Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 20 Sep 2007
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER 2007
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:09.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS – see col 000.
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon members, I have to announce that the vacancy caused by the vacation of seat in the National Assembly by Mr Y S Bhamjee has been filled by the nomination, with effect from 12 September 2007, of Ms N N Sibhidla.
The vacancies caused by the vacation of seats in the National Assembly by Dr E Nkem-Abonta, Mr M T Goniwe and Dr F N Ginwala have been filled by the nomination, with effect from 19 September 2007, of Mr M K Khaoue, Mr M H Fazzie and Mr L J Sehlare.
OATH OR SOLEMN AFFIRMATION
Ms Sibhidla, Mr Khaoue, Mr Fazzie and Mr Sehlare, accompanied by Mr K M Khumalo and Mr M D Gumede, made and subscribed the oath or solemn affirmation, and took their seats.
CHANGE IN PARTY MEMBERSHIP
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon members, before we proceed with the rest of today’s business, I want to announce the following change in party membership that occurred in terms of Schedule 6A to the Constitution:
Mr S Simmons had, on 14 September 2007, left the United Party of South Africa and joined the National Alliance, a new party in the National Assembly. [Interjections.]
Order! Hon members, we might inform those of you who were not here that the hon Simmons has already made his maiden speech as a member of the National Alliance in the Joint Sitting.
STATE OF PARTIES AFTER FLOOR-CROSSING
The SPEAKER: Members are also reminded that the notice reflecting the membership and number of seats allocated to each party represented in the House after floor-crossing will be published in the Gazette tomorrow, as required in terms of Schedule 6A to the Constitution.
NOTICES OF MOTION
Ms S C VOS: Madam Speaker, I would like to draw your attention and that of the House to a probable breach of parliamentary privilege committed in the Portfolio Committee on Communications by a candidate for appointment to the SABC Board, and accordingly I give notice of the following motion for urgent consideration by the House:
That the House -
(1) noting that -
(a) Ms Gloria Serobe was one of the 12 candidates recommended by the House on Thursday, 13 September 2007, for appointment by the President to the SABC Board;
(b) when interviewed by the Portfolio Committee on Communications and asked whether she knew the person who had nominated her for appointment, a Mr Louis du Plooy who gave his address as P O Box 2012, Groenkloof 0027, she replied that she did not know him but it was "nice" of him to have done so;
(c) according to a report in the Sunday Times of 16 September 2007 Mr Du Plooy "... revealed yesterday that he had discussed Serobe's nomination with her (emphasis added) 'as I had to get a CV from her to submit with the nomination form'"; and
(d) Mr Du Plooy is the Chief Director for Ministerial Services in the Ministry in the Presidency but did not reveal this important information in nominating Ms Serobe; and
(2) resolves -
(a) to appoint a committee to conduct a preliminary investigation into whether Ms Serobe, in informing the Portfolio Committee that she did not know Mr Du Plooy, wilfully furnished the Portfolio Committee with false or misleading information and thereby committed the offence of breach of parliamentary privilege in terms of section 17(2)(e) of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, Act 4 of 2004 (possibly in an attempt to conceal from the Portfolio Committee Mr Du Plooy's direct link with the Minister in the Presidency, Dr Essop Pahad), the investigation to be conducted with a view to establishing whether the matter warrants formal referral to the National Director of Public Prosecutions for prosecution under the Act;
(b) that the committee may exercise those powers in Rule 138 that may assist it in carrying out its task;
(c) that the committee reports to the House within 15 working days; and
(d) that the President be informed immediately of the decision of the House to investigate whether Ms Serobe may have committed a breach of parliamentary privilege.
MOTION OF CONDOLENCE
(The late former Chief Justice Michael Corbett)
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House-
- with profound sadness the death of former Chief Justice Michael Corbett at the age of 84 on Sunday, 16 September 2007; and
- that he achieved distinction not only as a judicial officer but as a legal scholar, a writer and an advocate, leading to him being awarded honorary doctorates in law by five universities, being elected an honorary bencher of Lincoln’s Inn and an honorary fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and receiving the Order of the Baobab on his retirement;
- recognises the vital role he played in the administration of justice, especially during the first two years of our transition to democracy;
- recalls that the widespread confidence and respect he enjoyed, led him to stay on as Chief Justice three years after his retirement fell due; and
- conveys its condolences to his wife, Peggy, his four children and their families.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
- notes that -
- humanity worldwide observes 21 September as The International Day of Peace; and
- this day is devoted to concentrated efforts of the United Nations and its member states in promoting the ideals of peace;
- recalls that we observe this day as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, an invitation to all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities for the duration not only of a day but forever;
- recognises that -
- peace and friendship amongst all people and nations must be secured by upholding equal rights, opportunities and status for all; and
- the new global situation has not resolved the contradictions within and among nations between poverty and opulence, to the extent that ethnic, religious and other tensions continue to ravage parts of the globe;
- believes that the United Nations Organisation is an instrument in the service of peace for all humanity, a reminder that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences, is to peace; and
- calls on all countries of the world to reaffirm their commitment and belief in the ideals of peace and the eradication of tension and causes of conflict.
NORTHERN ARTS FESTIVAL
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House-
- notes that –
(a) the Northern Arts Festival will be held in Bethelsdorp, Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape from 21 September to 24 September 2007;
(b) this festival will include both established and emerging, performing and visual artists and crafters, thereby creating an opportunity for young up and coming local artists to demonstrate their many talents; and
(c) acknowledges that Bethelsdorp has a unique history that has been lost over the years and that this festival will help make the local community more aware of their heritage and proud of their vibrant past;
(2) recognises that –
(a) by using the medium of music and the arts, this festival will have a positive socioeconomic impact on this community; and
(b) this festival will both highlight and celebrate the diversity of this community, thereby helping to build and unite a truly vibrant society; and
(3) wishes the organiser, Billy Paulson, as well as the community of Bethelsdorp well in launching this festival, with the hope of sustaining an annual Northern Arts Festival in future.
GOOD WISHES TO MUSLIMS OVER RAMADAN AND EID MUBARAK
Ms S RAJBALLY: Madam Speaker, I move without notice:
That this House-
(1) notes that this is a great month for Muslims globally as they observe the holy month of Ramadan in fasting and prayer;
(2) further notes that a Malaysian astronaut will be the first Muslim ever to observe fasting in space in this holy month of Ramadan as he leaves earth on 10 October 2007; and
(3) believes that microgravity shall be a challenge for fasting in the observation of prayer in space.
Since we will not be sitting at the time of Eid, I take this opportunity to give the astronaut good wishes for Ramadan Kareem and Eid Mubarak, to him and all the Muslims nationally and internationally.
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon Rajbally, was that a motion ...
Ms S RAJBALLY: ... a motion without notice.
The SPEAKER: ... or was that a statement? It sounds to me like it’s a statement. Anyway, it’s on the records now.
CELEBRATION OF SOUTH AFRICAN PARKS WEEK
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the House –
- notes that-
- Monday, 17 September 2007, marked the start of the annual South African Parks Week; and
- the launch of the South African Parks Week highlights the celebration of South African Heritage and Tourism Month countrywide;
(2) recalls that the highlight event of the week is free access for South Africans on specified days to most national parks;
(3) believes that this initiative by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and SANParks will raise awareness about the importance of sustainable development and the preservation of the environment; and
(4) extends its best wishes to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, the SANParks Board and all the social partners on their effort to raise awareness about the importance of celebrating our heritage and preserving the environment.
SUSPENSION OF RULE 253(1) FOR PURPOSES OF CONDUCTING SECOND READING DEBATE ON EDUCATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: I move the motion printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:
That Rule 253(1), which provides inter alia that the debate on the Second Reading of a Bill may not commence before at least three working days have elapsed since the committee’s report was tabled, be suspended for the purposes of conducting the Second Reading debate on the Education Laws Amendment Bill [B 33B – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 76(1)) today.
REFERRAL OF MINERAL AND PETROLEUM RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT BILL BACK TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE FOR CONSIDERATION AND REPORT
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I move the motion printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:
That the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill [B 10B – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 75) be referred back to the Portfolio Committee on Minerals and Energy for further consideration and report.
CONSTITUTION THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Report of Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development thereon)
There was no debate.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
CONSTITUTION THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Madam Speaker, hon Ministers and members, ladies and gentlemen, the reason I am standing before this House today is because the Constitutional Court has given Parliament the opportunity to rectify the procedural defect that led to that court’s order of invalidity of certain provisions of the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Act of 2005.
The Constitution Twelfth Amendment Act of 2005 amended the Constitution to redetermine the geographical areas of the nine provinces of the Republic of South Africa to, amongst other things, avoid municipal boundaries stretching over provincial boundaries, and to resolve the challenges that were experienced relating to the provincial boundary between the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
In terms of the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Act and the related Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Act of 2005, the provincial boundary between, amongst other things, the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal was altered with effect from 1 March 2006 so that the area that previously formed the local municipality of Matatiele, was transferred from the province of KwaZulu-Natal to the province of the Eastern Cape, and new municipal boundaries were created as a consequence.
What is important in respect of the passing of the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Act, an Act of 2005, is that because it redetermined provincial boundaries, it fell within the ambit of section 74 of the Constitution and consequently required the approval of both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
The National Council of Provinces could, in terms of section 74(8) of the Constitution, only pass the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill if it was approved by the legislatures of the provinces concerned. All the legislatures of the affected provinces approved the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill as required and, consequently, that Bill was also passed by the National Council of Provinces.
Before the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Act and the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Repeal Act came into operation, the Matatiele Municipality and various other applicants challenged the constitutional validity of those two Acts in the Constitutional Court. In the case of Matatiele Municipality and others v the President of the Republic of South Africa and others, 2006, the applicants argued that those two Acts changed the boundary of the Matatiele Municipality and its composition and transferred it to the province of the Eastern Cape without complying with the procedures set out in the Constitution.
They further argued that in doing so, Parliament took over the functions which the Constitution had reserved for the Municipal Demarcation Board. The court, on 27 February 2006, rejected the applicants’ main argument that Parliament, in passing the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill, unconstitutionally usurped the powers of the Municipal Demarcation Board to redetermine municipal boundaries.
The court, however, did not decide on the question of whether the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Act was enacted in accordance with the procedures set out in the Constitution, but, of its own volition, called for further argument on certain related issues.
After the Constitutional Court heard further argument on the issues raised by it, the Court, on 18 August 2006, in the case of Matatiele Municipality and others v the President of the Republic of South Africa and others, 2007, declared that part of the Constitutional Twelfth Amendment Act that transferred the Matatiele Municipality from the province of KwaZulu-Natal to the province of the Eastern Cape to be inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid.
From the judgment in the Matatiele case, it is clear that a new piece of legislation, namely a Constitution Amendment Bill, must be processed afresh in a manner that complies with all constitutional and procedural requirements. That has led to the introduction of the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill before the House today.
The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution so as to substitute and re-enact those provisions of the Constitution that have been declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution. Although the Constitutional Court’s order of invalidity was formulated with reference to the Matatiele Municipality only, the memorandum on the objects of the Bill explains why it is necessary to substitute and re-enact all the provisions of the Constitution that refer directly to the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and not only those that refer to the Matatiele Municipality.
As far as the constitutional obligation of a legislative organ of the state to facilitate public involvement in the law-making process is concerned, it is, in my view, necessary for this House to note the following general findings by the Constitutional Court in the case of Doctors for Life International v the Speaker of the National Assembly and others, in 2006, and the Matatiele case, in which it considered the nature and scope of that obligation.
Here I cite the relevant points. The Constitution calls for open and transparent government, and requires legislative organs to facilitate public participation in the making of laws by all legislative organs of the state. The other issue is that the provisions of sections 72(1)(a) and 118(1)(a) of the Constitution impose a duty on the NCOP and the provincial legislatures to facilitate public involvement in their respective legislative processes.
Further, to facilitate public involvement in the legislative process means taking steps to ensure that the public participates in the legislative process. Also, Parliament and provincial legislatures have a broad discretion to determine how best to fulfil their constitutional obligation to facilitate public involvement in a case, so long as they act reasonably.
Whether Parliament or a provincial legislature has acted reasonably in discharging its duty to facilitate public involvement will depend on a number of factors, for example the nature and importance of the legislation under consideration, whether the legislation needs to be enacted urgently, and the intensity of its impact on the public.
The obligation to facilitate public involvement may be fulfilled in different ways and is open to innovation on the part of the legislatures. The conventional method of public participation in the law-making process is through the submission of written or oral representations on the Bill under consideration by Parliament, or through a combination of both written and oral submissions.
I have noted that the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development conferred with the Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government in its deliberations on the Bill. I would like to thank the chairpersons and members of those two committees for the time and effort that they have put into finalising the Bill. I have also noted the content of the report that the Justice portfolio committee has adopted in respect of the Bill.
Without going into the detail of that report, it is clear to me that the Justice portfolio committee has taken various steps relating to the National Assembly’s constitutional obligation to facilitate public involvement in the legislative process relating to the passing of the Bill. Because the Bill is intended to redetermine the provincial boundary between the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the National Council of Provinces may not, in terms of section 74(8) of the Constitution, pass the Bill, unless it has been approved by the legislatures of the provinces concerned.
I would therefore like to echo the Justice portfolio committee’s call on all the provincial legislatures and, more particularly, those of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal to take all the steps that, in their view, are necessary and reasonable to comply fully with the spirit and direction of the Constitutional Court’s judgment when considering whether to approve or support the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill, as the case may be. I recommend the passing of this Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill to the House. I thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms F I CHOHAN-KHOTA: Madam Speaker, hon members, the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill, as the Minister has said, is essentially a re-enactment of certain provisions in the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Act, which were found to be procedurally defective by the Constitutional Court.
It deals with all the provincial boundaries pertaining to the province of KwaZulu-Natal, as a natural consequence of the Constitutional Court’s finding that the provincial legislature of that province failed to facilitate public involvement in its processes pertaining to the consideration and approval of certain portions of the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill that concerned it.
This failure being considered to be fatal in respect of the Matatiele Municipality, it is presumably equally fatal to the alteration of the other less contested areas of the boundary between the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, as it is trite that the KwaZulu-Natal legislature did not equally hold hearings in these areas either.
It is important, as the Minister has done, to briefly sketch the background to this Bill. This House, in November 2005, passed the twelfth amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to bring about a redetermination of the geographic areas of the nine provinces of the Republic. This was done in essence to effect the necessary realignment of the provincial boundaries to remove enclaves and the concept of cross-boundary municipalities.
The difficulties pertaining to the existence of enclaves and cross-boundary municipalities were that they could not be efficiently governed. It was the intention of this House that the new provincial boundaries, together with the subsequently redetermined municipalities, would form the basis of the local government elections that were held in March 2006.
The NCOP passed the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill in December 2005, and shortly thereafter, as the Minister has already indicated, the Matatiele Municipality and others challenged the law on an urgent basis before the Constitutional Court. In essence, they argued that this House had usurped the role and function of the Municipal Demarcation Board in requiring that provincial boundaries be redetermined on the basis of municipal boundaries. In the course of the proceedings, the applicants had conceded the legality of the procedure in terms of which the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill was passed.
The court, in delivering its judgment on 27 February 2006, literally on the eve of the elections, unanimously held that Parliament had not usurped the authority of the Municipal Demarcation Board. The court found that the power of the Municipal Demarcation Board was limited by the authority of Parliament to redetermine provincial boundaries. Parliament, it found, had the authority to interfere with municipal boundaries if that became necessary in performing its duty to redraw provincial boundaries.
However, the majority of the court went further, and notwithstanding the concession of the applicants in regard to the procedural issue, called for the legislature of KwaZulu-Natal to argue before it the matter of the applicability and meaning of section 118(1)(a) of the Constitution. Such argument was to be held on 30 March 2006. The court did not declare the elections that were meant to happen on 1 March 2006 invalid, nor was it in a position to declare the twelfth amendment invalid pending the hearing of further argument.
It is significant in this regard for the House to note the dissenting judgments of Justices Yacoob and Skweyiya, who both argued that the court was putting form above substance in pursuing the argument relating to adherence to section 118(1)(a), and noted that the road travelled by this House and the Minister for Provincial and Local Government in particular, when pursuing the redesign of provincial boundaries, was on all fours with the principles of good governance.
On 1 March 2006, the provincial boundary between, amongst other things, the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal was altered so that the area that previously formed the local municipality of Matatiele was now located in the province of the Eastern Cape, and new municipal boundaries were created as a consequence. The old Matatiele, consisting of approximately 16 000 citizens, ceased to exist, only to be replaced by a newly designated municipality that now boasts approximately 170 000 citizens – a much better basis, I think you will agree, on which to build a viable municipality in the future.
Five months later, on 18 August, the Constitutional Court declared that part of the twelfth amendment which effectively relocated the old Matatiele into the province of the Eastern Cape to be inconsistent with the Constitution, and therefore invalid. The order of invalidity was based, as I said, on a procedural defect, but was suspended for a period of 18 months, during which period Parliament has been given the opportunity to correct that defect.
Again, the dissenting judgments of, this time, three judges – Yacoob, Skweyiya and Van der Westhuizen - pertaining to their finding that reasonable public involvement is not a prerequisite for the passing of ...
The SPEAKER: Hon members, can we just lower our voices a bit, please?
Ms F I CHOHAN-KOTA: ... a constitutional amendment in terms of section 74(3) read with section 74(8), is pertinent to this House when we consider what we are meant to do with these decisions pertaining to our procedures governing how we pass laws in this Parliament.
The committee, during its deliberations, considered a number of written submissions. In a few submissions, concerns were raised relating to the possible future lack of service delivery by the province of the Eastern Cape, in particular in respect of health and education services. During the consideration of and deliberations on these submissions, we called for a report from the Department of Provincial and Local Government, which indicated no material breakdown in respect of service delivery levels in that area.
The committee noted that the province of the Eastern Cape compared favourably in relation to its spending trends on education, in relation to teacher-learner ratios, and on spending on health as it pertains to the province of KwaZulu-Natal or, indeed, other provinces.
Government has committed itself to ensuring service delivery to all of the people, regardless of which province they find themselves in. These efforts by government accord with the basic tenets of equality for all South Africans, no matter where people are located.
There are, of course, inequalities arising from our past that need to be addressed, particularly in the arena of capacity and skills. Government is intent on laying sound development platforms at local level. It is obvious that the old Matatiele Municipality of approximately 16 000 citizens could not hope to be a financially viable entity going forward. The briefing that the committee received indicated that there has been a significant committal by the newly constituted Matatiele Municipality to the development of infrastructure right up to 2009. This bodes well for the economic development of the area as a whole.
Some submissions, I am sad to say, detailed cultural and ethnic links with the province of KwaZulu-Natal, and highlighted the different cultural practices in the Eastern Cape. I think we must take time today to remember that, particularly given that we are on the eve of Heritage Day, unlike 13 years ago, today we celebrate a collective heritage as one people, whether on the shores of Durban beachfront or on the serene coastal spaces of the Eastern Cape; that there are no longer superior cultures, superior religions, superior races; that there will no longer, in this country, be spaces reserved for the exclusive use of one race or one ethnic group; that every culture, every religion and every language will cross-pollinate the length and breadth of this country as freely as the winds that caress our multitoned faces.
In Matatiele or in Sandton, in Khutsong or in Krugersdorp, let us embrace the diversity of our neighbours in the spirit of ubuntu; let us see with our hearts, secure in the knowledge that wherever each of us finds ourselves, no matter who we are, what we look like, what language we speak, we not only have the constitutional right to practise our traditions or speak our languages, but we are South Africans all intent on celebrating them too. I thank you for your attention. [Applause.]
Mr L K JOUBERT: Madam Speaker, hon members, in layman’s terms this Bill can be called a comeback.
Die Konstitusionele Hof het ons proses met die 12de wysiging geweeg en te lig bevind. [The Constitutional Court weighed our procedure relating to the 12th amendment, and found it wanting.]
When we debated the 12th amendment to the Constitution in 2005 the Deputy Minister said it defied all understanding that we did not support it. I wonder whether he also does not understand why the Constitutional Court found parts of the 12th amendment to be unconstitutional. He didn’t listen to us then, when we warned him not to fast-track constitutional amendments and to take the wishes of the inhabitants into consideration.
The Deputy Minister also said in 2005 that they would be judged by history whether they did the wrong thing or not. It is perhaps too soon to expect a judgment from history, but the Constitutional Court has judged and ruled that consultation had not been adequate, as we warned back then. [Interjections.] The Constitutional Court has proved us right and him wrong.
In die annale van ons regspraak is dit aangeteken, vir altyd!
[In the annals of our judicature this stands recorded for all time!]
In his reply in 2005 the Deputy Minister also expressed the view that after the adoption of the 1996 Constitution, the constitutional principles ceased to exist. We never have the opportunity to reply to these responses which come at the end of a debate, but I would like to take this opportunity to tell the Deputy Minister that he’s also wrong on that point. The constitutional principles are the ground norm of our Constitution and cannot be amended or ignored, and most definitely did not cease to exist.
I challenge the Minister to put this view as a legal question to the Constitutional Court. [Interjections.] He will no doubt again respond to this, knowing that I don’t have the opportunity to reply, but I can predict now that, should he take up my challenge, he will again be proved wrong.
It has been said that a successful government leaves a country happier. I wonder how happy the people of Matatiele feel. Are they happier to be included in the Eastern Cape? I doubt it. When will we learn that people cannot be treated as objects? Successful government involves confronting the problems of the future, not those of the past. [Interjections.] We did not support the 12th amendment and we will also not support this Bill for the same reasons. People should not be moved from one province to another by the stroke of a pen. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M A MNCWANGO: Madam Speaker, the original twin Bills were opposed by the IFP when last presented to this House in 2005, and we do not believe that circumstances are such that we should reverse our position now.
The fact that the Constitutional Court struck the Bills down on procedural grounds constituted an ideal opportunity for the government to rethink its stance on the matter. However, it was clear from the start that nothing would change and that the same provision would be re-enacted with sufficient public engagement this time around to pass constitutional muster.
