni nomkhakha ozimele [private sector].
Nawe Mongameli ukhethe owesilisa omhlophe ...
... to develop your so-called Mooikloof City project. Your recovery plan does not speak about structural [Inaudible.] in a manner in our state is made up. You did not address the need to rationalise the work of the national, provincial and local government.
Imikhandlu yethu isezimweni ezingagculisi ngenxa yokuthi ayinakiwe. Le mikhandlu inikezwa ingcosana kwisabelozimali kazwelonke. Nayo leyo ngcosana iyebiwa ngosopolotiki
abangakaze balethwe ngaphambi komthetho nabangakaze bashushiswe.
President, we cannot rebuild the economy if there is no concrete plan to build a capacity of local government.
Asikwazi ukunaka umnotho uma singakwazi ukwakha izindawo emikhandlwini yethu ezokwazi ukutshala ukudla esikudlayo, ezokwazi ukwenza izimpahla esizigqokayo kanye nezokwazi ukumba leli golide liphinde lipholishwe khona la kuleli zwe. Kumele sivikele izimboni zakule lizwe kuzimboni zangaphandle.
Ukunikezwa kwabantu abamnyama umhlaba ku ngeke kwasisiza ngalutho uma imboni yethu ingeke ize ivikeleke ezimbonini zangaphandle. Sidinga icebo elizokwazi ukwakha kabusha umcebo wethu nelizoqinisekisa ukuba abantu abamnyama besifazane bavikelekile. Mongameli kepha icebo lakho alisho lutho ngabantu besifazane. Mongameli icebo lakho liyohlala lihluleka njalo uma ungakwazi ukuqaqa lamakentanga esiboshwe ngawo nokungalingani ezweni lokhokho bethu. Ngiyabonga.
Mr M NYHONTSO: Chairperson, the President has squandered an opportunity to consult widely and include every segment of society in a social compact that would eventually allow everyone to contribute their input and views on the draft of the recovery plan. The President has instead gone to the usual suspects to craft a national economic and recovery plan. It’s a [Inaudible.] approach that will soon be found wanting.
National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac, is no longer fit for purpose. It’s now an old boys club. We need innovative approaches. The labour segment in Nedlac is narrow minded and one dimensional. They are steeped in the past. Yet, the President relies on them. It is a big business that calls the shots in Nedlac.
The PAC starts from the view that the Azanian masses are their own liberators. It is counterproductive to do things for them without them. The greatest flaw in the recovery plan is to go
to moneylenders like the International Monetary Fund, IMF, to inject enthusiasm into the economy. This is, in fact, injecting poisonous venom.
The IMF lays down conditionalities in their loans to countries. The state President has ignored suggestions from prominent economists who said that an inward looking approach would have yielded resources internally in the Republic of South Africa to stimulate the economy again.
So, in the development of a recovery plan things remained the same. We are facing a downward spiral that will leave a majority of citizens in worse circumstances than before.
Corruption has become a bigger thief benefiting its administrators. Law enforcement seems to be focusing only on one clique or societal grouping. We call for the arrest and prosecution of all implicated black, white, rich or poor, politically connected or not ...
... isela lisela.
I thank you.
The PREMIER OF KWAZULU-NATAL: Hon Chairperson, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, his Excellency Deputy President
Mabuza, I wish to join the President in pledging solidarity with our citizens for their sacrifices, patriotism and extraordinary resilience they displayed as we were faced with Covid-19 pandemic and our socioeconomic headway.
Our approach to Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan as presented by the President - we fully concur with you, hon President, that it can never be business as usual. As you said, to embrace the new normal, our great nation must rebuild, repair and restore our country not after Covid-19 but in the midst of it. The objectives of Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan respond directly to the devastating catastrophe imposed by Covid-19 on our economy but further addresses the persistent apartheid legacy of poverty, unemployment and inequality. This plan further goes to respond to the call for economic restructuring which should find expression through the overhaul of the economic structure.
