Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 26 Nov 2020
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2020
WATCH VIDEO HERE: Plenary (HYBRID)
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:03.
The Deputy Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, in the interest of safety for all present in the Chamber, please keep your mask on and sit in your designated area. We also request members to sign the attendance register.
QUESTIONS TO THE DPEUTY PRESIDENT
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker and good afternoon to you and hon members, the response to the first question, Deputy Speaker and hon members is as follows: as detailed by the Minister of Finance during the address on the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, MTBPS, spending on government
programmes has exceeded annual revenues for more than a decade. The persistent gap between spending and government revenue requires difficult decisions about the structure, effectiveness and affordability of certain programmes in government.
Like in many other countries, the current economic situation facing South Africa is not unique. In fact, it has further been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which all of us are aware of. This dictates that government should repurpose and reprioritise the 2020-21 spending plans that were initially tabled in the 2020 budget. We must admit that our overall reality is that we are in an environment of shrinking resources that puts a strain on the national fiscus. That is why in pursuit of our developmental objectives, we should accept that certain trade-offs will be made.
To this end, the National Treasury has been reviewing government spending in order to improve efficiency by, amongst others, focusing on addressing overlapping responsibilities and mandates that lead to duplication of work, as well as ensuring that government does not overpay for services sourced from private sector contractors and suppliers.
Even in the face of such challenges, we must not despair but should sharpen our conversations on that which would contribute to empowerment of the ordinary people that we represent. We must focus on job creation and ensure that none of our people are subjected to hunger and extreme poverty. The Minister of Finance has indicated that as we look into improving the state of our finances, high-level policy discussions must be held, amongst others, on measures to strengthen the social protection system for the most vulnerable in our society.
On the matter of government funding of the SA Airways, SAA, we must clarify upfront that the delivery of social and other services, and investing in the country’s state-owned enterprises as crucial drivers for development, should not be perceived and be seen as mutually exclusive.
On the contrary, funding of the SAA, should be understood in line with preserving strategic and catalytic state instruments for transformation, growth, development, service delivery and employment creation.
When Cabinet approved the support of R10,5 billion allocations to the SAA, we did appreciate the state of our finances. As government, we considered obligations of the state especially if
the airline were to be liquidated. We understood that this could be achieved through the reprioritisation in budget allocations, and that departments will have to adjust spending priorities and programmes to take into account the revised baseline allocations over the next three years.
In doing so, we will minimise adverse impact that the reprioritisation may have on the delivery of social and other services. Even as we reprioritised the budget, the consolidated expenditure over the next three years shows that there has been no negative decrease on education, health, community development and social development. This would further be enhanced by the “One Plan” under the District Development Model, or DDM, which in our view, presents a paradigm shift in the provision and management of basic socioeconomic services.
The DDM will resolve the fragmented approach to development, which tends to result in poor governance and resource wastage. This plan is also unambiguous on the empowerment of citizens and communities to access socioeconomic rights like water, sanitation, health care, education and security. These rights, as summarised in Chapter 2 of the Constitution, are non-negotiable in bringing government closer to the people and in driving localised growth and development. For our government, this is a viable sustainable
mechanism to build socially-cohesive societies that are capacitated to drive impactful programmes and implement social compacts between the private sector, civil society and municipalities.
We wish to assure South Africans that as part of navigating our way through these trying times, government has initiated measures to mitigate the negative impact of the reprioritisation of funds on local government to ensure that access to services is not severely impacted. Some of these include the enactment of the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill which will provide an unambiguous, fair and consistent basis for municipalities to boost their revenue by recovering development costs for all land development projects within their spaces.
Our approach is citizen-centric and is about entrenching a co- ordinated developmental ecosystem of competencies, resources, capabilities and talents. Ultimately, we are about making today better than yesterday, and tomorrow better than today. Once the amendment Bill has been enacted, the National Treasury will develop implementation guidelines and regulations, as well as capacity-building initiatives to ensure that municipalities maximise their ability to levy development charges in the most efficient and effective manner.
In addition, as announced by the President in 2019, the Infrastructure Fund, which is being managed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, DBSA, continues to complement government’s efforts through catalysing private sector investment into public infrastructure. Through this fund, there is capacity enhancement of municipalities to deliver on water, energy and social infrastructure projects in a programmatic manner.
Further complementing these efforts is the Investment and Infrastructure Office in The Presidency, which contributes to local government’s stability and consistency in the planning, investment, implementation and maintenance of infrastructure in the short, medium and long-term. The work of this office is also contributing to re-establishing technical and financial engineering capacity, which we have seen being reduced within the state over a period of time.
Hon members, we call upon all of us to join hands and work together to improve our fortunes and the fortunes of our people, and support government’s efforts of turning around the performance of our state-owned enterprises for the better. Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker, and thank you Deputy President, good afternoon to you, sir. Deputy President, the answer that you have given to the question today is not dissimilar to the one that I heard in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and now 2020.
In my tenure as the shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, the SAA went through no less than 13 turnaround strategies, none of which worked. So, please understand when I say I have absolutely no belief that this airline has any capacity regardless of how much money you pump into it to turn itself around. It is defunct, archaic in its structure and you should do South Africa the favour. You ask us to continuously hold hands. Well, let me tell you, social cohesion happens when society trusts government. The society cannot trust government because our government has been proved to more worried about looking after tenders, the people who get the tenders and putting money into failing state-owned entities that we proved over and again ... [Inaudible.] ... because of state capture instead of giving money to basic infrastructure projects, which is our fundamental duty.
My question, Deputy President is: It has been proven in court that Dudu Myeni was a delinquent director of the SAA. It is beyond doubt that due to the actions of Dudu Myeni and the former
President Jacob Zuma, we now find ourselves in a position where yet again South Africa is going to pump R16 billion into the SAA. Will you join hands with the South African people and help Judge Zondo by ensuring that Cabinet also lays criminal charges against Dudu Myeni and former President Jacob Zuma for state capture corruption? [Applause.]
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Mazzone, I share the sentiments that you are raising, the damage that has happened to the SAA over time due to mismanagement and all the malfeasance that happened. We have subjected that to our institutions that are looking at fraud and corruption. As we speak, there are cases that are before these institutions that are about mismanagement of funds in those institutions and some wrongdoings.
We would like to encourage our citizens and our people to report some of the things that they know that went wrong at the SAA. This time we want to turn the situation around by finding an equity partner. We thought that running this airline as government, we are opening ourselves to abuse. Getting an equity partner will help government to have four eyes and four ears that can run this airline.
It is not only going to be government that will appoint board members, but the equity partner too and bring expertise at board and management level. We think that by opening an opportunity for an equity partner this time, we will be complementing the airline, bringing skills and resources.
Down the line, we think that government must stop pumping money into the SAA. The frustration that you are expressing is well placed. It is very frustrating to all of us pumping money into the SAA without seeing returns.
This time, the good thing is that we are introducing a partner from the private sector who will run the airline together with government. Thank you very much.
Ms F A MASIKO: Hon Deputy President, thank you very much for your detailed response. As a developing country with an economy of our size, it is important to have well-managed state-owned enterprises to assist the programme of economic development and transformation.
The question to you is: Could you elaborate on the details of how the R10,5 billion allocated to the SAA will be utilised? Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker, firstly, the money that is given to the SAA’s business rescue practitioner is to try and pay all the creditors that we owe except lenders. You will remember that as government, we have given the SAA money and we continue to pay money to lenders where the SAA has been lent money. That is separate. Here we are going to pay creditors where the SAA has accepted a service and has not paid for that service.
Secondly, as we are going to restructure, we hope that the new airline is not going to accommodate all the employees and we are giving space for severance packages. That will be paid to employees as and when they want to leave the employ of the SAA.
Again, when the airline was grounded, a number of people bought tickets and those tickets could not be utilised. People could not fly because planes were grounded. ... [Inaudible.] ... but could not fly. There is a huge number of people that must be paid and we call it the unflown ticket liability. We have already paid legacy debt to various lenders up to an amount of R16,4 billion progressively.
This R10,5 billion has been calculated to settle all those creditors and liabilities and begin a new airline. It has been
calculated and will be closely monitored by the department as a shareholder and the board that is going to be appointed soon. That will help us monitor the beginning of the new airline. Thank you very much.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker, Deputy President of the ANC, local government is at the coalface of service delivery and it is the municipalities that must be responsible for many of these services. However, municipalities don’t have money because the majority of our people don’t work, don’t pay rates and don’t pay municipal services. As a result, municipalities depend mostly on equitable share and conditional grants with exception to the metros and this becomes sources of economic activities in those areas.
To change this, the EFF has proposed that over and above changing the Division of Revenue formula that give municipalities 10% of the rates revenue to give more money to municipalities and this has been agreed with us in the past. We must also make clear conditions that equitable share and conditional grants of municipalities must be spent on locally produced goods and services. Do you agree, Deputy President? If you agree with the EFF, what are you going to do to ensure that this become government policy and legislated? I thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker, well, I note the proposal and it is probably worth to be considered over time. I can’t on my feet say, yes, I agree. It can be considered as a proposal but what I have said today is that; firstly, we have instituted an infrastructure fund. This fund, which is going to be located in the Development Bank of Southern Africa, or DBSA, is meant to help municipalities with regard to their water infrastructure and roads infrastructure. We are going to do this by opening an investment into that fund together with the private sector.