Indeed, just after the Constitutional Court decision, and in response to an IFP statement, the Deputy Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development effectively told this House that in respect of the political content of the reintroduced Bills, nothing would change. Clearly then, government had no intention of reconsidering its original position; likewise the ANC.
The fact of the matter is that the government and the ANC agree that whatever consultation was to take place, this was to be a procedural formality rather than a real engagement.
The objections to the inclusion of Matatiele in the Eastern Cape were varied, but could be set out in the following broad terms: poor service delivery from the Eastern Cape; distance from Eastern Cape economic and political centres; strong economic, educational and other ties with KwaZulu-Natal; and a general sense of identity with KwaZulu-Natal.
It was clear from the start that the ANC would latch onto the service delivery issue to the exclusion of the others and, in acknowledging certain historic delivery difficulties, argue that in tackling these more effectively the desirability of maintaining the status quo was satisfactorily addressed.
The IFP believes that, notwithstanding service delivery difficulties, this was never the central issue in the debate and it is therefore fallacious to argue that if you address complaints over service delivery you have addressed the issue of Matatiele’s location. That is not correct. We oppose the Bill.
Mr L W GREYLING: Madam Speaker, the ID believes that the whole issue of cross-border municipalities has been handled extremely badly by the government. The government has, in fact, ridden roughshod over the wishes of the people who live in the affected areas. What is also clear is that the government has not held proper consultations and public participation over this issue, a view which was subsequently upheld by the Constitutional Court, forcing the drafting of the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill.
The ID believes that proper consultation and public participation has still not taken place in the areas concerned on this extremely controversial issue, and it is for that reason and the fact that the ID believes in proper people-led development that we cannot possibly support this Bill. I thank you.
Mr S N SWART: Madam Speaker, in the Doctors for Life matter, the Constitutional Court stated that:
Public involvement provisions gave effect to an important feature of democracy, its participative nature. The participation of citizens in government formed the basis and support of democracy which could not exist without it.
The Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislatures are required in terms of this Constitutional Court order to take all the steps necessary and reasonable to facilitate public hearings in the affected areas.
Whilst the ACDP is fully aware that no fault was found in the process adopted by this National Assembly, it would in our view, at this stage, be premature to support this Bill until the public hearings have been held in the affected areas in terms of the Constitutional Court order. Only then would we be able to gauge whether there had been sufficient public involvement as required by the Constitutional Court.
Indeed, the KZN and Eastern Cape legislatures may, after hearing public input, decide to veto the Bill. The ACDP will accordingly, at this stage, not support the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill. I thank you.
Mr R B BHOOLA: Madam Speaker, the greatest achievement of our democracy is the Constitution that it has been built upon. We have a Constitution that has been drafted by the people for the people, and it is absolutely imperative that every South African venture is endorsed through, upon and in alignment with our national Constitution.
The MF finds it unfortunate that our demarcation process has landed us in a bit of hot water with municipal boundaries, but we respect that clarity in the situation is crucial to ensures that the needs of our people are met in these areas.
In view of this and the true democracy that we strive to make progress on, the MF finds the provisions inculcated in the thirteenth amendment in line with the values and principles that our people envisioned years before the birth of democracy. It is imperative that all South African governance and decision-making is in consultation with the people.
At the end of the day, our democracy, our system of governance and the rights of our people are enshrined in this great text, which years of struggle has liberated and in which years of freedom has to be celebrated. The MF will support the Bill. [Applause.]
Mr J B SIBANYONI: Madam Speaker and hon members, this debate takes place during two significant events, firstly, Heritage Month - we have just had a Joint Sitting this morning – and, secondly, the Constitutional Court is today hearing the Khutsong matter.
In my speech I will focus on written submissions received from the public on the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill. These submissions concern the following: firstly, some people give cultural and ethnic reasons for suggesting that Matatiele be incorporated into the KwaZulu-Natal province; secondly, others give personal preferences for retaining Matatiele in the Eastern Cape province or its inclusion in the Kwazulu-Natal province; thirdly, there are those who raise concerns about possible future lack of service delivery by the Eastern Cape province, especially regarding health and education.
South Africa is a fairly unitary state and some people will argue and say with some federal features. When the new Constitution of South Africa was signed, it was a landmark in the history of our country that enshrined in law the need to build a society based on democratic values, social justice and human rights, in which every citizen is protected by law.
The current Constitution provides, and I paraphrase, that the Republic of South Africa is one, sovereign, democratic state founded on the values of human dignity, nonracialism, nonsexism, etc. I am mentioning but a few characteristics of our South African state.
Under apartheid rule, people were segregated along racial and ethnic lines. The advent of democracy spelt the end of such discrimination. Some people still see today’s provinces as remnants of the homelands. They believe that in order to practise their ethnic or cultural activities, they need to be in one province and not in another. Even today we still have people with preconceived ideas. They wish to belong to a particular province in the belief that their cultural activities will be more secure in one province than in another.
People should not regard a province as a homeland for a specific ethnic group. For instance, people should not regard the Eastern Cape as a homeland for Xhosa-speaking people or KwaZulu-Natal as a province for Amazulu. On this basis, residents of Matatiele should not say, “We are not Xhosas, thus we cannot be part of the Eastern Cape province, but we are Zulus and we prefer to be part of KwaZulu-Natal to enable us to practise our cultural activities freely.”
In my constituency of Kungwini, for example, which was a cross-boundary municipality between Mpumalanga and Gauteng, some traditional leaders indicated that they preferred that Kungwini be part of Mpumalanga, because they feared that they would not be recognised in Gauteng and that their subjects would not be permitted to practise their culture. Kungwini is today part of Gauteng. These traditional leaders are still recognised as traditional leaders and, during the last season, we saw more initiation schools being conducted in Kungwini.
The Constitution further provides, among other things, that persons belonging to cultural, religious and linguistic communities may not be denied their rights. They will not be denied their rights by the change of boundaries. They will be free to enjoy their cultural practices, religion and language.
I would like to point out to the people giving personal preferences as to how the places should be demarcated, that the days of influx control are gone. In order to exercise their rights, people need not belong to a particular province. People can move freely from one province to another as they wish. They can live in the Eastern Cape province and work or buy in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The South African Constitution recognises the right of freedom of movement. The alteration of provincial boundaries does not affect this constitutional right.
With the proposed Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Act, persons are not moved from their residential areas to another area against their will, as the hon Swart has indicated. That would be unconstitutional.
There is a process on the way, conducted by the Ministry of Provincial and Local Government. Here I am referring to the policy review of the system of local and provincial government; the public participation process plan; questions, for example, on provincial government, two of them being question 37 and question 38.
Question 37 says, “Should there be a provincial system of government, how should this be determined and what are the alternative options?” Question 38 says: “If provinces are to be retained, what should be the criteria for determining the following, for example, purpose, structure and functions, number and sources of funding?”
People all over South Africa are free and are required as well as encouraged to participate in this review process so as to air their views.
To those who raised concerns about future lack of service by the Eastern Cape province, I would like to refer them to the status report on service delivery by the Matatiele Local Municipality, updated as at 11 September 2007. Page 37 says that the year-on-year growth for 2006-07 was 18,2% for Eastern Cape and 10,2% for KwaZulu-Natal.
Concerning classrooms it says that a number of schools and classrooms were built between 2003-04 and 2006-07, and 141 new schools were completed for the Eastern Cape while none were completed in KwaZulu-Natal.
There is a significant increase in the number of physical science standard grade passes from 73 667 in 2005 to 81 151 in 2006, so says the report on page 6.
In terms of the child nutrition programme, recent surveys indicate that KwaZulu-Natal spends 90 cents, which is the lowest per day per learner, as compared to R1,17 in the Eastern Cape per day per learner.
According to these statistics there is no disadvantage in service delivery. The ANC supports this Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]
Dr S E M PHEKO: Madam Deputy Speaker, constitutions are made to serve people; people are not made to serve constitutions. A constitution must be amended where it is in conflict with the interests of the citizens of our country.
We cannot speak of this Parliament as the people’s Parliament but continue to repeat, with regard to the Matatiele issue, that the Constitutional Court order of invalidity was suspended for a period of 18 months, during which period Parliament had the opportunity to correct the constitutional defect that led to the order of invalidity. When people express deep reservations about legislation that affects them, they must be listened to.
Moving people in this country has a painful history. No people should be transferred to another province without compelling reasons.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, your time has expired.
Dr S E M PHEKO: The people of Matatiele and Khutsong ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!
Dr S E M PHEKO: ... must be moved only after the consultation on their hearing. The PAC is opposed to this Bill.
Mr L M GREEN: Deputy Speaker, the Bill is an indication that our constitutional democracy works in favour of our people, and the public’s right to participation in the legislative process is a non-negotiable right. The Constitution binds the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to allow public participation.
Contesting the constitutionality of the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill, the public, through responsible governance of the Municipal Demarcation Board, prohibited Parliament from exercising powers outside of its framework.
The Bill is primarily a technical correction on previous procedures, while the affected municipalities will still be faced with the challenges of the demarcation process. But, as far as the parliamentary process is concerned, the legislation has been aligned to conform with the Constitutional Court requirements.
The FD supports the Bill on its technical application. However, we trust that a people’s democracy also effectively means providing the best services and resources available to them and that, in principle, these will be the objectives driving the demarcation process. I thank you.
Mr S SIMMONS: Madam Deputy Speaker, developments around this Bill illustrate an interesting characteristic of democracy, namely it offers the best system of government, but it is not, by any measure, a perfect one as it is at the same time wide open to abuse. The Constitutional Court’s decision declaring the twelfth amendment inconsistent with the Constitution was treated as a procedural nuisance.
The National Alliance believes that section 118 of the Constitution is not serving its purpose of allowing the law-making process to be sensitive to the will of the people. Democracy is not just a numbers game but a system of fairness to all people. Clearly, it is not so in this case.
Notwithstanding the weakness in the democratic process, the NA will support the Bill as all technicalities have been satisfied. I thank you.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Before I call the next speaker, I would like to appeal to the Whips on both sides of the House to assist us in maintaining order.
Ms N M MAHLAWE: Hon Deputy Speaker and hon members, the matter before us today is a very sensitive and emotional issue. It is a matter that can further divide the communities of Matatiele instead of uniting them, as our Constitution bids us to be united in our diversity. It is our duty therefore as public representatives to bring about unity where there are divisions, cohesion where there are several dissenting opinions, stability where the pangs of apartheid seem to be dominating and causing instability.
Best practice, in every respect, should be the aim of each one of us, including the opposition parties involved in community affairs. The Minister and chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development have clearly outlined the objectives of the Bill as well as the content of the ruling of the Constitutional Court, and I am not going to speak on that.
The hon Sibanyoni has given the content and context of around
10 000 submissions made to the committee by the people of Matatiele, an indication that public participation and public involvement have taken place. I know that there are plans for public hearings by both the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal, as required by the ruling of the Constitutional Court.
The most disturbing factor is that opposition parties appear not to have the interests of the people of this country at heart. [Interjections.] Of course, I understand why, because most of these parties are not represented in the committee and therefore they do not have information and understanding of all the processes and briefings that have been received by the committee. They are not even aware of the consequential matters that have arisen from the redetermination of the boundaries in this area. Redetermining them again, when we are only 18 months from the end of the term, would obviously cause unhappiness for the people and also instability.
Perhaps I could briefly outline some of the reconfigured Matatiele benefits. The population that stood at 16 000 now stands at 194 629, and this is very good for the economy of the area. The number of councillors has grown from 21 to 48 in the municipality. The 2005-06 budget was R46,6 million and since the reconfiguration it is R84,4 million. The municipal infrastructure grant for 2005-06 was R4,1 million and now, after the reconfiguration, it is R18,5 million.
The status of section 27 employees has grown, with senior posts being filled. Access to basic services has greatly improved. If, for instance, we compare electricity supply, it is 55,22% compared to 69,7% of the Republic of South Africa, and when it comes to bucket latrines the percentage is 0,65% compared to 4,08% of the Republic of South Africa. More than eight access roads are being constructed with the assistance of the nearby Alfred Nzo District Council.
The list is endless. We therefore understand that there is still a lot to be done, especially in the rural areas of Maluti which have been disadvantaged by the separation of Matatiele and Maluti.
The ANC supports the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Hon Chairperson, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and hon members, once again, thank you to everyone who has participated. Obviously, we will take into consideration the views you have expressed, although from this side of the House there was very little to consider.
I think that the first thing to address is that a lot of absolute nonsense has been spoken from the podium. Let’s make it very clear what happened in this matter as far as the courts were concerned.
When the people in Matatiele exercised their constitutional right to challenge this legislation, it was properly argued before the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court gave a judgment in which every substantive issue that was raised was rejected and the government’s position was upheld. And every procedural issue, as far as the National Assembly and the NCOP were concerned, was upheld as being constitutional.
It is on the basis of the first judgment that the election was allowed to go ahead, and it is on that basis that Matatiele, from 1 March 2006 already, has been part of – and has moved – on the judgment of the Constitutional Court, because the part that was unprocedural was suspended until February next year.
So, everything that was decided on in terms of this legislation - the substance of it - was upheld and therefore the municipality has been transferred and has been operating under the Eastern Cape.
The only issue that was found to be unprocedural, on the evidence put before the court, was that one of the nine provinces that, in terms of the Constitution, has a veto right over the passing of this Bill in the NCOP, the province of KwaZulu-Natal, did not go far enough in their consultation.
So the myth that some people are trying to create here, that somehow the courts have been overruled, is not correct. Every substantive issue was decided in favour of government in terms of moving Matatiele. It was the one procedural issue which we are now dealing with, and the people will go back in KwaZulu-Natal, consult with those communities and then make a decision.
The other thing that I find really extraordinary – and you’ll find this particularly with people that were close to the colonialists that occupied this country - is that the boundaries of this country are a colonial fiction and myth that were created. Subsequent to that, those were all imposed upon us.
During the negotiation process, the ANC made it very clear that we were not necessarily in favour of the boundaries that the colonialists had carved here, and we only agreed to them as a compromise.
Boundaries are not fixed in any reality, except in some people’s heads, for some strange reason. The boundaries of this country, whether they be municipal or provincial, will not only change now, but will be changed in the future as well to make sure that we create the best boundaries that will allow us to govern properly in this country. It’s all about functionality and not about your little racist dreams and concepts that certain people should live in certain provinces. [Applause.]
I thank the ANC, once again, for supporting the Bill.
Question put: That the Bill be read a second time.
The House divided:
AYES — 271: Abram, S; Ainslie, A R; Anthony, T G; Arendse, J D; Asiya, S E; Asmal,A K; Balfour, B M N; Baloyi, M R; Bapela, K O; Beukman, F; Bhengu, F; Bhengu, P; Bhoola, R B; Bloem, D V; Bogopane-Zulu, H I; Booi, M S; Burgess, C V; Carrim, Y I; Cele, MA; Chauke, H P; Chikunga, L S; Chohan, F I; Combrinck, J J; Cronin, J P; Cwele, S C; Dambuza, B N; Daniels, P; Davies, R H; De Lange, J H; Diale, L N; Didiza,A T; Dikgacwi, M M; Direko, I W; Dithebe, S L; Dlali, D M; Dlamini-Zuma, N C; Doidge, G Q M; Du Toit, D C ; Erwin, A; Fazzie,M H; Fihla, N B; Fraser-Moleketi, G J; Frolick, C T; Fubbs, J L; Gabanakgosi, P S; Gaum,A H; Gcwabaza, N E; George, M E; Gerber, P A; Gigaba, K M N; Gogotya, N J; Gololo, C L; Gomomo, P J; Gore, V C; Green, L M; Greyling, C H F; Gumede, D M; Gumede, M M; Gxowa, N B; Hajaig, F; Hanekom, D A ; Hangana, N E; Hendricks, L B; Hendrickse, P A C; Hlangwana, N; Hogan, B A; Jacobus, L; Jeffery, J H; Johnson, M; Jordan, Z P; Kalako, M U; Kasienyane, O R; Kasrils, R; Kekana, C D; Khaoue, M K; Khoarai, L P; Kholwane, S E; Khumalo, K K; Khumalo, K M; Komphela, B M; Koornhof, G W; Kota, Z A; Kotwal, Z; Landers, L T; Lekgetho, G; Lishivha, T E; Louw, J T; Louw, S K; Ludwabe, C I; Luthuli, A N; Mabandla, B S; Mabe, L L; Mabena, D C; Madasa, Z L; Madella, A F; Maduma, L D; Madumise, M M; Magau, K R; Magubane, N E; Magwanishe, G B; Mahlaba, T L; Mahlawe, N M; Mahomed, F; Mahote, S; Maine, M S; Maja, S J; Makasi, X C; Malahlela, M J; Maloney, L; Maluleka, H P; Maluleke, D K; Manana, M N S; Manuel, T A; Mapisa-Nqakula, N N; Martins, B A D; Maserumule, F T; Mashangoane, P R; Mashiane, L M; Mashigo, R J; Mashile, B L; Masutha, T M; Mathebe, P M; Mathibela, N F; Matlala, M H; Matsemela, M L; Matsomela, M J J ; Maunye, M M; Mayatula, S M; Maziya, A M; Mbete, B; Mbili, M E; Mbombo, N D; Mdaka, N M; Mdladlana, M M S; Mentor, M P; Meruti, M V; Mfundisi, I S; Mgabadeli, H C; Mkhize, Z S; Mkongi, B M; Mlambo-Ngcuka, P G; Mlangeni, A; Mnguni, B A; Mnyandu, B J; Moatshe, M S; Modisenyane, L J; Mofokeng, T R; Mogale, O M; Mogase, I D; Mohamed, I J; Mohlaloga,M R; Mokoena,A D; Mokoto, N R; Molefe, C T; Moloto, K A; Monareng, O E; Montsitsi, S D; Moonsamy, K; Morkel, C M; Morobi, D M; Morutoa, M R; Morwamoche, K W; Mosala, B G; Moss, L N; Moss, M I; Motubatse-Hounkpatin, S D; Mpahlwa, M B ; Mshudulu, S A; Mthembu, B; Mthethwa, E N; Mtshali, E; Mzondeki, M J G; Nawa, Z N; Ndlazi, Z A; Ndzanga, R A; Nel, A C; Nene, M J ; Nene, N M; Newhoudt-Druchen, W S; Ngaleka, E; Ngcengwane, N D; Ngcobo, B T; Ngcobo, E N N; Ngcobo, N W; Ngculu, L V J; Ngele, N J; Ngwenya, M L; Ngwenya, W; Nhlengethwa, D G; Njikelana, S J ; Njobe, M A A; Nogumla, R Z; Nonkonyana, M; Nqakula, C; Ntombela, S H; Ntuli, B M; Ntuli,M M; Ntuli, R S; Ntuli, S B; Nwamitwa-Shilubana, T L P; Nxumalo, M D; Nxumalo, S N ; Nyambi, A J; Olifant, D A A; Oliphant, G G; Oosthuizen, G C; Padayachie, R L; Pandor, G N M; Phadagi, M G; Phungula, J P; Pieterse, R D; Pule, B E; Radebe, B A; Rajbally, S; Ramgobin, M; Ramodibe, D M; Ramotsamai, C P M; Rasmeni, S M; Reid, L R R; Rwexana, S P; Schippers, J; Schneemann, G D; Schoeman, E A; Seadimo, M D; Sefularo, M; Sehlare, L J; Sekgobela, P S; Selau, J G; September, C C; Sibande, M P; Sibanyoni, J B; Sibhidla, N N; Siboza, S ; Sikakane, M R; Simmons, S; Sithole, D J; Skhosana, W M; Smith, V G; Solo, B M; Solomon, G; Sonjica, B P; Sonto, M R; Sosibo, J E; Sotyu, M M; Swanson-Jacobs, J; Thabethe, E; Thomson, B; Tinto, B; Tlake, M F; Tobias, T V; Tolo, L J; Tsenoli, S L; Tshabalala-Msimang, M E; Tshivhase, T J; Tshwete, P; Turok, B; Twala, N M; Vadi, I; Van den Heever, R P Z; Van der Merwe, S C; Van Schalkwyk, M C J; Van Wyk A; Vundisa, S S; Wang, Y; Xingwana, L M; Xolo, E T; Yengeni, L E; Zita, L; Zulu, B Z.
NOES — 56: Bhengu, M J; Bici, J; Biyela, B P ; Blanché, J P I; Boinamo, G G; Botha, A; Botha, C-S; Coetzee, R; Cupido, H B ; Davidson, I O; De Lille, P; Delport, J T; Dreyer, A M; Dudley, C; Ellis, M J; Farrow, S B; Gibson, D H M; Greyling, L W; Joubert, L K; Julies, I F; Kalyan, S V; Kganyago, N M; Kohler-Barnard, D; Labuschagne, L B; Lowe, C M; Lucas, E J; Marais, S J F; Masango, S J; Minnie, K J ; Mncwango, M A; Morgan, G R; Mpontshane, A M; Nefolovhodwe, P J; Nel, A H; Nkabinde, N C; Opperman, S E; Rabinowitz, R; Sayedali-Shah, M R; Schmidt, H C; Selfe, J; Semple, J A; Seremane,W J; Sibuyana,M W; Sigcau, S N; Singh, N; Skosana, M B; Steyn, A C; Swart, M; Swart, P S; Swart, S N; Trent, E W; Van Der Walt, D; Van Dyk, S M; Vos, S C; Waters, M; Weber, H.
Question agreed to.
Bill accordingly read a second time.
CROSS-BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES LAWS REPEAL AND RELATED MATTERS AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Report of Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government)
There was no debate.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Deputy Speaker, I move:
That the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
CROSS-BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES LAWS REPEAL AND RELATED MATTERS AMENDMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Deputy Minister needs water, please. Where are the service officers? [Laughter.] Ngikuzwile phela. [I heard you.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Deputy Speaker, hon Members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, in 2004 the ANC, in its election manifesto, committed itself to a people’s contract to work together to build a better South Africa and to improve the quality of life of all citizens. We specifically resolved to broaden access to basic services and agreed to focus ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Deputy Minister, please take a minute. Let us allow those members who want to leave, to do so quietly.