On infrastructure build, we believe that the infrastructure such as schools, water, sanitation and housing will greatly benefit our people. We see this as both immediate stimulus which will unleash immediate job opportunities but will also serve as an enabler for future economic development which feed
on other economic sectors. Critical to this plan is the localisation where all building materials will have to be manufactured domestically. Infrastructure is critical as it will provide jobs for skilled and unskilled labour.
Your Excellency the President, as KwaZulu-Natal, we welcome this infrastructure plan. We believe it will expedite the implementation of the strategic projects such as uMzimkhulu Water Dam which will provide the people of Ugu District Municipality and Harry Gwala District with water. But this plan will also expedite port development including Durban Port which is the biggest port in the sub-Saharan Africa and carries about 60% cargo for our country. Ports development remains critical for the enhancement of the country’s trade competitiveness.
Our primary objective and interest is for the country to enhance domestic production and increase the export market. In KwaZulu-Natal we are finalising the establishment of KwaZulu- Natal’s Strategic Infrastructure Development Agency to accelerate radical economic transformation. We will use this agency to implement the provincial infrastructure master plan
and transform the construction maintenance and facility management within the infrastructure sector.
The construction sector contributes about four percent to the GDP of our province and employs 290 613 people. The sector has a value chain with almost every sub-sector such as metal fabrication, plastic, forest, timber, glass and others. The sector is also dominated by and cater for youth, SMMEs and informal players.
As part of what was presented by the President, the apartheid regime failed to grow the export market. But since the democratic breakthrough, we continue to see more trade balance between export and import. As reflected by Statistics SA and highlighted by the President in his address last week, we welcome the news that last year South Africa recorded its first trade surplus with European Union driven by the record export of manufactured goods. I wonder where was hon Shivambu when the President presented this. I would also equally encourage him to consult the Statistics SA report so that he will be exposed to this reality rather than come here and fabricate ... Road export is the reflection of the domestic production growth which has the potential to grow employment.
But this growth should be anchored on diverse and inclusive economic ownership which includes blacks, women, youth and people with disabilities.
The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan talks to agriculture and agroprocessing which remain critical for food security for our country and the export market. In this regard, we applaud the work that is currently underway on land redistribution. In 2020 state of the nation address, the President indicated that the state would release 700 000 hectares of land to enhance black participation in agriculture. [Applause.] On 01 October 2020, Minister Didiza announced that the state was ready to release land and fulfil the undertaking made by the President during Sona. This process has identified 21 farms in KwaZulu-Natal measuring approximately 9 307 hectares. The criteria to distribute this land will prioritise women, youth and people with disabilities. This will be advertised by the department at the end of this month.
The hon members who have spoken before me said that the President always presents plans but there is no implementation. This is one of the implementations that they
must refer to. As reported in this House before, KwaZulu-Natal remains steadfast on the implementation of radical economic transformation, hence we are proceeding with radical socio- agrarian transformation wherein we support ... [Interjections.] ... farmers through logistical implements, monitoring and sustainable government market. As a result, women-owned entities are benefiting through the government school nutrition programme as well as retail stores where they supply vegetables on a weekly basis.
We are equally on track on the programme of building four agrihubs which will ensure the processing of all agricultural products including vegetable stocks and livestock in all our
11 districts. While many industries were hard-hit by Covid-19, agriculture has remained among those resilient sectors and have great potential for other provinces and the country at large. Thus, we believe that as a country we have to normalise the relationship between the farmers and farmworkers. We should address farm killings and at the same time deal with exploitation of farm workers and farm dwellers. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr G G HILL-LEWIS: Chairperson, the debate this afternoon has been lovely and there has been some good points made by both sides. But I’m afraid the speakers on the government benches haven’t really risen to the occasion of defending the President’s speech in telling us how the plan he set out will be implemented. That was of course the big lacuna from last Thursday’s speech. A very nice sounding plan and some have called it a wish list or Santa letter. But there was nothing actually on how it’s going to be done. That is the big question mark that hangs over the President’s head.
The Minister of Finance is fond of speaking about the mouth of the hippo. The big gap between government’s debts and government’s revenue. But there’s another hippo’s mouth that needs to be addressed, and that’s the big gap between what the President says and what this government does. That was not addressed today not by any of government speakers.
