Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 25 Nov 2020
No summary available.
WEDNESDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2020
WATCH VIDEO HERE: PLENARY (HYBRID)
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 15:01.
House Chairperson Ms M G Boroto took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order! Hon members, in the interests of safety for all present, let’s keep our masks on.
Please also fill in your attendance slips on your tables. Hon members, the only item on the Order Paper is questions addressed to the Minister in Cluster 2: Social Services. There are four supplementary questions, as we all know, and parties have already given us an indication of which questions their members would pose supplementary questions on. In allocating opportunities for supplementary questions, the principle of fairness has been applied. Hon members, the first question on the Question Paper today is posed by the hon Mashego to the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation. Hon Minister, the question is Question 612.
QUESTIONS - CLUSTER 2: SOCIAL SERVICES
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, WATER AND SANITATION: Thank
you, hon Chair. I have the question in front of me here that has been posed by the hon Mashego. My response is that chapter 3 of the Constitution makes reference to three spheres of government as being distinctive, interdependent and interrelated. The Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Act of 1997 sets out what process should be followed for the division of national revenue among the three spheres of government. I give this as a precursor to my response because we must understand that the resources go with the mandate. It is also established that the budget forums in which the local government issues are discussed, as part of the national budget process, are also put in place.
The district development model, or DDM, is an operational model for improved co-operation governance that promotes the need ... Whereas the Constitution is very clear about the mandate, and the mandate also determines that resources are allocated to where that mandate is located.
The DDM approach is one that we have adopted as government because it assists us to make sure that we are able to have a more co-
operative approach in relation to some of the things that we do do. It is a very useful tool. We have checked on it in various provinces, namely in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. It works as a co-operative tool. However, the budgets that are allocated are allocated in line with what the constitutional requirements put in place.
It is important that the provincial offices of the department of water and sanitation’s shared budgets and programmes are spatially mapped in the 52 district spaces and that the provincial departments of local government and traditional affairs and their counterparts ensure a joint planning approach.
What we would do if we were to succeed in this is to say that the district modelling approach has to go beyond the approach, and have a system that pools together the resources so that those resources can go much further. However, in terms of the Constitution, it is very clear that the resources are channelled in line with what the Constitution says. So this district model approach is one that we have started. It works. But it has not reached the level of amendments of any of those underlying principles that we have, both in our Constitution and in our laws.
The major focus of the district model is to integrate service delivery through both planning and implementation, and to provide a platform to address service delivery shortfalls. In this case, it is very useful because we are able to have a joint approach in our operations. We are able to detect where there are shortfalls, and, through this, the department of water and sanitation does participate in the district model by ensuring that there is efficiency and that we are able to plan together. But we need a single planning and implementation strategy that will enhance the focus of supply and reliable service provision. What we are saying is that while it is good for co-operation, for it to be more effective and for it to be able to do what the hon member is suggesting it might do, we need to amend either our legislation or amend whatever other provision is given so that the planning and the integration are all in the funding stream, because the funding stream is what determines where the money must go.
In order to realise the goals of the district development model, the provincial offices of the department of water and sanitation and the district municipalities must be capacitated with engineers to assist water service authorities and to expedite their water service delivery programmes. The department of water services would align with the infrastructure grant framework which could be
provided to the district model, as envisaged by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
We do have grants that are provided for municipalities and for bulk infrastructure. If we could, we would channel them all into one planning unit, the district model. If that was allowed, it could save a great deal of problems that we have.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, Minister.
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, WATER AND SANITATION: But as of
now, water authorities still have their legal responsibilities and these are constitutionally their responsibilities. So, too, do the municipalities. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, hon Minister. Tata Mashego? Tata Mashego? Hon Mashego? [Inaudible.] Any Whip from ...
Mr M F MASHEGO: I can take the question.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Any Whip? Any Whip?
Hhayi! Hhayi, Ngwezi, ima kancane.
Mr M F MASHEGO: [Inaudible.]
USIHLALO WENDLU (Nk M G Boroto): U-Mashego ukhona enkundleni, Mashego siyakubona enkundleni, khuluma.
Mnu M R MASHEGO: Ayikhulumi lento yami angazi kwenzenjani.
MODULASETULO WA NTLO (Moh M G Boroto): Re a go kwa, papa. Tšwela pele. [Tsenoganong.]
Re a go kwa, mokgalabje.
Mashego, re a go kwa. Bolela, re tla go kwa.
Ms N T MKATSHWA: Chairperson of the House, can we take the question on his behalf?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Mashego ... The microphone is open, and he just spoke. I don’t understand what the problem is.
Re a go tšeela, Ntate Mashego. O seke wa re lweša.
Continue, hon Mkatshwa.
Ms N T MKATSHWA: Thank you very much, House Chair. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many planned projects being shifted owing to the reality that government needed to shift all its efforts towards interventions aimed at combating the pandemic. How has the pandemic affected the implementation of the district development model, and what are some of the tenets of the district development model that the Minister has seen to be helpful in implementing her mandate especially during this time when they had to respond to the pandemic? Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, WATER AND SANITATION: Hon
Chair, when the pandemic struck, we as the department of water and sanitation took to Cabinet our approach to dealing with this matter. We requested them to allow us to establish a command council. That command council was established at Rand Water and it interacted with all the municipalities that have the responsibility of providing water and all the water authorities throughout the country.
So we had a central point – as opposed to a district approach – from which we were able to disperse the tanks and the tankers for water and monitor their delivery from one central point. It worked for us and that is what we used. In fact, we think it was a resounding success. I don’t know how it would work from a district model perspective because we have not tried it.
Mr L J BASSON: Thank you, Chairperson. Good afternoon, Minister. Water infrastructure in those provinces is a fundamental issue in all the elements of the water sector as the infrastructure is at risk of failure. Lack of water infrastructure or the poor management of water resources results in economic water scarcity. Over a third of South Africa’s water supply is being lost owing to ageing and leaking infrastructure before it can be used. Minister, how do you intend addressing this critical issue? Thank you, Minister.
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, WATER AND SANITATION: Thank
you, hon Basson. Hon Basson, we have been greatly emboldened by the initiative that has been taken by the President in creating an infrastructure project under himself and overseen by the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure in terms of which we are hoping to crowd in investment to allow us to improve our infrastructure. Our infrastructure is not only ageing, but it has been skewed in
relation to the racial divide of our country. We have not been able to put in the necessary infrastructure to get to the furthest corners of the country and our people in the rural areas still suffer incredibly from this problem.
That infrastructure is ageing and, as you say, we are losing a great deal of water through that. We have attempted to find a solution to this, and we have been looking into technology that could assist us in solving this problem. We have discovered technology that is able to detect a leak and actually ... what ... repair the leak without having to dig up. But, right now, our infrastructure is ageing. We are looking into that.
However, we do have a grant, as you know, which is called the regional bulk infrastructure grant, or the RBIG. It is a conditional grant which is meant to provide bulk water and sanitation services to areas where there is a shortage of these services. This grant is allocated in line with the Division of Revenue Act. The purpose of the grant is to develop new infrastructure as well as to refurbish that infrastructure that is decaying, and sometimes to upgrade it and replace ageing bulk water and sanitation infrastructure of regional significance. The grant funds ... Large regional bulk infrastructure serving numerous communities over large areas is what we depend on to deal
with the problem that you are talking about. The regional bulk infrastructure grant is managed as per the Division of Revenue, as I indicated, and it is worked through schedule 2 and schedule 5 which are direct transfers. They don’t come through us. They are direct transfers to those water authorities that might need that.
So, in terms of our planning and in terms of our law, there is a grant that is given to our water authorities to ensure that their infrastructure is looked after and upgraded to the extent that that is possible, but we do live with an inheritance that is very skewed and one that will take a long time for us to allocate in line with the needs of our people.
Ms M R MOHLALA: Thanks, Chairperson, and good afternoon. Minister, the very same problems that hinder intergovernmental relations between the spheres of government – the same problems which led the Auditor-General to conclude that there were only 18 functional municipalities out of 257 in this country; the same problems that have meant that millions of people don’t have access to clean water – will be the same problems faced by the district development model. These are unfilled vacancies, the flouting of legislated governance frameworks, corruption and poor oversight.
Minister, how are you planning to overcome these challenges to
ensure that people in every corner of this country have access to clean water and quality water services? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, WATER AND SANITATION: The hon
member is conflating two different questions into one. One has to do with the state the current situation that we find ourselves in in our municipalities. Our municipalities are struggling. They are struggling for various reasons, and the Auditor-General would have indicated what those are to the portfolio committee. The reason why the district model approach was adopted by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, and has been embraced by the rest of the Cabinet is because it helps us pool our resources together within those municipalities that are struggling and give the necessary support to the struggling municipalities. It is an approach that has worked, and we talk from experience. It has worked, because you have a pooling together of resources, and therefore a pooling together of all the energies and whatever that are lacking in each individual municipality. Municipalities, as they are structured now, do not have the capacity sometimes that is given to them by the Constitution. Therefore, we use this model because it is an operational tool. It helps us. Even in the vernacular ... you say, you know, if you hold together you go a longer way. So that is what we are doing.
Siyabambisana, sibambisene ngezandla ...
... between our various municipalities. The bigger municipalities and the more rural municipalities can benefit and do benefit from the district model. So for us it has worked. This is not my terrain because this is in Cogta, but in those areas where we have intervened and where there have been problems, we have found that going through the district model has assisted us because we have a partnership with a bigger municipality, a municipality that has all the necessary capacity, the necessary engineers and the necessary tools of trade to be able to help us. So, I would not throw the district model out of the window, but I agree with you: Our municipalities are struggling. It is something that all of us need to put our heads together on and find out how we can support our struggling municipalities – whether those municipalities fall in the rural areas or whether they still have challenges that we must confront and solve without having to throw away that which is working. That which is working is co-operation. I have not known of co-operation that has had negative effects in this particular area. Thank you.
Mnu X NGWEZI: Siyathokoza, Sihlalo weNdlu, sibongile impela kuNgqongqoshe namalungu onke aleNdlu, mhlonishwa, Xhamela, iqembu leNkatha eminyakeni emine edlula laneluleka ukuthi lento yokuhlela ngokwahlukana kodwa nonke nibe nihlinzeka insizakalo eyodwa kuzoninikeza izinkinga ngokuhamba kwesikhathi, abantu bakithi nizohluleka ukubanikeza amanzi ahlanzekile.
Isibonelo esikhulu salokho ukuthi, esifundeni saseMkhanyakude uMnyango Wezamanzi lapha eNingizimu Afrika usukwazile ukuqedela udaba lwe-bulk infrastructure kodwa ngenxa yokuthi ngesikhathi umnyango uhlela ubuhlela ngokwahlukana nomkhandlu woMkhanyakude okuwumsebenzi wawo ukuthi usabalalise amanzi kubantu baseMkhanyakude.
Lapho-ke abantu bakithi abakwazi ukuthola amanzi njengamanje. Umbuzo wami uthi, ngakube ngokusebenzisa lolu hlelo yikuphi esenikwenzile ukuzama ukuthi nixazulule le nkinga ebhekene nabantu baseMkhanyakude nakwezinye izindawo nje ezweni la khona kunenkinga efanayo uthole ukuthi sekunezingqalasizinda ezihlezi efakwe umnyango kodwa imikhandlu kulezo zindawo ayikwazi ukusabalalisa amanzi ukuze abantu bakithi bakwazi ukuzuza amanzi ahlanzekile.
UNGQONGQOSHE WEZINDAWO ZOKUHLALISWA ABANTU, AMANZI NOKUTHUTHWA
KWENDLE: Mhlonishwa, bengike ngazinikeza isikhathi sokuthi ngihambe ngiyeKwaZulu-Natal la ngifike ngavula khona uhlelo lwe- bulk infrastructure nohlelo lwamanzi. Ngahlela ukuthi yiziphi izindawo KwaZulu-Natal okubalwa noMkhanyakude la sibeke khona imali eyisiqinisekiso sokuthi siyozifaka khona zonke lezo zimfanelo zaleyo ndawo ethile. OkoMkhanyakude akukhona okokuqala ngizwa ngawo.
It is within our view and it is well within our sights ...