The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: ... amongst other things, on the need to speed up programmes to provide water and sanitation, electricity and telephone services to those who are not yet connected; and to realise the Batho Pele principles and improve services from our various arms of government.
In the 2006 local government elections, we further renewed our vision for 2014 and said that we needed to accelerate our pace in improving the lives of our people. In this regard, we specifically said that we were determined to make local government work better in order to build a better South Africa. Deputy Speaker, could I have some water here, please? We need to remind ourselves that it was these electoral mandates that directly informed our decision to review the dispensation of cross-boundary municipalities.
Let us look at the rationale for the eradication of former cross-boundary municipalities. In 2003 and 2004 this government undertook a rigorous assessment of the performance of the new local government system since its inauguration in December 2000. We reached a key conclusion that many people were not feeling the impact of the new system of developmental local government.
It was also this same assessment of all 284 municipalities that directly informed the initiation of Project Consolidate in October 2004. This local government review and our work on Project Consolidate highlighted key challenges and problems facing the 16 former cross-boundary municipalities, which affected five provinces.
It became very clear that these municipalities had very complicated administrative and governance arrangements that led to a number of problems pertaining to the implementation of differing provincial legislation pertaining to health and traffic; the co-ordination of housing and infrastructure projects; the finalisation of integrated development plans, the IDPs, and their alignment with different provincial growth and development strategies; and, lastly, the differing provincial financial management systems impacting on the affected municipalities.
In our view, the combined result of this system of cross-boundary municipalities negatively impacted on our communities and deprived them of the optimal set of services due to them by our provincial governments and former cross-boundary municipalities. It was against this background that this House, the NCOP and all the relevant provinces adopted legislation to do away with all the cross-boundary municipalities. This was facilitated through the enactment of the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Act of 2005, and the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Act, Act 23 of 2005.
When we passed this legislation in 2005, this government committed itself to ensuring that all former cross-boundary municipalities would be better off than they were as cross-boundary municipalities; that service delivery would also improve and therefore the affected communities would benefit; and that national and provincial government would be mobilised, as well as resources, to ensure a smooth transition and accelerated service delivery at the local level.
In 2006 the community of the Matatiele Local Municipality challenged the constitutional validity of our legislation. On 18 August 2006 the Constitutional Court found that the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature failed to facilitate public participation in the legislative process, as required by section 118(1)(a) of the Constitution. It is for this primary reason that we are reconvening here today to correct this unfortunate oversight and to renew our pledge of ensuring that our people in the realigned municipalities reap the maximum amount of fruit of this people’s government at all levels.
In 2005 this Parliament and the affected seven provinces engaged in a process of consultation with local communities regarding our system of cross-boundary municipalities and sought to get their comments and views on a range of matters. It is, once again, unfortunate in retrospect that only a single issue has dominated the public discourse, especially via the media, regarding the subject of our consultations with our people.
That issue has been whether communities should reside in a particular province or not. Our understanding of the Constitution, the laws of this country and the programmes of this government is that it is incumbent on every level and component of government to exercise its full developmental mandate to the maximum benefit of our people, regardless of where our people are located.
We therefore recognise that our provinces are differentially endowed with resources and capacity, primarily due to the legacy of apartheid’s uneven spatial human settlements and economic development policies. It is for this reason that subsequent to the enactment of the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Act in 2005, national government and the affected provinces undertook various measures to positively advantage the former cross-boundary municipalities and our communities in these areas.
Since 2006, government’s institutional response to support these realigned municipalities has comprised a number of elements, including: signing a memorandum of understanding, provincial implementation protocols and service level agreements between and with affected provinces and municipalities to ensure uninterrupted service delivery. The institution ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Order, Deputy Minister, your time has expired.
The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Oh, so quickly? [Applause.]
Mr S L TSENOLI: Madam Deputy Speaker, the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Bill flows from the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill, whose aim is to correct a defect, as reflected earlier, of the province of KwaZulu-Natal not having held public hearings during the processing of the principal Act and the Constitution. We had to retrace our steps, so to speak, and reintroduce the laws again. And, as is the practice in the committee and as we did before, we requested both departmental interaction and briefings and public submissions to help us decide whether or not to support the Bill as presented.
The circumstances the Bill deals with are complex and not simple. Since we were not conducting a referendum per se, we scrutinised the submissions for persuasive arguments to sway us against the proposed Bill, as presented to us.
I thought that it would be appropriate to share with members someone who reflected on leadership challenges, which are relevant to our discussions here today, because this is about leadership and it signifies our differences with the opposition profoundly.
In a book called Leadership on the Line, the writers argue as follows:
To lead is to live dangerously, because when leadership counts, when you lead people through difficult change, you challenge what people hold dear, their daily habits, loyalties and ways of thinking, with nothing more to offer perhaps than a possibility.
Moreover, leadership often means exceeding the authority you are given to tackle the challenge at hand. People push back when you disturb the personal and institutional equilibrium they know. And people resist in all kinds of creative and unexpected ways that can get you taken out of the game.
This speaks to the leadership experience of the ANC. It has never neglected or abdicated its responsibility to provide leadership to the people it comes from. We have never been merely comfortable being born of the people, but have always accepted the responsibility to provide leadership. This means that we accepted that even if people wanted to have the comfort, for example, from their inception as tribal groupings to fight, that did not succeed and this is why the ANC was formed.
We did not become comfortable with the reality that the organisation was made up of professionals, traditional leaders and so on. We insisted on the involvement of women over time. We insisted on the involvement of workers over time and, of course, we also did not only insist that the organisation embrace the role of women inside the organisation, but also that gender equality must be the objective of the organisation; in short, it could have been very easy for us to say this is what the people would prefer to do, but we said we are bigger and greater than parochially our interests may be.
In that sense, what we did in this instance was not only to listen to what people were saying, but to look at what the leadership responsibilities are that we have. We conducted our review of the Bill and submissions from the public, fully aware that the provinces, as stated earlier, were going to be given an opportunity to express their views further. We were also mindful of the bigger picture, as I said: the objectives of the legislation to remove impediments to effective service delivery in the areas affected.
The changes in the population and in the political leadership and in the staffing of these organisations were profound following the elections. So, it would be very difficult for us, this judgment having come five months after March, to simply accept a reversal of those with ease.
The current service delivery problems cannot be treated in those areas as permanent features, not that anybody ever suggested it. In fact, the reality is that increasing resources, as argued earlier here, are going into those areas to make a difference in those conditions. We trust that the Ministers present here today and those not here will continue to pressure their departments to speed up contributions in those areas in order to address people’s concerns, so that these, being at the heart of some of the concerns people are raising, are addressed.
The Cabinet’s decision, following the Local Government: Municipal Demarcation Act, that all departments must align their service delivery boundaries with municipal boundaries, remains an outstanding job. This unfinished business is directly responsible, in part for the concerns that are being raised. Technology and people deployment must be harnessed effectively to achieve those objectives. The roll-out of the Thusong centres more vigorously will go a long way towards meeting people’s concerns where they live.
Our stance in support of the Bill is intended to facilitate the meeting of people’s underlying concerns about service delivery, to spare provinces, the municipalities and other national departments further institutional and administrative and political changes that are themselves not cheap, so that we help to focus the energies of the state institutions and those of the people themselves on the great task of dealing with poverty, and dealing with it effectively. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mnr M SWART: Mevrou die Adjunkspeaker, oorgrensmunisipaliteite is destyds ingestel om gemeenskappe by die naaste munisipaliteit te laat inskakel, ten spyte daarvan dat hulle in ’n ander provinsie woonagtig was. Daar is gereken dat die naaste munisipaliteit belangriker is as om in dieselfde provinsie te bly en by ’n munisipaliteit ingedeel te word wat verder geleë is.
Dit het baie gemoedere gekalmeer om darem by die munisipaliteit te bly, al is daar provinsiale grense getrek wat gemeenskappe verdeel het. Daar is ook gemeen dat munisipale dienste beter gelewer sal kan word al is so ’n gemeenskap in `n ander provinsie.
Oorgrensmunisipaliteite is ’n eksperiment wat in die praktyk misluk het. Oorgrensmunisipaliteite het dit moeilik gevind om met twee stelle wette van twee provinsies rekening te hou. Die wetgewers van twee provinsies het byvoorbeeld uiteenlopende wette gemaak ten opsigte van gesondheid, behuising en beplanning. Munisipale amptenare moes dus daarmee rekening hou dat verskillende reëls vir die oorgrensgebiede gegeld het.
Oor die skakeling met provinsies moes daar natuurlik by twee verskillende kantore in twee verskillende hoofstede geskakel word. Omdat die verskillende kantore in die verskillende provinsies nie ewe flink was nie, het munisipaliteite dikwels verleë gestaan dat hulle nie dieselfde standaard diens kan lewer aan al hulle gebiede nie. Ongelukkig laat munisipale dienslewering feitlik orals in die land veel te wense oor en het die oorgrenssituasie by daardie munisipaliteite dienslewering verder versleg en van hierdie munisipaliteite het ook geskuil agter die oorgrenssituasie, as ’n verskoning vir hulle vrot diens.
Die DA is daarom ten gunste van hierdie wetgewing wat wegdoen met oorgrensmunisipaliteite. Alhoewel die DA nog altyd die herroeping van hierdie wet voorgestaan het, het ons ons besware oor hoe die grenswysigings hanteer is. Daardie besware vir ons is dat in plaas daarvan dat die Minister en politici deurentyd betrokke was om met die publiek te skakel, is dit aan amptenare en die munisipale afbakeningsraad oorgelaat om gemeenskappe se voorstelle en besware aan te hoor.
Minister Mufamadi was nou nog nie by brandpunte soos Khutsong en Matatiele nie. Die gemeenskappe is nooit behoorlik ingelig om die groter prentjie te sien nie. Hulle is nie ingelig oor waarom oorgrensmunisipaliteite ’n onding is nie. Hulle is nie ingelig dat geld geskuif sal word na die ontvangende provinsie toe nie, sodat dienste nie sal versleg nie. Die ontvangende provinsies het nie genoegsaam uitgereik na die gemeenskappe om hulle te verseker dat daar na hulle behoeftes omgesien sal word nie.
Daar is ook nie genoegsaam oorleg gepleeg met en geluister na gemeenskappe nie. Die ANC het gedink dat hy sy eie aanhangers links en regs kan skuif en hulle sal dit maar net aanvaar. Nou sit ons met onluste en ontwrigting waaruit ons moeilik gaan kom. Die DA het gewaarsku oor die swak oorlegpleging en die blote feit dat die wetsontwerp weer vandag voor die Huis is, is ’n bewys dat ons reg was. Die ANC het ook duidelik indelings gemaak teen die wense van die gemeenskappe.
As byvoorbeeld Khutsong en Matatiele met ’n referendum getoets sou word, sal dit duidelik word dat die gemeenskappe onderskeidelik in Gauteng en KwaZulu-Natal wil wees. Dit is vir ons duidelik dat die ANC seker wil maak dat mense so geskuif word, dat dit die ANC se posisie in die Noord-Kaap, Gauteng en KwaZulu-Natal sal versterk. Die DA steun hierdie wetsontwerp. Dit is egter duidelik dat met die Ministers en die ANC se swak hantering van die saak, hulle ’n lat vir hulself in die pekel gelê het, wat nog lank by ons gaan wees. Ek dank u. (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)
[Mr M SWART: Madam Deputy Speaker, cross-boundary municipalities were originally established to integrate communities into the nearest municipality, despite the fact that they were living in another province. It was considered more important to be in the nearest municipality than remaining in the same province and being placed in a municipality which was situated further away.
It calmed many flaring tempers to remain with the municipality, even though provincial boundaries had been drawn that divided communities. It was also thought that municipal services could be delivered better, even if such a community was in another province.
Cross-boundary municipalities are an experiment that failed in practice. Cross-boundary municipalities found it difficult to cope with two sets of laws from two provinces. The legislatures of two provinces made divergent laws, for example, with regard to health, housing and planning. Municipal officials had to take into account that different rules applied to the cross-boundary areas.
With regard to liaising with provinces, two different offices in two different provinces had to be contacted. Because the different offices in the different provinces were not equally quick to respond, the municipalities were frequently embarrassed that they could not supply the same standard of service to all their areas. Unfortunately municipal service delivery leaves much to be desired virtually everywhere in the country and the cross-boundary situation in those municipalities further worsened that service delivery and some of these municipalities also hid behind the cross-boundary situation, as an excuse for their bad service.
The DA is therefore in favour of this legislation that abolishes cross-boundary municipalities. Although the DA has always been in favour of repealing this act, we have objections as regards the way in which the boundary changes are being dealt with. These objections are that instead of the Minister and politicians continually being involved to interact with the public, it was left to officials and the Municipal Demarcation Board to hear communities’ suggestions and objections.
Minister Mufamadi has still not been to hotspots like Khutsong and Matatiele. The communities were never properly informed of the bigger picture. They were not informed as to why cross-boundary municipalities were bad. They were not informed that money would be trasferred to the recipient province, so that services would not deteriorate. The recipient province did not reach out sufficiently to the communities to assure them that their needs would be catered for.
There was also not sufficient consultation with communities and they were not listened to adequately. The ANC thought that it could shift its own supporters this way and that and that they would simply accept it. Now we have protests and disruptions from which we will struggle to extricate ourselves. The DA warned about the poor consultation and the simple fact that this Bill is before this House again today, is proof that we were right. The ANC has also clearly redrawn boundaries against the wishes of the communities.
If Khutsong and Matatiele, for example, were tested with a referendum, it would become clear that the communities want to be in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal respectively. It is clear to us that the ANC wants to ensure that people are shifted in such a way that it will strengthen the ANC’s position in the Northern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The DA supports this Bill. It is clear, however, that with the bad handling by the Ministers and the ANC they have been hoist with their own petard and we will suffer the consequences for a long time. I thank you.]
Mr M A MNCWANGO: Hon Deputy Speaker, the real issue underlying Matatiele’s discontent is centred on issues of identity, not service delivery. In other words, people are saying that, in terms of identity, they associate themselves with KwaZulu-Natal, rather than the Eastern Cape.
This is an argument centred on emotion. It is an argument where people are saying they have a preference for where they want to live, because they have positive associations with one province over another. They feel more connected with a specific province and, all things being equal, would prefer to live in the province of their choice.
This is a complete anathema to this government. The government refuses to acknowledge that such feelings have any merit. In fact, the ANC denies the validity and even the legitimacy of such arguments, stating, as if this has any relevance at all, that we are all South Africans. Yes, of course we are all South Africans, but what has that got to do with the fact that within one country, one can have additional loyalties?
The ANC feels very uncomfortable with this. It is so centrist in its mindset, so unitarist in its approach to governance, that it fails to comprehend that regional and local identities can legitimately exist within the country alongside a common national identity. This is false thinking, and it is this type of false thinking that has the ANC dismissing all arguments centred on identity, acknowledging only arguments based on delivery and then promptly saying that this can be addressed by improving delivery from the Eastern Cape.
I have just come back from a study tour to Germany, which, like South Africa, is engaged in a review of the federal system. It is striking how differently they deal with these things. There, they really consult the people ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!
Mr M A MNCWANGO: ... and do not rely on “Mickey Mouse” consultation.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, hon member! I personally was interested in your story on Germany, but there’s no time.
Mr M A MNCWANGO: The IFP rejects this.
Mr H B CUPIDO: Hon Deputy Speaker, as a result of the inter-relationship between the Constitution Twelfth Amendment and the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Act of 2005, the Constitutional Court declared that part of the repeal Act, which relates to the Matatiele Municipality, to be unconstitutional. That is the reason for this amending Bill, which is dependent on the passing of the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill.
The crux of the matter relates to the nature and scope of the constitutional obligations to facilitate public involvement in the legislative processes, as stated in the Matatiele case, and I quote: “Clearly, the duty to facilitate public participation had required that the people of Matatiele be given the reasonable opportunity to engage with the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.” The KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature did not hold public hearings or invite written submissions on the issue.
Similar arguments pertain to this Bill as to the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill. It would, in our view, be premature to support this Bill until the public hearings have been held in the affected areas. The ACDP will not support this Bill. [Time expired.]
Mr I S MFUNDISI: Deputy Speaker and hon members, we are engaged in an effort to pass this Bill because someone in the government of KwaZulu-Natal failed to do their work properly in 2005, when they failed to hold public hearings in that province. Failure to adhere to constitutional dictates is a grave matter.
In a country that respects the views of the people and the Constitution, that particular individual and even that government should have been shown the exit door. A lapse in detail has cost the taxpayer dearly.
The UCDP has never supported cross-boundary municipalities. We also maintain that provincial boundaries should not be treated as if they were cast in stone like those of the colonial era.
We take note that the irregularity has had to be regularised and therefore support the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, as we did with the principal Act in 2005. I thank you.
Mr R B BHOOLA: Madam Deputy Speaker, as advocated in the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill debate, the utmost respect and adherence to the national Constitution should in no way be compromised. It’s the preservation of the people’s rights and the delivery of services to the people that need to be monitored to ensure true democracy. However, we also stress that it is transparency and consultation with the people that secures our people’s trust and satisfaction in our government.
The MF believes that the separation of powers, which our Constitution clearly instructs, saves us from autonomy and ensures a system of checks and balances. The provisions that serve as correction to the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal municipality dilemma appear to provide much clarity and hopefully better service delivery. We sincerely hope that the people of Matatiele will be patient in reaping the benefits of this decision. The MF will support the Bill. [Applause.]
Mr L M GREEN: Deputy Speaker, when the legislation was passed to have Matatiele incorporated into the Eastern Cape, it went against the wishes of residents of the area. The residents challenged the constitutionality of the legislation and the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of the community on a technicality. Parliament was given 18 months to correct the constitutional defect. This Bill aims to correct the omission to legally transfer Matatiele from KwaZulu-Natal to the Eastern Cape.
The question remains whether the problem surrounding the incorporation of Matatiele into the Eastern Cape will be resolved, despite the new law. The initial process was flawed, yet 18 months down the line, while the residents have managed to restore constitutionality to the legislative process, their circumstances remain the same.
The protests against the demarcation were not only socioeconomic in nature. The residents did not want to be incorporated into an area they felt would leave them worse off than they already were. Government has transferred staff and assets to the Eastern Cape, but the struggle remains an uphill battle for the people of Matatiele.
Whether improvements in municipal delivery will change the perception of the affected residents to their new boundary locations remains to be seen. For now, the situation remains volatile, and this Bill does not help in any way to further a process in ongoing consultation.
This Bill is a response to a flawed process of the past, which, in order to be constitutionally valid, required a technical change. The constitutional ruling could not, however, cause Parliament to rescind its decision on the original demarcation process and return Matatiele to KwaZulu-Natal. The FD therefore cannot support this Bill in light of the earlier processes. I thank you.
Mrs M M GUMEDE: Hon Madam Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy Ministers and Ministers in the House here, hon members and guests, today I greet you only in the name of the ANC-led government.
The people of Matatiele have spoken and the ANC has responded accordingly. The historical mission of the ANC has always been, and will continue being, to unite all people of South Africa wherever they are, not choosing the rich places, but wherever those masses are. The mission has at its centre the creation of a united, nonracial, nonsexist and democratic society.
This then means that our central task is the liberation of our people from all forms of bondage. It means uplifting the quality of life of all South Africans, especially the poor and the marginalised, from whom, even today, some people still want to benefit in an indirect manner. If you want to benefit from somebody, go directly and ask for a benefit; don’t go about it indirectly.
Today marks one of the stages in the ongoing work around the Matatiele boundary changes. Today we adopt the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, which seeks to amend the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Act of 2005. In 2005 the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Act and the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Act were passed by both Houses of Parliament to do away with cross-boundary municipalities and kick-start the process of redetermination of provincial boundaries.
Ulalele kahle, lungu elihloniphekile.[Please listen carefully, hon member.]
You must listen very carefully. It has kick-started the process to correct whatever might have been going wrong somewhere. Today we have corrected that.
The Constitutional Court identified procedural defects in processing the Bills by the KZN legislature in terms of absence of public involvement. The KZN legislature, in considering and passing the Bill, did not conduct sufficient public hearings and such an act was deemed inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore the Acts were deemed invalid. This only applied to the aspects that relate to Matatiele between the two provinces of the Eastern Cape and KZN.
The court ruling therefore suspended it – the court didn’t say it shouldn’t happen – for correction due to the failure of the KZN legislature to conduct public hearings. The ANC didn’t move away because there was an error. The ANC-led government came very close to those people who were upset about what was happening, and today they have responded.
While the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Act was not necessarily one of the major key pieces of legislation for local government, it has been the single most controversial piece of legislation that continues to attract attention due to the community of Matatiele challenging the constitutional validity of the earlier legislation in respect of which the Constitutional Court found that KwaZulu-Natal had failed to facilitate public participation in the legislative processes required by the Constitution, which states that a provincial legislature must facilitate public involvement in the legislative and other processes of the legislature and its committees.
I’m not going to go into anything that has been said by somebody, but as I was seated here, somebody said it was Mickey Mouse consultation, but I’ll get back to that later on.
The Constitutional Court felt that the previous Act that altered the boundary of KZN was invalid and it had not been adopted in a manner that was consistent with the Constitution. Accordingly, the court declared that part of the Act that transferred the area of Matatiele Municipality to the Eastern Cape province as invalid. It was by then invalid.
However, the court order did not reject the contents of the Act, but principally suspended the order of invalidity for 18 months – it was invalid for 18 months – so that Parliament could, if it so wished, adopt a new amendment in a manner that was consistent with the requirements of the Constitution, and today we are doing exactly that in response to the court order.
We can’t run away. The ANC-led government will never run away from anything. It will just abide by the rules and regulations of the structure that has been mandated to correct whatever needs to be corrected. The court order also created room for extension if Parliament failed to meet the deadline. I am pleased today that Parliament is now adopting this Bill way before the cutoff date and would not necessarily need any extension.