In fact, we have gone back and we have tracked exactly how many times the President has made the same promises before, since he was elected more than two years ago. We went back 520 days, Mr President, to your first state of the nation address and we tracked them all. We found that in 73% of cases, there
has been no progress at all on the reformed commitments you have made. We have put all of that available in a document and I invite you to visit our web page to have a look.
Where there has been progress – like in independent power producer regulation – we have given credit for that. But still, in most cases, there has been no progress to speak of at all. Today, we heard from the Minister of Tourism who - has a very lovely shirt on - but told us that her plan for implementation is going to be another council that is going to be responsible for speeding up implementation. The general rule is that the speed of implementation is inversely proportional to the number of councils and committees involved. I don’t think that is going to help at all. In fact, it is quite terrifying!
The consequences of this delay, Mr President, were clear before lockdown and they are even clearer, terrifyingly so, now after lockdown. We have an economy that teeters on the edge, and a society that’s increasingly feeling like it is spinning out of control.
We heard them again today. The purveyors of hate and division are back again, back from the past and the 90s, preying on the poor to drive South Africans apart and preaching violence as an answer. We heard the hon Shivambu call you a sell-out. A disgusting slur that is to be rejected! That is why - in the end - your plan failed to bring South Africans together around a vision of growth and reform that pulls us towards the centre instead of giving more oxygen to those who are driving us apart.
You now have to show us that you are serious about what you said. Serious and not just about the language of reform but actual reform. Here are three things that you must do to show that you are serious, Mr President: 1) Ministers who stand in the way of reform should be removed from office [Applause.] 2) Commit to clear and immovable timeframes for implementation, that we as Parliament and the public can hold you to; 3) Don’t choose SA Airways - stop all further bailouts of SAA. That will show that you are serious. It is immoral, hon Tshabalala, to cut essential public services to fund yet another bailout for SAA. Between schools and SAA, choose schools. Between hospitals and SAA, choose hospitals.
If you dither longer ... Choose the people of South Africa over SAA. Thank you very much. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY: Hon Speaker of
the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, Chairperson of the NCOP, Mr Amos Masondo, His Excellency, President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, His Excellency, Deputy President, David Mabuza, hon members, councillors, ladies and gentlemen. From the onset of confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, our rallying cry was about saving lives and saving livelihoods. So, that guided our action.
Now, our country men and women steered us through the storm in their steering effort to save our lives. When the pandemic descended and our country went into lockdown to hold the spread, our economy was already in recession. Subsequent downgrade by rating agencies sound the economy further, then the pendemic sounded a death knell in the climate beleaguered by the high cost of electricity. You must remember that electricity price increased by 177% in the last decade.
Therefore, the reliance of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan on our ability to secure reliable and affordable
supply of energy, our plan must however transcend the pre COVID-19 level to grow the economy and to be on par with our country’s development. This plan is different in that it talks to practical programmes and imposing tasks to sectors. So, that is the formula for execution.
Now, expanding the country’s energy generation capacity, is the priority intervention to support the rapid economic rebound. This is central to us saving our livelihoods. Hon members, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, to those who said it never happened, I want to remind hon Rider that, it has heeded the call of the President by fully implementing the integrated resource plan in 2019. [Applause.] Now, hon Rider didn’t take notice of that.
The department targets to deliver a total of 16 313 mega wards of electricity from a mixed energy sources. This includes, procurement of 2000 mega wards of emergency power to meet the short-term electricity supply gap. We issued the request for proposal and big submission will be closing soon. Power procured will be fully operational and connected to the national grid by June 2022. That is the timeframe.
Procurement of 11 813 mega wards from various energy sources has been broken down as follows: Six thousand-eight hundred mega wards from renewables, 513 mega wards from storage, 3000 mega wards from gas and 1 500 mega wards from coal. For this purpose, we gazetted section 34 mineral determination with the intention to urgently connect new generation capacity to the national grid. Request for proposal will be issued in December 2020, to enable the opening of various bids, including the much talked about Bid Window 5.