Government at national level is going to run this infrastructure together with the private sector. We are going to allow the private sector to invest long-term in that fund. This will help municipalities with regard to managing their infrastructure.
We are quite aware of the problem you are raising of municipalities being unable to raise revenue because of their revenue base which is very limited. We are saying that we are going to pass this Bill that we are talking about. This Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill, which will allow municipalities to get revenue for every project that is being undertaken in their respective spaces. They are going to tax that project. Whatever you build in a space of a municipality you will
be taxed. The municipality will be in a position to levy and get money from that.
The National Treasury is going to put regulations and guidelines to help municipalities on how to collect revenue using that piece of legislation. Yes, as much as we agree that municipalities’ capacity to raise revenue is limited, over time, it is going to be boosted by this Bill but we must also look at probably certain municipalities because some municipalities don’t have economic opportunities within their jurisdiction. It will take time for us to find some economic spinoffs activities that can help generate some income for them. It will take time.
It is just a reservoir of people that are staying there without any economic activity and without any possibility in the near future of creating economic activity. Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker.
Ms L L VAN DER MERWE: Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker, Deputy President, the Department of Home Affairs is one of those that recently had its budget cut by R562 million. Why? Because these millions were once again needed to bail out failed state entities. How do you reconcile these budget cuts knowing that our borders are porous, knowing that we only have 600 immigration inspectors
nationwide, knowing that violent truck driver protests, this week, over the unemployment of undocumented and or illegal migrants as well as the mystery disappearance of the Bushiri family are obvious symptoms of an immigration system that is completely collapsed?
My question, therefore is: In light of these budget cuts, what’s your government’s plan to immediately address the collapse of our immigration system, including the concerns raised by truck drivers? How far has your government gone in ascertaining which government officials and or Ministers aided unabated the great Bushiri escape? I thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, Deputy Speaker, we are quite aware of the situation on our borders where some of them are porous and the fences in those borders have collapsed, which has put a serious strain on the SA National Defence Force, or SANDF, to mend those borders.
Again, we feel that the real border posts need to be improved. There a lot of illegal things that are happening in those border posts. That’s why we are now piloting this Border Management Authority, or BMA. It is going to be funded. The Minister of Home
Affairs is moving ahead with regards to the implementation of the Border Management Authority.
Your concern about cutting the spending. Our view was that government departments must reprioritise. We are taking advantage of the situation that there was a month or two of lockdown where there was no movement in with regards to whatever work that we were supposed to do. We could not spend money as government during those lockdown days. Correctly speaking, there is money that we were supposed to spend on those days but because of the lockdown, we could not spend that money.
So, we needed to reprioritise. We firstly reprioritised some of the money to deal with COVID-19 and some of the money to deal with the SAA because we still feel the SAA is important in this country. We need this airline. It is a decision we took that we need this airline for tourism and our growth.
We are aware of the mismanagement that happened in the past. We want to improve this airline. I am happy that the President has appointed the state-owned enterprises council that is going to strengthen all our SOEs. Thank you, Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has appraised the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform about the status of the land that has been advertised for state disposal to emerging farmers which indicates that some of this land is already occupied. Some is used by farmers, local communities and in certain instances; the land has been occupied illegal.
To this end, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, on the 10th of this month, gave an update to the media wherein she announced the advertisement of 529 thousand hectares of land available for release. This is part of the
700 000 hectares of land that has been announced by the President in his state of the nation address in February this year.
In the same media briefing, the Minister stated that government is currently engaged in a process of land rights enquiry, just to ascertain the status of this land occupation particularly on the land that has been advertised for state disposal to emerging farmers. The process will enable the state to have a record of which land is occupied by whom; how such occupation came about in the first place and what activities are being undertaken on that piece of land that is state-owned. The inquiry will also include addressing the right of farm dwellers and other affected persons
as well as to ensure that proper procedures for formalisation and regularisation for those already occupying the land are undertaken where necessary.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform has also taken pro- active measures to address emerging challenges of conflict that emanate from land reform processes by identifying and addressing the root causes of these conflicts and tend to include land invasion, land eviction, contestation on grazing and farming rights of labour tenants, farm workers, occupiers as well as farmers and farm dwellers.
To this end, a rural and safety strategy has been developed and it is being implemented which is inclusive of the work done by the Minister of Police and the South African Police Service, to address crimes committed in rural communities where such land related conflicts manifests themselves.
As government, we want to reiterate our call to our citizens to exercise restraint and allow government to implement the necessary policies and constitutional reforms aimed at redressing the imbalances of past as reflected in skewed and inequitable patterns of ... [Inaudible] ... access and ownership.
It is therefore critical that as government we put in place enabling policies to regulate access to land for human settlement and for agriculture especially for emerging farmers and communities, wherein we prioritise women and youth who formed the majority if our population as well as people with disability who have been marginalised for the longest time. Where blatant violation, incitement of violence, lawlessness, land grabs occur, the law will have to take its course. Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Speaker.
Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Deputy Speaker, whilst we welcome the philosophical and ideological underpinning of leasing the land to the historically disadvantaged people, firstly, we have got a problem with the fact that all the land that is being leased out now is exclusively from the Bantustans. This explains why of the 700 000 hectares of land being allocated and of the 896 farms due lease rule not a single farm is in the Western Cape or Gauteng, which are bastions of white land control and ownership. The land that is earmarked for this distribution does not have agricultural support infrastructure such as water and proximity to market. You are just setting the people for failure.
Part of the land that has been identified for this redistribution is a land in Gwatyu, in the Eastern Cape, in the Chris Hani
District, which is currently occupied by farm dwellers and subsistence farmers, most of whom will not be able to meet the application criteria or a certain annual turnover and rental obligation to the state.
Our question is, why are you not using parts of the constitutional obligations of public purpose – and in the public interest – repossess the land from the colonial settlers and give to our people. Is expropriation without compensation the only viable solution?
Deputy President, you are saying that there is going to be an enquiry on the land that has been advertised already, on who is there and who is not there, wasn’t that supposed to be the first stage that you engaged in to, say that before you would call for applications on state land, you go and enquire who is in that land, whether is being utilised beneficially by black people? You have not done that and already people are going to make applications on land that is being utilised by people who rightfully are supposed to be the occupiers and users of that land in a manner that is consistent of the Freedom Charter of saying that “the land must served among those who work it.” They are working it now, but your consideration does not seem to want to take the land and give to those who work it.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, thank you very much hon Shivambu. You are correct; firstly, most of the land that has been advertised is in the former homeland. But there are some pieces of land that have been advertised that were in the former white areas, if we want to call it that way. But the majority of the land is in the former homeland.
Of course, this land in those former homelands is land that belongs to the state which must be formally disposed, formalised and allow people to occupy it and use it. So it’s a step in the right direction. We are still continuing and we are continuing to identify pieces of land that are in the hands of government. This is the first stage and second stage will also include land that is in the former white areas.
Hon Shivambu, there are too many ways to skin a cat. We have decided to advertise and simultaneously take this inquiry ... Yes I agree with your option of saying “Do the inquiry first then you advertise, but you can do it simultaneously”, advertise and inquire who is here? The purpose is not to penalise people but it is to dispose this land correctly and we put it correctly in our books to say there is so and so in that piece of land and we feel that the land is correctly utilised, even if this person has not correctly gotten the land but this time we are putting a process
to give this land to this person and we document it. We are not going to chase people that are making a living on the land because our intention is to ensure that our people are given land in order to make a living, so we can’t negate that purpose and objective.
Those that are there now, that are utilising the land are going to be affirmed without any failure. No one is going to be chased away. If that happens, I will be happy to be the one who intervenes because, all of us are saying, let’s give the land to people and let’s allow people to teal the land. Let’s increase our productive capacity as a country so that there is food security going forward. Thank you very much.
Ms T BREEDT: Deputy Speaker, Deputy President, do you not agree that one of the contributing factors to this problem is because of the fact that people do not have the title deeds to their land and that most land is in the position of the state? The fact is that the ANC-led government; your government, are not willing to empower the South Africa’s people. It is a well-known fact that farmers cannot farm effectively and cannot grow their businesses without owning their land. If farmers do not own their land they have no collateral against which to borrow.
Will you today, clearly take a stance and put on record that the ANC-led government will ensure that all farmers be given the title deeds to their farms to ensure a thriving agricultural sector?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, I think there are different categories in terms of ownership and occupation of land. There are some people from government ... [Inaudible] ... for a particular period that is prevalent and it is acceptable in our rules. Some people have leased the land for 30years, 40years ... [Inaudible]
... now if that 30years is ... [Inaudible] ... the lease going forward. There are instances where we have restituted some land through our restitution programme, land that has been claimed and we have given it back to people with Title Deeds.