By concluding with the Bill, we are then hoping that the area of Matatiele will normalise and that the municipality will continue to play a leadership role and drive development, involving and empowering citizens in the development process and creating a sense of common purpose by all the people affected.
Let me get back to that statement about “Mickey Mouse” consultation...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Unfortunately, there’s no time for the “Mickey Mouse” story. [Laughter.]
Ms M M GUMEDE: You know, Madam Speaker, really ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no, there is no time, hon member! Will you please leave. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members, in concluding this debate I’d like to bring to the attention of the House that when the DA started advancing these counter-arguments, cross-boundary municipalities were not a new creation of this government. You know that very well and you sat very comfortably when these boundaries were created under apartheid. You name them Bantustans. You were sitting very comfortably and doing nothing, so you are the last people to come and tell us what to do. [Interjections.]
We are aware of a number of challenges that continue to face these realigned municipalities in the area of service delivery backlogs and the strengthening of their municipal institutional capabilities. These challenges will continue to receive focused and dedicated attention.
Following the deliberations here today, this legislation will proceed to the NCOP and the provincial legislatures of the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape governments. The latter is especially viewed as crucial, since these legislatures are in relatively close proximity to the affected communities. It is important that the process unfolds in a manner that allows for greater accessibility and participation by our people.
Today is another important milestone in our efforts to build a better South Africa for all. You sat and did nothing under apartheid! [Interjections.] [Applause.]
Bill read a second time (Federation of Democrats, Inkatha Freedom Party and African Christian Democratic Party dissenting).
Criminal law (sentencing) amendment bill
(Second Reading debate)
The MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Deputy Speaker, colleagues, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, I stand before this House to call on all members in this House to support this Bill. I will now give you the rationale.
The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1997, which came into operation on 1 May 1998, dealt with the abolition of the death penalty and created a legal regime of discretionary minimum sentences in respect of certain serious offences. During the Second Reading debate on the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, on 6 November 1997, our beloved late Minister of Justice, Dullah Omar, described the introduction of discretionary minimum sentences for certain serious crimes as an important matter for our country and in the fight against crime in particular.
Discretionary minimum sentences are only provided for in respect of a small number of serious and defined offences. In each case the presiding judicial officer has the discretion to impose a lesser sentence than the prescribed minimum sentence, if he or she is satisfied that substantial and compelling circumstances exist which justify the imposition of such a lesser sentence.
The offences to which discretionary minimum sentences are applicable are listed in schedule 2 of the Act. These offences are categorised in terms of their degree of seriousness. For instance, Part 1, which carries potential life imprisonment, comprises murder with aggravated circumstances, as well as many instances of rape such as gang rape and rape of a minor. The Act also provides that these provisions will lapse unless they are renewed, for periods of two years at a time, by the President with the concurrence of Parliament.
The discretionary minimum sentences provisions were extended on 1 May 2007 for a further period of two years in order to allow Parliament time to consider and pass the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Amendment Bill. The Bill proposes the repeal of the provision in terms of which the minimum sentences provisions shall lapse after two years, and it will therefore not be necessary in future to follow this procedure.
When the minimum sentences provisions were first debated and even once they were enacted, stakeholders in the legal fraternity were divided on their constitutionality. Some argued that their prescriptive nature constituted an unwarranted interference in the judicial function of sentencing. The late Minister Omar, in summarising the main arguments in favour of the introduction of minimum sentences during the Second Reading debate of 1997 referred to earlier, stated the following in this regard:
In terms of the proposed legislation, the courts are granted discretion to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentences. The introduction of minimum sentences could therefore not be regarded in this Bill as being interference with the independence of the judiciary.
In deciding challenges brought against the minimum sentences legislation in the years following this enactment, the Constitutional Court, on two occasions, as well as the Supreme Court of Appeal held that the provisions were indeed consistent with the Constitution and in line with the executive’s and the legislature’s interest and mandate as far as sentencing was concerned.
In State v Dzukuda of 2000, the Constitutional Court dismissed allegations that section 52 of the Act infringed on an accused’s right to a fair trial in terms of section 35 of the Constitution.
A year later, in State v Dodo of 2001, the Constitutional Court had to deal with an application from the High Court for confirmation of a declaration of constitutional invalidity of section 51(1) of the Act. The High Court declared the section in question to be constitutionally invalid, because it was inconsistent with section 35(3)(c) of the Constitution and was also inconsistent with the separation of powers required by the Constitution.
The Constitutional Court, in interpreting the words “substantial and compelling circumstances” in section 51(3) of the Ac, endorsed the step-by-step sentencing procedure set out in State v Malgas by the Supreme Court of Appeal. The Court held in this regard that this interpretation of the SCA steers an appropriate path, which the legislature doubtless intended, respecting the legislature’s decision to ensure that consistently heavier sentences are imposed in relation to the serious crimes covered by section 51 and, at the same time, promoting the spirit, purport and objects of the Bill of Rights.
It is therefore necessary to briefly highlight some of the main points made in the Malgas case. Section 51 has not eliminated the courts' discretion in imposing a sentence in respect of offences referred to in Part 1 of Schedule 2. Courts are required to approach the imposition of sentence conscious of the fact that the legislature has ordained life imprisonment as the sentence that should ordinarily and in the absence of weightier justification be imposed for the listed crimes in the specified circumstances. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms F I CHOHAN-KHOTA: The Minister of Justice is going to lend me her speech so that I can finish it for her.
Hon members, the Bill before us is an amendment to the Criminal Law Act on minimum sentences which was passed in 1997. That Act put in place a regime of minimum sentences for certain serious offences which the Constitutional Court has correctly described as discretionary. This is so because a judicial officer, upon finding substantial and compelling circumstances, may deviate from the minimum sentences set down in the legislation.
Up to now, this House has not guided the courts in any way as to the precise meaning of the phrase “substantial and compelling”. As members, we will know that the 1997 Act, which the Minister has already alluded to, was not necessarily well received by some members of the judiciary and the legal fraternity. In not one but two Constitutional Court cases that court found the legislation entirely constitutional. In one of those cases, State v Dodo, Justice Ackermann quoted, with approval, the first certification judgment, where the court said:
The separation of powers anticipates the necessary or unavoidable intrusion of one branch on the terrain of the other. No constitutional scheme can reflect a complete separation of powers. The scheme is always one of partial separation.
However, notwithstanding these and other definitive judgments, including the superb judgment alluded to by the Minister in State v Malgas, where the court detailed the finer aspects relating to the application of “substantial and compelling”, disdain for this legislation in some quarters has persisted. This is particularly true in rape cases.
Members are familiar with the case of State v Abrahams where the courts held that the accused, who had raped his 14-year-old daughter, was not a threat to society as a whole, and this was, in itself, a mitigating factor. Although the Appeal Court in that case found that the judge had misdirected himself, tendencies along this line of reasoning persist in our courts.
In State v Mahomotsa, the accused, who was 23 years old, raped a girl under the age of 16 after brandishing a firearm. He was arrested and, while awaiting trial, he raped another girl under 16, threatening to stab her with a knife. In both cases, he raped these girls more than once. I now want to quote from the judgment delivered so that members can see for themselves the kinds of attitudes that prevail in regard to rape cases. The judge says and I quote:
Although there was intercourse ...
note “intercourse” –
... with each complainant more than once, this was the result of the virility of a young man still at school who had intercourse with other school pupils against their wishes ...
and notes -
... school pupils who had previously been sexually active. Where one is dealing with school pupils and where, in addition, it appears that the two girls concerned had already had intercourse before, one really shouldn’t lose perspective, especially not in relation to the first count, which dealt with a complainant who had, in any event, been naughty a few days earlier, and had intercourse with somebody else.
The injustice which she suffered in this case does not demand an unusually severe punishment.
There are many examples of clearly inappropriate and often sexist pronouncements emanating from some quarters in our judiciary.
Lest we are too quick to conclude that these attitudes vest only in male judges, I would refer members to the appeal of Nkomo v the State where it was left to Acting Justice of Appeal Theron, in a dissenting judgment, to restore to the victim a measure of dignity.
In this case, the victim was held hostage all night by the perpetrator. She was forced to remain naked for the entire period. She was physically assaulted to overcome her resistance to performing oral sex on the perpetrator. She was raped on four occasions. In her desperation to escape, she jumped from the second floor of a building despite the potential danger to her life and notwithstanding the unanimous finding by the court, “It is difficult to imagine a rape under much worse conditions”, Justice Lewis of that court found that because there was no serious injury, and the victim’s wounds were superficial, the perpetrator was young – he happened to be 29 years old – and there was a prospect of rehabilitation, the maximum sentence was not then pronounced.
Arising from these and other very sadly indicting tendencies in some of our courts, we have veered into the terrain of the absolute discretion of the courts in deciding what does and what does not constitute “substantial and compelling circumstances”. We now propose the following factors will not in future be able to be considered “substantial and compelling circumstances” so as to attract a lesser sentence for the accused.
These factors are, firstly, the victim’s sexual history; secondly, the apparent lack of physical injury to the victim; thirdly, the accused’s cultural or religious values regarding rape; and, fourthly, any previous relationship between the accused and the victim.
Previously – coming now to the issue of jurisdiction – after convicting accused persons for crimes listed in Part 1, which are the most serious crimes, our regional courts stopped proceedings and referred such cases to the High Court for sentencing, owing mainly to a lack of statutory jurisdiction to pass the sentence of life imprisonment. Apart from the administrative delay caused in transferring a case from one court to the other, some High Courts refused to simply sentence the accused based on the record of the proceedings in the lower court, and insisted on rehearing evidence. This often led to secondary trauma for victims, particularly in rape cases when a woman or a child victim had to give evidence not once, but twice before our courts.
This two-tier process is now being removed, with the necessary jurisdiction being conferred on the regional court to pass life-imprisonment sentences. Where a person is sentenced to life imprisonment in a regional court, an automatic right to appeal will attach. At the same time, we now require the National Prosecuting Authority to clearly stipulate a policy on prosecuting the most serious crimes in the High Court as the court of first instance.
We intend by this measure that, as far as possible, most serious crimes will be prosecuted in the High Courts and not in the regional courts, as has been the practice up to now. This is to reassert the role of dominus litus in respect of the National Prosecuting Authority.
Lastly and finally, the committee has added the ritual murder of people or the so-called “witch killings” to Part 1 of the schedule to the Act. In this regard, while all premeditated murders are already in this category, it was thought to abide by the request of the Premier of Limpopo to deal harshly with crimes of this nature so as to send a strong message that muti murders or witch killings, the victims of which are largely women and children, are cowardly crimes which will be dealt with extremely harshly by the state in all its manifestations. I thank you for your attention, hon members. [Applause.]
Dr J T DELPORT: Voorsitter, my inligting is dat dit waarskynlik die laaste keer is wat die agb voorsitter van die portefeuljekomitee hier in daardie hoedanigheid optree. Ek wil vir haar sê dit was ’n voorreg om saam met haar te werk.
Ons sal haar skerp intellek en deeglike voorbereiding mis. Sy is bekend as iemand wat nogal hardkoppig kan wees, maar ek moet bysê sy is altyd diplomaties hardkoppig. Dit is jammer dat ons so min tyd het om werklik belangrike wetgewing te debatteer in hierdie Huis. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Dr T J DELPORT: Chairperson, my information is that this is probably the last time that the hon chairperson of the portfolio committee will act in this capacity here. Therefore, I want to tell her that it has been a privilege working with her.
We will miss her sharp intellect and thorough preparation. She is known as someone that can be somewhat stubborn at times, but I should add that she is always diplomatically stubborn. It is a pity that we have so little time to really debate important legislation in this House.]
I cannot do justice to what I have to say in four minutes, let alone enter into a debate with the hon Deputy Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development on specific issues.
Laat ek sê ons ondersteun hierdie wetgewing en ons ondersteun absoluut sterk en streng vonnisse. Trouens, ons wil graag hê alle kriminele moet voor die gereg kom staan en deur ’n behoorlike proses gaan. Sover dit verkragting betref, laat ek dit dadelik sê, ek persoonlik sou vir verkragting met verswarende omstandighede - en ek praat nie namens my party nie, maar persoonlik - die doodstraf sou wou sien. Só sterk voel ek daaroor. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[Let me say that we support this legislation and we absolutely support harsh and strict sentences. In fact, we would like to see all criminals brought before a court of law and go through a proper process. With regard to rape, let me say immediately, that for rape with aggravating circumstances - and I am not talking on behalf of my party, but in my personal capacity – I would like to see the death penalty. This is how strongly I feel about this.]
Against this background I must express some reservations on the constitutionality of the clause that limits the discretion of the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence. In terms of the Bill, a court may not rely on certain factors in order to find a reason to impose a lesser sentence, and the chairperson did list these instances.
I am of the opinion that Parliament, here at the very least, borders on interfering with the discretion of the court. We know that the Constitutional Court has ruled that minimum sentences are not per se unconstitutional.
Hierdie bepaling gaan nou veel verder. Dit is nog altyd die imperatief dat ’n hof die totale posisie van ’n beskuldigde sal oorweeg by die oplegging van ’n gepaste vonnis. Wat ons hier vind is dat daardie diskresie, nee ek wil verder gaan, daardie verpligting op die hof om na die totale prentjie te kyk nou aan bande gelê word.
Ek dink ons wil ’n probleem wat bestaan op die verkeerde plek regmaak, want nie alleen kan daar dalk geargumenteer word – ek sê nie dit is so nie – dat ons hier inmeng met die bevoegdheidsonafhanklikheid van die regbank, maar daar is ’n ander fasset wat net so belangrik is. Sal ’n beskuldigde nie kan aanvoer dat hy nie ’n regverdige verhoor gekry het nie omdat sy totale prentjie nie deur die hof oorweeg mag geword het nie? (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[This provision now goes much further. It has always been the imperative that the court will evaluate the total position of an accused when imposing an appropriate sentence. What we find here is that this discretion, no I want to go further, this obligation of the court to look at the whole picture is now being restricted.
I think we want to rectify an existing problem in the wrong place, because not only could it be argued - I am not saying this is the case - that we are interfering with the competency independence of the judiciary, but there is another facet that is just as important. Could an accused not say that he did not get a fair trial because his total circumstances could not be considered by the court?]
The imposition, however, of minimum sentences is but a small part of the solution to the overall problem we have. The criminal justice system as a whole needs to be upgraded if the crime wave is to be stopped in its tracks.
As far as this legislation and this particular clause are concerned, I will await further developments, possibly in our courts, with bated breath. We support this Bill, because we think extreme situations like those we are experiencing today need extreme measures. I thank you.
Mr N SINGH: Chairperson, the IFP welcomes this Bill as we have long been concerned about the delays and other negative aspects caused by having a person convicted in a regional court transferred to a High Court for sentencing in terms of the 1997 Act.
This matter has repeatedly been brought to our attention by senior members of the judiciary and we therefore welcome the action taken by the department to repeal the relevant provisions. This should, we believe, end the delays caused by having to transfer cases to the high courts and should, in our opinion, lead to a quicker finalisation of serious cases.
As a consequence, we also welcome the provision made in this Bill for regional courts to hand down life sentences and the introduction of an automatic right of appeal in such cases. We would, however, have liked to see that the automatic right of appeal also be extended to cases where the regional courts impose direct prison terms and not just life sentences.
The question of “substantial and compelling circumstances” to be considered by the judiciary in altering the prescribed minimum sentences remains a vexed problem. The IFP has never been in favour of such prescriptions as they potentially impinge on the discretion of judicial officers – something that the previous member, hon Delport, said. However, we accept that the Constitutional Court found these prescriptions to be constitutionally valid and the hon Minister referred to this earlier.
We also welcome the provision that a court may take into account the period an accused spent as an awaiting-trial prisoner when deciding on a sentence. We would, however, like this provision to be made compulsory.
The Bill also inserts two further grounds for murder. In this instance, we would have liked to see a third ground, namely murders committed against the farming community, also being included, because there have been a number of these murders taking place in our country at this moment in time.
The IFP will support the Bill. Thank you.
Mrs C DUDLEY: Chair, most South Africans are overwhelmed and even preoccupied with crime, its effects and how to combat it. Most categories of crime are at unacceptably high levels. The callousness of the crimes, particularly the rapes and murders, has resulted in society calling for harsher measures, including the reintroduction of the death penalty.
In view of the absence of the death penalty, clearly, the only deterrent left is long prison sentences, including life imprisonment. Regrettably, some members of the judiciary have not applied minimum sentences consistently, resulting in the need for this amending legislation.
As the chair of the portfolio committee has said, the ACDP believes that it is necessary to provide that certain circumstances shall not constitute substantial and compelling circumstances justifying a lesser sentence than that prescribed for rape.
The ACDP will support this amending legislation, as it will further regulate the imposition of minimum sentences for serious offences including murder and rape. Thank you.
Ms S RAJBALLY: Chairperson, rape, murder, robbery and violence have South Africans living in fear. And this paranoia exists no matter what statistics say. When our beloved comrades envisioned our free South Africa, in no way did they envision the people to once again live lives of oppression, but this time at the hand of crime.
Poverty has been utilised as a scapegoat for crime in South Africa. While the MF believes that poverty does have repercussions on the fabric of South Africa, we believe that criminals in our free South Africa have opted by free will to commit crime. We don’t believe that poverty tells one to rape, murder or become violent.
While our national Constitution and legislation govern us with principles and values that pertain to a good people, domestic morals and values have been replaced by material desires and evil. In this respect we need to inculcate the teaching of respect for life and consciousness of our actions, as our fathers taught us generations before.
We need to redress this important aspect of being South African. The MF calls for intense and effective rehabilitation of criminals. The MF will support this Bill. I thank you.
Mr L M GREEN: Chairperson, turning the tide in dealing with the backlog of criminal cases in our courts remains one of the primary challenges, yet it is also one of the critical objectives if you want to win the fight against crime. Our magistrates’ courts currently have to deal with more than a million cases, of which it is reported that only about 375 000 have been finalised thus far and of which 86% have resulted in a conviction.
Our regional courts are apparently the worst hit, given that, since June, there has been a total of about 47 000 cases outstanding, of which 17 000 are back-dated more than nine months. The current Bill provides for the streamlining of sentencing, especially relating to serious crime, giving certain powers to regional courts to impose sentences such as life imprisonment.
The nature of crime in South Africa is characterised by high levels of murder, rape and aggravated robbery, and we trust that this Bill will successfully achieve its intended objectives. Being able to effect high levels of sentencing does not necessarily mean that crime is under control. First of all, the Bill elucidates certain provisions to guide the imposition of minimum sentencing.
The Bill limits mitigating factors of certain circumstances that may have a bearing on the nature of sentencing imposed by the court. The Bill correctly comes down hard on offenders convicted of rape and it is moving in the right direction to assess ways to control the occurrence of rape. The effective implementation of this Bill may lead to a reduction in the numbers of offenders on the street, but whether we will experience a reduction in crime is a matter equally important to consider if we wish to equate conviction rates with crime reduction.
The FD supports this Bill, but wishes that further strategies relating to deterrents of crime, such as increased, visible policing and improvement in crime-detection mechanisms, be enhanced to complement the provisions contained in this Bill. I thank you.
Ms M V MERUTI: Chairperson, hon members, Parliament has previously passed legislation providing for minimum sentences. What this means is that our presiding officers are given discretion to impose a sentence. However, the legislation compels them to order sentences between certain parameters and based on certain criteria. In other words, the court may not impose a sentence that is less than a certain prescribed minimum, unless the court has found substantial and compelling circumstances in the case. The court can only deviate from this minimum sentence and, in other words, impose a lesser sentence, if the court finds that there are substantial and compelling circumstances in the case.
The legislation was not passed to make sentences mandatory. Presiding officers still have discretion when it comes to sentencing, except that the legislation sets out the minimum sentence that the court may impose. Despite the passing of the legislation, cases show that there are still presiding officers in our courts who are imposing sentences which are inappropriate. An example is the case of the State v G, in which the accused was convicted of raping a 10-year-old girl. The accused was in a position of trust over the child, as he was the mother’s boyfriend. The court found that the accused showed absolutely no remorse whatsoever and that the victims suffered continuous trauma because of the rape. Despite this, the court still imposed a lesser sentence because the court found that the violence used during the rape was not excessive and he therefore did not inflict serious physical injuries on the complainant.
The court seems to forget that rape, in and of itself, is a serious injury both physically and psychologically. Pronouncements such as these are unacceptable in a society that has to protect its women and children. Sentencing is all about attitudes, and this House has a duty to send a message that crimes such as the rape of children are unacceptable and demand a heavy sentence.
The Bill before us will make it very clear that our courts may not use factors such as the complainant’s sexual history, an accused person’s cultural or religious beliefs about rape, any personal relationship between the accused and the complainant or a perceived lack of physical or psychological harm on the victim as mitigating factors to justify lesser or lighter sentences.
This House needs to speak for victims of rape who cannot speak for themselves. For example, in the case of the State v Swart the accused had been convicted of housebreaking with the intent to rape, two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault. The evidence showed that the accused was heavily under the influence of alcohol at the time.
The court found it was more important to cure the accused of his alcohol abuse, and therefore sentenced the accused to only seven years’ imprisonment, suspended on condition that he seek treatment for his drinking problem. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned the sentence and imposed a sentence of 12 years, of which only eight years had to be served.
Die Grondwet verbind ons tot die daarstel van ’n samelewing wat vry is van rassisme en seksisme. Ons kan slegs ’n vrye, nie-rassige en geslagsgelyke samelewing gebou op beginsels van menswaardigheid, gelykheid en vryheid ten volle verwesenlik, indien ons as `n samelewing ons denke so kan verander ten einde dit te bereik.
As gevolg van sommige toonaangewende hofuitsprake, veral deur ons Konstitusionele Hof, is daar reeds groot vordering gemaak op die gebied van geslagsgelykheid. Tog wil dit voorkom asof daar in verkragtingsake veral sommige howe is wat steeds onsensitief is teenoor die slagoffers van verkragting en vonnisse oplê wat nie die misdaad pas nie. Dit is hoekom ons hierdie wetgewing, wat nou voor die Huis dien, nodig het. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[The Constitution enjoins us to establish a society that is free of racism and sexism. We can only fully realise a free, non-racial society with gender equity, built on the principles of human dignity, equality and liberty, if we as a society can change our mindset so as to achieve this end.