Therefore, it is important to appreciate that the fact that, Bid Window 5 is adding to Bid Window 4 which was opened in 2018. But when you just talk about Bid Window 4, you will not understand. Let us then tell you. Of that, 375 mega wards are connected to the grid, 1000 will be connected by December, 375 by June 2021, 415 mega wards by December 2021 and 140 mega wards by March 2022. So, the 2 305 from Bid Window 4 will only be complete by March 2022. Leave the hurry by many.
Now, having said that, I would like to actually appreciate the fact that, the issuing request for information for 2 500 mega wards for Nuclear Bill Programme has been issued. [interjections.] You say ha-ha. Now, that is testing the
market. It doesn’t help for all of us to say, we don’t want the nuclear, we don’t want that. You test the market, and when the market responds, you build nuclear plants.
So, we are issuing the request for information for the nuclear plants. Therefore, we said, that we will build them at a rate and pace that the country can afford. That is what we said. [Applause.] Now, we have also gazetted an amendment to schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act to exempt categories of generation facilities under 1 mega ward, and resellers from requirement to hold a generation licence.
The National Energy Regulator SA, NERSA, has already registered 156 self-generation licences and the 1 mega ward, totalling to 72 mega wards of electricity already generated. Through effecting the provision of distributed generation in the Integrated Resource Plan, IRP, 2019, for facilities part and above, thereby removing the ministerial approval to deviation from IRP before NERSA can process generation licences for publication. To date, NERSA has issued five applications in that category.
Further, we have gazetted the Amendment of Electricity Regulation on new generation capacity to enable municipalities, listen to the conferee, in good financial standing, to develop their power generation projects and the amended clarified regime applicable to municipalities when requesting for determination under section 34 of the Electricity Act.
Recognising Eskom’s role in the electricity sector, government is working tirelessly to achieve significant systems to improve Eskom maintenance programme. I am sure, those who follow and not just want to rubbish, they would have followed that Mr De Ruyter who is the CEO of Eskom said, Medupi will be complete, correct things by December. Now, when the CEO says that, you take him serious.
Looking ahead, we have considered the feasibility of natural gas for economic use in the South African market, which includes accelerating exploration of our own natural gas for domestic fix stock. I can tell you without fear that, on Friday I will be on the drill rick in Brulpadda, South of George, just to see the progress we are making. Drilling is continued there, and that is what implementation means, doing
things practically. [Interjections.] [Applause.] Yes, we have hired private company working with us.
The department was in the process of consulting stakeholders on Upstream Petroleum Resource Development Bill and committee communication was halted. Now, we are going to begin again to do with that communication. As directed by the President, the economic reconstruction and recovery plan should fast track returns to reduce cost of doing business in the country. This is to facilitate investment and to achieve economic growth and transformation.
The government is focusing to renew investments to exploration. For those who do not know what exploration is, is to look for minerals, you drill, you quantify the quality and quantity of minerals. That we are investing in that project.
Now, we are investing in exploration, working with the country for geoscience and we are also giving effect to a commitment to reduce the timeframe for mining and prospective licences. I must admit though that, it’s a little bit heavy, but we are going to work hard for it.
We are also formalising artisanal mining, thereby creating revenue to mine sterilise deposits. Saving lives and saving livelihoods is a social compact between government social actors and society. This is a call to economic reconstruction and recovery plan. This is reminiscent on our ability. So, the focus, I want to emphasise, is on execution, which is focus, pay attention to lead activities, pay attention to leg activities and quantify progress. As part of the plan, sectoral reports will be submitted every month.
Before I sit down, because my time is getting out, let me say, DA says that there is incompatibility with economic reforms and it is history. But for the first time in this plan, economic reforms are broken down. These are the actions that you should do to effect economic reforms. Secondly, hon Shivambu says that, we have not said anything about land question, because his understanding of land question is grabbing it for informal settlement. [Applause.]
When we talk about food security, he doesn’t understand that we are talking about land. So, it is in the plan. Therefore, it is important to institute industrialisation is talked about
in localisation, Therefore, it is a too complex concept for EFF. Thank you. [Time expired.]
The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Chairperson of the NCOP, Mr Amos Masondo, hon Speaker, Ms Thandi Modise, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Members of the NCOP and the NA and those who have travelled afar from our various provinces, I would like to thank you all for the opportunity to respond to the debate of this joint sitting. On the most critical and challenging issue facing our country at this moment.