Through our redistribution process, there is land that we have given to people with Title Deeds. We are continuing that process to say there is no need for the state to hold these vast pieces of lands if people out there if people out there are crying for land. Let us give this land to the people. We are in that process now, that is why we have advertised some pieces of land in certain instances, there are people that are occupying those pieces of land.
If we find that these people are ... There are those who are farms dwellers that have got nowhere to stay and in this process, they are going to benefit. We are going to give them land so that this question of landless, they are moving up and down, they don’t have
... [Inaudible]... this is going to come to an end. Progressively, as we move forward, we are restoring land to people and we are going to give them title and that is the objective.
Very soon, we are going to be announcing the pieces of land that were claimed by people that are in the hands of government.
Government has agreed to release those pieces of land free of charge, so those will be announced and all of us will go there and hand over those pieces of land that were claimed by our people that are in the hands of government. Thank you very much.
Mr W M THRING: Deputy Speaker, the ACDP believes that black landlessness has become the convenient weapon for political populists in South Africa. This is corroborated by Sibusiso Nkomo of Afrobarometer whose survey revealed most South Africans of voting age prioritise jobs and security over land ownership issues. We, in the ACDP agree that land reform has been painfully slow as well corrupt and has done little to achieve equitable to distribution and access to land for black South Africans. An example of this is that currently the Department of Public Works
and Infrastructure is still awaiting for National Treasury to endorse the release of over 323 000 hectares of land for social economic projects. Former President of South Africa Mr Kgalema Mothlanthe said and I quote:
If property is not protected you destroy its value and if there is no value then you won’t have an economy going forward.
In the light of this, what government initiatives are there that are inclusive, protecting the rights of farm workers, farmers as well as the protection of property rights, while condemning the work of anarchists and antagonists who seeks to negate all progress made through the government’s cohesion projects?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Thring, in future you must reduce your preambles to your question, because now you take our time that does not belong to you, it belongs to other members.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Deputy Speaker, let me try and correct the assertion that people are taking advantage and they are abusing landlessness, they are trying to make ... I disagree with that point because as a country we have got a past. We are coming from a past where people have been disposed of their land. That we
know it is documented in our history. This government, as a country, having recognised the problem, we have taken the necessary steps to correct it. That is why are talking about it. It is not about political point scoring; it’s about addressing a problem that happened in the past. I think we should allow that conversation to move on because it is about addressing a problem.
As government, we have decided to reintroduce the Expropriation Bill, as allowed by the Constitution to say and i quote:
Where possible government must put legislation to define the conditions under which land can be expropriated for public purpose.”
That can be challenged but we are going to put the Bill before you. It is in the Constitution and some are saying we should have proceeded with this, there is no need to amend Section 25 and what not but as this Parliament, we have decided to amend Section 25 so that we are that where there is a public a outcry about a certain piece of land, government can take the necessarily steps to restore that land to the right full owners. Or if there is public usage for that piece of land, government can expropriate. That is why we have taken these two steps. It’s not like people are
talking about this subjecting in this country because they want to score political points. Thank you very much.
Inkosi R N CEBEKHULU: Angibonge, Sekela Somlomo, mhlonishwa Sekela Mongameli, ukhuluma ngokubuyiselwa komhlaba ebantwini ukusiza abantu ukuthi bakwazi ukulima bazithuthukise bakwazi ukuzondla bondle neNingizimu Afrika. Kunabalimi abampisholo ababesebenza vele emapulazini ashiyiwe ngabalimi abamhlophe abaqhubeke namapulazi bawasebenza ngempumelelo. Ngenxa ... [Akuzwakali] abanye bamalungu ePhalamende ... behluleka ukwasebenzisa amapulazi
... abantu abantu vele abakhiqizayo njengamanje.
Case in point, in the Eastern Cape ...
... sinomlimi obephumelela, kusuke umakhelwane wakhe wazomphuca ipulazi. Nasesifundazweni saseMpumalanga nakhona kwenzeke okufanayo. Ngabe-ke mhlonishwa Sekela Mongameli, ukhona yini umgomo okhona womhlaba othi umlimi nomlimi kufuneka abe namapulazi amangaki? Ukuze kugwenywe ubugovu ebesikubona kwabamhlophe lapho khona omhlophe eba namapulazi mhlawumbe abalelwa kwayishumi ukuya kwamgamashumi amabili eyedwa ezifundazweni ezehlukene.
Ukhona umgomo mhlonishwa Sekela Mongameli ozovimbela ubugovu lapho khona abantu bezogxamalaza ngoba nakhu bebona izindawo ezinye zikhiqiza kahle ngoba zisetshenzwa bona bengakwazi ukuzisebenzela. Ngiyathokoza.
USEKELA MONGAMELI: Ngiyabonga Sekela Somlomo, asinawo umthetho wokuthi uma unamapulazi kufanele ube nepulazi elilodwa, amabili, amathathu, ungadluli kwamahlanu, azinawo lowo mthetho. Kodwa ekufanele ngikusho kuleli lungu elihloniphekile ukuthi sibe nenhlanhla kakhulu lapha eNingizimu Afrika ngoba sithe uma sikhuluma ngokwabiwa komhlaba bavela laba bantu bebala elimhlophe bathi thina sizimisele ukusebenzisana noHulumeni futhi sizimisele ukuthi umhlaba omunye esinawo esingawusebenzisi singanikezela ngawo. Kungakho sayikhangisa i-Land Donations Policy ngoba sifuna ukuvumela wonke umuntu ofuna ukunikezela ngomhlaba ukuthi akwenze lokho ngaphansi komgomo othile. Inqubomgomo le njengoba sikhuluma izobhekwa, seyifike ekugcineni, siyishicilelile, abantu bayibheka, manje seyifika la isiGungu sesiShayamthetho kumele sithathe isinqumo sokugcina.
Siyosebenzisa leyo nqubomgomo ukuthi uma umuntu efuna ukunikela ngomhlaba asebenzise leyo nqubomgomo. Abaphathi bezimayini, yizinkampani ezinkulu, bafikile kimi bafikile kuMongameli athi umhlaba lo singanikela ngawo. Singanisiza futhi ukuthi
siyibuyisele esimweni la ungalimeka khona, siwubuyisela kunina. Manje-ke, siyayibonga lento leyo.
We want to say thank you to all South Africans who are taking that attitude of donating land because this is the right thing to do.
It’s happening a very good spirit that seeks to build South Africa.
Kodwa-ke, kukhona la umhlaba sizowuthatha ngoba sinezizathu ezithile esizibekayo sizibeke phambi kwesizwe ukuthi lomhlaba lo siyawuthatha siwuHulumeni ngalesi zathu lesi nalesi zathu lesiya futhi sizimisele ukuthi singawukhokheli lowo mhlaba noma sikhokhe imali ethize. Kodwa-ke, inkuluma ekhona lapha eNdlini ikhuluma ngokuthi siwuthathe umhlaba singawukhokheli umangabe sifuna ukuwusebenzisela ...
... For the public concern.
Umhlaba lo siwuthatha ngoba sifuna ukuthi sisize isizwe saseNingizimu Afrika. Sizokubeka lokho ngengezizathu ukuthi nazi
izizathu, umangabe inkantolo ithi lezi zizathu azizwakali izokusho lokho lithi, cha Hulumeni, lethani ezinye izizathu, azikho izizathu ezifana nalezi ezingangigunyaza nje ukuthi ngithathe umhlaba. Ngiyabonga.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, we can assure the House that the money which has been made available to South African Airways, SAA, will be put to good use. Government, through the Department of Public Enterprises, will closely monitor these funds to ensure that they are used solely for intended purposes, as reflected in the Business Rescue Plan. The Department of Enterprise will be charged to ensure that this money is utilised correctly. On top of that, Treasury will also be charged with that oversight to ensure that this time around this money is put into good use.
As indicated during our oral replies to the National Council of Provinces on 03 March 2020, government took a decision to heed the business rescue practitioners’ advice not liquidate SAA, but preferred to restructure and transform the national carrier into a self-sustaining airline.
The general scepticism by some South Africans towards the viability of keeping and providing government’s financial support
to SAA is understandable, especially, given the historical challenges experienced by the airline that has cumulatively impacted on its financial performance and competitiveness. It is common cause that the current state of our national carrier is largely as a result of legacy issues relating to tough global aviation conditions, poor governance within the management of the airline, mismanagement and other malfeasances that we all know.
[Inaudible.] of ensuring that SAA is kept afloat and contributes to the country’s economy, far outweighs those of collapsing the national carrier. For instance, through the national carrier we are able to facilitate international and regional trade, through reliable air connectivity in the region, especially the movement of people and goods. Indirect benefits in the supply chain including food and beverage, retail goods, business services for example, call centres, transport and manufacturing of goods further contribute to the economy. There is direct contribution to the country’s tourism and job creation in the sector. Productivity levels are improved across the economy as SAA Technical aircraft maintenance provides services to other local airlines that do not have maintenance licensing. There is also advancement of the country’s innovation and skills development through SAA’s cadet programme, as well as contributing to the advancement of the aerospace industry’s technical capability for our country.