As a result of several authoritative judgments, especially by the Constitutional Court, there has been significant progress in the field of gender equity. But it would appear that, in rape cases in particular, some courts continue to be insensitive to the plight of rape victims, and still impose sentences which do not fit the crime. That is why we need this legislation that is now before this House.]
In conclusion, I wish to quote from a comment by the Association of Regional Magistrates, who will primarily be tasked with the implementation of this legislation:
We support the objectives of this Bill fully and are committed to ensure that this Bill is put into operation and shall be properly and responsibly applied. We are also committed to providing training and guidance to our members, pertaining to the appropriate use of the new sentencing powers extended to us in this Bill.
We commend our regional courts for this positive approach. With such enthusiasm we can certainly look forward to the successful implementation of this important piece of legislation. The ANC supports this Bill. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: It is a great pleasure to come and speak, seeing that all the parties have agreed with this Bill. I really do thank members ... well, I like smiling [Interjections.] ... particularly Mike here. Thank you very much for supporting this Bill and we have not put politics before it.
Clearly, the House is unanimously of the view that this legislation is still vitally important to give guidance on issues of sentencing in our society. Members have quite correctly, and particularly Dr Delport and others, highlighted the one issue in the Bill that should be discussed properly and that is that in the case of rape we have created and placed certain limitations on the discretion that may be used in that regard. Obviously, this will go to the Constitutional Court, but it is for us to argue strongly why we have to do this.
I think we are starting to analyse the statistics around rape and there is a very scary trend that is starting to develop. We now find that more than 50% of rapes in this country are actually perpetrated on girls younger than 16. The perpetrators are in 80% to 85% of cases people older than 18. We are getting grown-ups targeting children and we see it in the newspapers. Young kids are being raped. The problem is that the extent of it is enormous.
If we as legislators do not do something about this, wouldn’t it be right for our people to ask questions about it? I am prepared to put my head on a block on this issue, although there may be some difficulties with what we doing, to argue to the court why we are doing it. We have tons of court cases. The women’s organisations have brought it to us and said: Here is a problem. Look at what the judiciary is doing in terms of their perceptions of rape in this society.
If one judicial officer said it, I’d say: Okay. But what worries me, for example, is that if you rape your daughter, your niece, your stepchild that there is a quite broad acceptance amongst judicial officers that that is somehow a lesser crime. We had a judge here in the Cape who specifically said in one case, where the stepfather had raped the daughter, that this was not really a problem because it was all done within the family and therefore it’s not from outside. It is very scary, with the deeper inner socialisation of people coming out when they write judgments, particularly on sentencing.
We argued when we introduced minimum sentences that the one thing that minimum sentences are going to do is not necessarily that more people are going to get higher sentences. What it does is that it forces judicial officers to put their reasons on paper why they don’t want to give the sentence. What we are seeing, I submit, is rather scary.
One of the cases mentioned is the Nkomo case. I want to read to you exactly what the judges have said. These are two senior judges in the SCA that have said this. This is a case in which a woman was forced upstairs, raped; the chap then went downstairs to drink in the bar. She then jumped out the window from the second floor. He grabbed her when she landed in front of the bar, took her upstairs, raped her four more times that evening, assaulted her, forced her to have oral sex with him, she escaped the next day and the High Court gave him a life sentence. The judges said this - why they did not want to give a life sentence:
In this case the appellant did not use any weapon, although he did assault the complainant. He did not seriously injure her though he callously and cruelly disregarded her injury caused when she tried to escape from the hotel room. I emphasise in particular the brutality with which the appellant treated the complainant – raping her four times after she had been injured ...
That’s after already raping her once –
... trying to escape from him; that he forced her to perform oral sex on him, assaulting her when initially she refused; that he showed absolutely no remorse; that he was in a comparatively better position than her with education and a permanent job. He should have known. He behaved like a sexual thug. That said, I do not believe that this crime should attract the heaviest sentence permitted by our law: life imprisonment. I recognise that it may be difficult to imagine a rape under much worse conditions, but it is possible. And I consider that the prospect of rehabilitation of a 29-year-old and the fact that the appellant is a first offender must be regarded as substantial and compelling circumstances.
The two judges then gave 16 years to this man, instead of life imprisonment. The other judge, who gave a minority judgment, says this ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr G Q M Doidge): Deputy Minister, you are fast running out of time. I can give you half a minute.
The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: One minute please. He says:
In my view, the rape of the complainant is one of the worst imaginable. If life imprisonment is not appropriate in a rape as brutal as this, when will it be appropriate?
That is the problem that we are facing. I would have preferred not to actually prescribe the discretion in rape cases more than we have done. But against the background of what is happening out there with young girls in particular and what we are seeing in the judgments that they do not want to impose these sentences, our Parliament has no other recourse than to actually say: We are restricting the discretion. I am prepared for us to go to court to argue that point very strongly on behalf of those women that are being raped and not being treated with the necessary respect in our courts. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Bill read a second time.
EDUCATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The MINISTER OF EDUCATION: Chairperson, I hope hon members have been encouraged by the previous debate to pay far closer attention to the sentencing practices of the judiciary.
The Bill before the House today has been endorsed by many stakeholders. It seeks to strengthen the statutory measures that support quality in education, sets out the roles and functions of school principals as key managers in schools, and provides measures directed at curbing the scourge of drugs in our schools.
The key features of the Bill are the following. The first key feature concerns the bodies that the Minister is required to consult in the formulation of policy. The National Education Policy Act currently has two sections - section 5 and section 11 – that seem to contradict each other. They are not elegant in formulation and tend to cause confusion in interpretation. To remove that confusion, we have offered a simpler formulation that makes it clear that the Minister of Education may establish a National Education and Training Council and other bodies to advise on any policy matter.
Concern has been expressed in some of the submissions as it is believed that the Minister will want to determine policy alone. I wish to assure hon members that the Minister does not make policy without consulting the public and relevant stakeholders. Currently, trade unions and other bodies engage with the Minister in a wide range of bodies and institutions, for example, the Education Labour Relations Council, as mandated by the Employment of Educators Act and the Forum for National Governing Body Associations, as key examples. I am also pleased to inform members that I have already taken steps to establish the National Education and Training Council.
The second key feature of the Bill is the setting of norms and standards for capacity and infrastructure in schools across the country. Section 5 of the Bill is designed to guide implementation in the provision of infrastructure for learning. It is our intention to alter the character and quality of school facilities in South Africa.
The three Parliaments of our young democracy have played a vital role in ensuring that resources are made available for the provision of education. Much has been done to redress past imbalances. We have come a long way, as the recently published National Education Infrastructure Management System report has revealed.
In terms of success, the report states the following: The number of overcrowded schools has fallen from 51% in 1999 to 24% in 2006; the number of schools with electricity has increased from 11 174 in 1996 to 20 713 in 2006; the number of schools without water has fallen from 8 823 in 1996 to 3 152 in 2006; and the number of schools without on-site toilets has fallen from 3 265 in 1996 to 1 532 in 2006.
Clearly, despite these achievements, a great deal still has to be done. The challenges we have to attend to are the following. It is clear from the Neims - National Education Information Management System - report that even as we built new schools, we continued in some cases to perpetuate the apartheid design of education facilities. Clause 5 of the Bill on norms and standards for schools clearly sets out our demand that all schools must have libraries, laboratories and other learning facilities.
Neims also revealed that we have hundreds of very small schools in South Africa and that this is often an inefficient use of the human resources in education. Furthermore, we have some severely crowded schools that make learning and discipline difficult if not impossible. The Bill, once signed into law, will allow us to set minimum norms for class sizes in a particular phase or quintile. We plan to ensure that we relieve teachers of overcrowded classes and create conditions for effective teaching.
There is no point in setting norms and standards if there is no mechanism in place to enforce them. Clause 58 of the Bill, therefore, requires an MEC and a head of department to comply with the norms and standards relating to schools as prescribed in the legislation. It also provides that MECs shall report to the Minister annually on the progress made in complying with the legal norms and standards.
The third key feature of the Bill is a section that authorises school principals or persons they delegate to search pupils for dangerous weapons and illegal drugs and to seize them. I am certain that given wide community concern about drug trafficking and drug abuse in our country, all members will support this Bill and these particular measures.
In the Bill we also do address that the searching of pupils must be on the basis of reasonable suspicion of finding an offensive weapon or drugs. Such laws exist in other jurisdictions in the world, and we are merely acting as has been provided in other systems and responding to a real concern in education in our country.
The fourth key feature is that of setting out the responsibilities of school principals and the functions that they should execute within the school setting. Many persons, when we referred to an intention to craft such legislation in 2005, suspected that we intended in some way to deny school governing bodies proper powers in terms of school principals and their governance roles in schools. I had nothing of the sort in mind. I intend to assist school principals to execute the role of school manager and education leader within the education system.
The Bill gives attention to school leadership and to the key role of the principal in the promotion of quality learning and teaching. We have made it clear that the principal is in charge of a school on behalf of the state and not on behalf of the school governing body.
The fifth and final key feature of the Bill is the clause in which we address the steps that should be taken in order to turn around an underperforming school. I am sure hon members are aware that we have often had schools that have underperformed for five years or more with no direct action being taken by administrators of education. We have now ensured that there should be formal steps that must be taken to support a school towards a path of recovery. These steps will include putting principals that cannot perform to terms in accordance with the appropriate legislation and, of course, providing them with assistance and support to come up to the mark in terms of ensuring that the school removes itself from the underperformance list.
The clause provides the basis for evaluating schools that are failing. It is a process that we have lacked for a number of years, and I am very pleased that we have now been able to put this in legislation in order to ensure that we support schools to improve and do not allow them to continue in a state of perpetual mediocrity.
We are about to establish a national evaluation unit that will support provinces in identifying underperforming schools and setting them on the path to recovery. I am pleased to note that some provinces have already begun to provide the building blocks for such a process of external evaluation. Secondary schools have begun development plans and are working at targets to improve the performance of learners and support for the development of teachers in their education function.
This Bill we believe provides an essential framework for achieving quality education in our schools and I trust that hon members will support the Bill. [Applause.]
UProf S M MAYATULA: Mandibulele Sihlalo naMalungu ePalamente, lo Mthetho uYilwayo, siwuphetheyo namhlanje, uzama ukulingisa imithetho emithandathu, emibini kuyo inezinto ezininzi ekufuneka sizijongile. Le yokugqibela mine imiba ibalulekile, kodwa ke phaya ekomitini sivene ngayo sonke.
Mandiqale ngayo kuqala. Le mithetho inento yokwenza nelinge likazwelonke lokuzama ukuncedisana nabafundi ngemali yokufunda okanye i-national student financial aid, iSouth African Council for Educators okanye i-Sace ngamafutshane, kunye ne-Adult Basic Education okanye iAbet.
Zonke iinguqu esizakuzenza apho zilungiselela abantwana bethu ukuba bakwazi ukufunda kumaziko azikholeji zemfundo ethe vetshe okanye ii-further education and training colleges okanye iiFETs. Niyakukhumbula ukuba sikwiphulo lokuba abantwana bethu bakwazi ukusebenzisa iizandla zabo, ingabi ngabo bonke abafuna ukubheka ezidyunivesiti. Ithi ke loo nto umntwana esakuliphumelela ibanga lesixhenxe okanye igredi yethoba makazi ukuba unelungelo lokubheka kwi-FET college.
Ingxaki yeyokuba aba bantwana ababinayo imali yokuya apho, kuba zisembalwa zona. Urhulumente kule minyaka mithathu ubeke ecaleni imali engangezi-R600 million. Ukuze ke abantwana bakwazi ukuyifumana le mali sifuna i-National Student Financial Aid Scheme okanye i-Nefsas ikwazi ukuncedisana nabantwana ize iqinisekise ukuba bayayifumana. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)
[Prof S M MAYATULA: Thank you, Chairperson and members of Parliament. The Bill we are discussing is going to amend three laws of which two have a number of things we need to look at. The last four issues are important and the committee agreed on them.
Let me start with them. These Bills go hand in hand with the National Education Policy, which is trying to assist students with funds to pay their fees through the national student financial aid scheme fund, South African Council for Educators, Sace in short, and Adult Basic Education, Abet.
All the changes which were done here would help our children to go and register in further education and training colleges, FETs. You will remember that our aim is to empower our children with skills so that not all of them have to go to university. That means a student who passes standard 7 or grade 9 can register in a FET college.
The problem is that these learners do not have enough money to register and the number of FET colleges is still limited. Government has put aside an amount of R600 million for three years. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme, Nasfas, must make sure that learners enjoy this benefit.]
Let me go now to the National Education Policy Act of 1996, sometimes referred to as Nepa. With Nepa we are making a few amendments here, one of which, among other things, declares that the Minister shall establish a National Education and Training Council, and what we are going to be doing today in this Bill is to try to amend that Bill in, mainly, three ways.
The first way is that we are changing “shall establish” into “may establish”. This is in line with other bodies and the experience we had, for example, with the National Board for Further Education and Training. Because it had outlived its importance, we were able to do away with it.
The second way relates to another Nepa amendment and has to do with consultation. When the Minister makes policies, he or she is supposed to consult with the National Education and Training Council. But there has been confusion in some of the submissions we received, because they took this to mean that when making laws you need to consult with the National Education and Training Council, when in fact it is solely for the Minister when he or she is making policy.
We found this in the same Bill, part of which we did not change. Section 6(a) of the Nepa Act reads: Legislation on a matter referred to in section 3, which has to do with the determination of policy, shall be introduced in Parliament only after consultation between the Minister and the council. Some submissions were saying that since there was no consultation in terms of this Bill with the NETC, it is null and void and unconstitutional. But, as we see it, they interpreted this reference to “council” incorrectly as if it related to the National Education and Training Council when, in fact, it related to the Council of Education Ministers.
The third amendment as far as Nepa is concerned relates to the structures that need to be consulted. The original Bill listed these structures: the council, the organisations representing college rectors, the organised teaching profession, and many others. In terms of experience, for example, with Gauteng, which already has such a structure, the officials there said: The problem with this unwieldy body, which is supposed to give advice to the Minister, is, one, that this structure is very big; two, these structures go there and they need mandates in order to be able to give advice, which becomes impossible.
They say that the NETC tends to forget that it is an advisory body with the intention to provide impartial advice on request and focuses on insisting to take on the role of an organisation with executive or regulatory powers. Because of that, we have had to expand that list so that the Minister can bring around people who are going to be advising her on expert issues that relate to education.
The other part that is part of this has to do with the violence that is happening in our schools. We want to arm our schools so as to be able to do something, and what is important is that this does not do away with the principal calling the police when necessary. Let me read what this says: Clause 7(8)(1):
Unless authorised by the principal for legitimate educational purposes, no person may bring a dangerous object or illegal drug onto school premises or have such objects or drug in his or her possession on school premises or during any school activity.
This gives the school something in law to prevent anybody bringing these things into the school. Over and above that, we are arming the school to be able to search for and seize these things. The hon Van den Heever will deal with this.
We also find that our principals’ functions have not been defined, and they become confused, especially when it comes to how they relate to school governing bodies. There is a difference between a governing body of a private school and a governing body of a public school. In a private school, the buck stops with the principal and the governing body, but in a public school the buck stops with the MEC, or Minister, or head of department. This means that at any point when the principal is in the school governing body, he or she is there in his or her capacity as representing the MEC.
If it was possible, the MEC and head of department would be in that school governing body. That is why, therefore, this Bill says that if the principal is representing the MEC in the school governing body, how is it possible for him or her to stand against the MEC or head of department. We are trying to prevent that. This Bill goes a step further in that the principal must now, through this Act, be able to report on a yearly basis on the performance of the school.
It also goes a step further to say that in case the performance is bad, what it is that needs to be done pertaining to the principal and educators generally. This Bill is also telling us about the norms and standards of a school. Currently, we do not have one picture when we talk about schools.
Izikolo zethu zingamatyotyombe, uyakufika isikolo singamagumbi amabini, ingekho indlu yangasese, singabiyelwanga, kwaye kungenzwanga nto. Lo Mthetho uYilwayo uthi makubekho into esiza kuthi ukuba uthetha ngesikolo nokuba kuphi na kukho izinto ekunyanzelekileyo ukuba zibe khona. Ukanti ke nalapha ngaphathi esikolweni iSGB mayibe nendlela yokwazi ukuba zikhona na iincwadi apha esikolweni. Kuphindwe kujongwe ukuba igumbi lokufundela lona liza kuba ngakanani.
Ootishala abaninzi kunye neenqununu ukuqala konyaka bamkela wonke umntu esikolweni besenzela ukuba babe namanani amakhulu ukuze babhatalwe, kodwa ufumanise ukuba ngoku abakwazi ukufundisa ngoba abantwana baninzi kakhulu. Lo Mthetho ke uza kukwazi ukunqanda loo nto ukuze sazi ukuba egumbini ngalinye sinabantwana abalinani elithile, nabangenakugqitha kulo. Siyakucela ukuba lo Mthetho uYilwayo wamkeleke. Enkosi. [Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)
[Some of our schools operate from shacks, others have only two classrooms, no toilets, no fencing and are without any amenities. This Bill emphasises that each and every school must be developed. The SGB must monitor the delivery of school books as well as the size of the classrooms.
Teachers and principals have a tendency to admit large numbers of learners to their schools at the beginning of the year, because they want the Department of Education to allocate them big budgets and one cannot help but notice during the course of the year that they cannot cope with the large number of learners. This Bill will prevent that situation and through it we will know the number of learners in each classroom. We therefore ask members to support this Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]]
Mrs D VAN DER WALT: Agb Voorsitter, kollegas ... [Hon Chairperson, colleagues ...]
... the intention behind several aspects of the Bill we are voting on today, including the provision for random drug testing in schools and plans to make nonperforming schools more accountable, is most welcome and supported. While the DA is not convinced that the specific proposals made will be practical, they do at least take some steps towards tackling the drugs crisis that traps so many learners and the thousands of completely dysfunctional schools that fail many more.
Daar is meriete daarin om minimum standaarde vir skole toe te pas, maar ons wil nie hê dat hierdie standaarde die maatstaf moet word vir wat as ’n kwaliteitskool gesien moet word nie. Daar is altyd ’n risiko dat minimum standaarde mettertyd as maksimum standaarde beskou sal word. As ’n mens in gedagte hou wat prakties bereikbaar is in terme van ’n minimum standaard vir alle skole, sal dit die maatstaf baie laag plaas. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[There is merit in imposing minimum standards on schools, but we do not want these standards to become the criterion for what is to be regarded as a high-quality school. There is always a risk that minimum standards may, over time, be seen as maximum standards. If one bears in mind what can be achieved in practice in terms of a minimum standard for all schools, the yardstick used will be very low.]
It is unfortunate, however, that there are two aspects of this Bill that the DA cannot support and that therefore make any discussion of the remainder of the Bill irrelevant. During the public hearings on the Bill, the Portfolio Committee on Education heard organisation after organisation objecting to two aspects in particular.
These two aspects were, firstly, the removal of the obligation on the Minister of Education to consult when making policy with those who are at the coal face of education; and, secondly, the insertion of a clause prohibiting a school principal from testifying against the state. These organisations raised cogent arguments against the first of these provisions, saying that it constituted a power grab on the part of the Minister, placing her on a pedestal out of reach of any accountability to the interest groups involved in education.
They objected to the fact that the Minister would no longer be obliged to constitute the National Education and Training Council, even though other legislation does require her to do this. It is a requirement that has now been ignored for 11 years. They also objected to the fact that she will no longer be required to consult with this body, even if it is ever constituted.
In respect of the other aspect of this Bill relating to the right of principals to testify against the state, it has been pointed out that this not only violates the principal’s right to equality before the law and freedom of speech, but also the rights of others to have disputes resolved fairly. Any step taken to advance one particular employee over another would never be accepted in terms of labour law and is very likely unconstitutional.
Die wetlike en filosofiese teenkanting teen hierdie wetsontwerp is grotendeels geïgnoreer of ontken. Terwyl die komitee ’n hele reeks tegniese aanpassings gedebateer het, het hierdie wysigings die substansiële aangeleenthede heeltemal geïgnoreer. Met ander woorde, die proses van openbare deelname was ’n klug. Die Minister het geweet wat sy wil hê en die komitee was gehoorsaam. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[The legal and philosophical opposition to this Bill was largely ignored or denied. Whereas the committee debated a whole series of technical alterations, these amendments totally ignored the substantial matters. In other words, the public participation process was a farce. The Minister knew what she wanted, and the committee obliged.]
Whatever may happen in Parliament today, however, it has become clear over the past weeks that various aspects of this legislation are in contravention of already entrenched education laws and, in all likelihood, the Constitution. It is unfortunate that more effort was not made to resolve these problems before bringing this Bill to Parliament, because it will only make the process of resolving the problems more complicated and acrimonious. The DA will not support this Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr A M MPONTSHANE: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, colleagues, the IFP supports clauses 1 and 3 of the Bill, which allow the Minister to establish the council. We are aware that some structures may provide for contestation of powers and it is for this reason that we wish to give the Minister space to provide for better and quality education.
We support the setting of minimum norms and standards. We also support random searches, seizures and testing. Our real bone of contention with the Bill is part 4 of clause 8, which deals with the functions and responsibilities of principals of public schools. Our problem lies with the prohibition on the principal giving evidence against the Minister and MEC or head of department, where they are cited as parties to a case.
We have sought legal opinion on this provision and, after studying this legal opinion, the IFP, unfortunately is compelled to throw the baby out with the bath water. Therefore, we cannot support the Bill. [Applause.]
Ms S N SIGCAU: Chairperson, hon Ministers and members, the Bill before us seeks to amend various education laws on the Statute Book. Several technical amendments are made, but I would like to focus briefly on some of the more important substantive amendments. Most important among these are the new measures to deal with dangerous objects and illegal drugs.