Njengoba bengiseMpolweni nje isifiso sami ukuthi ngize ngiyofikelela kini le eMkhanyakude ... awubingeleli nokubingelela uvele ungene nje eMkhanyakude ... asihlele ukuthi ngiye eMkhanyakude ngenze isiqiniseko ukuthi i-bulk infrastructure efakiwe laphaya iyasebenza yini. Umangabe ayisebenzi, kwenziwa yini ukuthi ingasebenzi ngoba laphaya ninama-water boards amabili. Umangabe umasipala uyahluleka unelungelo lokuthi acele kuma-water boards ukuthi asizwe. Angikhumbuli ukuthi uMkhanyakude uke wacela kwi-water board wanganikezwa ukwesekwa lokhu obekufanele ayinikwe. Ngakhoke ngizothi kuwe, mhlonishwa, ngiyayizwa lento oyishoyo.
Ngizokumema, sizobonisana siyilungise lento. Ninama-water boards
laphaya azokwazi ukukusiza. Kodwa i-regional bulk infrastructure grant, RBIG, esiyinikezayo, inikezwa ukuthi kubekhona i-bulk infrastructure kuyoyonke indawo la kunabaphathi bamanzi khona.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, Minister. Before I proceed to the next question, I want to plead with the members of the executive to please revisit Rule 142(3), and that the members asking questions revisit Rule 142(5). In that way, more questions can be asked, because I don’t want to stop you. I really don’t like stopping members, especially of the executive when they are trying to assist us in this Question Time. So, let’s respect the times according to the Rules so that more questions can be answered. That is my plea to all of us.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you very much, House Chair, Question 644 from hon Gwarube refers to the large spending reductions in the provincial equitable share formula and she wants to know what are the programmes that have been prioritised and which ones are negatively affected. The response is as follows: The department aims to increase life expectancy and progressively achieve universal health coverage through increasing coverage and quality care in South Africa.
In essence, it would require the department to improve the health outcomes, strengthen health systems while reforming it guided by the national health policy. There are two impacts derived from the, Medium-Term Strategic Framework, MTSF, 2019-24 defining the department’s agenda. Firstly, is to increase the life expectancy to 6.66 in two years by 2024. This impact will be supported by five outcomes which are responding to the quadruple burden of the disease; and lastly, is to progressively achieve universal health coverage and protecting citizens from catastrophic health expenditure and it is supported by 13 outcomes that largely respond to health care systems and strengthening efforts of the sector. These impacts and outcomes are published in the department’s strategic plan 2021 to 24-25. We will provide the list under annexure A.
With the reductions that have happened, the budgets of the provincial departments have increased slightly by R8 billion, which represents about four percent of the budget in real terms across the five years.
There are significant reductions in funding for the public health sector projected by the National Treasury in the coming MTSF due to the weak economic growth in the country. These steep budget cuts are projected for both conditional grants and the provincial
equitable share allocation and are therefore likely to impact on all health problems in one way or another because it would make it difficult for the department to fund critical vacant posts and key supplies given the constraints. This context would necessitate a review of the health sector targets in the MTSF strategic plans and annual performance plans for provincial and national Departments of Health which are tabled in Parliament and legislatures in provinces respectively. Thank you.
Ms S G GWARUBE: Thank you, House Chair, Minister, your government has made the spectacularly shocking decision to cut the health budget by 6.6% which equates to over R6 million. This done during the world’s most devastating global health crisis – COVID-19.
To add insult to injury, Minister Mboweni has indicate that over R10 billion will be allocated to saving an ailing state-owned airline, the SA Airways, SAA. In effect, this decision is made while we are facing this pandemic, and made essentially to neglect some of the key things that we need to fund in our health care system. A decision has been made to bail out the SAA at the expense of filing critical vacancies like you said, building health care infrastructure in many parts of the country and ensuring that provinces like Eastern Cape are not failing people who are dying from this pandemic due to staff shortages and
inadequate life interventions, which can be easily rolled out with this money that is being allocated to the SAA.
How can your government justify cutting frontline services at a time like this in order to bail out an entity which has not been viable for decades while health care workers are killing themselves to mount a decent response to this pandemic? What could possibly be the ethical justification for the South African government’s skewed priority in this regard? [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: The question that’s being asked is a question that is slightly outside the Department of Health. I won’t deal with the issues of the SA Airways. I will deal with the fact that when the situation was difficult during the pandemic, the national government and Treasury were able to allocate additional resources to help the department to deal with the crisis as it unfolded. That helped us to be able to put up all the field hospitals, buy additional ventilators, prepare for more beds to be available and employ more staff. This was done with all the current constraints that are in place.
What does face government every now and again is a challenge of competing priorities where it becomes necessary to try to rebalance and reprioritise. In this case, we have been through the
difficult time where we had to mobilise funds from a number of departments to support the department. I was quite comfortable that over that period, we were able to get support to deal with the COVID-19 situation.
Yes, there are chronic problems of underfunding that are historical that dates years back, like infrastructure, human resources and so on. We will continue to make representations to the Treasury and national government so that we can deal with this. Particularly important for us is to be able to deal with the issue of improvement of the funding of the health services because we believe it is important for us to upgrade all the health services in preparation for National Health Insurance, NHI. Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Minister, you do not need to sit at your parliamentary allocated seat and keep on moving. Move next to the microphone and enjoy that seat. We just sit anywhere these days as long as there is distance between us.
Mr P A VAN STADEN: Thank you, House Chairperson, hon Minister, the provincial equitable share formula is used to distribute national raised government revenue over the nine provinces. Regarding the underspending of conditional grants by provinces, what are you
going to do as a Minister to ensure that provinces spend these grants correctly to curb irregular expenditure in the department in order to have more funds available to allocate to provinces for the upgrading and expansion of infrastructure of hospitals and clinics? Will you ensure that the officials and political heads are held accountable for underspending, misappropriation and corruption and that adequate consequence management is put in place and carried out? If not, why not? Thank you, House Chairperson.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you for offering me a new seat. I just like my old seat. The hon member is raising the issue of equitable share formula. That formula is structured on the basis of the Financial and Fiscal Commission, FFC, formula. What we do from the national Department of Health is taking responsibility for the overall performance of each of those departments even though they have a specific formula that is allocated to a particular province. When we deal with issues of infrastructure, we take regular reports and look at the progress in their expenditure and get every MEC and head of department to be accountable for the way they are spending and what problems do they have and see at the level of the national department on overarching oversight whether we can be able to assist.
In that way, we are able to hold everyone accountable although they still have to be accountable in their own provinces. So, the issues of irregularities, misappropriation and corruption, we believe that everyone has to take responsibility for because we have the Auditor-General that will be able to point out those. We have to sit together across all the provinces and look at the audit outcomes and find out why the situation is like this. Where it becomes necessary for the department at national level to participate in supporting the Auditor-General, we are ready to do so.
We will continue to insist on good governance, appropriate expenditure and elimination of irregularities when it comes to the work we do. We have an overarching structure which we call the National Health Council that is supposed to take responsibility for the health outcomes in the whole country. Therefore, it also has to take into account the performance of those particular departments even though some of the actions have to be located to a particular department act but we also have a role to play to ensure that we promote good governance. Thank you.
Mr M S SOKATSHA: Thank you very much House Chair and Minister, Minister, it is known that most of the government’s energies and resources have been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. These
coupled with the weak economic growth in South Africa has affected the department’s planned targets over the medium-term as these plans were drafted before the pandemic.
Given your response, hon Minister, how has the department ensured it mitigates the negative effects of these budget cuts on the initial planned programmes and targets? What has been some of the challenges faced by the department in trying to balance between being a frontline department in response to the pandemic and ensuring that critical programmes do not get affected of this shift in focus and spending? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you very much, hon member, the reality is that, yes, all the energies have been focused on the COVID-19 response and also that we have been concerned that we should not leave some of the other services behind, in particular, we have seen that there has been some regression in some of the basic services such as immunisation, family planning and so on. At the same time, this reduction has been properly tabled in the past few weeks. Therefore, in our first meeting which was held yesterday, we tabled this reduction to say that we now need to readjust a lot of our plans to take into account the new reality. Yes, we need to focus on how to avoid a negative impact on most of these services.
We are concerned that we will have the issues of human resources and infrastructure being affected. We will be able to table the revised plan to be able to see how we can deal with the new reality we are faced with. Thank you.
Ms N N CHIRWA: Thank you, House Chairperson, Minister, part of the budget cuts will have an impact on Programme 3, which has to do with HIV and Aids, Tuberculosis, and child and maternal health. I am particularly concerned about the burden of HIV in KwaZulu-Natal as a province. Can the Minister ... [Inaudible.] ... for young black women between the ages of 15 and 25 who are at a higher risk of contracting and being infected with HIV and Aids especially in the KwaZulu-Natal province when you are making budgetary cuts for Programme 3 as well. This is more so because Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, PEP, and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, PrEP, has been a big failure of the department to mainstream, which are some of the very vital tools in curbing the spread of HIV and Aids especially amongst young black people.
Can the Minister tell us what the impact of this budgetary cuts in Programme 3 will be, in particular in KwaZulu-Natal and for young black women with regards to new infections? Thank you, House Chairperson.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you very much, hon member, we are in the process of reviewing these programmes. One thing that has been most encouraging for us has been the fact that there has been a very good uptake on the prevention message whereas it relates to HIV prevention programme. In particular, we are concerned about the young women and adolescents who are more exposed with the higher level incidents of HIV infection compared to their male peers.
We will have to ensure that that group is protected and is prioritised as we deal with this matter of prevention and the point of trying to ensure that whatever reduction in the budget must not have an impact at that level.
What has been encouraging is the fact that for most of this year, we had targeted that all the districts in the country would have been able to reach 90-90-90 target and would therefore want to activate that. A lot of it has to do with community mobilisation where we have the messages going through local community structures and participation of nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, and civil society formations. We will continue to activate on that. In particular, there are also some of the programmes that are funded by some of the international donors such as the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, PEPFAR and the Global
Fund that we will also use to make sure that the impact is mitigated in this particular group. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much House Chair and I thank the hon member for the question. The number of applications received and approved per month are indicated in the following way: For the month of May, there were six point six zero five four hundred and forty-five thousand. For the month of June, there were seven point five one eight three hundred and eight million. For the month of July, we saw eight million three hundred and forty-six one hundred and thirty-six applications processed.
For August, a total of eight million nine hundred and fifty-one thousand two hundred and six. The total number of applications processed for September is, nine million one hundred and forty-six thousand one hundred and seven, of which six million and thirty- nine thousand and four were approved. The total of sixty-eight thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven remain unpaid. For the month of October, nine million two hundred and sixty-seven thousand two hundred and thirty-one were processed, six million one hundred and thirty-seven thousand and fourteen were approved. The total of one hundred and sixty thousand eight hundred and forty-seven have not yet been paid.
Hon Chair and hon members, I do wish to indicate that the numbers of the unpaid is accumulating because, these are the numbers that come from each one of the months that we were supposed to pay. The question further asked from us is in terms of the delay. The answer is a straightforward and is that, firstly clients take a long time to provide SA Social Security Agency, Sassa with their banking details, once they have been approved for payment and bank details are requested by Sassa. Other clients change their bank details ...[Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Continue Ministers, it is the latecomers that are disturbing you. Latecomers please mute, continue.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Other clients change their bank details so regularly, sometimes three times in a day and often more than once in a week. Hon Chair, this matter of people changing their bank accounts is one of the things that Sassa will really have to investigate because sometimes it is really difficult to find why people change their accounts so often. The changing of accounts really creates a problem for Sassa. Sometimes clients provide Sassa with bank details or cellphone numbers for cash that are not registered in their name. This has been one of the biggest problems, I even get direct call myself ...
... ukhona utata ondihlupha kakhulu, utata uVula. Usoloko enditsalela umnxeba esithi Mphathiswa, abanye abantu bafake izicelo ngenombolo yam yomnxeba ngoku abasayifumani imali.
We have to go back to them to say that, they cannot apply using other people’s cellphone numbers because becomes when we have to account. For a number of clients, it was also found that the banks have closed their accounts, due to accounts being inactive or clients not providing the required Fica information to the bank.