Considering all these economic benefits, it is notable that governments across the world recognise the airline industry as an essential economic enabler, and thus are rendering relevant support to their aviation enterprises. Equally so, South Africa as a developing country needs to maintain air connectivity towards achieving economic development in line with these global trends.
In pursuing this path, it is encouraging to note that government’s efforts of turning around SAA and placing it on a sustainable path. The Department of Public Enterprises is working on a transitional plan for the exit of the Business Rescue Practitioners, and further, in placing the airline under the guardianship of a duly established leadership.
This work will be embarked upon finalisation of an agreement with relevant stakeholders, including employees, their respective trade unions and SAA management on the revision of terms and conditions. Once all these measures have been undertaken, we are certain to have a world-class airline that is competitive, reliable and the most sought after carrier in the African continent — of which all South Africans can be proud.
Hon Deputy Speaker, with the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in flight cancellations, grounding of
aircrafts, and closure of airports as well as retrenchments of employees, governments across the world had to step in to support their airlines thus cushioning them from such challenges.
Accordingly, SAA has not been immune to these challenges facing airlines globally including challenges prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we embark on efforts of reconstruction and recovery, our success largely depends on well-run and effectively coordinated state institutions that consistently deliver high-quality services, while prioritising the nation’s developmental objectives as envisioned by the National Development Plan. The allocation of the R10,5 billion will thus contribute to easing long-term obligations such as legacy debt, high cost of labour and leases, thus improving on the cost structure of the airline.
The identification of a strategic equity partner for instance, seeks to ensure that the airline receives no further funding from government. Its strategic importance is therefore to bring in equity, fit-for-purpose management skills, technology and commercial acumen into the entity. These interventions should contribute to placing the airline on a new path of recovery.
As part of ensuring effectiveness of the interventions by government in supporting our strategic state owned entities, SOEs, including the SAA, work within government is continuing under the leadership of President of ensuring that our country’s SOEs are aligned to the country’s developmental agenda and are thus viable, efficient, effective and competitive. For instance, the Presidential State Owned Enterprises Council which comprises of leadership from government, some Ministers, labour, business and academia [Inaudible]. These are leaders that are charged with providing ... to reposition SOEs as effective instruments of economic development.
The need to ensure that SAA is overseen by an effective management is an area which applies across all our state owned enterprises.
We are confident that efforts being led by the Presidential State Owned Enterprises Council will result in having efficiently managed SOEs that are development orientated and contributing to the deepening of South Africa’s industrialisation.
It is our view that in order to change the trajectory of our national airline, we need to have a capable workforce that is skilled, experienced and focused on the developmental agenda. Therefore, our expectation is that the new Board, which will be appointed in the next few weeks and days, will focus on returning
the airline to sustainability. This expectation also implies that the appointment of the airline’s executive team, which will be done after the appointment of the board, must happen with immediate effect. Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker.
Moh G K TSEKE: Ke a leboga Motlatsammusakgotla wa Ntlo, gape ke rata go leboga MotlatsaMoporesitente wa nag aka karabo e e nonofileng e a re fileng yona.
Deputy President, the process that you have outlined in the response in the future of the South African Airways has a number of options. There is a discussion around two options being the recapitalisation route with restructuring or the liquidation route. In your opinion, what makes the recapitalisation and the restructuring a rational and preferred option, and will it serve the interest of the airline and country better than liquidation? Thank you, Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Deputy Speaker, the route that we have chosen ... [Inaudible.] ... not liquidation is informed by a number of reasons. Firstly, whether you like it or not, if you take liquidation you are not exempted from paying your lenders and
creditors. You will have to pay your employees some retrenchment packages which is also a cost to government. Some of the aeroplanes were leased and we are owing money for those leased aircrafts. Whether you opt for liquidation you must pay that debt. So, we were going to pay large sums of money and finally liquidate the airline and remain with nothing.
The route that we have chosen that yes, the obligation of paying all your lenders, your creditors and all that is a must, but let us try and restructure the airline and have the airline for our developmental needs. This airline is a good instrument and catalyst for growth and development, like we have said. Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Deputy Speaker, a very good afternoon to you, Deputy President. The success of the SAA will depend on learning from the mistakes that we made in the past. Something that I have repeatedly brought to the attention of our House but we did not get answers: What really happened in the case of Coleman Andrews who sold an entire fleet of aeroplanes to his own company and then leased it from the very same company. Why are there no repercussions for that and why are we not recovering the money?
The other mistake has been our call centre. Like you said, we spoke about the call centre ... [Inaudible.] ...USA ... [Inaudible.] ... one in three workers not being at work and things. But very importantly, Deputy President, since we are complaining that we are using taxpayers’ money, will you encourage that all public representatives and officials use SAA once it is air again in order to make a success of the SAA and since charity begins at home?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The hon member is coming with a very creative proposal but remember: Parliament is a different arm of the state. Parliament can take that decision that all our members must use SAA. This is our airline. You are within your right to do that, but SAA must be able to service you and not continue to have flights cancelled, disrupt your programmes and all that. It must be an efficiently run airline.
The problem that you are talking about of a number of aeroplanes that were sold and leased again, we are not getting the business rationale for that. The explanation that was given to us was that it is costly to run an aeroplane that you own rather than to run an aeroplane that you have leased because you can always change it as and when you feel it must go for a service and get another one.
Whether that is correct I think it is for the Department of Enterprises and it is still investigating the matter.
I must say that South Africa needs an airline. We are just unfortunate with what happened to SAA. The South African Airways was not well run, there was mismanagement and a lot of corruption within SAA. If it was a well-run airline, I can tell you it was going to boost the country.
Going forward, like I said, to curb that and ensure that we do not return to that eventuality of corruption and mismanagement, we felt that this time around we must get an equity partner. We must get the private sector that will run this airline together with us so that there is an infusion of better skills that we don’t have in the public sector that will come from the private sector. We think that we are going to succeed but we need this airline. Thank you very much.
Mr R A LEES: Hon Deputy Speaker, through you to the Deputy President, the question of SAA and the question of Coleman Andrews have been tackled a long time ago. And has that epitome in the airline have any impact at all in the running of the airline over the last five years and the losses [Inaudible] that we have incurred during that period?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The hon member seems to have been disconnected. Is there anyone in the House who can complete this question?
Mr R A LEES: Hon Deputy Speaker, can you hear me now.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, please finalise because you have run out of time. Go ahead. You are almost running out of time. Ask your question directly.
Mr R A LEES: Can the Deputy President please explain whether or not the history of Coleman Andrews’ sale of aeroplanes had any impact on the matter of losses that have been incurred by SAA over the last five years and the bailouts that have resulted?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Deputy Speaker, I think I might have heard question that the impact of the sale of the aeroplanes to the situation in which SAA finds itself. Am I correct, Deputy Speaker?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes. In other words, he says that the impact of Coleman Andrews and what he did, are we attributing the recent bailouts and other things to him as well?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Not really, we still want to investigate the impact of that decision by the previous board of SAA. That will be separate as it is going to be investigated, but the business rescue practitioners were given an assignment to rescue SAA [Inaudible.] ... collapsing ... because they have indicated the debt that we owe to say that if you want to resuscitate this airline this is what you need. They did not go into details of SAA. Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, hon Deputy President. Hon Kwankwa? Are you coming through, hon member? He is not connected?
An HON MEMBER: He is covered, Deputy Speaker. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: If hon Kwankwa is ... is there anyone in the House who can represent him? I am afraid if we do not get any indication of what is happening because he should have communicated to us, we will proceed to the next question which is asked by hon Buthelezi. Deputy President?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. We have always been open and frank about the issues surrounding Eskom and how Eskom should be turned around for it to succeed. Even to this
date, hon Deputy Speaker, we continue to be alive to the reality faced by the power utility, and by the way, which is largely informed by legacy issues and other challenges related to rising debts. As government, our top priority is to address Eskom’s financial and operational challenges and return it to a growth trajectory. Given the strategic role and importance of Eskom to the economy, failure to turn Eskom around is not an option. It is thus no coincidence that over the past few years, Eskom’s focus has been on strengthening its financial position through demand stimulation, cost curtailment and efficiencies, as well as striving to achieve a cost effective price of electricity.
This was brought from government, which commenced now in the 2020 financial year. In addition, Eskom is implementing a comprehensive turnaround plan with focus on five key areas, that is namely; operational recovery, improving the income statement, addressing the balance sheet, accelerating the restructuring of Eskom into three divisions, and building a high performance organisation through addressing the corporate culture to energise the workforce. Notwithstanding prevailing challenges, we ought to accept that discernible progress has been made in stabilising the utility and placing it on a sustainable path.