We are all painfully aware of the violence and killing which are increasingly entering our schools and claiming young victims. As a society, we are outraged by these weapons and drugs and the devastation that they sow among our children and, rightly, we all demand remedies. As legislators we are placed in a very difficult position of having to legislate remedies that are invasive and trample on the democratic rights of children.
On the one hand, it must be our highest priority to protect our children, but, on the other hand, we cannot expect them to value human rights and democracy if we violate their human rights in the process. Provisionally we will support these remedies, but it is possible that upon implementation it will be found that they are inadequate or improper in a democratic society.
Finally, the Bill also provides the Minister with the power to prescribe national minimum norms and standards regarding school infrastructure. I thank you, Chairperson. The UDM supports the Bill. [Time expired.]
Mrs C DUDLEY: Chair, hon Minister, Ministers, measures to address the problem of drugs in schools are welcomed by the ACDP and the objectives of the Bill in general are commendable. However, the ACDP has serious reservations with regard to this Education Laws Amendment Bill, starting with the fact that the amendments effectively remove any mandatory requirement for the Minister to establish an advisory body.
In our view, the fact that several Ministers have failed over a period of 11 years to establish what is at present a compulsory advisory body, highlights the reality that a noncompulsory advisory body has no chance whatsoever of existing if left to the discretion of a Minister.
Efforts to define and clarify the management role of the school principal, while necessary, are cause for concern as conflict between the principal’s management and governance responsibilities are not adequately dealt with. Parents and communities expect school principals to be people of integrity and to protect and promote the school’s best interests without reservation. It is the opinion of the ACDP that these amendments require a principal to protect the department, even if it means compromising the school’s best interests.
We are seeing a very disturbing trend being highlighted in our health sector at present, where those responsible for institutions are expected to cover for the department or lose their jobs. This is shocking and cannot be accepted as the norm. The ACDP is not convinced by the arguments put forward at present and will vote against the amending Bill. Thank you.
Mnr W D SPIES: Agb Voorsitter, ouers is vennote en mede-eienaars van hulle kinders se onderwys en die staat het nie ’n reg om daarmee in te meng nie. Hierdie wet is net ’n verdere uitbreiding van ’n proses wat jare terug begin het en wat steeds voortduur met die voortdurende afskaling van ouers se inspraak in onderwys. Kinders is aan hulle ouers en gemeenskappe toevertrou en nie aan die staat nie en dit is baie jammer dat die staat dit nog nie besef het nie.
Die VF Plus is baie bekommerd dat hierdie wysigingswet ook nie geldig gaan wees nie, om ’n baie eenvoudige rede en dit is dat die bestaande wetgewing vereis dat wysigings eers gedoen kan word na oorlegpleging met die onderwys- en opleidingsraad. Daardie raad is nog nie deur die Minister ingestel nie en om daardie eenvoudige rede kan die Minister nie wysigings deurvoer voordat sy nie oorleg gepleeg het met die raad wat sy eers moes instel nie.
Dit is dus baie jammer dat hierdie wysiging eers deurgevoer word, sonder ’n behoorlike proses van oorlegpleging en sonder dat daar voldoen is aan die vereistes wat in die wetgewing voorgestaan word. Om daardie rede sal die VF Plus die wet nie steun nie. Baie dankie. (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)
[Mr W D SPIES: Hon Chairperson, parents are partners and co-owners of their children’s education and the state does not have the right to interfere with this. This Bill is just a further extension of a process that started years ago and that is still continuing with the ongoing downscaling of the say of parents in education. Children are entrusted to their parents and communities and not to the state and it is a great pity that the state has not realised this yet.
The FF Plus is very concerned that this amending Bill will also not be valid, for the very simple reason that the current legislation requires that amendments can only be made after consultation with the Education and Training Council. This council has not yet been established by the Minister and for that simple reason the Minister cannot pilot through any amendments until she has consulted the council that she must first establish.
It is, therefore, a great pity that this amendment is being piloted through first, without a proper process of consultation and without the requirements advocated in the legislation being complied with. For that reason the FF Plus will not support this Bill. Thank you.]
Mr I S MFUNDISI: Chairperson and hon members, an education system is dynamic and never static and it is for that reason that laws related to it should and will be amended to answer to the demands of the day. It will be up to the Minister, who has the barometer of the department, to know when the pressure is high or low and thereupon establish a national education and training council to advise him or her.
During the public hearings much was said about the principal of a school being left as an independent individual. This argument is absurd in the extreme. A principal by virtue of his position is ipso facto in the same ring as the department.
As an education officer in my past life, I used to say that a principal is the department on the spot. There is no way that an appointed person will align himself with the school governing body at the expense of the department. In fact, principals are being empowered through this to run their schools, otherwise the schools will run them down if they do not look up to him.
As matters now stand, the UCDP will find it hard to accept the clause on the prescription of minimum uniform norms and standards in respect of infrastructure and all that, because there are still areas where pupils are taught under trees or in the open, let alone those being taught in mud roundavel hovels, like the chairperson indicated. The clause is, however, an ideal to strive for.
The disruptive conduct of learners in schools calls for random searches and drug testing. There is nothing sinister about all this as long as it is done in a humane and responsible manner by teachers who know that they are to stand in loco parentis to come up as reasonable parents. The UCDP will therefore support the Bill.
Mr R B BHOOLA: Chairperson, on 6 September 2007 we were addressed by the hon Minister of Finance, who painted a grim picture of education spending in South Africa in comparison to countries like India, Turkey and Chile.
It is 13 years into democracy and people are losing patience with the expectations of what we should have delivered to date. The truth is: In education we have the right Minister, with the right department, but policy may not be able to deliver.
Education has experienced major challenges, and poverty has been a cruel hijacker to our success in the sector. Our nutrition programmes and even the no-fee schools have been progressive in opening doors to educate for the less fortunate. We, however, make the plea that these programmes be extended to higher education schooling that qualifies for these services to secure a lower dropout rate of senior attendance and to service our school shortage in the long term.
In terms of the amending Bill, the MF finds value in the alteration, but a number of gaps remain that need to be clarified if the department is to progress in delivery and to inculcate these provisions adequately at school level.
With regard to the dangerous objects and illegal drugs amendments, we note that crime and violence are on the rise in our schools and that we need to ensure that provisions are devised to securely address the matter under all circumstances. The MF will support the Bill. [Applause.]
Mr L M GREEN: Chairperson, violence in our schools and underperforming public schools are issues of national concern. The Bill is an attempt to intervene and bring about changes in these critical areas. The role of principals is also brought under the spotlight, especially as it relates to school governing bodies and other matters relating to school administration.
With respect to violence in schools, the carrying of what has been determined to be dangerous weapons is prohibited from being allowed onto the school grounds. Teachers will be given the right to randomly search learners based on fair and reasonable grounds of suspicion validating such action.
We would, however, wish to emphasise distress to teachers who may not be regularly used to procedures relating to searching of persons. Further, it will be far better to leave such practices to trained personnel, such as police officers or others, who are not so closely associated with learners.
The education environment should be nonthreatening and learner-friendly. In a recent newspaper article, security companies are alleged to have refused to conduct patrols in townships and other high-risk areas as they fear for their own safety. For the Bill to be effective in combating crime at schools, all stakeholders should be committed to resolving the issue, otherwise the role of teachers will not only be ineffective but they may also put their lives in danger.
In order to implement the aspect of safety as proposed by the Bill, we must ensure that the police and other safety and security departments have the capacity to assist with the protection of our schools.
The reservation the FD has with the Bill is with reference to clause 16 A(4) which states that a principal in his line of duty as an educator, given any particular issue that may impact negatively on education, should be disallowed to give evidence on behalf of a governing body against the Minister and other officials when it may be in the interest of justice to do so.
Although the FD welcomes the overall merits of the Bill that seek to improve the conditions at schools, we cannot support this Bill because of clause 16 A(4), which will undermine the course of justice. I thank you.
Mr R P Z VAN DEN HEEVER: Chairperson, a few months ago, in reply to a series of questions about violence in our schools, the Minister of Education said that many of the incidents of violence in schools stemmed from drug-taking by learners on school premises. She then indicated that random testing of learners for drugs and seizure of drugs and dangerous weapons had become unavoidable options in order to stop this scourge of violence in our schools.
Even though there were regulations in place for safety measures at schools, these did not adequately address the mischief they were designed to remedy, that is to stop the proliferation of dangerous objects and illegal drugs at schools. It had therefore become necessary to strengthen these regulations by way of allowing random searches and seizures and drug testing at schools.
The new regulations provide clear guidelines about circumstances under which searches and drug-taking should be conducted. It is important to emphasise that a random search of any learner may only be instituted if a fair and reasonable suspicion exists that such a learner may be in possession of a drug or a dangerous weapon.
The Education Laws Amendment Bill also explicitly deals with areas of omission from previous pieces of legislation. The South African Schools Act, for example, expressly lists the functions and obligations of the school governing body, but fails to do so in the case of the principal. To remedy this shortcoming, the Education Laws Amendment Bill clearly spells out the functions and responsibilities of the principal of a public school. This is intended to create legal certainty regarding the functions and responsibilities of the principal vis-à-vis those of the governing body.
The Bill also makes it clear that the principal is officially representing the head of department when he or she is acting as a member of the governing body. There is nothing sinister in this amendment. In fact, it clears up a grey area in which the principal was often caught in the crossfire between school governing bodies and the department, with his or her loyalty being held to ransom.
The principal is the chief executive officer at the school and the demand of the Bill that a principal may not operate in conflict with the instructions of the head of department is entirely in line with the good order and discipline required of school governance. The principal can give evidence on behalf of a school governing body if he or she is not required by the employer to give evidence on his or her behalf. Thus, the aim is merely to give the employer a first preference and not to ban the principal from giving evidence. The principal is also allowed to give evidence on his behalf or on behalf of any other person. There is therefore no question of unconstitutionality if that is suggested.
Voorsitter, die opposisie van die DA teen ’n aantal klousules sowel as teen die Wysigingswetsontwerp op Onderwyswette self kom as geen verrassing nie. Die DA het vanuit die staanspoor van hul bestaan hier in die Parlement te kenne gegee dat hulle nie daarin belangstel dat apartheidsonderwys omvorm na ’n demokratiese en nie-rassige onderwyssisteem nie.
Agb Van der Walt argumenteer dat meer pogings aangewend moes word om ooreenstemming te kry binne-in die portefeuljekomitee, maar met die hantering van hierdie wetsontwerp binne die onderwys portefeuljekomitee het agb Van der Walt haarself nie eers die moeite geverg om die teenvoorstelle van die DA op die tafel te plaas nie.
Dit was duidelik aan haar houding dat wat immers die debatvoering en die uiteindelike uitkoms van die portefeuljekomiteeproses betref, die DA reeds toe-oë besluit dat hulle teen die wetsontwerp sou stem. Sy het haar dus nie eers verwerdig om in interaksie te gaan met die prosesse waardeur enige parlementêre portefeuljekomitee verplig is om te gaan nie. Daardeur het sy ’n bespotting gemaak van die demokratiese prosesse van besluitneming van hierdie parlement en kom haar party, die DA, maar weereens vandag vorendag met sy tradisionele vooroodeel teen die demokratiese omvorming van ons onderwyssisteem.
Die DA probeer eintlik hierdie parlement oor die jare reeds gyselaar hou met betrekking tot wetgewing in die onderwys. Indien ouerbeheerliggame nie maksimaal in beheer is van skole nie, gaan die DA nie vir so ’n wetsontwerp stem nie. Hulle stel hoegenaamd nie belang in die oorhoofse bestuur en goeie orde reëlings van die onderwysdepartement nie. Dis al manier waarop hulle glo hulle die transformatiewe aspekte van die onderwyswetgewing kan omseil. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Chairperson, the DA’s opposition to a number of clauses as well as the Education Law Amendment Bill comes as no surprise. Since the DA came into existence here in Parliament they have intimated that they are not interested in apartheid education being transformed into a democratic and nonracial system of education.
Hon Van der Walt argues that more attempts should have been made to reach agreement within the portfolio committee, but when this Bill was dealt with in the portfolio committee the hon Van der Walt did not even bother to make the effort to table the counter proposals of the DA.
It was clear from her attitude, with regard to the debates and the eventual outcome of the portfolio committee process, that the DA had blindly decided that they would vote against the Bill. She did not even condescend to engage with the processes through which any parliamentary portfolio committee is obliged to go. She therefore made a mockery of the democratic processes of decision making of this Parliament and her party, the DA, has today, once again come up with its traditional prejudice against the democratic transformation of our system of education.
Over the years the DA has actually tried to hold this Parliament hostage with regard to legislation pertaining to education. If parent governing bodies are not in maximum control of schools, the DA will not vote for such a Bill. They are not at all interested in the overall management and arrangements for good order of the education department. This is the only way they believe they can circumvent the transformative aspects of the education legislation.]
As far as the National Education and Training Council – the NETC - is concerned, it is clear that the Minister is attempting to break the paralysis that has characterised this body since its inception. The NETC, as it has been constructed, has not met since its inception. At least the Minister is attempting to break that log jam. As far as the allegations regarding excluding trade union bodies are concerned, there is nothing in this legislation which says they will not be consulted.
The Education Laws Amendment Bill is a very important vehicle to effect the changes required in the existing legislation to effectively address the latest demands in education. The ANC urges this House to support this Bill and to continue the trend of transformation required for the effective overhaul of our education system. I thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF EDUCATION: Thank you, Chairperson. I would like to thank the members who participated in the debate. I particularly wish to thank the chairperson of the committee for steering the Bill to the point of our being able to debate and vote on it in the House today.
I must say, as usual, that I am very surprised because I certainly thought this legislation would take us to a new phase in the provision of quality education for the children of our country and that, given that, it would be supported by all the members of this House. I can’t imagine myself voting against a piece of legislation that says a school has certain basic attributes it must have: classrooms, a library, laboratories, resource centres for media and ITC. Denying that is absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable.
Furthermore, the legislation clearly states that a principal cannot be a witness against the Minister with a governing body unless a court expressly provides for this or the Minister indicates that the person will not be a witness on behalf of the department or the Minister. So, there isn’t a muzzling; you are being quite ridiculous in your approach. Of course, we know you have never supported quality education for the majority of people in this country and we are not surprised that you will not vote for this particular piece of legislation. [Interjections.]
We are very happy that some of the parties have indicated strong support, especially for the norms and standards, for the identification of and support for underperforming schools, for ensuring that no school principal gets away with being the head of a school that doesn’t have a learning plan, that doesn’t support teacher development, that does nothing to ensure that underperformance is actually targeted and addressed by the principal as the leader of the school.
For the first time we have provisions where we can hold our employees accountable for the learning of our children. But we don’t only hold the employees in the schools accountable; we are also saying the MECs as well as the heads of department have a duty to ensure that the norms and standards are met. It’s very important.
We hope that this House as well as the other House will ensure that these norms and standards, which have been specified for the first time clearly in legislation - in concrete terms - will hold those who hold the money responsible, hon Bhoola, for using it to provide the resources for learning that they must. The Minister of Finance in making comments on education was absolutely right, but if he could give us some financial control, perhaps we would do more than is done by those who currently have exclusive financial control of resources for education.
We really welcome those members who’ve said that there should be consultation. Obviously, there must be consultation and there will be. We have advertised and called for nominations for the body that I intend to establish.
We have received nominations from a range of persons and individuals. All legislation is published and gazetted for public comment; days are set aside for this. Any person is able to comment. So to seek to hold us hostage to a group of some nebulous persons is absolutely ridiculous and this cannot be allowed to stop us from proceeding with the changes that we believe are necessary.
We must ensure, as we implement the search and seizure provisions of the legislation once it is signed into law, that the rights of learners and any person who is searched on the school grounds are of course protected. It’s for this reason that very careful steps related to the search processes and to recording of the process, etc, have been set out in the legislation.
The issue of reasonableness has also been articulated in the Bill in order to give that test which is required in terms of the limitation clause in our Constitution so absolutely, with regard to the rights of learners.
I think paramount is the need to protect our children from the scourge of drugs and weapons in our schools. There is too much violence; there are too many drugs in our society; there is too much out there that is a threat to young people. So, I would think we should veer towards the protection of children rather than protecting individuals who are peddling drugs on our school grounds. I think that when we support antidrug measures, we must do so in a balanced way across every sector in society. Thank you, Chairperson. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Bill read a second time (Democratic Alliance, Inkatha Freedom Party, African Christian Democratic Party and Freedom Front Plus dissenting).
RENTAL HOUSING AMENDMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The MINISTER OF HOUSING: Chairperson, unfortunately this Bill is not going to be as exciting as the previous one. I think too much excitement for a day might not be too good for us. It’s a fairly straightforward Bill. It’s an amending Bill.
Against the background of unprecedented urbanisation and population growth, both of which have resulted in an enormous demand for housing, the Department of Housing has come to recognise the critical importance of the rental option. Accordingly, the department places stress on the efficient functioning of the rental housing market. It is in our interest that we ensure that this sector is given all the support we can give while, at the same time, ensuring that sufficient protection exists for the tenant.
Having been sensitised about some of the problems of existing legislation, we have taken the necessary steps to amend it. Following Cabinet approval of the Rental Housing Amendment Bill in December last year, a consultative process was undertaken on the objectives of the Bill. A publication of the Bill was made in the Government Gazette in the same month for comments. Subsequently, it was revised, based on the comments that we have received. It has now been brought here to this House for further deliberation and approval.
Principally, the Bill seeks to make necessary amendments to the Rental Housing Act of 1999, where in particular it seeks to widen the definition of what constitutes unfair practice in the rental housing market. Thus, the insertion of a very important provision which states, and I quote:
In advertising a dwelling for purposes of leasing it, or in negotiating a lease with a prospective tenant, or during the term of a lease, a landlord may not unfairly discriminate against such prospective tenant or tenants, or the members of such tenants household or the bona fide visitors of such a tenant, on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.
In addition to the above, the Rental Housing Amendment Bill endeavours to address certain implementation problems which we have encountered since the promulgation of the Act in 1999 by effecting the following amendments.
Section 5 of the Act is amended to clarify aspects pertaining to the issuing of receipts by the landlord and the payment of deposits by tenants; the provisions pertaining to the composition of the Rental Housing Tribunals, as contained in section 9, are amended; section 13 of the Act is amended to allow Rental Housing Tribunals to make a ruling that a person must comply with the provisions of the Act and to provide that rulings by Rental Housing Tribunals must be enforced in terms of the Magistrates’ Courts Act of 1944; and section 15 of the Act is amended to empower the Minister to make regulations, whereas in the past this power was vested in the MECs - this amendment has been necessitated by the need to ensure uniformity throughout the country with regard to procedures followed by the Rental Housing Tribunals as well as rulings made by them.
It is our view that these changes will bring about much-needed uniformity in the rental housing market which will enable it to be a dominant feature of resolving some of our problems.
As the consultations over the Bill have revealed, our interaction with the housing sector shows that the sector approves of and is ready to accept these changes. We want to catapult rental housing so that it is on par with the best in the market, as the rest of the world enjoys today. We are sure that it is possible for us to use this hugely untapped capacity - the potential of this rental sector - as a major provider of affordable rental housing accommodation that should not be underestimated.
In short, the Bill seeks to strike a balance between the security required by the landlord and the important rights of the tenant. It further seeks to curtail abuse of power by the landlord. The necessary steps have to be taken to seek recourse. It makes for a fairer instrument and we want to commend it to this House. I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Ms Z A KOTA: Chairperson, Ministers, comrades and colleagues, I greet you this afternoon. Allow me, Chairperson, to congratulate the Minister of Housing, Dr Lindiwe Sisulu, on the building of houses in Gugulethu-New Rest during the month of August – the women’s month - particularly the fact that you said that volunteers should form themselves into a consortium so that they could participate effectively in the building of houses. Let me also thank SA Women in Construction, Sawic, for spearheading this process.
The Rental Housing Amendment Bill before Parliament is aimed at amending the Rental Housing Act, Act 50 of 1999. The Rental Housing Bill intends to make further provision for rulings by the Rental Housing Tribunals; to expand the provisions pertaining to leases and to extend the period allowed for the filling of vacancies in the Rental Housing Tribunals; and to provide for matters connected therewith, as well as to broaden the ambit of the definition of unfair practice.
Section 2(1) of the principal Act states that the government must promote a stable and growing market that progressively meets the latest demand for affordable rental housing among persons who were historically disadvantaged by unfair discrimination through the introduction of incentives, mechanisms and other measures that are aimed at improving conditions in the rental housing market; to encourage investment in urban and rural areas; to correct the distorted patterns of residential settlement by initiating, promoting and facilitating new developments in or the redevelopment of affected areas.
It is important therefore to note that this amendment will assist in the implementation of the Social Housing Bill, whose intention is to fast-track the building of rental housing stock. It will also create a conducive environment for rental households, particularly as far as the relations between landlords and tenants are concerned.
This amendment, in particular, will also facilitate sound relations between tenants and landlords as it prohibits landlords from performing unlawful lockouts of tenants. It also prohibits them from shutting off basic services such as water and electricity to the rental housing properties. But it states as well that tenants must also honour their obligations to pay rent and the good maintenance of rental housing properties.
According to this amendment, the issue of bona fide visitors will be left to the discretion of Rental Housing Tribunals. This amendment states very clearly that the issue of evictions must be referred by the Rental Housing Tribunals to competent courts. Competent courts must deal with this so that the Rental Housing Tribunals themselves do not deal with the issue of evictions but the orders they grant must be executed by competent courts.
What has been reported to the committee, in particular, is the fact that many of the orders granted have not been carried out by the judiciary. This is an area that needs our continued engagement with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in order to find out what the problem is, because the inability to act timeously renders the work of Rental Housing Tribunals ineffective.
In our visits as a committee to the Rental Housing Tribunals in the Western Cape, it became clear that more resources were needed to deal with the backlog. But what also became clear was that both tenants and landlords did not take these Rental Housing Tribunals seriously, particularly the respondents or the plaintiff. Some of them did not keep their appointments. This is a resource provided free of charge by government to these beneficiaries to resolve conflicts that arise between landlords and tenants. It is important that those affected make use of this mechanism for the speedy resolution of any conflict that arises from this relationship.