Lastly, obtaining regular valid and correct information from other database and sources for the validation of the client’s income in a month in particular, is often challenging. House Chair, we must recall that Sassa configures each of its current 9,5 million clients every single month. The reason why we have to do that is because, according to criteria of who needs to be paid, it has to be somebody who is unemployed. In some instances, you find that people are not telling us that they have gone back to work and therefore, they are now getting salaries. We have to use different database to make sure that we pay the right people.
Access for Sassa up to date and correct database with client information is crucial. This information was required to reduce the inclusion and exclusion of error. Sassa was to verify details of the applicants against this information. Thank you Chair.
Ms L H ARRIES: Minister, poverty and hunger are the most despicable experience any human being can encounter. The social economic devastation cause, resulting from the pandemic worsened and already prickled furious conditions from the country. The sight of people queueing at the Post Office and often not getting the Social Relief of Distress Grant, SRD is a very painful sight. What is causing delays in making payments available to the people who need them, to the extent that some are sent back home without getting money for days? How far are you with making this Social Relief of Distress Grant, a permanent unemployment grant? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you hon member. Yes, I fully agree with the hon member, it actually is not acceptable that many of our people repeatedly go back, particularly to the Post Office to try and get the money and in some instances the money is not available. Personally, I am very aware of the fact that, many of those people who come to get their money from the
Post office, they sometimes borrow money from the others in order for them to be able to pay.
Hon House Chair and hon members, I do want to indicate that we are in engagement with Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams to try and resolve this issue. Further than that, we are looking at other means of making sure that people are paid including the fact that, if you look at how we staggered the payments for instance between the normal social grants and the R350, because we are trying to reduce the numbers that are going to the Post Office.
House Chair, I also want to indicate that it also part of our responsibility in terms of education and allowing people to appreciate that, sometimes they do not necessarily have to go to the Post Office to get their money all at the same time. We need to find new ways of doing it and I thing that the lessons that have been learnt from COVID-19, indicate that a lot of our people are actually beginning to use technology, are beginning to appreciate and understand ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Minister Creecy, please mute your mic. Continue hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: House Chair, lastly I think the question relates to the sustainability of the R350. I want to say to the member, remember that it was supposed to be from May to October and President Cyril Ramaphosa extended it until next January. I want to throw in the fact that we long started thinking about what else can be done because we have seen the usefulness of the R350. That is why we are in discussion about the basic income grant because we are trying to look for better solutions, and long term solutions, to challenges faced by our people who do not have the financial muscle, who do not have no money whatsoever. [Interjections.] Thank you House Chair I am done.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you and I am sorry for the disturbances. People just come in and do not check, they login and then start talking. Hon members, people in the Office of Minister Creecy please assist her, switch off that mic. We continue,
Ms T BREEDT: Minister there are many people that were approved and that were paid. You mentioned the problems with people who changed the banking details. We have had people a number of people who got paid the first month, either at the banks or at SA Post Office but in the same month they were told to wait for an SMS before collecting their R350. It has now been more than six months since
their last payment and are still awaiting those SMSs to collect their R350 at SA Post Office.
On calling the dedicated line for the SRD grant, they were informed to wait for the SMS. On visiting a Sassa office, the office answered, phone the call centre. On visiting the Post Office, phone the call centre and wait for an SMS, no payment.
How will you and your department and Sassa make sure that those that are rightfully approved to receive, that did not change their banking details as you have mentioned prior, that have not received their R350 do not fall through the cracks as I am afraid that these people are going to fall through the cracks. Thank you hon House Chair.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Thank you very much for that question, it is a fair question. I believe that we are working in the best way that we can to make sure that those who did not receive their money, receive their money. Hon House Chair and hon members, we committed ourselves to making sure that those who have not been paid, are paid their money. I do also wish to indicate that, to date we have paid five point nine million people form the six point one million people who have been approved. This makes it up to almost 97%.
However, my talking about 97% does not belittle or make the rest of the people who are supposed to receive the money not to be important, they are very important. I know as a matter of fact that, many of these people who have receiving the R350 have really been using it very adequately, using it for the right and for helping themselves.
I want to assure the hon member that, those that are seen to have fallen off the crack, it still our responsibility to pay them, whether we are backdating, whatever the case might be, they do deserve to be paid. I am responsible for doing the oversight on Sassa and the department doing oversight on Sassa in making sure that these people are paid. We really apologise for the fact that, many of them have remained unpaid but we will do everything we can.
Hon member as we said, we have done the exit report that relates to the first announcement that was made by the President, that means from May to October. I have demanded that I get that report, because the closeout report will be the one that will enable me and the department to really get to the bottom of who was not paid, why were they not paid. Even though we are continuing with the R350 until January, we have requested for this closeout report because it will enable us to see where the weaknesses have been.
We need to make that Sassa pays those that are remaining. Thank you House Chair.
Mnu M GUNGUBELE: Mandibulele Sihlalo. Mphathiswa njengoko uye wafumana uxanduva lokunika abantu imali engama-R350 ngenyanga, ngexesha elifutshane nesixa esikhulu semali. Sifuna ukwazi ukuba zinto zini oye wazifunda, ezinokwenza ukuba kwezi nyanga zintahu zongeziweyo kusebenzeke ngcono, ukuze nezinye izibonelelo zoluntu zilawuleke ngendlela engcono kunakuqala. Enkosi.
UMPHATHISWA WOPHUHLISO LOLUNTU: Ndiyabulela Sihlalo ngalo mbuzo. Ewe ...
... some of the lessons that we have learnt from here ...
... ziqala ngolwazi lokuba urhulumente abazi abantu bakhe bakhe ukuba baphi na, basebenza phi, bafumana ntoni ...
... through the necessary systems.
Ingxaki esithe sanayo yile, ...
... the information sharing between the different government departments is really not properly centralised. We need a centralised repository of government information, so that ...
... ikwazi ukuthi, uma kukhona okufuneka sizenze ngokunikezela abantu sikwazi ukuthi leyo mniningwane sisheshe siyithole okokuqala, okwesibili, sikwazi ukuthi umangabe kunemibandela yabantu okufuneka bathole okuthize, ngabe ilo-R350, noma amaphasela okudla noma iyiphi nayiphi insiza, imininingwane ekona ibelula ukuyithola futhi kubelula ukuthi sihlole ngokuphikisana leyo mininingwane. Ngifuna ukusho-ke ...
... in this time of the R350, good progress was actually made with the processing and payment of applications for the SRD grant with more than 97% of the payments having already been done. Of course, some of the lessons will also be used to strengthen the processing of normal social grant applications. I think you will be aware hon member ...
... ukuba sijonge le nto yokuba bantu abaninzi. Kwezi zigidi zilithoba zabantu, akukho namnye kubo oye watyelela iofisi zeSassa.
They applied through the different channels that we had, e-mail, Unstructured Supplementary Service data, USSD, Whatsapp etc.
Ngichazwa nawukuthi ngisho nalabo abakude bakwazi ukuthi bafinyelele kwa-Sassa ...
... not going to the offices of Sassa.
Kusho ukuthi-ke ...
... this lesson that we have learnt ...
... ukuthi abantu besekhaya bangakwazi ukufaka izicelo kufuneka ukuthi thina-ke ...
... we up our game, up our stake to make sure that it is easily accessible ...
... ukuthi bakwazi ukwenze izicelo nanokuhi nje bathole izimali zabo.
In addition, the ability of citizens to utilise using the electronic means of application has been confirmed by the fact that we have more than nine million people who applied. Thank you.
Mnu N L S KWANKWA: Siyabulela kakhulu Sihlalo. Le genge yakho ilawula ubuxhaka-xhaka mayingavali abantu abafuna ukuthetha, iyeke aba bangxolayo. Mphathiswa, siyalixhasa kakhulu eli linge lesibonelelo lama-R350 lokuzama ukususa ikati eziko kubantu bakuthi. Isimbonono esisifumana kubantu bakuthi sesi sokuba bathi, njengoko xa befaka izicelo zesibonelelo becelwa ukuba bafake iinkcukacha zabo zebhanki.
Eyona nto ibakhwankqisayo kukuba xa bezokuthatha le mali, ayifakwa kwezi bhanki zabo. Le nto yenzeka nakwaba bantu baneenkcukacha zeebhanki ezisebenzayo, ezingatshintshanga. Kuye kufuneke ukuba baye kufola eposini kwaye akukho ukuqelelana (social distancing) xa befole phaya, nobuxhaka-xhaka bokusebenza busoloko bunengxaki. Loo nto ikhokelelela ekubeni bagoduke nembande yesikhova, kufuneke bevukile kusuku olulandelayo bayokuzama kwakhona. Uzakuyilungisa njani le miceli- mingeni ichaphazela abantu bakuthi?
USIHLALO WENDLU (Ksz M G Boroto): Sithokoze Mhlonitjhwa. Uqede imizuzwana elitjhumi nambili ubalabala, iskhathi sako seqile kwanjesi.
Ngiyabonga kakhulu mhlonishwa Kwankwa, ngiyati kutsi bantfu labaningi vele bahambe baya emaposini bangayitfoli imali. Njengoba sengike ngaphendvula-ke embutweni wekucala, ngisho kutsi silitiko sisebentisana ne-South African Social Security Agency, SASSA, sifuna kubukela esikhatsini lesidze lesitako - itakucedzisa lentfo le. Sikhumbule kutsi njengoba lilunga lelihloniphekile Gungubele, abutile ekucaleni kutsi sitawenta kanjani kute sishintje kute kutsi bantfu bakitsi bakwati kutfola imali yabo kahle.
Singicolisile-ke kukhulu kubo bonkhe labo lokutfolakale kutsi, esikhatsini lesiningi bahamba bayohlala lapha eposini.
Sengishilo-ke futsi nekutsi mina naNgcongcoshe Stella
Ndabeni-Abrahams, setama ngako konkhe lokukhona emandleni kutsi loluhlelo lesilusebentisako le yaseposini – ngoba phela liposi lona, sijabuliswa kutsi ligcwele yonkhe indzawo liposi. Ngako-ke bantfu bakitsi nje uma singalungisa liposi batakwati kutsi bangahambi emabanga lamadze kutsi bayewufuna leyo mali yabo.
Kungako-ke mhlonishwa Kwankwa ...
... ngithi sizakwenza yonke into ekhona emandleni ethu. Indaba nje ukuthi kufuneka sisebenzise ubuchwepheshe sishintshe nalezi zinhlelo esizisebenzisayo, zenza ukuthi abantu bahlale isikhathi eside emaposini. Ngiyazi ukuthi kubuhlungu, ngiyaphinda futhi ngithi, siyaxolisa kakhulu kodwa-ke sicela nisinikeze isikhathi sikwazi ukulungisa.
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Thank you very much, Chair and let me also thank ... the opportunity to share information. In relation to the protocols that we have for exams, for COVID-19 all centres were subjected to an audit by district and provincial
teams to ensure that there is compliance with the strict security standards of the national examinations.
For 2020, the Department of Basic Education also added safety protocols for COVID-19 — health and safety requirements — to examination protocols. The audit was conducted with additional criteria which had to evaluate the safety ... In addition to ongoing monitoring of all examination centres during this period, the health and safety requirements continue to be monitored, using the instruments that we have developed with the guidance of the Department of Health.
With regard to psychosocial support, which is a key requisite for the normal schooling requirements under COVID-19, this also continues to be made available to all the candidates who are sitting now for exams. Teachers at every level have been trained to be able to support learners in this area but if there are more serious challenges, there are also support teams at a district level that can support learners with psychosocial services. So, thank all ... psychosocial support.
Ms N G ADOONS: Thank you Chairperson. Thank you very much, Minister for your question. My apologies, for your response.
My follow up question is based on those learners who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have positive symptoms. What plan or measures are in place in your department to assist those learners to perform during these exams?
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Thank you very much, member. Chair, I can really say, with sincere gratitude to the Department of Health both at national and provincial level, that they have been working very closely with us to ensure that learners who present high temperatures during the exams ... There are protocols where we take them to an isolation centre, which is supposed to be there at every school, and they write there so that we don’t turn them back.