Hon Deputy Speaker, on the issue of financial results as released by Eskom, let us understand the loss for what it is. Correctly speaking, a net loss is not a demonstration that no work is being done as there has been recorded revenue growth. It is true that Eskom recorded a net loss of R20,5 billion for the 2019-20 financial year, of which is in line with what was budgeted and in the first place affected by revenue collection. At the same time, Eskom also posted an operating profit of R9,2 billion during the previous financial year. However, the unsustainable debt level of more than R480 billion has led to Eskom’s gross interest cost becoming the second biggest cost item after coal costs, higher than both employees benefit costs and capital expenditure.
We wish to place it on record that government has taken a view that Eskom must be supported to implement a comprehensive turnaround programme. This will ensure that the utility develops and enhances its requisite institutional capabilities to meet the country’s energy needs. This is why the Eskom Political Task Team which is aimed at ensuring that Eskom is able to resolve its problems typically meets every month. These meetings are preceded by those of Eskom’s Technical Task Team made up of respective directors-generals, together with Eskom officials and other stakeholders, technical experts and regulatory bodies to deliberate on key matters that would take these utilities forward.
Cost savings remain a key aspect of the financial turnaround plan. The 2020-21 corporate plan outlines a cost savings target of
R55,6 billion over the next three-year period from the financial year 2021, to the financial year 2023. The cost saving target for the financial year 2021 is targeted at R14,1 billion. Therefore, even with government support, Eskom’s liquidity remains constrained due to poor long-term financial sustainability.
Government’s equity support is assisting Eskom in servicing its debt commitments, nonetheless, equity support only improves liquidity, but will not finally resolve Eskom’s financial viability.
In the implementation of timelines envisaged in the Department of Public Enterprises’ roadmap, Eskom has reported that the timelines for the transmission can be met, although the legal separation of generation and distribution will take somewhat longer time. The delay is due to legal and regulatory changes which are beyond Eskom’s control. Eskom has also decided to accelerate the legal separation of transmission, which will create the required certainty for prospective investors in generation capacity, in turn ensuring that bids are fairly adjudicated, relative to Eskom generation. The end state of the process is to ensure that the three divisions will be able to operate as standalone and financially viable businesses. This will further ensure that Eskom
is able to mitigate the risks to debt and lender security as well as asset base. In view of this, we are comfortable with the progress towards achieving the milestones envisaged in the roadmap. That means that Eskom is on track.
While Eskom is improving its revenue and debt collection measures to fund its operations and ensure that electricity is supplied on a sustainable basis, rising municipal debts continue to pose serious risks to Eskom’s long-term financial sustainability. They also significantly contribute to liquidity challenges that are facing the entity. We therefore fully support Eskom’s efforts to collect revenue by following its credit control measures, and we reiterate our commitment made in both Houses to ensure that organs of state do expedite payment that is outstanding and that is owed to Eskom, and that they settle all outstanding debts that are owed to municipalities.
The Eskom Political Task Team is also in the process of finalising an effective institutional mechanism and resolve disputes where there are disagreements on the debt amounts that is owed. This will culminate in the appointment of facilitators to oversee this process. More importantly, hon Deputy Speaker, we have a responsibility to improve a culture of payment for services such as electricity and water by our communities to avoid unnecessary
disruptions in the provision of these services. We are in the process of rolling-out a comprehensive campaign to raise awareness and encourage our people to pay for electricity and other services that they consume. This is the right thing our people must do, to pay for the services that they consume. We make this clarion call on all our communities to pay for electricity so that we can enable Eskom and municipalities to provide these services on a continuous and sustainable basis. Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, Deputy President. Before I give to hon Buthelezi, may I request members on the virtual platform to kindly switch off your videos. It may just help to improve the bandwidth available to the Deputy President as he responds in the House. Switching off your video may just contribute to that, please do that. Therefore, those who ask a supplementary question can switch them on when they ask and switch it off when they have done so. Hon members, let’s invite hon Buthelezi E M.
Mr E M BUTHELEZI: Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker. The Minister of Finance has indicated that the Public Investment Corporation, PIC, is willing to help Eskom’s debt and ... [Inaudible.] ... suggest that ... [Inaudible.] ... Eskom are already in talks to this arrangement. If then talks are
successful, can the Deputy President tell us when Eskom’s foresee itself being debt free and financial viable and secondly, what happens if Eskom fail to fulfil its end of agreement? Will the South Africans public have to sacrifice critical government projects to resolve the debt as we have seen with the SA Airways, SAA? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker. There is only one meeting that I’ve attended with the PIC where the Eskom debt was discussed. It was an initial discussion that did not go very far enough to really confirm where that PIC is willing to take a step forward to come closer to the challenge that is faced by Eskom to deal with the debt. Therefore, it is an early stage in order to pronounce whether that will be possible or not. And we will allow the discussion to proceed and we are going to be told in due course about the outcome of those discussions.
Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, hon Deputy President. Hon Mkhwanazi, please switch off your microphone. Members on the virtual platform, go ahead hon ... [Interjections.] ... Hon Shelembe, please switch off your microphone. Go ahead, hon member.
Ms J C N MKHWANAZI: Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker. Deputy President, we acknowledge the extraordinary work of the Eskom Political Task Team under your leadership towards Eskom turnaround strategy. As you elaborated at your first response, hon Deputy President, can you elaborate on the plan for the Political Task Team, PTT, to deal with municipal debt to Eskom by big businesses, households, government departments and entities to pay what is due to Eskom and what are all spheres of government and leaders of all sectors of society doing to ensure that all responsible citizens who have income understand the importance of paying the services they receive and how the payment for services will assist municipalities and Eskom to continue rendering these services in a sustainable manner. Deputy Speaker, thank you.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you very much. Hon member, please help us I did hear you talk about the Political Task Team, and later you say PTT. We do want people to hear what you are saying that you are still talking about the same thing. Therefore, I’m requesting you that in future not to do what you did, that is all I’m saying. The Deputy President heard you because he works where they speak that kind of language you are speaking. Deputy President!
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker. You are correct I’ve heard exactly what the member is trying to convey. Now, we have done a bit of work in the Political Task Team which I’m happy of the progress we have made. We have moved in so far as all our public institutions are concerned. Government departments have moved a step forward, just a one-step though grappling some difficult. To date we have recorded almost just above R4 billion money that is coming from the publics that goes into Eskom. Now, Eskom is then dealing with ... [Inaudible.] ...
Eskom is also dealing in some cases with that are municipalities will then cry and request our interventions, but it must be made clear that intervention, whatever cry that municipalities might cry, we are here to support Eskom to recover money.
We are not going to be really lenient to municipalities. Municipalities must know that they must pay. Therefore, we are not lenient to government departments that owe ... finally municipalities must pay Eskom so that we increase the sustainability and help the entire country so that we can grow economically. Thank you.
Mr G K Y CACHALIA: We witnessed a crippling debt compounded by eye- watering losses and never ending search for bailout for Eskom. Now the ANC wants to access the combined surplus of R225 billion
sitting in the Unemployment Compensation Fund. In parallel the Deputy President should note that the Minister Mboweni is again pursuing the PIC, despite misgiving some ANC tripartite alliance whose pockets should be affected by the use of Government Pension Funds. Given that the Unemployment Compensation Funds’ healthy surplus was amassed by prudent investment in private sector, listed companies, what assurances can be given that these funds so desperately so to only bailout were not being squandered as was the case historically and what structural changes vis-a-vie labour look at either on salaries and transparent procurement are envisaged to modify investors and affected parties? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker. With regards to the amount of money that is owed by Eskom, you will remember that, hon Deputy Speaker, we have voted some amount of money to support Eskom as government, and as this House we have passed that deal, and currently as we are speaking we are supporting Eskom. Therefore, the money that is coming to support Eskom is entirely going to the servicing of the debt of the
R480 billion. Of course, they have got an issue with the interests. Now, the problem is compounded by municipalities that are not paying, citizens that are not paying and hence Eskom experiencing a loss of R20,5 billion. It is important to encourage people to pay so that we minimise that loss.
In terms of settling this debt, of course, government is looking at different options and Eskom is looking at different options. I am saying that I attended one meeting with the PIC where they were discussing this Eskom debt, and that meeting was not really indicating whether the PIC is really favourable to assisting or converting the amount that Eskom is owing to the PIC converting it into equity that was not discussed. Therefore, we will allow that process to proceed if it does proceed, but we are looking at different options.
As the Political Task Team, our mandate is to try and assist Eskom to run and run efficiently because with the amount of energy that we are generating and we are selling Eskom can sustain itself. The only problem is the debt and we seem to be stabilising for what
... only need to be attended, but generally the improvement in terms of operational issues, the improvement in terms of our generation capacity, maintenance and all those are on track. The unbundling of Eskom on track and we seem to be battling with a few items on the table, but we can safely say that Eskom is on the right track. Thank you very much.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker. Deputy President, you can’t say to us that Eskom is on the right track. The situation at Eskom is perhaps the greatest risk to a survival
of this country and you need to have the right kind of people at the helm of Eskom and the right kind of policies. We are talking today, Deputy President, you just said it now that Eskom recorded R20,5 billion losses from this past financial year. Eskom is sitting at 71% of gearing which simply means that they are unable to survive without the assistance from government. The situation will become even worse if they are unable to collect revenue and the interest rates shoots up. Did you know that they will then be declared bankrupt, but even worse, Deputy President? Is that this same leadership that is leading Eskom is projecting losses of about R26,2 billion in the next financial year, despite the confirmed government support of R56 billion?