One of the challenges faced by the Rental Housing Tribunals is that of filling vacancies. The Act states that it should be done within a period of a month. This creates difficulties in getting competent people to fill these vacancies. This is why this amendment states that we recommend doing so within a period of three months.
Somlomo, mninzi umsebenzi owenziwa ngala maziko alawula uxambuliswano phakathi kwabaqeshi bezindlu kunye nabaninimzi, kodwa bakwabaninzi nabantu abangalufumaniyo uncedo kuwo, ngoba abawazi la maziko, kwaye urhulumente uzizisa simahla ebantwini ezi nkonzo. Kuyafuneka siwuqaphele kakhulu umba wabantu abangathathi ntweni nabahlawula amaxabiso aphezulu erente phaya ezilokishini.
Ngoba kaloku aba abantu baqashisa abantu abangaziintsapho ezisuka kwisibhozo ukuya kwishumi kwindlu emagumbi mane kuphela. Bathini ngemeko yokuba abantu abahlala apha bahlamba njani, kwaye baphila njani kulo mbodamo, ngoba maxawambi aba baqeshisi okanye oomastandi bona abahlali nalapho, kwaye abanankathalo ngabantu? Loo nto ibeka iimpilo zabantu esichengeni ngoko masiwuqaphele loo mkhwa.
Nokuba uhamba phaya ematyotyombeni kuxinene ngoba oomasitandi bona bafuna nje imali abacingi ngabantu. Abacingi nokuba umlilo ungavela, nto leyo engadala abantu abaninzi baphulukane nemiphefumlo yabo. Xa kutshe abantu bona baza kutyhola urhulumente nangona ingabo abantu abathatha ezi mali zingekho mthethweni.
Iyafuneka kakhulu intsebenziswano phakathi kwabantu, ooceba kunye neenkokheli zasekuhlaleni ukuze senze impilo engcono yawo wonke ubani. Urhulumente kaKhongolozi uthe qgolo ukwakhela abantu izindlu, kodwa akakwazi ukwakhela wonke umntu ngexesha elinye. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)
[Chairperson, Rental Housing Tribunals have a lot of work to resolve conflicts between tenants and landlords but there are also many people who do not get help from these institutions and the reason is that they do not know about them and that Government offers these services for free to the public. We must take note of poor people who cannot afford rentals which are very high in our townships.
Landlords give their tenants small four-roomed houses and do not care how many people occupy a house, and these numbers usually range between eight and ten family members. In many cases landlords are not responsible for the needs of the tenants and sometimes they are not around to take care of them. Tenants find themselves in dangerous situations and all of us must be cautious about this bad behaviour.
In informal settlements shacks are very close together and there is hardly any space between shacks and the landlords are not worried about that as they are interested in the money. They do not think about fires which can destroy the entire settlement and result in the death of people. When the problem arises they blame government when they are the ones who benefit illegally from the rentals.
Co-operation between the public, community leaders and councillors is necessary in order that everybody can enjoy a better life. The ANC-led government will continue to build houses for people but not all at the same time.]
The Rental Housing Tribunals are still addressing the problems of these few people who are aware of this avenue. This amendment is aimed at strengthening the provisions of the Rental Housing Tribunals and to assist them in executing their mandate. The South African Department of Housing has eight years left to meet its objective of having a nation free of slums by 2014, and this is a deadline it intends to meet.
In his 2007 state of the nation address, President Thabo Mbeki said that government remained committed to intensifying the integrated housing programme. Furthermore, the President emphasised the need to speed up the eradication of informal settlements in South Africa, in line with the Millennium Development Goals of 2015. He added that this fast-tracking must integrate communities and build a nonracial society.
So, this piece of legislation, together with all other related pieces of legislation, will assist the Rental Housing Tribunals in addressing the challenges of rental households. The ANC supports this amendment. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr A C STEYN: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members, the original Rental Housing Act, Act 50 of 1999, provides for the establishment of provincial rental housing tribunals, through which conflicts between tenants and landlords can be speedily resolved and at a minimum cost to the parties.
The Act went so far as to confer the powers of a magistrate’s court on the Rental Housing Tribunals and that is: a ruling by the tribunal is deemed to be an order of a magistrate’s court, in terms of the Magistrate’s Court Act of 1944.
However, once an order has been granted, it is then up to the justice system to implement and enforce such an order. The lack of enforcement of such an order has been identified as one of the shortcomings of the Act.
Another shortcoming identified was in the composition of the tribunals. The Act provides for a chairperson and deputy chairperson to be appointed by the relevant MEC. Due to the fact that the tribunal members are not full-time appointees, it has been experienced, on occasion, that both the chairperson and the deputy chairperson have been absent from a scheduled hearing, and therefore the hearing had to be postponed.
The Rental Housing Amendment Bill before us for approval today seeks to specifically broaden the definition of what constitutes an unfair practice, and the Minister referred to it. It also seeks to make further provisions for rulings by rental tribunals; to expand the provisions pertaining to leases; to extend the period allowed for the filling of vacancies in the tribunals.
It must be noted at this point that rental tribunals have not, to date, been established in all nine provinces. Nevertheless, it is encouraging that they have indeed been established in the most populous urban provinces and are reported to be working particularly well in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
It is also interesting to note that the number of cases handled by the tribunals has escalated exponentially despite very little, if any, marketing done by the tribunals to advertise their services.
Another housing-related Bill – the Social Housing Bill - is scheduled to be tabled before this House in October. The effectiveness or otherwise, as the case may be, of the outcomes achieved with the Social Housing Bill, will have a direct bearing on the workload and efficiency of the rental tribunals.
I make this statement because the aim of the Social Housing Bill is to promote the supply of rental housing. It therefore goes without saying that the role of the tribunals will become more important as the objectives of the Social Housing Bill become a reality.
I briefly want to touch on some of the amendments before us, one of which is of section 13 of the Act, which states that a ruling by the tribunal is deemed to be an order of a magistrate’s court. Unfortunately, the shortcomings related to the implementation of such orders cannot be addressed in this Bill. It has to be done in the justice cluster, and I appeal to the Minister to liaise with that cluster in this regard.
What is of concern to me, however – and the Housing department has not commented on this at all - is this: One of the submissions by a magistrate indicated that the magisterial powers given to tribunals were a violation of section 170 of the Constitution. Indeed, he suggested that “a tribunal is not a court and cannot in this clandestine manner obtain that status”. The State Law Advisers did not concur, and this clause was amended by adding a subclause that said, “The tribunal does not have jurisdiction to hear applications for eviction orders.”
The committee also inserted a clause giving the members of the tribunal the authority to elect a temporary chairperson for the purposes of a hearing if both the designated chairperson and deputy chairperson are absent.
The amending Bill before us addresses the shortcomings identified over which it has jurisdiction, and the DA therefore supports the Bill as amended. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr A M MPONTSHANE: Hon Chair, hon Minister, I am just a carbon paper for my colleague who unfortunately cannot be here to take part in this debate.
However, the IFP supports this Bill because it protects the rights of both landlords and tenants. We hope that this will resolve difficulties which are experienced between the two and lead to a better understanding and working relationship. The other arguments are reserved, but we support the Bill. Thank you.
Ms S N SIGCAU: Chairperson, hon Ministers and hon members, the Bill before us seeks to address certain shortcomings in the Rental Housing Act of 1999, such as widening the definition of an unfair practice.
The Bill seeks to clarify and extend the powers and functions of the tribunals with regard to eviction orders, rulings that a person must comply with the Act, the power of the tribunals to issue spoliation and attachment orders and interdicts, and that rulings by tribunals must be enforced in terms of the Magistrates’ Courts Act. These important amendments will hopefully improve the functioning of the tribunals and the level of redress they can offer.
Another important matter addressed in the Bill is to shift the power of making regulations from the provincial level to the national level. The intention is to ensure uniformity in procedures and the rulings made by various tribunals. The UDM supports this Bill. I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Ms S RAJBALLY: Thank you, Chairperson. Our national Constitution enshrines that everyone is entitled to adequate housing. With respect to South Africa’s state of poverty, it is a harsh reality that a large number of South Africans are living in informal settlements with minimum access to basic services.
On another level, South Africans who do not have the means to own homes but rather have to rent also find themselves in financial difficulties in keeping up with rentals. In other instances, it is the landlord who is often compromised and with stringent eviction laws they often suffer a loss. Either way, the MF finds it crucial that the landlord-tenant relationship, be it private or public, is governed by legislation.
In respect of the amending Bill, the MF is supportive of all provisions, but would like the department to look into body corporates that often, with no legal authority, exercise rights over tenants and the occupancy of rental property.
There has been much aggression by persons awaiting state housing as well as by residents of informal settlements who are often relocated. We ask why the government has only opted to build freestanding houses, and not flats and apartments.
Government has a number of properties that are not in use. The MF suggests and appeals to the government that it investigate utilising these government properties that may be converted into flats for temporary or long-term occupancy. Minister, we hope that you look into this matter as well. The MF supports the Rental Housing Bill. I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Mr L M GREEN: Chairperson, hon Minister and members, the demand for rental housing will be on the increase, with an expected 81 000 units needed per annum. As more people turn to the renting of property, the role of the Rental Housing Tribunals becomes critical to ensure that the tenants and landlords enjoy the best possible benefits rental housing can offer.
Controls on rental housing must be strengthened to protect residents against the drug trade and criminal elements. The effective functioning of the Rental Housing Tribunals is required if a fair and reasonable practice is to be enforced upon both tenants and landlords. The tribunals should be given sufficient authority, in co-operation with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, to enforce orders of eviction when required to do so.
Our courts are overstressed with case backlogs. It would be in the best interests of the relevant parties that the tribunals be given reasonable powers to effect efficient and timely justice in cases of any unlawful or unfair practice. The FD believes that the rental housing sector must be protected with the best legal framework possible and we, therefore, wholeheartedly support the Rental Housing Amendment Bill. I thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOUSING: Thank you very much, Deputy Chair. My Whips and I are in complete agreement that this is a very good note on which to end this session of Parliament where there is complete agreement between ourselves and opposition parties. I would like to thank everybody for their participation. I think we have had a very good session on this Bill.
I would like to say to the member of the MF that we are dealing with the matter you raised. I think the hon Steyn did say that there is a follow-up Bill, the Social Housing Bill, which will deal very directly with that.
We are extremely seized with this matter. Comrade Zo, this could only mean that your steering of this committee is a very good indication of things to come, and I am very grateful to you and to all the members here. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Bill read a second time.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): The Bill will be sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence. Before going to Member Statements, the Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party has requested an opportunity to move a motion. I now grant him that opportunity.
ESTABLISHMENT OF AD HOC COMMITTEE ON MATTERS RELATING TO EX-MINEWORKERS UNION
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the House establishes an Ad Hoc Committee on Matters Relating to the Ex-Mineworkers Union –
- the committee to consist of 13 members as follows: ANC 8; DA 2; IFP 1; and other parties 2;
- the committee to investigate matters raised in submissions from the Ex‑Mineworkers Union;
- the committee to be drawn from members of relevant portfolio committees, including Labour, Minerals and Energy, Health and Social Development;
- the committee’s deliberations to take into consideration records, reports and submissions by stakeholders who have previously been involved in this matter, including the Premier’s Office of the Eastern Cape, the Office of the Executive Mayor of the O R Tambo District Municipality, the Office of the Mayor of Tshwane, the Presidency and Government Departments, such as Labour, Minerals and Energy, Health and Social Development;
- the committee to exercise those powers in Rule 138 that may assist it in carrying out its task; and
- the committee to make recommendations that could assist in addressing the above-mentioned and related problems by not later than 31 October 2007.
CONDOLENCES TO THE HERBOLDT FAMILY
Mr S S T NJIKELANA (ANC): Chairperson, two weeks ago Ronald Herboldt, the only African to participate in the Cuban revolution, died in Cape Town after a short illness.
In December 1958, Ronald, then a 21-year-old from Salt River, Cape Town, was working on the cargo ship, Constantia, which docked in Cuba to load sugar just as the Cuban revolution was reaching its climatic moment. Fraternising with the members of Fidel Castro’s rebel army, Ronald was instantly attracted. He left the Constantia and participated in the liberation of Cuba from the Batista dictatorship. In 1962 he married Martha Rangel Sandoval and raised a family in Cuba. Throughout his long exile, Ronald never lost his love for Cape Town and his South African family, or his desire to return home to a liberated South Africa.
In 1975 and again in 1987, Angola asked for Cuban help to repulse the South African invasion. Ronald was amongst the first to volunteer for duty in Angola. His knowledge of Afrikaans provided invaluable assistance to Cuban military intelligence. South Africa’s retreat at Cuito Cuanavale marked the defeat of the racist oppressors and the collapse of apartheid. Ronald served as a Cuban representative in the Joint Military Monitoring Commission that oversaw South Africa and the Cuban military disengagement from southern Angola. He never lost his love for his adopted country, his Cuban family and his determination to come home.
Finally able to return home 10 years later in 1998, Ronald was reunited with his South African family. The ANC expresses its condolences to the Herboldt family at home and abroad. Thank you. [Applause.]
MOTOR VEHICLE INDUSTRY STRIKE
Mr S J MASANGO (DA): Chairperson, this is a statement by the hon Mr Labuschagne.
The Department of Trade and Industry recently indicated that a revised version of their Motor Industry Development Plan was likely to be another six months away. We hope that the MIDP is not like the Lotto in this regard, for as it is, the reigning uncertainty has already resulted in South Africa being unable to compete for some export-oriented manufacturing contracts.
Given this situation, the unnecessary escalation of the current strike in the motor vehicle component industry by the National Union of Metal Workers will be irresponsible in the extreme. There exists no doubt in the DA’s mind that the situation would have been much easier for employers to resolve were it not for the wrangling in the tripartite alliance ahead of the ANC December Congress and the leadership elections. We urge Numsa as well as the industry to negotiate in earnest in order to achieve a fair wage for all. Thank you.
DURBAN SOUTH EXPLOSIONS
Mr A M MPONTSHANE (IFP): Hon Chair, on Tuesday evening residents of the Bluff and Island View in Durban South were rocked by massive explosions and huge blazes at the Island View liquid storage tank zone.
This storage facility is home to more than 1 000 tanks, some of which contain highly volatile liquid fuels. Residents of suburbs and areas in the southern part of Durban in close proximity to all storage tanks and refineries were thereby exposed to many health and environmental risks. It is for this reason that the city should have well-working evacuation and emergency plans in place.
Residents, however, were very critical of the evacuation after the explosions, and they claim that people in the area did not know about an emergency evacuation plan. The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance claims that they have been trying to persuade the city to draw up a clear disaster management plan for 11 years.
A thorough investigation must be conducted into the cause of the explosions and the resultant risks the surrounding communities now face. Action must be taken in order to avoid such incidents from happening again in the future. We in the IFP also urge the relevant authorities to work together with communities in drafting a clear disaster management plan, and making the communities aware of such plans. Ngiyabonga. [Thank you.]
INAUGURATION OF AFRICA CHAPTER OF INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR GENETIC ENGINEERING AND BIOTECHNOLOGY
Mr C M MORKEL (ANC): Chair, President Thabo Mbeki recently inaugurated the Africa Chapter of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology which is housed at the Cape Town Institute for Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town, the third such centre in the world after India and Italy.
The centre has received R40 million in funding from the ANC-led government. However, a further R80 million is required in order to ensure that seven research programmes are launched by scientists ahead of 2010. This laboratory will exploit biotechnology and genetic engineering to tackle diseases such as sleeping sickness, bilharzia, malaria and HIV and Aids.
We remain on course in building a caring society where science and technology, amongst other things, will take us forward in becoming part of the knowledge economy. The most technologically advanced economies in the world today are truly knowledge-based. As we increase our investment in research and development, we must ensure unprecedented innovation and ensure that there is no chasm between research and development and products on the market to enhance our citizens’ quality of life. I thank you, notwithstanding some noise. [Applause.]
CELEBRATING THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE UDM
Ms N C NKABINDE (UDM): Chairperson, the UDM is proud to announce once again that on 29 September 2007 we will be celebrating our 10th anniversary at Gallagher Estate. The UDM was the first serious political party born under the new democratic Constitution. We were launched without access to taxpayer funding afforded to parties already represented in Parliament and without the artificial and immoral benefit of floor-crossing.
In September 1997 we gathered a diverse group of people from all sectors of society and embarked on the road that has brought us here today. Within less than a year of its launch, the UDM held its first national congress where we elected our national leadership, unveiled our policy documents and our party constitution. Within 18 months of our launch, we contested our first national and provincial elections in 1999 and proved that we had a legitimate place in the political landscape. Since that time, we have gone through many ups and downs and shown that we have withstood the knocks.
We are proud to say that we have reached this important benchmark in our existence, and would like to thank each and every person who has over the years contributed to the growth of the UDM. I thank you, Chairperson.
NEW STUDENT CONSTITUTION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA PROHIBITING STUDENTS ELEGIBLE FOR COUNCIL FROM EXPRESSING THEIR POLITICAL OR RELIGIOUS VIEWS
Mnr W D SPIES (VF Plus): Voorsitter, universiteite is sentrums van uitnemendheid waar idees vrylik uitgeruil word en nuwe idees ontgin word. Dit was nog altyd so en dit sal altyd so bly, maar klaarblyklik nie by die Universiteit van Pretoria nie.
Die Universiteit van Pretoria, waar die VF Plus reeds vir 10 jaar in ’n ry studenteraadsverkiesings wen, het vanjaar ’n nuwe studentegrondwet op die studente afgedwing wat dit onwettig maak vir studente wat aan verkiesings deelneem om hulself te identifiseer wat hulle politieke of hulle godsdiensoriëntasies betref.
In die studenteverkiesing wat verlede week plaasgevind het, het studenteleiers wat die VF Plus ondersteun byna skoonskip gemaak. Die universiteitsowerhede het egter nie die feit aanvaar nie en kla nou die suksesvolle kandidate aan dat hulle onder andere te kenne gegee het dat hulle hul vir Afrikaans, Christenskap en hoë standaarde beywer.
Die bestuur van die universiteit dink waarskynlik dat dit moontlik is om ’n leierskorps groot te maak wat geen standpunt, geen lojaliteit en geen politieke oriëntasie het nie. Dit is nie duidelik wat hulle hiermee beoog nie, maar dit is wel duidelik dat daar by die Universiteit van Pretoria inbreuk gemaak word op die beginsels van demokrasie, vryheid van uitdrukking en vryheid van assosiasie. Ek dank u. (Translation of Afrikaans member’s statement follows.)
[Mr W D SPIES (FF Plus): Chairperson, universities are centres of excellence where ideas are freely exchanged and new ideas are explored. That has always been the case and will always be the case – but apparently not at the University of Pretoria.
The University of Pretoria, where the FF Plus has now won student council elections for ten years running, has this year imposed a new students’ constitution on the students, which makes it illegal for students participating in elections to identify themselves in terms of their political or religious orientation.
In the student elections that took place last week, student leaders supporting the FF Plus virtually made a clean sweep. However, the university authorities have not accepted this fact and are now charging the successful candidates with, among other things, committing themselves to Afrikaans, Christianity, and high standards.
The university management appears to believe it is possible to raise a leadership corps that has no opinions, no loyalty, and no political orientation. It is not clear what they are aiming to achieve, but what is clear is that the principles of democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of association are being infringed upon at the University of Pretoria. I thank you.]
DEATH OF INKOSI UMTHETHWA
Mnu Z KOTWAL (ANC): Sihlalo, amalungu ahloniphekile, isizwe senkosi yaseMkhono ngase-Piet Ritief, inkosi u-David Mthethwa, sihlezi emanzini siyalila emuva kokukhothama kwenkosi ngoLwesibili mhla ka-18 Septhemba 2007.
Inkosi izotshalwa ngoMgqibelo ngomhla ka-29 Septhemba 2007. Inkosi uMthethwa ibingumuntu olungileyo isebenzela abantu bayo. Ubelamula phakathi kwabantu abasebenza futhi abahlala emapulazini nabaqashi okungabanikazi bamapulazi. Inkosi ibingumuntu ohloniphekile futhi inguSihlalo Wedlu Yabaholi Bendabuko eMpumalanga. I-ANC ithanda ukwedlulisa amazwi enduduzo emalungeni onke omndeni nasesizweni sonke. Sithi kini nonke dudu. Hamba kahle, nkosi. Ngiyabonga. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu member’s statement follows.)
[Mr Z KOTWAL (ANC): Chairperson, hon members, the subjects of the Inkosi of Mkhono, near Piet Retief, Inkosi David Mthethwa, are in mourning after the death of the Inkosi on Tuesday, 18 September. The Inkosi will be laid to rest on Saturday, 29 September 2007.
Inkosi Mthethwa was a kind person who worked hard for his people. He was the mediator between people who are working and living on farms and the employers, who are the owners of farms. He was a respectable person and he was Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders in Mpumalanga. The ANC would like to extend its condolences to all members of the family and the nation at large. Rest in peace, Nkosi. Thank you. [Applause.]]
GRADE 12 PUPILS AFFECTED BY KHUTSONG UPRISINGS
Mr I S MFUNDISI (UCDP): Chairperson, there has always been debate on what is in a name. On the one hand, there are those who believe that if you give a dog a bad name, you really consign it to be hung, while others feel that it doesn’t matter. The question of Khutsong in Carletonville in the North West province has come to dominate the news. If it is not people marching, it is this or that teacher in court for having caused a strike.
Khutsong may mean a place of rest or a cursed place. It is clear that the first definition doesn’t fit in with what is going on there. That place is tending to answer to that of a curse and that is unfortunate. The North West provincial government has done much to ensure that schooling is salvaged, particularly for the Grade 12 learners.
We appeal to all concerned: the central government, the North West provincial government and the residents of Khutsong to make that place a place of peace. The UCDP further appeals to the residents of Khutsong to await the decision of the Constitutional Court and refrain from mounting marches and stayaways while their concerns are being attended to.