Those who have already tested positive ... we again work with health and provincial departments ... that if provinces, like Gauteng have a quarantine centre, they write there but if there isn’t any quarantine centre, provincial departments and the Health Department ... both of Education and Health ... work together to ensure that there are safe places where learners can write.
So, I can assure ... that there was no learner who was turned back but also, there was no learners who was able to write exams ... even those who have tested positive are continuing to write exams.
However, if there is any learner who, by any chance, was not able to write, even those learners will be able to write now in May.
However, in the main ... I mean, the only report I’ve got was about one learner who didn’t write and it was not ... COVID-19; it was ... a taxi strike in Gauteng. However, all learners that have presented high temperatures or that have tested positive for
COVID-19 have been writing exams under safe conditions.
Teachers volunteered to invigilate. There were also many people
... even the team that had gone to Wuhan really offered to monitor
... the health workers ... but there were also help volunteers that came forward and offered to help with invigilation. So, there has not been any problem at all in ensuring that all learners are able to write.
Rev K R J MESHOE: Thank you, hon Chairperson and thank you, hon Minister. Among the more than 1 million matric students writing Grade 12 exams are those who missed months of schooling and were prevented from writing the June exams because of the lockdown. As a result, they are under tremendous pressure and they fear possible failure because of the short preparation time and the additional risk of possible COVID-19 infection. For some students,
the violent protests that took place outside Brackenfell High School earlier this month also added to their anxiety.
What measures will be taken to assure learners and educators of their personal protection against violence, health concerns and psychological support due to the immense pressure on them at this time?
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Thank you very much, member Meshoe and thanks for the question. What I can assure you is that we are all very conscious of the fact that this was a class that was really confronted by insurmountable problems; that was confronted by a situation that we have all never experienced before. Hence, we all galvanised; not only ourselves as a department but there were academics that came forward to offer help. The private sector was very gracious and offered lots of support. Hence, we had that Woza Matrics programme. Professionals from different walks of life rallied around them. I can assure you that as South Africans we did as much as we could to make sure that they, indeed, do not lose a year because they were also anxious about not continuing the year. So, to continue created another form of anxiety but also not to continue the year also created another form of anxiety.
What I can say, with all gratitude, is to thank all professionals, members, university lecturers, the private sector that came to the fore; the media also. I mean, media houses were helping us with all sorts of programmes — both your learning and teaching — but also ... psychosocial services. We continue to support them; to look after them because we are aware that they are writing under very difficult conditions.
In other areas ... your taxi strikes, your protests everywhere else; again we are working together with our provinces to continue to provide them with support. I can assure you that, for instance when there were difficulties in the Western Cape, the Western Cape department removed Grade 12s from that area so that they were not part of the challenges that were there, and they could write peacefully and safely elsewhere. In Gauteng, when there were taxi strikes, the province organised alternative places, again to make sure that those learners were protected.
So, for the first time we have really provided more support than we usually do because we are aware that these young learners or these young people were confronted by, just, very serious difficulties, and we hope that they will survive the storm and that they will prevail at the end of it all.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Thank you, House Chairperson. Minister, despite your interventions and your audit, many of your staff and educators in different schools have been complaining about the readiness, particularly to deal with the issue of COVID-19.
Could you give us some statistics of how many of these learners have either been admitted to hospitals or may have died since the examinations started?
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Thank you very much, member. I am not aware of any learner who would have died now during the exams. I know that our learners would have presented the normal challenges. I was told, for instance that there is a learner who gave birth during the exams and teachers had to assist. So, there are all these difficulties that we usually experience. There is a learner who had a bout of piles and had to write ... on his stomach. So, these are the usual problems that we always encounter during exams because these are young people who have all sorts of challenges. However, I’m not aware of any learner that would have died and therefore ... Maybe you know one of them but I’ve not received any report.
On the other hand, about not ... ready ... strangely enough, maybe it’s because they are young and really positive ... during the
exams ... before the exams I visited a number of schools and I kept on asking, are you ready? And they would all say, we are ready; let the matric exams come. So, I have never had reports where they say, hey, we are not ready. All the time they kept on saying they are ready, and not only to me but even to officials who went to provinces to check the state of readiness. I can assure you ... the way they are ready we will not be surprised if these learners perform beyond our expectations.
Mr S L NGCOBO: Thank you very much, hon Chair. So many students rely on the department to provide meals. Exam time is a period where, unless they will be travelling to school to write, they will go without meals for the day. Parents have suffered tremendous economic difficulty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, making it very difficult for many to provide their children with necessities such as food.
Has the department considered implementing a voucher or food parcel programme to assist these learners during the final examinations? If so, what are the details of such plans; and if not, what is the position of the Minister on this issue?
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Thank you very much, member Ngcobo. You are quite right that there are lots of difficulties that have been brought about by the virus but there are also balances. I mean, we have to balance things out that ... Do we call kids who are going to write at 14:00 to come to school to eat? No, we wouldn’t because they have to be ready. They are very anxious and I’m not sure if they want to stand in queues. So, we have not arranged anything around food parcels or vouchers; no, not at all.
We have treated this year the way we always do ... that they will come when they are writing exams. Now, at the peak of the exams what they want to do as soon as they are finished — if they are writing from 09:00 to 11:00 — is to go back to prepare further.
I’ve not had any reports or ... incidents of any difficulties, because you would know, for instance as a person who has worked in the sector, that we always organise or mobilise communities and parents in particular to support our Grade 12s.
So, we have not encountered a situation where we felt that there was a need to start putting food parcels in place for Grade 12s. We have not done it because we have not identified it as a need. However, I’m sure there possibly are learners who would’ve benefitted if we did it but we didn’t do it because we didn’t find
a need to do it. We are just focussing on helping them to revise at every hour because as you correctly say, they have lost lots of time, so any time is precious to them. So, yes, we didn’t do it, baba Ngcobo. Thank you very much for the question.
The MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE: House Chair, I must
firstly thank the hon Luthuli who has asked this question and say to him he will know like all of us that football remains one of the priority sports, in fact, number one sport in the Republic of South Africa and given its popularity amongst South Africans from all walks of life. It is one such sport that had the ability to contribute positively in the programme and process of social cohesion and nation building.
Whilst acknowledging, as he does, the historic unsatisfactory performance of the senior men’s tea, Bafana Bafana, there’s due recognition on areas of football which continues to raise the South African flag. This in particular, the rise of the senior women’s team, Banyana Banyana, I think that we should be able to recognise that they are making strides internationally.
Government is cognisant of the challenges facing football and requisite interventions which are needed.
On the issue of the candidacy of Dr Patrice Motsepe for the presidency of Confederation of African Football, CAF, is not only envisaged to assist in advancing South African football, his credentials as a global entrepreneur, a philanthropist and his football as well as business successes and acumen, can only be beneficial to goals of football on the continent as a whole.
Noting that he has made immense contribution to the advancement of football in South Africa, it is the considered view of SA Football Association, SAFA, that his strict observance of governance, his legal training is global business network and his commitment and love to African and world football will assist, will come in very handy for the leadership on the continent.
His focus areas are areas of growth, of women, women’s football, technology and innovation to improve Africa’s competitiveness, closing the financial disparity, strengthening zonal federations as football deliberate platforms. Building bridges and partnering between football, business and strengthening of governance and ethics, again, will come in handy under his leadership. Thank you very much, House Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon Minister. I’ve been informed that the hon Hlengwa will take charge of the
first supplementary question on behalf of the hon Luthuli, in accordance with Rule 137(10)(a).
Mr M HLENGWA: Hon Minister, Nyamboze, of course, whilst we all support the candidacy of Dr Motsepe one of the fundamental challenges that he will be confronted with, should he win, is the issue of corruption, which has gripped CAF itself. But of course, that’s the case of déjà vu for any South African because – I mean
- our own country is riddled with its own corruption.
The second point, Minister, is that Federation of International Football Association, FIFA, amongst others, takes a very dim view on the interference of governments in, so far as, sport administration is concerned and therefore, looking, one, at the issue of corruption and secondly, the issue of non-interference as expected.
What assurances can you give that South Africa supports Dr Motsepe but does not intend to interfere with his work and will ensure that his support is non-politicised? And will not bring about further controversy to CAF which in itself in this recent week there have been some serious outcomes in so far as its leadership is concerned, vis-à-vis corruption?
And therefore, can you give the assurances to Africa and the world that South Africa will be able to stay in its lane to ensure that the restoration of CAF credibility does not find itself mired in the perception reeling otherwise of corruption which currently prevails in South Africa? So, in other words, let’s not take corruption to Africa.
The MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE: Hon Hlengwa, touching on a very critical point which has been observed over time; of issues of observance governance ethics, particularly, and ethics in sport, particularly football. It’s precisely the reason why as government we support football. You must, this is exclusively a decision of football, the mother body of football in the country which is SAFA; so, we support that.
I can assure you, hon member, as the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture that ours will be support, we won’t interfere, in fact, we don’t interfere because we believe that the sporting fraternity, particularly the leadership in sport, should be able to run sport. When you hear that we come in it’s because we’ve seen problems within sport and we can’t fold our arms when we see a possible detriment to sport, but generally, we are happy to observe and support our sport in the country. Thank you very much, hon Chair.
Mr T W MHLONGO: Minister, what prompted South African from supporting or endorsing Mr Motsepe for a CAF presidency? Will the government endorse another South African who wishes to contest for the same position? Ndiyabulela. Ngiyabonga. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE: Hon Chair, my answer to hon Mhlongo is Yes. [Applause.]
Ms R C ADAMS: Hon Minister, how can South Africa make use of the position and influence that we have on the African football arena, to not only to unite the continent but also create a better Africa in better world? I thank you.
The MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE: Hon Adams, it’s
precisely the reason why we would always give support to compatriots who would be in a position to assist in contributing to sport, especially stabilising sport in the country and on the continent and in this specific case, football. Football is very key, hon member, as you say, is very key in uniting people and that is why we would always be uncomfortable all the time when our senior men’s team is doing as much as it’s supposed to because we know that if they do well they contribute to the happiness index in this country and having people sharing spaces as South Africans across all divides. So, we would want that to happen and we’ll
play our role in ensuring that we support those who ensure that social cohesion and continental unity is achieved. Thank you.
Mr D S MADLINGOZI: Minister, South African football in shambles led by a fugitive from justice, Danny Jordan. They have no development plans, whatsoever, about our football and they have recently appointed someone with no track record to be the national team coach.
Have you engaged with the leadership of SAFA to ascertain if the nomination of Patrice Motsepe for the position of CAF President is for footballing reasons or it is for advancement of political ambitions? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE: Hon Chair, hon
Madlingozi would have to understand that we do not meddle on issues of sport, particularly at an operational level: who becomes the head coach, part of the technical team, we’ll never get into that and I think he can have his interaction and his views and suggest perhaps some of the best coaches he may have or think about.
On the issue of SAFA appointing, there is nothing which suggests that the appointment of Dr Motsepe would be anything near
political ambition. I’ve just said what the focus or his focus is in terms of sport on the continent. And remember that football had been battered a lot, particularly from the point of view of ethics and integrity, and we definitely need to have some level of fresh air – if you like – where things will be done accordingly and ensure that glory of the sport and its sporting days are accorded or given necessary accordance. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF HIGHER, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Thank you very
much, hon House Chair, and thank you to hon Boshoff for the question that he has asked. I just want to say maybe before I go to the nub of the question on whether there is corruption or not. Just to explain a bit of background. This Aeroswift is responsible for applying a technology that uses powder spray to make a part of a particular product, using what is normally called 3D laser printing. This technology has been produced by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the CSIR, as a new way of manufacturing components, unlike the old way of manufacturing components. The CSIR with its intellectual property, this laser, identified Aeroswift to produce as a partner, to produce parts of components that are required in the aerospace industry and they had a joint venture. The intellectual property was kept by the CSIR, but shared in this joint venture.
However, Aeroswift had a company called Aerosol which was producing parts domestically for the Aerospace industry. This partner to Aeroswift had financial problems and in the process it got liquidated. Now there was then a whistle-blower - just to come to the issue of corruption - who pointed out that. This is causing problems for the CSIR because this money to try and save the partner that was being liquidated was siphoned off illegally and corruptly from the CSIR. An investigation was undertaken by the CSIR and Aeroswift through forensic investigators whether this is true, whether in particular the intellectual property of the CSIR is protected and also are the claims true that this money was siphoned off the CSIR.