One of the reasons I chose to present this Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to the joint sitting of Parliament was to give the elected leaders of our country the opportunity to have a thorough going and robust debate on the plan rather than to grandstand and to throw barbs at each other. I intended to listen to proposals and suggestions that could take our country forward.
I wish to thank those who have participated in this debate and those who have made valuable suggestions and construction criticism to the plan. We have had a spirited debate on our engagement, which is a defining feature of our democracy, and
I would like to thank you all for that. Through this debate, we are adding to the participation of our people in various forms in radio shows, in meetings and also economists who have made a number of suggestions and some have criticised it. But in the end, we have to put a plan on the table - it may well sound like we are repeating what we have said in the past.
Yes, that may well be so, it may well sound like we have not come up with anything new. But I think if you read between those lines and paragraphs and if we all take time to look at this plan carefully we would find that there is a new resolve, there is new determination. And this plan is underpinned by the participation of the social partners we have got in our country.
This plan outlines immediate actions to rebuild the economy and to provide jobs and relief to the people of our country. These actions include an aggressive infrastructure
programme. Yes, I have often spoken about infrastructure and I have decried the fact we have not been investing in infrastructure, let alone even maintaining our current infrastructure. I have to talk about all the time because infrastructure investment is what defines a nation, and we are
now on the cusp of seeing a real robust and aggressive infrastructure investment programme.
We also are talking about far-reaching reforms to increase our competitiveness and inclusiveness. We are also talking about measures to catalyse industrialisation, relief for vulnerable households and individuals, as well as a public investment in employment programmes. These may all sound like old programmes, things that we have repeated in the past. Yes, that may well be so. But we have a new resolve and this resolve is borne out of the critical and urgent situation that we face right now.
This plan is a response to a severe economic contraction unlike any we have experienced in recent memory. This is where we have been calling on all South Africans and Prince Buthelezi is absolutely right, this is not the time to grandstand it is the time to close ranks as South Africans and to work together to achieve a common purpose.
Our country is not alone in experiencing an economic crisis of this depth and extent. Many other countries around the world are experiencing exactly the same problems as we are.
Unemployment has risen across the world and nearly every economy has shrunk. It is true that the measures that were necessary to delay the spread of the virus and prevent deaths led to a sharp decline in economic activity.
But there is now substantial evidence that the economic contraction has been even worse in countries that took fewer measures to protect their people, and where the pandemic has spiralled out of control.
Hon Steenhuisen, had we not taken the measures that we did ... which you and your party supported the measures that we took to contain the spread of the virus. Many more lives – as you admitted then - would have been lost, the economic impact would have been worse, and we would not even be in a position to be talking about an economic recovery.
These exceptional circumstances require nothing less than an exceptional response. For South Africans who have been watching this debate, these are not theoretical issues.
They have a direct bearing – they have a direct effect on their live. They have a bearing on the prospects for finding work, the recovery of their businesses, and indeed in our
collective future. Business owners worry about being able to recover their overheads and pay their employees. Families worry about their ability to pay their bills that are piling up every month, so that they can see the year through. Those who are unemployed worry about their prospects in this climate of economic hardship.
In this debate, we have heard many divergent viewpoints. Yet, we are of one mind as to the urgency of the task at hand. We are all agreed that even the best laid plans will amount to nothing unless those plans are matched by an undivided focus on implementation.
Above all, we agree that people must be at the centre of the recovery effort. We must not come with theoretical statements, we must be very practical. What South Africans want from Parliament today is reassurance that we are committed to a swift and inclusive recovery, that we will do whatever it takes and that we have their best interests at heart. That is what South Africans are interested in.
Our challenge is not only to recover to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity, but to lift ourselves out of an economic
decline, out of this hole that has been several years in the making, while seeking to undo structural distortions that were many decades in the making. That much we would accept.
Unlike many other national economies, we have to recover jobs that were lost as we had to shutdown much of the economy, but also to alleviate the plight of millions of people who were already jobless before the pandemic hit. That is why we need to build an inclusive economy out of the ashes of this pandemic.