Therefore, Deputy President, despite evidence pre-empting to the incompetence, nepotism and corruption, do you still have confidence in the present leadership of Eskom to lead the entity out of its financial and functional problems, and why is Eskom persisting with the power parties’ agreements with independent power producers... an independent power producer despite a mounting evidence that these agreements are a drain on Eskom’s financial... I thank you, Deputy Speaker. [Time expired.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, you have exceeded your time. Hon Maotwe, you have exceeded your time.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: Jaa, wena you are telling me about time, people have been speaking here for more than five minutes and you have not been saying anything.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, you are out of order.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: You are out of order yourself.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much and thanks to the question.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker. Hon Deputy Speaker, I’m rising on a point of order that hon Maotwe is very out of orderly. She must withdraw and she cannot utter such words to the presiding officer.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, my ruling is that that matter should be referred for consideration so that an appropriate sanction is measured out and I will not rule on that. I think it is better that it referred for dealing with and especially because it doesn’t appear to be the first time, it is a pattern.
Therefore, I think let us deal with that members need to know. Rule 92 is very clear and other rules that say you can’t contest decisions of the presiding officer. If you do, there’s a process
outlined what you need to do. Thank you very much, Chief Whip of the Majority Party. Deputy President!
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker. I must say to the hon member right from the onset that sitting where I’m sitting now I’ve got full confidence in the leadership of Eskom currently. The chief executive officer, CEO, the board, and some of the people that we appointed below the CEO. What I’ve noticed about that leadership is that they are true. When there is a problem they don’t try to appease South Africans, and they say that they talk straight about the problem. When there is success they talk about it and this is the kind of leadership that we require so that when there is a problem they don’t miss their word, they say so. When there is success they don’t miss their word, they say so.
So far, hon member must know that when this leadership was appointed to the utility already there were problems. The biggest problem was the debt level which we are still grappling with.
However, on top of the debt level the maintenance problem, the continuous load shedding that has been abated now, when they were appointed there was continuous load shedding. They have improved the maintenance of our plants and we must give it to them. If we are fair as a country, we must give it to them. Now, the
operations and the staff attitude is gradually changing for the better, and we must give it to them. We must also encourage them, where they have done good we must say so, but not always condemn whether they are doing good, I mean they will be discouraged.
What kind of people are we? Whenever people are doing good at our service we continue to bash at them. We continue to say negative things. I’m saying that I’m at the helm of that institution with the Political Task Team, the problems that we are confronting now are minimised. The biggest problem is the debt. Our people are not paying and that is the problem. Now, the biggest problem that we can sort immediately is that government institutions must pay.
Government departments, municipalities, we are not going to really relax and rest until government departments and municipalities have paid. Then continuously we are going to look for option to deal with the debt of which that leadership in that power utility we appointed found that debt there. Therefore, collectively we are working with them to try and minimise that debt, but I think sitting here we are on the right track. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr I M GROENEWALD: Deputy Speaker, it is common cause that the section 139 intervention in Maluti-a-Phofung failed. The residents
are still suffering due to a complete lack of service delivery and outstanding debt to carry this and it’s still sky-rocketing. These interventions failed at most other municipalities as well.
Municipalities fail to provide basic services, residents and communities are left to fend for themeselves.
In terms of the Local Government Systems Act, communisities are not detachable from the municipality as an entity. Many communities have taken over the role of providing basic services, [Inaudible.] infrastructure removing refuse and so forth. Yet they still have to pay the failed municipalities for services they render themselves.
The legislation does not permit privatization of services but what will the Deputy President’s solution be to address the recourse for these communities whose municipalities and provincial governments have failed them while providing their own services?
Thank you, Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Deputy President, my apologies. I didn’t give you a chance to respond; now he’s already asked a supplementary question, to a response you didn’t give. [Laughter.]
So, I request you to start with the answer, and then you can make a note about his supplementary question to come back to it. My apologies. Please go ahead, Deputy President.
A rookie error, you sat there and kept quiet. You didn’t [Inaudible.] [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Deputy Speaker, ja [yes], I understand the problem. Can I answer the question? Deputy Speaker, can I answer the question?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, please. Go ahead, ntate [sir].
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Okay.
Deputy Speaker, section 139 of the Constitution provides for provincial intervention in local government when a municipality cannot or does not fulfill an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution. The relevant provincial executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure fulfillment of that obligation.
In this regard, Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality was placed under section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution on 10 February 2018;
meaning that the Provincial Executive Committee assumed responsibility in Maluti-a-Phofung. This was necessary to maintain essential services, restore finances to a sound footing and establish minimum standards for rendering of services.
It must be noted that dissolution of section 139(1)(b) takes effect after receipt of a notice by the Minister responsible for local government, the provincial legislature and the NCOP; unless set aside by the Minister or the council of provinces. In this case of Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality, the decision to revoke Section 139 was a collective decision of all the parties involved.
Wish to remind ourselves of the reasons why there was an intervention in this municipality. According to the close-out report by the Administrator then, matters of concern in the municipality were: the rising debt to Eskom; non-payment of third parties, covering pensions and medical aids; political instability in the municipality; poor or non-existent service delivery to residents; poor financial management; allegations of fraud and corruption; institutional instability; labour instability; and, noncompliance of corporate governance prescripts by Maluti-a- Phofung Water.
The reasons provided for the revoking of Section 139(1)(b) were that the municipality was now stable enough to run its affairs following the election of the council, which included the election of an executive mayor, a Speaker and a Chief Whip. Council structures of governance were elected and meetings were now taking place on a regular basis; unlike the earlier situation of 2018 where Council did not sit for eight months.
Furthermore, the senior positions of municipal manager and chief financial officer had also been filled to bolster institutional capacity and sound financial management of the municipality.
In the close out report of the administrator and motivation provided for revocation, the province committed to develop a post- intervention support package for the municipality aimed at strengthening its capacity to manage its own affairs, exercise its powers and perform its functions in line with section 154 of the Constitution.
What is not in doubt is that even with these measures, the municipality continues to struggle in fulfilling its obligations to the people. The facts on the ground suggest that service delivery gaps have not been addressed. This point is further made by the administrator in his close-out report wherein he flagged
risks facing the municipality, which include regular interruptions in the delivery of portable water, cash flow management and financial sustainability, political interference in the administration as well as a number of pending legal actions.
The question we should therefore ask ourselves here today is why we have agreed to the lifting of the intervention at the time, given persistent challenges faced by the municipality and its inability to deliver basic services?
It is evident that despite the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality having been provided with the necessary resources it is still unable on its own to effectively and efficiently provide basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity.
It is, therefore, our submission, hon Deputy Speaker, that in hindsight, section 139(1)(b) may have been prematurely revoked. The current and recurring challenges call on us to intervene immediately to provide the necessary support to the municipality so that it meets its constitutional obligation to the people is more than urgent. That is what we plan to do.
Earlier this month we made an undertaking to visit Maluti-a- Phofung Local Municipality and ensure that the people of QwaQwa
receive water and electricity. This remains our commitment in this regard and we are pleased to report that a technical team comprising national government departments, the Free State Office of the Premier and Provincial Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, CoGTA, had begun work in this regard. We have also committed that through the Eskom Political Task Team, we will intervene in the impasse between Eskom and the municipality to ensure that there is support to the municipality to be able to collect revenue and pay their creditors.
To this end, tomorrow on the 27th of November, together with the Minister of Public Enterprises, the Deputy Minister of CoGTA, the Free State Premier, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Eskom as well as the leadership of the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality, we will be meeting to find a solution to these immediate challenges that led to the disruption of electricity supply and lack of water.
Indeed, the residents of QwaQwa, Harrismith, Kestell deserve better and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. It is after all what we have promised them as leaders who have been elected by them. Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, we go to the second question. Hon Hadebe!
Mr I M GROENEWALD: Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, sir.
Mr I M GROENEWALD: Deputy Speaker, I did raise a question to the deputy president that wasn’t answered then, he only responded then to the first one. If you will allow me can I ... gonna adjust my question and re-ask to the Deputy President? [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no, no, don’t rule on my behalf please. [Laughter.] I’m still here, by the way. I’m still here.
Hon member, summarise it please. I realise that, you’re right. Go ahead.
Mr I M GROENEWALD: Deputy Speaker, I listened to what the Deputy President said but he must also understand the frustration of communities that are paying for the services and not receiving it. It’s more than a year and only now are the role players coming together.