I have a forensic report which I am willing to share with Members of Parliament, who have an interest which shows that these allegations were not true. It’s a subsidiary of Aeroswift that was liquidated, not Aeroswift. So, the money was not siphoned from the CSIR and intellectual property still stays with the CSIR. But in the light of the question, by hon Boshoff, I have requested the Chairperson of the Board of the CSIR to give me a much detailed report which will build on the forensic investigation report that the CSIR already has. So, CSIR is protected and it’s the subsidiary of a partner to CSIR that was liquidated. That is my answer, hon Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T frolick): Hon member! There is a member, who’s got a microphone on and it disturbed the Minister during the last part of his reply. Please, ensure your microphone is off.
Dr W J BOSHOFF: Thank you, hon House Chair, and thank you to the president Nzimande for the answer. I just want to ask in connection with this: Is it true that a loan on an intercompany known from Aeroswift to Aeroshift was made by the end of 2018 of several million rands which had ... [Inaudible.] ... repaid? That Aeroswift again ...[Inaudible.] made a good loss by drawing on advances which was still forthcoming from the Department of Science and Innovation, DSI. In other words, the CSIR advanced the money to Aeroswift, which still had to be received from the DSI. Is there also a problem around time statements which were falsified in 2017? Apparently, where the CSIR actually accrued money for which no work was done and in fact, they didn’t cost the CSIR any money. Nevertheless, shall we not say it’s a proper way of doing business. Thank you, Chair.
The MINISTER OF HIGHER, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Thank you, hon
Chair of Chairs, and to hon Boshoff. As I have said, the forensic investigation, which was done by George Fivaz’s company found that there is no money that has been taken off the CSIR, and that the
intellectual property of the CSIR has not been stolen. It still remains with the CSIR. So, all these allegations, according to this forensic investigation report are not true. Hon Boshoff, the reason why I have asked the Chairperson of the CSIR to give me a report is, so that I am able then to answer your question comprehensively. To see then if there were any dealings between Aeroswift and its subsidiary that might have actually led to the changes of money. That could have affected the money from the DSI. So far, there is no money from the DSI that has been involved.
If then there were monies that could have changed hands between Aeroswift and its subsidiary, that’s a different proposition altogether. However, I wouldn’t like to stand firm on that as now before I do then the two things that I said I’m willing to do. I am willing to give you the investigation report from George Fivaz’s company. Then, as soon as the Chairperson of the CSIR in the light of the question that you have asked, gives me a full report to see if there are any matters that perhaps could have been left out, given the original forensic report, I will then be able to come back and answer that question. In fact, I wouldn’t even wait for you to answer it. I will be able to pass that information to you, hon Boshoff. Thank you very much.
Mr B B NODADA: Thank you so much, Chair, and Minister as you may know the Department of Science and Innovation has been given an excellent award recently and obviously we wouldn’t want any cloud to come to its entities such as the CSIR. Beyond the response that you’ve given in the forensic investigation that has been done.
There are quite a few whistle-blowers that are still challenging that R150 million of taxpayer’s money that has been spent on the project. The project is yet still incomplete as you mentioned because of the subsidiary and there is an allegation of fraud amounting to over R6 million in this particular entity. This was an innovation that was supposed to establish a titanium beneficiary industry in South Africa. We recently visited the space that you are talking about at the CSIR in January. [Interjections.] The question Minister therefore is: In order for us to clear these allegations, would you institute a full forensic investigation beyond the report that you are going to get from the Board, if yes, when would it be, if not, why not? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HIGHER, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Thank you very
much hon Chair, as I have already said. Firstly, thank you for the kind words. Let’s congratulate my Department of Science, and Innovation and its Director-General, DG, for having been given an award for being the best performing department and the best DG. As I have already said, if from the report of the Chairperson of the
CSIR, I sense that there are gaps or other questions, there is nothing that will stop me from undertaking directly a full forensic investigation, as Minister now. I can’t jump the gun before I get that report, to say I will do that or not. However, If I smell a rat, I will definitely go fully into an investigation.
Hon Nodada, what I would like to say to you is that I am really concerned that in our Research and Development, Innovation, Value Chain, possibly there are still leakages in terms of intellectual property, the benefit of the state if it was research and development funded by government. All those things are in my radar but specifically on this one, if I smell a rat from the report of the Chairperson or something I am not satisfied with, I will do an investigation. However, I can’t commit before I see that final report. Thank you very much.
Ms B S YABO: Thank you very much hon, Chairperson, my question is to the Minister noting the ground-breaking impact on the Aeroswift 3D laser printing project, as the world’s largest and fastest powder metal 3D printer. What framework exists to ensure innovative partnerships are transparent and beneficial for the CSIR and the South African economy? Thank you, Chair.
The MINISTER OF HIGHER, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Hon Chair, though
that’s a slightly different question from hon Yabo, but I am glad he’s asking it in this instance. It relates to the point I was making earlier, that I am very keen to ensure that research and development funded by government, there must be transparency.
There must be cleanliness and no corruption. By the way, also the government must be able to get some resources back to reinvest in research and development. What I’m doing now, at some stage, I can talk about is that I have commissioned an investigation into the Technology Innovation Agency, which is our main entity that looks after the translation of intellectual property for commercial use and for commercial purposes in-so-far as products that derive from research and development funded by government. The reason why I am reviewing the Technology Innovation Agency is precisely in order to address and create a proper framework for dealing with this transition from intellectual property to commercialisation, which hon Yabo is talking about. Thank you very much, Chair.
Mr N L NGCOBO: Thank you very much, House Chairperson, the hon Minister, Mphephethwa will note that the gist of the problem is corruption and maladministration. The question which one might want to ask is: Is the Minister maybe considerate that in his entities something be done like appointing a taxpayer representation, for instance in National Student Financial Aid
Scheme, NSFAS, just as example? What I’m talking about is the issue of maladministration and corruption, which actually ravaging the department. Thank you very much, hon Mphephethwa.
The MINISTER OF HIGHER, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Thank you very
much to, hon Ngcobo, Fuze ...
... hhayi ke ngane yakwethu, bengingakayiboni le nkohlakalo engaka kulo Mnyango wami weSayensi nokuSungula. Angisho ukuthi ayikho kodwa bengingakahlangani nayo. Indlela lo Mnyango osebenza kahle ngayo, ikakhulukazi ekuphenduleni izinto ezenziwe ngobuchwepheshe ziyokwazi ukuthi zenze imali noma kwakhiwe izimboni ezintsha, namabhizinisi amasha. Besisasebenza kahle.
Kuphela engikushilo yilokhu kokuthi, ngiyayiphenya yonke lento yokuthi azikho yini izinto zokuthi uHulumeni afike afake izimali ukuze kuzobakhona izinto zobuchwepheshe ezingenza imali, bese kuba khona izigebengu ezifike zibaleka nakho lokhu kube sengathi uHulumeni akazange ayifake imali.
So, as far as I’m concerned, I’m really watching that with the eyes of the hawk. So far, my department with its entities, we have
not been really ravaged by acts of corruption to the extent that I am panicking at the moment. However, where I identify this, I will be able to act. Thank you very much, hon Chairperson.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Chairperson, thank you to the hon Dyantyi for the question. It says: Given that while the primary threat posed by COVID-19 relates to the physical health of persons, the pandemic has also taken its toll on economies, social and cultural activities and the mental health of persons. Are there studies by this department (a) to show the effect of the pandemic on mental health and (b) has the department seen an increase in mental health disorders?
I would have tabled for the members a table that gives more details, but I will just highlight that in our knowledge there have been studies and there are some which are ongoing by research and academic institutions as well as nongovernmental organisations.
One study was done by Rothmann I, Grobler, Chambers and de Beer L. It is about employee mental health and titled Employee Mental Health: The Reality Behind the Rhetoric. It looks at the increased disruption COVID-19 imposes on increasing stress levels of
employees and the top concerns around South African employees in the area of childcare, schooling, family health and so on.
Another one is by Subramoney, Wooyoung, Chetty I, Chetty S, Jayrajh and Govendor and this one was published by the University of Witwatersrand: Current discussions in the psychiatric literature on COVID-19 report anxiety disorders as a predominant set of clinical presentations.
We also have another one by Mudiriza G and De Lannoy by University of Cape Town: Findings showed a prevalence of depressive symptoms of 72% among the young participants, which is high when compared to mental health results among youth gathered outside of the
COVID-19 context. The fourth one is by Orkin, Roberts, Bohler- Muller and Alexander a collaboration of Human Science Research Council, HSRC, and University of Johannesburg. It talks about preliminary results suggesting sizable share of South African adults experiencing a range of negative emotions during lockdown.
Another one by COVID-19 and mental health team which is the South African Depression and Anxiety Group looking at mental health challenges experienced during the lockdown, including anxiety, panic, financial stress etc. Another one is by Wooyoung, Nyengerai and Emily Mendenhall and others which is the collaboration with
MRC and Witwatersrand and talks about higher perceived risk of Covid infections associated with depressive symptoms amongst adults with childhood trauma. Then there is by Abrahams, Boisits, Schneider and others through the University of Cape Town. The study was looking at whether lockdown has been successful in curbing the spread of COVID-19 but also looked at high levels of mental disorders associated with high levels of food insecurity. Another one is collaborative outcomes of health and functioning during the COVID times. It was done by COH-FIT study with more than 200 investigators involved. The response has reported high levels of stress. So, those are some of the publications.
To answer (b), based on the summary provided in the above table, two studies investigated whether there has been an increase in mental health disorders during the specified period. The studies were conducted amongst youth and perinatal women. Both the studies found that the pandemic with its lockdown resulted in increased levels of common mental disorders. Data collected by Department of Health through districts’ information system shows that there has not been an increase in the number of people that were seen by our primary health care facilities and hospital out patients on the period of 2020 March to September 2020 compared to the same period. So, there was no increase in admission of mental health problems. Thank you.
Ms P P DYANTYI: Chair, thank you to the Minister for the response. In fact, the Minister has covered some of the questions that I would have asked. One is really excited that our institutions and some of our scientists have already embarked on these studies of checking the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. We are very pleased that so many studied have already been done in our country because we know that the mental health is one of the areas that we are focusing on as Health.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Do you have a question, hon member?
Ms P P DYANTYI: Yes, Chairperson. In fact, he already answered the question that I would have asked because I would have asked ... [Iinterjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Okay, thank you.
Ms P P DYANTYI: ... how many studies have already been done in the country checking on the mental health, and I would have also asked whether they have seen an increase in mental disorders during this period of COVID-19 and he also covered that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you. Hon Minister, is there anything you wish to respond to?
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: I think we do have an understanding that it is an area that needs to be studied further and we must say that there always has to be a watchful eye put on the question of the impact of COVID-19, particularly as it might be affecting staff, health workers and common communities as well. So, there will be a lot of this in future that will be done. Thank you very much.
Mr W M THRING: House Chair, to the Minister, COVID-19 has indeed taken its toll on many sectors including the physical and mental health of individuals. It is possibly for this reason that some are calling for a COVID-19 vaccine — even a mandatory one. Now, the development of vaccines must undergo stringent regiments and normally take up to 10 years to develop as they are to go through animal trials and randomised double blind placebo control studies and additionally, most vaccines now contain MRC-5 which is aborted foetal cells and other DNA material in it with the risk of lateral genic reactions.
Can the Minister confirm whether and when there will be a mandatory vaccine in South Africa that has followed a stringent
regiment, and if so, will the contents of this vaccine be made available to the general public? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Very interesting question — moving from the issues of mental health to vaccine. Nevertheless, I think this is a topical matter so we should say firstly that the vaccine is the main way of how we can protect our communities from the spread of COVID-19. Ordinarily the vaccine development process takes very long, several years and sometimes more than 10 years. Right now we are still struggling to get a vaccine on HIV — we have been trying a lot of different ways.