We need to implement existing commitments faster and more effectively and, at the same time, introduce new measures to respond to a new context.
To ensure that our efforts are focused, our plan is driven by five key priorities: Infrastructure investment and
delivery; an employment stimulus; energy security; measures to promote localisation and African integration; and, to improve the capacity of the state. The plan is underpinned by a commitment to fiscal sustainability and economic reforms that will enable growth. The Minister of Finance will talk about this next week when he tables his medium term budget policy
statement. It is about choosing a few things and doing them properly.
Our immediate focus is job creation. Why is that so? Because many of our people have lost jobs but even before then our unemployment rate has been growing at alarming levels over a number of years.
The plan recognises that the private sector is by far the biggest driver of employment. That is why the plan emphasises growth-enhancing measures that enable businesses to recover, to grow and to thrive. This involves, in the first instance, urgent steps to remove the impediments to investment and greater economic activity. These include fixing our energy challenges, undertaking structural reforms in areas like telecommunications and transport, and improving the ease of doing business. It also involves, in the second instance, major interventions that will stimulate economic activity and create opportunities for business.
Among the most significant of these is the ambitious infrastructure build and maintenance programme, which consists of a reliable pipeline of bankable projects and which uses
public funding to leverage – in other words to enable and induce the private sector and others, pension funds and many other funds to invest alongside with us. This supports – and is complemented by – a concerted drive to produce far more of the goods and services we consume locally, and, in the process, to improve the competitiveness of our exports.
There is a firm commitment from all social partners to use both public and private procurement to promote localisation and the development of industry. We now want to go beyond just saying buy South Africa; we want to see it happening in reality. Because it is out of buying locally-made goods that we will be able to promote reindustrialisation as well as manufacturing.
We are accelerating the finalisation of sector master plans to ensure that key economic sectors of our economy are ready and equipped to meet the demand that will ensue from this process of localisation, procurement both locally and from abroad.
There should be no doubt that this plan aims to unleash the capacity of the private sector to create jobs on a far larger scale and at a greater pace as well. But the plan also
recognises that our people need work and they need jobs now. It recognises that even with rapid progress in the implementation of the plan, it will take some time for the labour market to fully recover.
Through the Presidential Employment Stimulus, we are using a substantial expansion in the scope of public employment programmes to mitigate unemployment and support recovery. We are not the only country in the world that is doing this.
For instance, one looks at India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which is one of the world’s largest public employment programmes and has succeeded in facilitating work opportunities for Indians and alleviating poverty.
Over the next three years, R100 billion in public investments will create hundreds of thousands of work opportunities and support livelihoods in many sectors. We will be boosting existing programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme and Community Work Programme. But we will also be innovating on other fronts to create avenues for social employment in communities. Social employment offers income
security to those who are of working age but have been unable to find work.
One of the other things that it really does is to provide a pathway to securing formal employment and entrepreneurial activity, particularly to women and young people.
As our economic recovery advances and our reform effort gathers momentum and pace, more jobs will be created by the private sector and the scale of public employment will accordingly decline.
The depths of the challenges we face mean that we should not be making a choice between public employment and private sector job creation. We need these two approaches right now on a scale we have not achieved before.
Those who have criticised the plan have look just on the one side of the scale and we say look at both. What government should do is to stimulate economic activity and to induce the private sector to invest, which is precisely what we are seeking to do. So that we can ensure economic recovery and make sure that it is inclusive. The plan prioritises the
development of small, medium and micro enterprises.
These businesses have the greatest potential to create jobs, to empower all our people especially black people, women and youth, and to reduce inequality. It is through this that we will be able to engender the radical socio-economic transformation that our country so needs.
In every aspect of the plan, from infrastructure development to localisation to African integration and procurement, there is a deliberate effort to expand the opportunities for small medium enterprises, SMMEs, so that they can participate including formations such as co-operatives which are so effective – not only in the rural areas - but in many areas where our people live.
This will take place alongside a focused support programme to enable SMMEs to participate in manufacturing value-chains as well. Particular attention will be given to supporting women- empowered SMMEs as a vehicle for women’s economic inclusion and for securing women’s financial independence.