So, the question stands, the legislation does not permit privatization of services, but what will the Deputy President’s solution be to address a recourse for these communities whose municipalities and provincial governments have failed while providing their own services. Thank you, Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, because it was my mistake, I used my discretion to allow him to do what he just done. This is not what you must try and do next time. I will say No. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, well, that is why I’m convening a meeting tomorrow of all the role players that I’ve mentioned and I’ve requested a technical task team to go there; they’ve not yet presented a report back to me and with proposal on what best can do to address the situation.
But my intention of convening tomorrow’s meeting is to get it exactly from these leaders what is the best for that municipality because these leaders must understand that as mush as there are these challenges, the people who are suffering are the people in that municipality.
So, we are accepting the fault of prematurely revoking the section
139 having not really resolved all the issues. That is why we are
going back now to assess and what best we can try and assist this situation.
So, I’m going to really try my best to try and ... we’d be available ... leadership ... to try and resolve the situation in order for these people in this municipality to receive their services.
We must apologise to those who are paying for services that they are not receiving. We are encouraging our people to pay for services. Some people in this municipality are paying for services on a monthly basis but they are receiving disrupted services, at times no services at all. Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker.
Mr B M HADEBE: Hon the Deputy President, mindful of the fact that section 139 is provincial intervention in local government, however, on the 23rd of August 2019 national government took over the intervention in Maluti-a-Phofung and again, on the 1st of April 2020 another provincial intervention was appointed.
There have been inconsistencies in the application and implementation of section 139 by provincial executives; Maluti-a- Phofung being a classical example of this.
My question, therefore, Deputy President: How far is the process of promulgating the national legislation to regulate the implementation of section 139, which will entail the duration of the intervention and steps to be taken or considered when invoking section 139? And can this be addressed expeditiously since the situation is dire in our municipalities? I thank you.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, hon Makhosini, please switch off your mic. Switch off your mic, hon member.
Rre B M HADEBE: Batho ba ba tshwenya, Motlatsammusakgotla. Ke feditse, ke a leboga.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Hon Deputy Speaker, yes, I agree that there might be inconsistencies in this regard, in the application of the Act; that is why we are admitting that we might have prematurely lifted the intervention.
But whether we have done our best in the intervention, that is another question that we must look at that I’m going to get a response from all those that we’ve requested to go there.
In terms of the duration, according to the Constitution there’s no times stipulated for the intervention. The intervention can go on and on as long as the municipality is not fit to render the services as expected by that very section, section 152, if I’m correct, of the Constitution. Now, we can only lift the intervention when we are of the opinion that the municipality is now capable, the municipality has regained its capability and capacity to render the services as expected by the Constitution.
In this regard, I don’t think that was the case. We might have lifted the intervention at a point where the municipality has not reached a point where it can render the services as expected by the Constitution. Thank you very much.
Mr C BRINK: Deputy Speaker, Maluti-a-Phofung is one of those municipalities that owe a great deal of debt to Eskom and struggles to pay.
As of the 31st of July the total municipal debt to Eskom amounted to R43,9 billion of which R30,9 billion was overdue.
Now, the Deputy President has referred to the tough credit action taken by Eskom including the attachment of assets, but that will have severe effects on service delivery.
There was an Inter-Ministerial Task Team who looked at the issue of municipal debt to Eskom and other bulk service providers that expired at the end of the last Parliament; that task now seems to fall to the Deputy President and his task team.
My question is: In respect of improving the payment rate of municipalities to Eskom, especially those municipalities that owe more than a billion in overdue debt, what successes achieved by this government can the Deputy President point to? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, I think since the political task team has been appointed we have made reasonable progress, not to our satisfaction. Like I said [Inaudible.] that is owed by public entities; by public entities in this case I mean your municipalities, your government departments. Money that is owed to Eskom, slightly above R4 billion has been paid since we were trying to push government departments to pay. But we are putting our mechanisms in place to really force departments to pay. We are going to be harder and harder as we move on.
So, there would be an improvement. The stance that is taken by Eskom in dealing with municipalities that are not paying, Eskom has got our support. We supporting until such time municipalities
must tell us why they are not paying and they must make arrangements to pay. We are serious about this.
We are going to listen to the case tomorrow and the municipality must pay. This time I’m going there because now our people are suff ... between Eskom and the municipality, then people are suffering. But that tussle is necessary, Eskom must fight in order to get its money back; and it’s going to happen to a number of municipalities that are not paying. We are serious, we want them to pay. And we are serious that government departments [Inaudible.] that owe municipalities going forward. Thank you very much.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Deputy President, the seasoned departed Auditor- General consistently reported about the dire state of municipal governance in the country for the past few years. This ranges from poorly skilled managers who are there nearly because of their proximity to the ruling party to deliberate acts of corruption and mismanagement, to high vacancy raise and the inability of many rural municipalities to raise their own revenues.
Most of these section 139 interventions, Deputy President, across country have not worked.
What is your view ... needs to be done to deal with the mess at a local government?
What legislative and institutional changes do you think needs to be made to resolve crisis of mismanagement in the municipalities? Thank you, Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Deputy Speaker, I think all the issues hammered again and again by the Auditor-General. The biggest issue in our local government space, though we must not classify all the municipalities as failures, there are some municipalities that are an epitome of success, they are doing very well, they are getting clean audits year in year out; so, there are those municipalities.
What can we learn from those municipalities? What we can learn from those municipalities is that here’s good leadership. We need good leadership and very stable leadership; politically and administratively. Leadership that doesn’t interfere in the day to day running of the municipality; otherwise they are going to cause chaos.
In a number of these municipalities that are not performing very well you’ll find that there is leadership problem; leadership instability, infighting amongst those that are supposed to lead
it, they call them the troika and the chief. Because in that instance in a municipality you’ve got the executive arm, which is located within the same municipality, and we’ve got the legislative arm located in the same municipality led by the Speaker, the mayor leading the executive arm, they must coexist, and you’ve got the Chief Whip that is leading the majority party in that municipality. Now, you find these three not really working together and causing instability.
The second problem is the skills that are lacking there. In the main, financial management skills are lacking and they are not there; and you find that most of the people that are employed in these struggling municipalities are not relevantly qualified to be in those positions. That is why you’ve got financial problems; mismanagement of finances.
Thirdly, municipalities are struggling because they are failing to collect revenue; they don’t have the capacity. The municipality is like a shop, municipalities are there to sell services, they are selling electricity, they are selling water, they can’t sell these services at a loss; otherwise they will collapse. In our municipalities that are collapsing the capacity to collect revenue is found to be wanting; financial management is not there. But again, even the ability to increase the revenue space, leadership
should be aware that it must create opportunities for business activities so that they can broaden their revenue space. So, we don’t have that kind of leadership and the biggest challenge is stability in the leadership of an institution; that we don’t have. Yes, we agree mainly with the Auditor-General and probably as provinces we did not insist on the remedial actions that must be taken and be enforced and to ensure that we listen to the Auditor- General. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker. Despite all the progressives towards the empowerment of women, women still remain at the receiving end of discrimination and violence, and are at the margins of society with limited economic participation as a result of patriarchy. It is an indictment on our collective psyche as a nation that six decades after women marched to the Union Buildings to demand their inalienable rights to freedom, equality and dignity, we still have not substantively resolved these issues including ending the scourge of gender based violence and femicide.
Sadly, the year 2020 also marks a blot in our country’s history, as we contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as what the President has characterised as the second pandemic – the scourge
of gender-based violence and femicide in our country. This comes on the back of another march to the Union Buildings held as recently as last year to raise fundamentally the same issues by women. Violence against women is a direct offence against the founding values of our Constitution, which envisages a democratic state founded on human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedom.
Hon Deputy Speaker, all of us have a moral obligation and constitutional responsibility to ensure that women and girl- children are protected and made to feel safe in their homes, at school, wherever they walk in the streets, in the workplace and even on social media platforms. Everyone must take responsibility in their spaces to deal with the societal ills that are facing our country – gender-based violence and femicide being one of them.
All of us must stand up to solve the challenges that we are experiencing as a country. We hear the cries of women and our children to have space to live and fulfil their dreams and aspirations, and therefore as society it is incumbent upon all of us to make it possible. We must give women and our girl-children that space and that freedom to live.
The violation of women goes against all that our democracy should be about, which guarantees the full emancipation of women. To this
scourge, we cannot talk of moral regeneration without talking about concurrent role of men in promoting ...
Hon Deputy Speaker, in leading government’s response the President launched the national strategic plan on gender-based violence and femicide in April this year and it which outlines targeted interventions and measures in terms of the following areas: urgently responding to victims and survivors of gender-based violence; broadening access to justice for survivors; change social norms and behaviour; and strengthen and promote accountability and the creation of economic opportunities for women who are vulnerable.
This plan is a pragmatic blueprint to stem the epidemic of gender- based violence and femicide [Inaudible.] It also calls for the provision of [Inaudible.] accessible from all sectors of our society to implement this national plan is required.
To guide the implementation Cabinet has approved the establishment of the national council on gender-based violence and femicide.
This structure will greatly enhance co-ordination of multisectoral efforts in responding to this national challenge and will also work closely with the SA National AIDS Council as there is
evidence of a relationship between acts of gender-based violence and HIV infections.