The COVID-19 has only been with us for a year and we have over 200 vaccine candidates that have been tried and developed. At this point only about 11 have shown successful results that they might be moving towards successful conclusion. Now, for each of those vaccine there will always be a clear understanding as to what constitute the vaccine. Some of the vaccines are based on what we call messenger RNA which is a biotechnical coding which assist the body to convert its own DNA to create some of the immunoglobulins that are needed to protect the patient; some of them are portions of contents of the cells or nucleus of the cells adenovirus vaccines; and some of them are linked to certain portions of the viral capsule so that the body can respond to that.
So, there will always be a clear basis as to how this vaccine has been constituted. Therefore, we can never have a vaccine that we do not know how it has been developed. Fortunately, there is a whole lot of ethics committees that are observing this process.
Whether the vaccines will be mandatory, I think that in our situation we would like to recommend the vaccines, when available, to be taken by those who are identified to be at highest risk and then of course we move on until we are able to get the whole population covered with the vaccine so that there is protection.
I am not sure whether the question is about mandatory vaccine or saying that all people will be forced to do the vaccine. I think the best approach is to say that we will be able to recommend for everyone to take the vaccine as and when is needed based on the category of the people they will be falling into. That is how we will be approaching it.
Ms H ISMAIL: Chair, we are experiencing [Inaudible.] of forensic psychiatric evaluations on state patients. There are numerous reports of mental patients being abused due to lack of security at state and public institutions. Yet, the recent annual report finding shows that the department ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member. Hon Ismail, my apologies for interrupting you, but we, in the Chamber, could not hear and the Minister also could not hear the first part of the remarks that you are making. Can you just repeat please and just go a little bit slower?
Ms H ISMAIL: Okay. Thank you, Chair. We are experiencing a major backlog on forensic psychiatric evaluations in state patients.
There are numerous reports of mental patients being abused due to lack of security at some of our public health care institutions. Yet, the recent annual report findings show that the department performed dismally on the mental health target in the 2019-20 financial year. The entire mental health budget was spent yet not one target was achieved. Minister, what plans is the department going to put in place since mental health care is going to be a strategic health care need going forward? Due to the consequences and impact of COVID-19 on many South Africans, and considering the Mental Health Strategic Framework comes to an end in this financial year, when will we receive a policy plan to replace it? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Let me say that one area where we have challenges is the area of mental health. I think part of the challenge has to do with the fact that it tends to be a very
complex area to deal with. So, the challenges of shortage of human resources do actually play their role in this particular area. The fact that mental health is a very broad area that actually moves beyond institutionalised psychiatric care right on to community preventative programmes means that it is going to take us quite a while to be able to say that we have covered all the areas.
We will then be reviewing the framework and therefore looking at how we can correct all the challenges that have been experienced up to now so that as we move on is one of the areas that remain a high priority for purposes of dealing with some of the non- communicable diseases that are part of the disease burden that we are dealing with. Thank you very much.
Ms N N CHIRWA: Chairperson, to the Minister, part of the strategic objectives in Programme 3 in the year 2019-20 was to expand access to mental health care services through the purchasing of mental health care services in the private sector. Because you, Minister, together with your department, have failed to build this king of capacity in the public sector. Even then, having set very low targets for yourself and the Department of Health, you still failed to deliver on this primary objective and your target was a mere 22 000 in a country of millions of South Africans who are suffering from mental health care issues during the coronavirus
pandemic. You and your department failed to deliver on a mere
22 000 patients. How then do we entrust you going forward when you have failed as a Minister to deliver mental health care services effectively and efficiently to the poorest of the communities in townships, rural areas to young people ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member, your time has now expired.
Ms N N CHIRWA: ... you have failed as a Minister to deliver mental health care services. How do we trust you going forward? How will you overcome your failure? [Time expired.]
An HON MEMBER: Don’t shout here.
An HON MEMBER: Watch your tone.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, let us allow the Minister to respond. I hope you got the question. Hon Minister?
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Chairperson, firstly, where targets were missed in the previous financial year we have to review them so that we incorporate what is outstanding onto the future plans.
So, that is how we will deal with the issue of the gaps in relation to previous performance.
With regard to the mental health service issue relating to the private sector, we make this as a provision so that whenever there is a need where government capacity is unable to reach out to all the patients who need care, we can actually approach the private sector and make sure that we give the service to all those who need it.
Indeed, during this year when we are focusing on the coronavirus pandemic, a number of services did lapse in the sense that the pressure that we experienced made it impossible to go through all of them, particularly during the days of the lockdown where movement of individuals was difficult. So, when we went to level three we ended up with a whole programme to activate all people to return to utilise the health services so that we can catch up. We have now, in all the various programmes, try and catch up with whatever services we might have missed during those difficult days of lockdown. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTSS, WATER AND SANITATION:
Chairperson, hon Semenya, what we have discovered in the
department was not providing maximum security for a department such as ours. You will no doubt remember that when we came in here, one of the messages that had been given to us by the Minister of Finance is the level of corruption that he said he found in the department, with huge losses to the fiscus.
Members of Parliament also asked me to attend to this matter on an urgent basis. I am glad that finally you have had the interaction with the Special Investigating Unit, SIU. The question you asked is a very apt one. No! We do have the capacity within the department for the entity I would be talking about which is the entity for internal audit. It consists of three directorates. It is a fully-fletched entity. However, we have discovered with time that its inclusion within the department limits the scope of independence, it limits its ability to investigate, because it is a part and parcel of the department.
The conclusion that the SIU has arrived at is that perhaps what makes unable to do what it should do is because of the structure of the department. We had proceeded to make sure that we can restructure the department. We have restructured the department and created it to be able to investigate, audit and give prior warning to us should there be anything wrong that should be brought to our attention. We reviewed our capacity of the entirety
of the department. We have reviewed the structure ... [Interjections.]
Mr G G HILL-LEWIS: Chairperson, I rise on a point of order. I believe the Minister is answering the incorrect question. We are now on Question 640. The question the relating to the SIU is much further down the Question Paper.
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R DYANTYI): Hon Minister, we are on Question 640, asked by the hon Powell.
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTSS, WATER AND SANITATION: My
Sincerest apologies, I was ahead of myself. The question is asked by hon Powell. If you will allow me a little more time so that I can answer this one. The budget cuts generally and in particular in our case in the Department of Human Settlement Water and Sanitation will have very negative effects on us, especially in the delivery of housing opportunities. The total amount of the grant for 2020-2021, before the budget adjustment in June was R16 billion. This has further been reduced to R14 billion. We had already started calculating on the R16 billion which constitutes a reduction of R1 billion etc. We have a table that has a breakdown of where we have had the cuts and it has significantly reduced our capacity to deliver.
However, we have come up with a new policy which we have shared with various provinces and we have had the opportunity to share this approach with the Mayor of Cape Town together with the Council, which is called the Rapid Land Gullible to able bodied people, we will be providing them with subsistence allowance to buy the material, provide them with land, provide them with infrastructure so that they build their own houses.
We are hoping that in this way, we will not suffer the backlogs that eventually come out a budget that has been cut in the way that it has been taken away from ourselves. We are planning to go ahead. We already have R200 000 services sides. We are hoping that this will grow and we will be able to encourage our people to take this offer up so that we help them build their own houses. In that way, they will probably build better houses than we do, I don’t know. But we are certain that it will give them necessary ... [Inaudible] ... it will also give them the skills to build after which they are able to sell their skill to any other industry that requires construction know-how. That’s it Chairperson, the answer is yes, we have suffered greatly from the budget cuts but we making do with an alternative way of our people. Thank you.
Ms E L POWEL: Thanks for the response, hon Minister. In the last financial year 2019-20, your department only achieved 63% of its targets and in the previous financial year it achieved 82% of its targets. This is the best possible indication we have that the country’s housing department is rapidly regressing in terms of its outputs despite the appointment of multimillion rands advisory committees and national task teams.
In light of this declining performance Minister, it’s also important to note that it has taken you longer than 18months to appoint a permanent director-general. To take a closer look at the figures while the department managed to spend 98% of its budget.
Its actual performance declined to 63%. In the human settlement delivery programme which is the department’s most important function, overall performance declined to a meagre 47,3%, this despite the department spending more than 84%.
Minister, numbers don’t lie. Would you agree that Treasury’s decision to drastically cut your department’s budget this year is not simple as a result of the ANC’s commitment to keep propping up bankrupt state-owned enterprises, like South African Airways, SAA, at the expense of the frontline services, but that these cuts are also as a result of your department’s rank inability to actually
provide basic services to its citizens such as housing and shelter?
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTSS, WATER AND SANITATION: Hon
Chair, the hon member knows very well that what she is saying is completely incorrect. We are ranked the highest in the world in the delivery of housing for our people. That is undoubted, recognised by the United Nations, UN, we are very proud of that.
However, she knows very well that we do not control a central Budget. The budget goes directly to the provinces and one of the provinces with the lowest delivery of houses is the Western Cape. She can then explain to us why it is that the Western Cape is the lowest deliverer of houses? Far surpassed by much more smaller allocations to other sectors.
What she is doing is just looking for unnecessary attention to deal with a matter that is a very serious matter. The matter of the provision of housing goes to the essence of the rights of our people. We do our damnedest to make sure that we can deliver.
Where we have not been able to deliver we are able to rotate the resources that we have to those provinces that have delivered to give them the capacity to deliver more. Where there has been a
decline in the delivery, it has been for other reasons either because there has been a change of government or either because there has been an election in the interim. But what you are trying to concoct now is just trying to get attention.
I do not have a multimillion rand ministerial advisory team; I actually have one advisor, Menzi Simelane, who has been my advisor for a very long time.
The National Task Team, NTT, is the very same NTT THAT helped us deal with chaos that we found in the Western Cape when the Western Cape police ejected outside the laws of this country, evicted a man who was in his house having a bath. Thank you.
HON MEMBER: (Speaking on behalf of hon G K Tseke): Chairperson, it is known that most of government energies and resources have been focused on the covid-19 pandemic. This has affected the department planned targets over the medium term. As these plans were drafted before the pandemic, given the Minister’s response, how has the department ensured it mitigates the negative effects of these budget cuts?
Kuyaduduma apha, ngoku ndimana ndilahleka.
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTSS, WATER AND SANITATION: Thank
you, hon Chair ... [Interjections.]
HON MEMBER: (Speaking on behalf of hon G K Tseke): Can I finish up, hon Chair?
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr Q R DYANTYI): Your time has expired hon member, thank you.
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTSS, WATER AND SANITATION: ... hon
Chair, throughout the period of covid-19, I think at level 5, we were allowed to begin construction and so we directed our energies to those programmes that would have the highest yield. For instance, the building of shed services and the provision of structures on the ground and where it succeeded it was very good and where it didn’t, we are dealing with the matter. But we were able to continue. We mitigated against the impact of covid-19 by making sure that in the coming year the proposal that we have of land release – we must thank both the Deputy President and the Minister of Agriculture for allocating to us the land that is nearest to where people would like to be which is nearest to urban areas. We will be using it for releasing land and making sure that people can build their own houses. We believe that this will cover the gap that we have suffered during the covid-19 period.
However, in those areas such as shared services we have been able to provide our people with the greatest number of units and we took the time during covid-19 to advertise what we were doing because that was the only way we can assure them that we are attending to some of the issues that they are concerned about.
We continued to have a huge backlog in human settlements. We believe if we allow people to build for themselves, it will motivate them to do it themselves. We might be able to fast-track those people that are waiting for houses. But we were able to sit down and mitigate the loss that we would have incurred during covid-19. We are also hoping to make use of this period that we have now [Time expired.] Thank you.
Ms M R MOHLALA: Hon Chair, Minister, you recently announced that your department was considering giving out land for the people and you just reiterated your statement now here on Parliament. “To build their own houses.” Instead of the government building and giving houses to the homeless. What informed this decision? Is it a tacit acknowledgement that the state has failed to fulfil its duties by making sure that people have their rights to housing fulfilled? How are you planning to have this rolled out in a manner that would be free of corruption?
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTSS, WATER AND SANITATION: Three
questions here, the first one is, I have indicated, yes, we are looking at a new policy that will allow to give land to people so that they can build houses for themselves. This is an old policy that we have used over a long period of time. There are projects along the N2 which is one of our projects.