The challenges of the economic recovery require that we
dedicate sufficient resources to implement the National Strategic Plan to combat gender-based violence and femicide, GBVF. It is critical that we scale up and we will scale up funding for the GBVF Council as well as its programmes to empower the women of our country.
The African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, will open up the doors of trading and present a huge opportunity for the growth of South Africa’s industrial capacity.
The AfCFTA will transform trade in one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, creating a massive market for goods and services, with expectations of a virtuous cycle of increasing intra-African trade and international investment. This treaty has the potential to make a concrete impact on the lives of ordinary citizens across our continent.
Our country is well-positioned to respond to the growing demand on the continent for manufactured goods and other products, as we can effectively use this to drive the industrialisation of our economy. Many of our compatriots on the African continent say rather than buy our goods in Europe and America and many other places; they say we want to buy
them here, on the African continent. Not only because it is nice to do so, but because it is also cheaper and it is also going to drive employment and industrialisation of our continent.
Unlike our exports to markets like the European Union, China and the United States – which tend to be skewed towards raw material exports – a large proportion of our exports to other African countries are essentially manufactured goods. And this is a great advantage that we need to play up and rely on.
We therefore have a firm foundation on which to expand the export of value-added products, creating more jobs and deriving greater value from our abundant natural resources.
As we do this, it is important that we ensure that women, youth, people with disabilities and other marginalised groups participate in this great push for intra-African trade. Even as we debate this plan, economic recovery has begun in earnest. We are pushing ahead with the work needed to tackle inefficiencies and improve the competitiveness of our economy.
During the past several weeks, we have published an invitation
to apply for high-demand spectrum that will enable the modernisation of our telecommunications system. We have delayed, we are late; we admit that but we are moving ahead.
We have made significant progress in our efforts to achieve energy security, activating the process for the procurement of new generating capacity in line with the Integrated Resource Plan and issuing new regulations to allow municipalities in good financial standing to generate their own power. Minister Mantashe is pushing this ahead. Agreements with Independent Power Producers to expand our generation capacity are being concluded and we are unlocking emergency electricity supply.
The 700,000 hectares of state-owned land that we are going to make available to our people is one of the measures that we are embarking upon to fulfil the promise of land redistribution to our people and to expand our agricultural production, which Minister Mantashe so eloquently spoke about.
Making access to land to our people remains one of the key pillars of our developmental and transformative policy approaches to improve the lives of our people. We are moving ahead with this without any form of let up. We do this because
it is important that we achieve the goals that we have set up for implementation of our plan.
It is through consensus-building between government, business, labour and civil society that we have been able to develop a common programme and the same spirit of collaboration and partnership must guide us in the difficult days ahead. As political parties we can come together to see this plan to fruition, or we can spend the next few months in a state of paralysis as we pick this plan apart, but as we also tear each other apart. I believe that that is not what our people want to see us doing as the elected leaders of the nation. They want to see us working together coming up with suggestions and proposals that will address the challenges that they face.
That is all our people are interested in.
Therefore, our foremost concern is to make sure that this plan works – not to cement the legacy of an administration, nor to serve the interests of one or another political party. It must work for the people of South African. Our vision of a new economy lays a foundation for economic growth that is inclusive, sustainable and durable.
I call on all South Africans to support this plan but also to insist on implementation. I would like this Parliament to make us accountable for the implementation of this plan. I would like this Parliament to insist in executing its task that we implement this plan.
I call on leaders across society to lend your wisdom, your ideas and your encouragement to the National Economic Recovery Council, which will be driving the implementation of this plan. We should heed the words of the hon Prince Buthelezi when he says that “like a country at war, we must put aside political agendas to rebuild the country. Regardless of where we sit across the political divide, we must find the political courage to unite behind this common vision for our recovery.
We must work together to build this new inclusive economy that we need and to build a South Africa that works. If we act of one mind and of one purpose, we will surely prevail.”
I thank you all for your participation and now implementation will go on.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Let us thank the President for his participation in this important joint sitting.
The House adjourned at: 17:53.