As government we continue to strengthen our criminal justice system to ensure that victims of gender-based violence and femicide are able to access justice and feel protected under the laws of this country. We are also determined to broaden access to justice for victims and survivors of gender-based violence and femicide.
In this regard, three pieces of legislation, namely the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill, Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill and Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill are currently being processed. This legislative intervention is in addition to a variety of interventions implemented by various government departments. They include the Thuthuzela Care Centres that are established by the National Prosecuting Authority, which enable the provision of medical, legal and psychological management support to survivors of sexual violence to prevent secondary victimisation.
In implementing the national strategic plan, government will continue to work closely with social partners, including the Moral Regeneration Movement to facilitate community interventions that
promote social connectedness and healing. We are encouraged by the work happening in KwaZulu-Natal where they have integrated the provincial council on Aids, gender-based violence, social cohesion and Moral Regeneration Councils and align and fight against HIV and Aids as well as gender-based violence epidemic through nation building. The extended plenary of SA National Aids Council, Sanac, that was held on 21 November applauded this initiative by KwaZulu- Natal.
We also salute the various men’s movement which have stepped forward to be champions of change. The recent Men’s Parliament which took place in this House calling for institutionalising a responsive men’s movement to end gender-based violence in particular and all forms of violence in general, heralds an important stride in our collective response in mobilising the broader society towards building a cohesive South Africa that protects the human rights of women to life, equality and dignity.
The aim of this initiative is to draw attention of society to the Men’s Parliament, which is an initiative by the men’s sector of Sanac in partnership with a range of stakeholders in civil society, private sector and government, including Parliament, was held on 19-20 November 2020, is a progressive step. With the country’s adoption of the national strategic plan on gender-based
violence and femicide, Men’s Parliaments and Boys Assemblies are crucial mechanisms to support the country’s efforts to deal decisively with gender-based violence and femicide that is harming and violating women, mothers, grandmothers, sisters and girl- children. Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker.
Deputy Speaker, can I request five minutes of your time to go and pay tax?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, please do it. The Revenue Service want it.
BUSINESS SUSPENDED AT 16:43 AND RESUMED AT 16:47.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, Deputy Speaker, I am back.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Deputy President, we are still in charge. Just give us one more minute and we will allow you to speak. We do appreciate the taxes you have paid. Thank you, hon members. Deputy President, please, go ahead.
Ms B SWARTS: Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. Hon Deputy President, I welcome the call you have made for the entire society to take responsibility. Indeed, the society is making an effort to address
this pandemic called gender-based violence and femicide. Recently, you emphasised the government’s role in functioning through a co- ordinated manner known as the district development model.
Political champions have each been allocated per district and the gender-based violence and femicide, GBVF, forms part of their work. In KwaZulu-Natal, for example, the model of integration is working relatively well. Do you think that the district development model can be used as a model for implementing the Moral Regeneration Movement and the gender-based violence and femicide programme? Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Like I’ve said from the meeting of Sanac and the extended plenary, we appreciated the intervention made by KwaZulu-Natal. They have done that at a provincial level by including all stakeholders in the fight against HIV, in the fight against gender-based violence and a number of programmes in the same platform. But we were saying to the extended council that we must now move to the district level where we must create that platform. The council for gender-based violence and femicide that is going to be appointed must find its expression at a district level and it must work together with the Aids councils and a number of programmes at that level so that we co-ordinate our collective response as a country in fighting all these social ills. Including moral regeneration, we are going to
work with men and boys at a district level so that collectively all these stakeholders must work together to deal with these social ills. Thank you very much.
Ms N K SHARIF: Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker. Deputy President, we so much talk of morality and the ANC continuously attempting to claim the ethical and moral [Inaudible.] to no avail. In fact, it is absolutely tragic to watch as the ANC consistently shows its hypocrisy. Gender-bases violence is not a game that the ANC can play around with. So, please tell us why has your ANC reinstated an alleged perpetrator, a provincial executive committee, PEC, member in Mpumalanga who is alleged to have raped his two daughters? Note, the reinstatement has led to the relaxation of his bail conditions. Please, explain right now to South African women and girls who are survivors of rape, why your ANC allowed him back before the law take its course while ignoring the pain of his victims?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, hon member. I understand very well your concern about the decision of the provincial executive committee of the ANC to readmit a member who is alleged to have raped two young children. Well, it is a matter that affects the ANC. You are correct to raise your concern, but let us allow the ANC to deal with that matter. But all of us must
be very sensitive about issues that affect women and children. Whatever your status in society, it is very important that we should respect women; we should respect girl-children.
Let’s allow the ANC to deal with that matter. However, your concern is well placed. Thank you very much.
Mrs H DENNER: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. Deputy President, with all due respect that answer was not enough. It is a great concern that a member of the ANC who is an office bearer in Mpumalanga has been reinstated as an MEC in that province taking into account that the President asked ANC members who are accused in fraud and corruption to step down from their positions while being investigated. Publicly, mind you! Should that not be more so for office bearers of the ANC accused of GBV? Thank you, Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker and hon the member. Thank you for the same question emphasising on the same spot. I understand really the concern coming from women. The decision by that PEC is a concern to everyone, but I’m saying without really deliberating on that decision because it is a decision made by an ANC structure which is a matter that the ANC must deal with. Can we allow space for the ANC to deal with that
matter? But of course as leaders in government we are standing ready to fight the scourge of gender-based violence right from our political parties where we come from. We must lead by example. We are calling for that that all of us in those parties where we come from must lead by example. Therefore, that is why I am saying your concern as members of this House about that decision of the ANC is well placed and it is the ANC to deal with that problem. Thank you very much.
Mr S N SWART: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. Deputy President, indeed, I also share the concerns of colleagues expressing discontent and outrage at that the decision, and I do appreciate that you have given an indication that the party will deal with it, but I am sure you agree that it is outrageous. However, as it has been a long day allow me to put the last question on this question put by my colleague Ms S Swart who put up the follow-up question. Given that the breakdown of the family unit and subsequent economic embattlement of women and children increase the risk for exploitation and abuse, what specific intervention programmes are envisaged by the moral regeneration programme, and what role can and should reliquaries communities play in this regard? Obviously, religious communities can play a key role in fighting gender-based violence. Thank you so much, Deputy Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. The Moral Regeneration Movement, which is a movement of people that are seeking to restore our values, deal with unethical behaviours and tendencies within our society. That bigger movement must grow. It’s going to include all those people that are also fighting and working hard to reverse the scourge of HIV and Aids. We must be part of and we must be together. Those people under the moral regeneration movement are now going to be joined by this council - the council on gender-based violence that is constituted by labour, civil society, business and government. All of us are now forming this big movement to fight these social ills.
It is also the responsibility of government to try and restore the family as a basic unit of society. Remember, some of these children are growing in an environment that you call not it a family. Remember, some of these children don’t have families. Some of these children are growing up in informal settlements. Some of these people don’t have the desired services that must be provided to them. It must be a very comprehensive approach towards fighting these societal ills that are bedevilling our society.
I welcome the other structures like the council, council on HIV and Aids, civil society and business. All of us let’s stand up and fight gender-based violence.
But above all let us request families to try and restore family values. Let’s request fathers to be fathers in their homes. Let’s request mothers to be mothers in their homes. Let us look after our children. That is why we are talking directly to men. Men have organised themselves into this men’s movement trying to really sensitise men about the role that they must play in society. After that, people felt that not men alone, but we must also target young boys. There are movements of young boys. They’ve been to legislatures; they’ve been given opportunity to speak. I see a society that is gradually standing up getting ready to fight these pandemics that are confronting our society. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, allow me a moment to point out that earlier the reaction of hon Maottwe to me pointing out that she had exceeded her time, and her subsequence response to that constituted violation of Rule 92 – I did say that - but specifically Rule 11, which says:
The presiding officer’s ruling on a point of order is final and binding, and may not be challenged or questioned in the House.
Rule 12 says:
(a) A member who is aggrieved by a presiding officer’s ruling on a point of order may subsequently in writing to the Speaker request that the principle or subject matter of the ruling be referred to the Rules Committee.
(b) The Rules Committee may deal with the referral in terms of Paragraph (a) as it deems fit, provided that it must confine itself to the principle underlying, or subject matter of, the ruling concerned, and may not in any manner consider the specific ruling which is final and binding.
Hon members, some might be thinking this is a blinding glimpse of the obvious. Indeed, that is correct, but it is appropriate that we read it out because sometimes an impression is given that we make rulings arbitrarily including the transparent incorrect accessions, for example, that some members spoke for five minutes. It could have happened. Not a single member spoke close to one minute in the first place. No one exceeded their time that much, in the first place.
This is why I though it must be referred to because it is not the first time. There are other members who have done the same thing, challenge the rulings. The Speaker’s ruling was challenged earlier yesterday, and so on. We need to re-state these Rules in this manner with the hope that we will comply with them.
The House adjourned at 17:03.