We have allowed people the land and they have built for themselves. What we are doing now is reviving that policy for people to build their own houses. Secondly, what made us take this decision? It was that when we were confronted with possibility that we will have a lockdown, our output would be much lower than we expected that it would be. And we had land invasions notably, in the Western Cape and in Gauteng as well. We sat down with the people who were invading the land and they indicated to us notably, the EFF I don’t know why you missed that in your party?
They wouldn’t mind building their houses.
We have a policy within the government that allows people to build their own houses. Right now, the reason why I am emphasizing it, is because it is the people’s choice. Because when we went to them
– when they had invaded land – they indicated that the list for the government delivery is very long. They wouldn’t mind being
given the opportunity to build their own houses. We are responsive to the people.
If you had listened yourself to your people, they would have told you so. So we are providing for that particular policy as an alternative. We will continue building houses for our people especially the indigent. Nothing takes one from the other. We have had this policy running alongside each other. However, people wait to them to see if we cannot have a greater yield from people doing it themselves. We are not denying them the right to a house, we are giving them the land, we are giving them the support, we are giving them the material to build that house. So I am not sure what it is that we are getting at?
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: House Chairperson, Minister, let me congratulate you and commend for this decision, the first time I see you talking the walk. Minister, for five years I am one of those that have been calling for providing service sites because some politicians are happy to give the people on the ground the crumps and let them live in RDP houses. What you are giving back to the people now through service sites is the dignity and their identity back, so well-done as far as that is concern!
The issue is how you envisage getting enough land and making it a national policy to roll out the scheme throughout every province the length and breadth of this country working with municipalities to provide the services, I promise you if you do that you will have economic development, job creation, it’s very important because we giving back the dignity to these people. We want to discuss the issue of the human settlement development bank, are you considering public private partnership for people to give them the land? I promise you, people are willing to pay 300,400 to 500 a month to get decent houses than these one roomed shacks that they normally get. Could you please tell us whether you intend working with the relevant people, private sector and the municipalities? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTSS, WATER AND SANITATION: hon
Chair, I would like to invite the hon Emam into my portfolio committee, he would really add a lot flavour there. Thank you for that. The question about where we are going to get the land and what we are going to do, we have approached various municipalities to release the land. We have actually had in depth discussion with the municipality of Cape Town. We sat down with the entire municipal management and indicated to them what it is that we would like to do, just as a test case following the disaster in
Empolweni in the Western Cape. We believe that they have bought into that.
We are now taking the whole package of the new policy to Cabinet. After that, we would then be making sure that we are out there selling the idea to people. People who want houses will certainly take this up. We are surviving it while we using the infrastructure arrangement that the President has put in place. So we would be putting infrastructure and then parcelling out the land for people to build themselves their own houses.
This is a very empowering exercise. Where it has been done it really has empowered people. They are not stuck with the kind of sites that we give them. They are able to augment it and choose the type of house that they would like to live in. I hope that answers most of your questions hon Emam. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you very much, Chairperson and to the hon member for the question. The first question is, what amount has this department spent on awareness campaigns aimed at the prevention and treatment of malaria in affected areas in the 2019-
20 financial year; secondly, whether the campaign included preventative measures such as the spraying of rooms and the
provision of mosquito nets; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?
The first answer is that health promotion, health education, advocacy and awareness campaigns are essential interventions for the prevention of malaria morbidity and mortality. In 2019, malaria pictorial charts were printed at the national level and distributed to all the malaria affected provinces to educate the community on malaria prevention and treatment. An amount of R400 000 was spent on designing, printing and distributing the pamphlets. A further R60 000 was used to train environmental
health practitioners to support door to door promotion campaigns.
In Limpopo province spent R190 000 on awareness campaigns during the launch of their malaria spray season, July to June the following year. An additional R57 000 was spent on the World Malaria Day, and R170 000 was utilised for activities during the Southern African Development Community, SADC, Malaria Day.
Mpumalanga province spent R529 000 on health awareness and radio campaigns. A further R400 000 was utilised for both World Malaria and SADC Malaria Day commemorations. KwaZulu-Natal province does not have a dedicated budget for health promotion and campaign
awareness activities. Their expenses are incorporated into an integrated provincial health promotion budget.
Indoor residual spraying, which is a second answer, is a key intervention for Malaria Vector Control as outlined in the South African National Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan 2019–23. It is implemented in the malaria-endemic provinces of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. In 2019-20 South Africa achieved a spray coverage of 80,3%. The provincial coverages were as follows: Limpopo 94,9 %, Mpumalanga 64,4% and KwaZulu-Natal 70,2%. There were challenges in some of the communities that led to the late start of the spraying and low spray coverage.
There was a timely start of the Indoor residual spraying this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Spraying started as planned in September in each of the malaria-endemic provinces. As at the 13 November 2020, a total of 721 293 structures have been sprayed of the targeted two million structures for the 2020-21 financial year. The current national spray coverage is 36,41%, noting that the spraying will continue well into next year. Thank you very much, hon Chairperson.
Rev K R J MESHOE: Thank you, Chairperson. It is reported that in Africa a child dies every two minutes from malaria, and yet the
disease is preventable. In 1951, the US eradicated malaria, and in 1998 Mauritius did the same. We are disappointed that to date South Africa has not followed suit. As malaria is difficult to diagnose because of early flu-like symptoms that can be confused with COVID-19, what is the department doing to ensure that those suffering from malaria are not mistakenly diagnosed as COVID-19 positive as the symptoms are similar? In addition, how does the amount spent on the treatment of malaria compared to what the department is spending to deal with COVID-19? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you very much, hon Chairperson. I think we do need a discussion with the hon member because I don’t think in the context of South Africa we can confuse the issue of COVID-19 and malaria in terms of its symptomatology. South Africa is not as endemic on malaria as you will find in Angola or in Tanzania. We have a programme to deal with malaria. Part of the challenge with South Africa is what we call imported cases, which means it doesn’t matter how much you treat your patients in South Africa if the neighbouring country has still got people who come into our country and they have malaria they will bring it in and when they are in our country the normal mosquitoes that could have been where there was less malaria could actually transmit the infection to the next person.
The symptoms are more or less the same, but there are differences tough. In a situation like where we are I don’t want to go into the symptomatology of the two, but where there are problems of malaria, where malaria is endemic, you need to have a higher level of suspicion and in fact it is not difficult to make a distinction because for the doctors who are dealing with those management at that level, all you need is to treat the patient for malaria, take the blood for treatment and then wait for the polymerase chain reaction, PCR, for the COVID. Within 10 hours you will have the answer because if there is malaria the temperature is going to come down and if it is COVID-19 you will wait for the results and it will show you what the situation is. So there is no confusion. It is important for our people to always know that they must keep a high level of suspicion for both situations.
The question of the elimination of malaria is in the plan of the AU and right now we have got what we call Elimination 8 which is focussing on the countries where South Africa is part of which can work together to eliminate malaria on both sides of the boundary and therefore push the boundary of malaria further up into the central part of the continent. It is a long challenge and it needs a lot of resources. America has them and we cannot compare that with Africa. Thank you.
Mr S M DHLOMO: Thank you very much, Chairperson. Thanks to the Minister for that introductory comment on the question I am going to ask. As the ANC we wish to congratulate Minister Mkhize on your recent on your recent appointment as a chairperson of the SADC Elimination 8 Ministers of Health Council [Applause.] This coalition of eight countries will be working across national borders to eliminate malaria in Southern Africa by 2030. There is no doubt that this is a huge responsibility, hon Minister, but not impossible. Cuba, for instance, has eliminated malaria and that has improved the life expectancy of the Cuban people. What programmes do you envisage to embark to realise this noble committed of SADC by 2030? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you very much and thanks for your very kind words. Let me say that this is one of our dreams to eliminate malaria out of SADC and out of the African continent. In fact, I can go back and recall many years back a whole plan had been made to look at the elimination of malaria in three phases.
The first phase was about getting rid of malaria right up to the northern part of Mozambique and the other African states. The second one would move this right towards Tanzania and after that move it pass the Equator. The Medical Research Council had played a very significant role in dealing with this by training a whole lot of people as malariologists who would understand how to deal
with this problem. The current ambassador on the Elimination 8, E8, SADC Ministers Council on Elimination is actually one of their graduates from there. The programme involves the collaboration between our countries on both sides of the boundary, mobilising funds from global funds and mobilising funds from the private sector. Already South Africa has put up some funds to assist on the side of Mozambique so that we can push the boundary further up towards pass Gaza in Mozambique. At the same time we are looking at how these first four countries can actually eliminate it, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, eSwatini and the Southern part of Zimbabwe.
It is possible to eliminate malaria. It will change the tourism scenery, it will change the logistics and transport industry and it will actually have a huge positive impact on the GDP of the whole continent, particularly the SADC area. Thank you very much for the question.
Ms E R WILSON: Thank you, Chair. Minister, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, DDT, has been banned in a lot of country around the world because of the effects that it has on human beings and in particular undeveloped foetuses. There was a severe side effect of TDDT. It also has effects on insects and animals. There is a lot of research that says mosquitoes have also
now become immune to DDT and pyrethroid, and yet South Africa still uses this to get rid of malaria. In your awareness programmes are you at least advising, when you are spraying DDT in all these communities, in people’s houses and around their children and livestock, those awareness campaign include the fact that they should be warned about the effects, what the possible symptoms are and what can be done when you are spraying the house with DDT? Thank you, Minister.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Thank you very much, hon member for the question. Indeed, we do warn people about the possible challenges that are associated with DDT. But I think when you go into that issue you need to know that all the countries that you are talking about that are eliminating malaria use DDT. All of them! Of course there are some challenges with DDT. In the way that DDT is being used now it actually taking very serious precautions to make sure that the impact is limited. For example, when the spraying is done on doors, the particular canisters that are used they always make sure that they mix it in such a way that mixing happen in the one canister and they don’t spill it all over so that some of those goes ultimately into the swarms and into the rivers and so on.
People doing the spraying are very well taught to know that they need to avoid that.
Secondly, the communities, when they are spraying they are asked to put all of their positions in the centre of the hut so that the spaying happens. They have to wait for a number of hours so that the DDT would have gone into and fixed itself on the wall so that even a baby that touches the wall does not actually get itself contaminated as such. We know that when the mosquito comes in and land on the wall they will be killed by that, but the way it is done the risk is reduced for those who are inhabitants in that particular area.
We worked on this in few years back. I recall when I was MEC this was giving us much better results. Some of the parathyroid that was used in our neighbouring country, Mozambique, they had a problem there because the biggest pressure for them was that the funding and the donor agencies, were the ones who were telling them what they can do and what they cannot do. But we were more successful. In KwaZulu-Natal that time we actually achieved 97% reduction in malaria transmission mainly because of this. I think that the information is important. It is important to always know that there would always be challenges, but that those challenges could be mitigated. Thank you very much.
Ms M D HLENGWA: Thank you, Chairperson, Khabazela. One would welcome your response, and one would say this response should be
advocacy ahead to our people. I have not known what DDT is doing and what for those who are down there. But I am not there. Since most of the malaria cases in South Africa are imports, is there any mechanism put in place by your department to regulate travellers from high risk malaria-endemic countries? If not, why not? If so, what are the relevant details? [Interjections.] I am a teacher.
UNGQONGQOSHE WEZEMPILO: Sihlalo, ngiyabonga Mam’uMashasha, kodwa ake ngiyichaze le ndaba khona izocaca. Okokuqala nje, i-DDT iyona enamandla ukubulala omiyane abasihluphayo ngomalaleveva. Iyona enamandla, zikhona ezinye izinto ezisetshenziswayo azinawo amandla afanayo. Sisebenzise yona kakhulu ngoba sinolwazi lokhuthi lapho inengxaki khona kufanele ukuthi uyigade ingayi emanzini nasemlonyeni. Ingathinti abantu ngoba iyangena esikhumbeni, ingalimaza izinso, ingalimaza izindawo ezihlukene futhi ingalimaza ezinye izilwane.
Siyabafundisa ke abantu. Labo obashoyo abalaphaya yibona esibafundisayo. Ngingakhuluma ngabantu abasohlangothini lomgcele phakathi kweSwazini neNingizimu Afrika, nalabo abaphakathi komgcele weMozambique kanye neZimbabwe. Inkinga ekhona kulokho ukuthi kufanele sihambisane, sibambisane uma ngabe sithi siyofutha
imizi. Uma sifutha ngapha kulomgcele weNingizimu Afrika babe befutha nakomakhelwane ukwenzela ukuthi omiyane abakhona bangaweli ngoba kuwukuthi sesivule ibhande elenza ukuthi kuvikeleke umalaleveva ngokubulala omiyane abaseduze komgcele wethu. Nanso ke into esiyenzayo. Kodwa uma siyofutha siyabafundisa abantu ukuthi qoqa izimpahla zakho uzibeke ngaphansi kwensika, eduze kweziko ukwenzela ukuthi uma kufuthwa kungabibikho into ezotheleleka ngoba kuhanjwa ezindongeni kuphela.
Okwesibili, uma ngabe kuwukuthi kufuthiwe ubekelwa isikhathi esithile sokuthi emva kwamahora angaka uyobe usuyangena endlini ngoba uma usheshe wangena uyothola kusemanzi. Sifuna kuzekome kodwa uma sekomile yilapho kushaya khona kakhulu kulabo miyane. Ngakho ayikho ingozi eyabikwayo. Asikaze sibe noyedwa umuntu okubikwayo ukuthi wakhotha udonga noma wathinta ngesandla wase ebuya eseguliswa u-DDT. Sikuqikelela kakhulu lokho ngoba le eminye imithi ekhona ayinawo amandla afanayo. Bebe nengxaki eMozambique ngalokho. Manje inkinga yabo ukuthi bebe hlushwa izinhlelo zabo zokuchelela omiyane bazikhokhelwa abantu bangaphandle bese kuthiwa ningakuthengi lokhu. Lapha akufani. Okokugcina ke ukuthi uma sesiqinisa lolu hlelo sizobe sesiba nokubambisana nhlangothi zombili kube nokuhlolwa sibone ukuthi umuntu unawo umalaleveva noma akanawo. Ngiyabonga.
The MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE: House Chair, thanks to hon member Malumane, on that very important question. Perhaps, let me start by applauding the provinces; Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Free State so far, who have made it possible that we interact with them on this very important matter of the transformation of the heritage landscape.
So, the full audit of all the statues, symbols and monuments of the Republic has not yet been done. The South African Heritage Resources Agency, is the agency that is going to be responsible for this national audit. The agency is already in the process of hiring unemployed dudes to do this audit of statues across the country, symbols as we said and monuments in all the nine provinces.
The manner of handling this...I am sorry about that, is that we are emphasizing the issue of transformation which has to be accelerated together with nation building. This can seem contradictory but these are mutually reinforcing. We can achieve nation building, social cohesion whilst you transform society.
So, symbols, statues and monuments, to be considered for relocation and repositioning are those which are anathemas to the
foundational values of our democracy. Those repositioning will happen after consultation processes and that is very important.
All that will happen at a local level, it’s a statue or symbol or whatever it’s in a particular locality. It’s people in that particular locality, who must come together discuss and agree whether that symbol is needed or not. What is important is that, those symbols which – for the proponents of colonialism and apartheid, we decided that they should not occupy prominent spaces but rather go to a cultural nation building parks, because we also not in line with the fact that other people say that they must be confined to the dustbin of history. We think that as government we are responsible for them. So, to ensure that they are in these parks, so that those who to come and view them will have that opportunity. Thank you very much.
Mr M A ZONDI: House Chair, thank you, hon Minister, for the response, on a follow up question, how can we use the transformation of the heritage landscape as a vehicle to educate and have the constructive engagement on the value that this process has on the development of our country? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE: Thank hon member, it’s mainly at the level of public education, mobilising, engaging
structures of civil society and everybody else to understand the importance of this transformation. You see, the oppressed majority still remains in this country a cultural minority in the public spaces and that is an untenable situation. So, we have started that as I said, we have engaged for provinces. We still have to engage with five of them, including the National House of Traditional Leaders.
One of the things we are emphasizing in this process, in line with the Cabinet decision we took some few years ago, is that history has to be compulsory subject in school, so that we are able to ensure that our people, especially our youth understand who we are as a society. I mean, it’s not sustainable to have our youth knowing who Churchill was but not knowing who Kwame Nkrumah was and the role he played in the unification of the continent and so on.
So, we are hopeful that the combination of factors will ensure that people see the value of social cohesion around this very process of transforming the heritage landscape. Thank you.
Ms V VAN DYK: Chairperson, Minister, your response to question 2480, for a written reply 2D on what budget allocation will be made available for the removal of statues was that affected
municipalities will be required to allocate an operational budget for this. [Inaudible.] 128 of the 278 municipalities are in financial distress, that that’s almost 50% and our fading services delivery both services and to collect revenue according to the 2019 [Inaudible.] report, as well as the fact that department’s budget has been adjusted and abused with a billion rand because of COVID-19 pandemic. Where will the money actually come from to support the removal and the management of statues, symbols and geographical names? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE: Chair, thanks hon Van Dyk. Just for correction we will not remove any statue but we are relocating – that is very important for you, hon member, to note.
You are talking about something which district municipalities are already doing. Some of this work will not be starting after this process, where we are embarking on of the audit. They have done it in the past and they will continue to do it. One of the provinces we were engaging this afternoon was Western Cape and we did make a point that when it comes to the cultural nation building parks, it’s going to be a partnership of local, provincial and national government. Because the goal of creating socially cohering nation is a goal of all of us at all levels. That is why we are engaging the provincial Legislatures, would be engaging The South African
Local Government Association, SALGA, engage House of Traditional Leaders so it’s a partnership.
Because it’s something which has to happen, all of us, will find the way to ensure that it indeed happens. Thank you very much.
Ms H DENNER: House Chair, hon Minister, you just now call the Sako Park, parks proponents for apartheid. I take it then that the status of say General Koos de la Rey will not be moved as he died long before the start of apartheid in 1948. That being said what is does the park area apply to determine whether statue, symbol or monument is either an apartheid or colonial figure or both and what is rational behind this criteria? Thank you, House Chair.
The MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE: Thank you very much hon member Denner, thanks for that question. Let me say hon member, on this question we were assisted especially by political parties, including the FF Plus to come at the determination on the criteria to be used.
Fundamentally the foundational values of the Constitution of the Republic is going to be the main measuring rod of this process of the relocation as statues to the parks as we said the cultural nation building parks. So really the Constitution ...who was a
proponent of apartheid, who was the proponent of injustice in this country or a colonialist or a colonial figure is well known in this country hon member. I am glad as I say that in this journey we are all together including the FF Plus. Thank you very much hon member.
Ms M S KHAWULA: Chair, Minister, historically and to these day white people have been oppressors in this country and black people having been and continue to be the oppressed. The maintenance of statues of colonialism and apartheid figures, offensive to both memory and present suffering of black people. Why is there a need to engage those who defend colonialism and apartheid before we removing those offensive monuments? Is it necessary to negotiate to ...[Inaudible.] ... [Interjection.] primary perpetrator. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Khawula. The hon Minister I hope you did catch Ms Khawula.
The MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE: Chair, no, I got the
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE: ... from hon Khawula.
Look, we are a constitutional democracy, we are not a despotic state, so therefore the Constitution enjoins to have continuous conversation amongst ourselves. Therefore, it will be important that every South African feel part and parcel of a process of building this very nicest democracy of ours. We will continue to do that because the alternative to that would be dictatorship and we are far from that and we will never be at that level of dictatorship. So consultation...when we said in the Freedom Charter that “the people shall govern” we meant that there would be consultation. Decisions made by society will involve all, including those we don’t agree with ideologically or politically. Thank you very much, hon member.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Hon Chairperson, hon Shaik Emam, this sector has been and will continue to absorb unemployed social work graduates. The department has engaged with other departments to urge them to recruit social work graduates, in line with the decision of Cabinet in 2018. We will be working on a plan to extend support to government departments in this regard.
We continue to make the call, not only to government departments, but also to the private sector to help us with the absorption of social workers.
It should however be noted that during this period, National Treasury has imposed a ceiling on the course of employees beyond which the sector or departments may not spend, and in line with the current organisational structure. This therefore has a direct impact on provinces that employ the majority of social workers in our sector.
I must indicate that some provinces have really been creative in terms of absorbing the social workers and I can clearly speak of particularly the department in the Free State that has used other methods and used other mechanisms legally and otherwise to make sure that the social workers are absorbed.
The funded vacant posts of social workers will be advertised and
... [Inaudible.] ... as stipulated in the Public Service ... [Inaudible.] ... and that recruitment processes will be followed accordingly in this regard. It is also important to highlight that as social ills increase in our country, which we have seen particularly during this period of Covid-19, there is a need to
employ social workers, to respond to the need of trauma counselling.
In this regard, during the lockdown, we employed just over 1 800 social workers in all provinces, albeit on contract. Personally, I don’t like contracts because I have seen that contracts cause abuse at times. People are employed for a very long time - not social workers - then they lose out on the benefits of full employment. Thank you.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, we have discussed this matter before. There are thousands of them that remain unemployed even though it costs us a lot of money to train them. Very importantly, given the challenges we are facing on the ground, there is now a great need to employ more and more of them. For example, I have just come from the opening of an organisation, Philisa Abafazi Bethu. We have said that men are the problem.
There is an organisation, first in the country, I think, that is now dealing with boys and men who are screaming for help to create a better society of men in South Africa, if we believe that men are the problem.
How do you envisaged, with the financial constraints in your department, to accommodate as many as possible of these social
workers to put them on the ground, so that we can deal with the root causes of gender-based violence and other things that we are experiencing? Not the Department of Social Development nationally, not the Western Cape, nobody has provided this organisation with anything. All came from private donors and they are doing a fantastic job. You need to look at what they have set up there today. They need the support. They need social workers and they need the resources. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Hon Chairperson, hon Shaik Emam, as usual, you call me about issues on the ground and I appreciate that you call me because you are responding to the needs of the people that you are coming across. Therefore, I would request that you and me continue to talk about Philisa Abafazi Bethu organisation and see what we can do. I am also thankful that the private-sector donors have supported them, but obviously and clearly, they need the support of government.
Let me also indicate that the amount of money that we spend on NPOs – I keep repeating it – is ... Next year, it will be R8, something billion. This year, we spent R7,6 billion. Therefore, it is important that we support organisations such as Philisa Abafazi Bethu that are making a greater impact on our people.
Also thank you very much for highlighting the issue of gender- based violence, because as you are aware, we have just launched the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign. As we are speaking right now, the President is addressing and engaging NPOs and NGOs to deal with this scourge that is a shame to all of us and a shame to the nation, in general.
Of course, as I indicated, one of the biggest problems is the finances, the purse. I wish the purse could have much more than what it has right now. Unfortunately, it does not. Therefore, as a department, we are looking at creative ways of absorbing the social workers and the call has always been for us to get the provinces also to be creative in absorbing them. We could make sure that we have social workers deployed in most districts and particularly the districts that are hotspots, not only for gender- based violence but for all other social ills that face our nation. We will continue to support in the best way that we can. Thank you very much.
Ms A L A ABRAHAMS: Hon Chairperson, Minister, you touched on the Cabinet resolution from 2018, years ago, in that all government departments must employ social work graduates and like you said, we don’t talk about short-term contracts, we talk about permanent
employment. When the department briefed the committee of the approximate 9 000 unemployed qualified social workers, it was sad that this Cabinet resolution is not being implemented.
The department undertook to write to the Leader of Government Business to intervene and my question is simple: Have you written to the Deputy President since that committee meeting on 21 October and what has been the Deputy President’s response to this urgent matter? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Hon Chairperson, hon member, I cannot off-hand remember whether that letter went out or not. I will check because it is important. I don’t want give an answer that I am not hundred percent sure of.
However, the commitment by the department, not only to write to the Deputy President, ... All members of Cabinet are fully aware of the Cabinet decision and all members of Cabinet are committed to assisting us in solving this problem. Unfortunately, I must say that the process is very slow. Again, everyone is complaining about the budget and the fact that Treasury has cut the budget.
However, I will commit to checking whether that letter has been written or not. We write many letters. My sincere apologies that I
cannot respond adequately to the issue of whether the letter has been written or not. Thank you very much.
The House adjourned at 18:01.