The fact that pupils were taken to Taung to prepare for exams against the will of the majority of residents is inconsequential, as these learners were not abducted. They boarded buses voluntarily and their parents have access to them, as and when they wish to see their children. The UCDP calls on all involved in this matter to allow the students to prepare themselves for the future without any disturbance. I thank you.
MEDICATION CONTAINING PHENYLPROPANOLAMINE LINKED TO BLEEDING ON THE BRAIN
Ms S RAJBALLY (MF): Chairperson, it is reported that more than 100 000 people in America die every year as a result of adverse reactions to medication. I hereby inform you that all drugs containing phenylpropanolamine, also know as PPA, have been recalled. It has been linked to bleeding on the brain. There has also been use of certain medication that causes strokes and seizures in children.
There are a number of medications containing these ingredients. We feel it is necessary that we introduce strict investigations into medication administered with no prescription, as that is the method that needs to be introduced to keep South Africa informed of these medical findings, and ensure that all medication vendors are kept abreast of these advancements. We would also like a study to be conducted on fertility as a result of adverse reactions to medications in South Africa. I thank you, Chairperson.
SALARY INCREASES FOR EDUCATORS WELCOMED
Mr G G BOINAMO (DA): Thank you, Chairperson. It is a pity the Minister is not here. The DA welcomes the substantial salary increases announced this week for educators, and we are delighted that the Minister of Education has been able to obtain approval for them.
Educators are the backbone of our country. Every one of us sitting here has benefited from their dedication and hard work. The success of our economy rests on the quality of teaching that our children receive in the classroom. For those educators who are committed to their responsibilities, it must be said that even with these increases their salaries will not begin to match what they do.
As the Minister of Education herself has stated, “We need to assert excellence and challenge mediocrity.” While there is a great amount of work involved in doing this, one of the most important steps is to offer salaries that do not deter the best and the brightest from the profession. These salary increases will be a significant step in that direction. Thank you.
SABC HANDS HOUSE TO FAMILY IN KHAYELITSHA
Mr M R SONTO (ANC): Chairperson, on Friday, 7 September 2007, the SABC handed over a house to a blind woman and her family in Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats. The house was built through a joint venture by the broadcaster, the Department of Correctional Services and the provincial department of housing and local government.
The house was constructed by prisoners after the SABC highlighted the plight of the woman during Women’s Month. The woman’s daughter is a rape survivor and they will share the house with another daughter and her mentally unstable husband. The recipient is fortunate to be alive today because the shack in which she previously lived was flattened by a stolen vehicle shortly after she was moved out of her shack to a place of safety.
SABC staff dedicated a full Saturday, about four weeks ago, to assisting in the construction of the house. On that day, the woman broke down in tears when she heard that she would soon become a homeowner.
The ANC congratulates the SABC, sponsors and government departments on contributing to making the dream possible for this family to own their house. We further call on other institutions and sponsors to follow the example they set and to join hands in the fight against poverty. Thank you very much.
SECTION 21 INGWAVUMA SCHOOLS HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANNUAL ALLOCATIONS
Mr A M MPONTSHANE (IFP): Hon Chair, the IFP notes with concern that in the education district of Ingwavuma, a number of section 21 schools have not, to date, received their annual allocations from the provincial department of education.
What is more worrying is the fact that some of these schools are schools which have been declared no-fee schools. What an irony. These schools indeed have no money to run their day-to-day activities. We urge the national Ministry to investigate this unacceptable state of affairs before the provision of basic education suffers further damage. I thank you.
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, I certainly didn’t want to interrupt the hon Mpontshane in his second statement of the afternoon.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Is that a point of order?
Mr M J ELLIS: This is a point of order, Mr Chairman, yes. As I say, I didn’t want to interrupt the hon member in his second statement of the afternoon, but I do believe that it is in fact a Rule of the House that a member can only make one statement. Consequently, the IFP member in making two statements was out of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): We will come back to that one. We will note the point of order.
DIVISION OF LAND GIVEN TO LUTHERAN CHURCH
Rre M S MOATSHE (ANC): Modulasetilo, e ne e le ka 1867 fa barongwa ba Majeremane ba sedumedi ba kereke ya Lutere ba ne ba ikabela lefatshe la Walmansdal, mme ba le aroganya ka dikarolo di le nne. Tse tharo tsa tsona ba di rekisetsa batho ba bontsi ba bona ba neng ba sa dumelane le kereke ya bona. Ba ikabela karolo e e mo gare go nna lefelo la kereke. Ba amogela batho ba e leng ba kereke go aga, go rua le go lema mo lefelong leo. Lefelo le la itsega jaaka lefelo la baruti, fa mafelo a mangwe a itsege jaaka kwa diteneng.
Ka 1967 baagi ba Walmansdal ba tlosiwa ka pateletso fa lefelo leo le ne le kaiwa e le la basweu. Ba rwelwe ka dilori tsa puso go ba latlhela mo gare ga dikgwa kwa Radium. Go ne go se na ditlhabololo dipe e bile go le kgakala le madirelo a kwa Tswane. Bana ba bona ba ne ba tlogela dikolo gonne ba tlositswe mo gare ga ngwaga. Lefelo leo la Radium e ne e ka nna dikilometara di le tlhano go tloga Belabela le go feta dikilometara di le 80 go tloga Walmansdal eo e nene e ka nna dikilometara di le 20 go tloga mo Tshwane. Ba ba sa rateng go ya Radium ba ne ba fudugela kwa Leboneng kwa Temba, bangwe ba ya Ga-Rankuwa, Mabopane, Soshanguve, jalo le jalo.
Re galaleletsa e bile re rorisa ka boipelo puso e, e e eteletsweng pele ke ANC, ka go busetsa batho ba Walmansdal lefatshe la bona. Ka 8 Lwetse 2007 re bone Tona ya Temothuo le Merero ya Mafatshe, Mme Xingwana, a neela baagi makwalo a boagi (title deeds). Se ke sesupo sa go bontsha gore ANC e a dira, e bile e kgathalela batho. Re re seno a e nne selo-modiro, batho ba boelwe ke mafatshe a bona, ba boele mo go robetseng badimo ba bona. Re a leboga. (Translation of Setswana member’s statement follows.)
[Mr M S MOATSHE (ANC): Chairperson, it was in 1867 that the German Missionaries of the Lutheran church annexed the Waimansdal land and divided it into four parts. Three of those parts were sold to the majority of people who did not concur with their church. The central part of the land was given to a missionary and only church members were allowed to use it for farming and housing. This land became a sacred place for the missionary, while other places were neglected.
In 1967 residents of Walmansdal were forcibly removed from that land when it was declared a whites-only area. They were transported with government lorries and dumped in the middle of a forest in Radium. There were no developments and that area was far from Tshwane industries. The fact that they were removed in the middle of the year, resulted in children being forced to leave school. Radium was about 5 kilometres from Bela-Bela and more than 80 kilometres from Walmansdal which was about 20 kilometres from Tshwane. Those who did not want to go to Radium went to Leboneng in Temba, and others went to Ga-Rankuwa, Mabopane, Soshanguve, etc.
We would like to praise and congratulate the ANC-led government for restoring land to the residents of Walmansdal. On 8 September 2007, we saw the Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs, Mrs Xingwana, giving the residents their title deeds. This is evidence that the ANC really works and cares for the people. We say this should be a continuous thing; people should get their land back, where their ancestors were laid to rest. Thank you.]
PERFORMANCE BONUSES PAID TO STAFF AND BOARD OF NATIONAL LOTTERIES BOARD
Mrs S V KALYAN (DA): Chairperson, it is now 153 days since the suspension of the Lotto. This week the DA lodged a complaint with the Public Service Commission over a 42,4% increase in the performance bonuses that were awarded to the staff and board of the National Lotteries Board, the NLB.
It is impossible that this increase in performance bonuses could be justified or even deemed reasonable, because the NLB had neither a staff performance appraisal system in place as required by the Public Financial Management Act; nor did it succeed in carrying out its mandate in terms of advising the Minister properly on the issuing of a licence to conduct the lottery. It also could not carry out or administer the lottery distribution agencies, as they were disabled for much of the year.
While the actual National Lotteries Board is claiming no wrongdoing and that the Minister signed off on the bonuses personally, the Department of Trade and Industry tells the press it is a matter that is entirely internal to this troubled lotteries board.
Who is wrong and who is right? One can only surmise that it is the same chaos and confusion that can ultimately be blamed for the suspension of the Lotto.
SOCCER PROGRAMME IN ALEXANDRA
Ms M D NXUMALO (ANC): Chairperson, the community policing forum in Alexandra recently initiated a two-month, one per street, soccer tournament in the parking lot of the Alexandra Stadium. According to the CPF’s community liaison officer, the goal of the programme is to uplift the youth in Alexandra and to take them off the street away from crime.
The programme further aims to encourage the youth to participate in sport, to change community perceptions about the policy and to reach out to the youth. Plans are also being made to organise a similar women’s tournament.
The tournaments bring together young men and women between the ages of 16 and 25, from 1st Avenue to 22nd Avenue in the township. Each week the CPF volunteer goes door-to-door looking for aspiring strikers, fullbacks and goalkeepers, who stand a chance to ultimately compete for 15 bursaries donated by the local business school.
Registration in the programme is free and participants are provided with T-shirts and meals for the day. Through this initiative, learners in Grades 8 and 9 have been recruited to volunteer at police events and at the station’s youth desk.
The ANC congratulates the CPF and police in Alexandra on their efforts to fight crime and their commitment to reaching out to the youth and building safer communities.
Ngiyabonga sihlalo. [Thank you, Chairperson.]
MEMBER STATEMENTS – ONE PER MEMBER
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): The point of order that was raised is indeed valid and it is in order. Therefore, to the member who made the second statement: that statement is invalid and is ruled out. We are warning the hon member that in future he should not do so, because indeed it is within the Rules and we need to respect the Rules. So the second statement is therefore ruled out.
That concludes the members’ statements. There were quite a number of Ministers in the House earlier. I see two Deputy Ministers over there. Are there any Ministerial responses?
PERFORMANCE BONUSES PAID TO STAFF AND BOARD OF NATIONAL LOTTERIES BOARD
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Ms E Thabethe): Chair, I just want to give some clarity on the last statement raised on the matter of the distribution agencies of the lottery and its suspension. As far as we are concerned, from the Department of Trade and Industry, it was the court order that challenged how the award was given to Gidani - not the running of the distribution agencies and all that. So, the suspension was based on that.
As the Minister reported before, he was looking at that issue and the Lotteries Board met with him and discussed different options. He said that he would make an announcement at the appropriate time. I hope the hon member can wait for that and then deal with the other issues. If she has a problem with the distribution agencies, she can put this in writing and send it to the department, but must not make assumptions because that is why there is a lot of confusion and all other issues that she raised. That is not why the Lotto was suspended. The suspension was based on the agency that was going to run it and not the distribution agencies.
I think that all the other statements were for the different clusters and for Agriculture which is part of Land Affairs, etc. But they were all appropriate, I’m sure. We wish hon members well in doing their constituency work. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Thank you, hon Deputy Minister. Are there any other Ministerial responses? There are none.
Before concluding the business of the day, I wish to remind members that buses are waiting outside to take them to the book launch at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
The House adjourned at 18:33.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, TABLINGS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
FRIDAY, 14 SEPTEMBER 2007
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
The Speaker and the Chairperson
1. Translation of Bill submitted
(1) The Minister of Finance
(a) Spesiale Aansuiweringsbegrotingswetsontwerp (Finansiële Jaar 2007/08) [W 37 – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 77).
This is the official translation into Afrikaans of the Special Adjustments Appropriation Bill (2007/08 Financial Year) [B 37 – 2007] (National Assembly –sec 77), as introduced in Parliament.
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
1. The President of the Republic
(a) Report and Financial Statements of Vote 1 – The Presidency for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of Vote 1 for 2006-2007 [RP 198-2007].
2. The Minister of Labour
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SAS-Seta) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 84-2006].
(b) Report and Financial Statements of the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.
1. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill [B 24—2007] (National Assembly - sec 74), dated 13 September 2007:
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, having considered the subject of the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill [B 24—2007] (National Assembly - sec 74), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism as a section 74 Bill, endorses the classification of the Bill and reports the Bill without amendments.
The Committee wishes to report further, as follows:
1.1 The Constitution Twelfth Amendment Act of 2005 (the Twelfth Amendment), amended the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (the Constitution), by re-determining the geographical areas of the nine provinces of the Republic of South Africa.
1.2 The Cross-boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Act, 2005 (Act No. 23 of 2005) (the Repeal Act), provided for consequential matters arising from the re-alignment of former cross-boundary municipalities and the re-determination of the geographical areas of provinces.
1.3 In terms of the Twelfth Amendment and the Repeal Act, which came into operation on 1 March 2006, the provincial boundary between, amongst others, the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal was altered so that the area that previously formed the local municipality of Matatiele (the Matatiele municipality) was relocated to the province of the Eastern Cape and new municipal boundaries were created as a consequence.
1.4 The constitutional validity of the Twelfth Amendment and the Repeal Act was challenged in the Constitutional Court. On 18 August 2006 the Constitutional Court, in Matatiele Municipality and Others v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others 2007 (1) BCLR 47 (CC) (the Matatiele case), declared that part of the Twelfth Amendment which effectively relocated the Matatiele municipality to the province of the Eastern Cape to be inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid. The order of invalidity was based on a procedural defect, namely the failure of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature to facilitate public involvement, as required by section 118(1)(a) of the Constitution, when it considered whether or not to approve that part of the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill of 2005 that effectively relocated the Matatiele municipality from the province of KwaZulu-Natal to the province of the Eastern Cape. As a result of the interrelationship between the Twelfth Amendment and the Repeal Act, the Court also declared that part of the Repeal Act which relates to the Matatiele municipality to be inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid. The orders of invalidity were suspended for a period of 18 months, during which period Parliament has the opportunity to correct the constitutional defect that led to the orders of invalidity.
1.5 It is apparent from the above dates that the Constitutional Court's judgment in the Matatiele case was handed down after the provincial boundary between the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal was altered and the Matatiele municipality was relocated to the province of the Eastern Cape.
1.6 In the Matatiele case the Constitutional Court dealt with the question whether the Twelfth Amendment was adopted in a manner that is consistent with the provisions of the Constitution. This question was raised by the Court itself and not by any of the applicants in the case. The judgment specifically dealt with the procedural defect by the provincial legislature of KwaZulu-Natal, namely its failure to hold oral hearings or to invite written representations to facilitate public involvement as required by section 118(1)(a) of the Constitution. In this context the Committee noted that the Constitutional Court did not find any defect in the procedures adopted by the National Assembly (the Assembly) in the processing and passing of the Twelfth Amendment and the Repeal Act.
2. Objects of the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill [B 24—2007] and the Cross-boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Amendment Bill [B 25—2007]
2.1 The Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill [B 24—2007] (the Thirteenth Amendment Bill) deals with all the provincial boundaries pertaining to the province of KwaZulu-Natal as a natural consequence of the Constitutional Court's finding that the provincial legislature of KwaZulu-Natal failed to facilitate public involvement in its processes pertaining to the consideration and approval of certain portions of the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill of 2005, that concerned it and consequently the related Cross-boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Bill, 2005. This failure being considered to be fatal in respect of that provincial legislature's approval of the boundary change between the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal in respect of the Matatiele municipality is equally fatal to the alteration of the other, less contested, areas of the provincial boundary between the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
2.2 In the light of the above, the objects of—
(a) the Thirteenth Amendment Bill are to amend the Constitution so as to substitute and re-enact the provisions of the Constitution; and
(b) the Cross-boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Amendment Bill [B 25—2007] (the Repeal Amendment Bill) are to amend the Repeal Act so as to substitute and re-enact the provisions of the said Act,
that are necessary to re-determine the provincial boundary between the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and to provide for consequential matters arising from that re-determination, in accordance with the directions given by the Constitutional Court to Parliament.
3. Constitutional requirements for the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment Bill
3.1 In terms of section 74(3) of the Constitution, a Bill amending the Constitution must also be passed by the National Council of Provinces (the NCOP), with a supporting vote of at least six provinces, if the amendment, amongst others, alters provincial boundaries, powers, functions or institutions. Provision is further made in section 74(8) of the Constitution that if such a Bill, or any part of such a Bill, concerns only a specific province or provinces, the NCOP may not pass the Bill or the relevant part unless it has been approved by the legislature or legislatures of the province or provinces concerned. These constitutional provisions effectively give provincial legislatures a veto right in respect of proposed constitutional amendments that affect them directly.
3.2 As mentioned in paragraph 2.2 above, the objects of the Thirteenth Amendment Bill are to amend the Constitution so as to substitute and re-enact those provisions of the Constitution that have been declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid by the Constitutional Court in the Matatiele case. The Thirteenth Amendment Bill is therefore intended to re-determine the provincial boundary between the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
3.3 In light of the above constitutional provisions and the objects of the Thirteenth Amendment Bill, it is clear that the Thirteenth Amendment Bill falls within the ambit of section 74(3)(b) of the Constitution, and therefore requires the approval of both the Assembly and the NCOP. However, in terms of section 74(8) of the Constitution, the NCOP may not pass the Thirteenth Amendment Bill unless it has been approved by the provincial legislatures of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
4. Obligation to facilitate public involvement in legislative processes
4.1 The Committee, during its consideration of the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill of 2005, engaged the public through a process of calling for written submissions. The Committee considered the written submissions so received, as well as written submissions received from the public and provincial legislatures on that Bill that were submitted to the Speaker of the Assembly and the Chairperson of the NCOP by the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development in terms of the public involvement procedure contained in the Constitution itself, namely in section 74(5) and (6)(a) and (b). The content of those submissions remains relevant for purposes of re-enacting, by means of the Thirteenth Amendment Bill, those provisions of the Constitution that have been declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid by the Constitutional Court in the Matatiele case.
4.2 In terms of section 74(5) of the Constitution, the Thirteenth Amendment Bill was—
(a) published in the national Gazette for public comment; and
(b) submitted to the provincial legislatures for their views.
On 29 June 2007 written submissions received from the public and provincial legislatures on the Thirteenth Amendment Bill were submitted to the Speaker of the Assembly and the Chairperson of the NCOP by the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development in terms of section 74(6)(a) and (b) of the Constitution, for tabling in the Assembly and the NCOP, respectively. Those written submissions were referred to the Committee by the Speaker of the Assembly and to the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Affairs by the Chairperson of the NCOP.
4.3 The Committee, in terms of the Rules of the National Assembly, conferred with the Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government (the PLG Committee) in its deliberations on the Thirteenth Amendment Bill. Both Committees received a briefing on the written submissions that were referred to the Committee by the Speaker, as well as the written submissions received from members of the public in response to an invitation by the Committee to make written submissions on the Thirteenth Amendment Bill, together with written submissions relating to the Repeal Amendment Bill.
4.4 The Committee, sitting with the PLG Committee (the Committees) considered and deliberated extensively upon those submissions. The Committees noted that the content of those submissions may broadly be categorized into three distinct themes:
(a) The majority of the submissions contained no matters of substance, but merely stipulated personal preferences, either for the retention of Matatiele in the province of the Eastern Cape or the inclusion thereof in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
(b) Some submissions substantiated their call for incorporation of Matatiele into the province of KwaZulu-Natal based on ethnic and cultural links with that province.
(c) In a few submissions concerns were raised relating to the possible future lack of service delivery by the province of the Eastern Cape, in particular in respect of health and education.
From the submissions received from the relevant provincial legislatures, the Committee further noted that the provincial legislatures of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal do not oppose the introduction of the Bill.
4.5 After having considered all the written submissions referred to in paragraph 4.3 above, the Committee was not persuaded that those submissions contained adequately substantive reasons for the Committee to amend the Thirteenth Amendment Bill, given that many of the submissions were head-count exercises, whilst in other submissions emphasis was placed on ethnic and cultural differences which are contrary to the basic principles espoused in the Constitution.
4.6 During the consideration of, and deliberations on, the written submissions, the Committee called for a briefing on the status of service delivery in the area of the Matatiele municipality, as well as on the trends of expenditure of the province of the Eastern Cape. Information presented to the Committees by the Department of Provincial and Local Government indicated no material breakdown in respect of service delivery levels in that area and that there is a significant committal by the newly constituted Matatiele municipality to the development of infrastructure up to 2009. The Committee noted that there is no material under-expenditure in respect of, inter alia, services relating to health and education by the province of the Eastern Cape in relation to expenditure by the province of KwaZulu-Natal, or indeed other provinces.
4.7 The Committees also received a briefing and deliberated on the implications of the Constitutional Court's judgments in Doctors for Life International v Speaker of the National Assembly and Others 2006 (12) BCLR 1399 (CC) (the Doctors for Life case) and the Matatiele case, where the Constitutional Court considered the nature and scope of the constitutional obligation of a legislative organ of state to facilitate public involvement in legislative processes.
4.8 Having noted the Constitutional Court's findings in the Doctors for Life case and the Matatiele case, and understanding what is required of Parliament to comply with its constitutional obligation to "facilitate public involvement" in the promotion of the Thirteenth Amendment Bill, the Committee submits that it has taken all the steps that, in its view, are necessary and reasonable to comply with that obligation.
5. Consideration of the Thirteenth Amendment Bill by the provincial legislatures
5.1 Having noted the specific findings by the Constitutional Court in the Doctors for Life case and the Matatiele case that relate to the obligation of provincial legislatures to facilitate public involvement in their legislative processes, it is clear to the Committee that the provincial legislatures of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal must, in considering whether or not to approve that part of the Thirteenth Amendment Bill that concerns them, facilitate public involvement as required by section 118(1)(a) of the Constitution.
5.2 The Committees were informed that officials of the relevant Departments held meetings with the Speakers of the provincial legislatures of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal to discuss what is required of those provincial legislatures to comply with their constitutional obligation to "facilitate public involvement" when they consider the question whether or not to approve the Thirteenth Amendment Bill, as required by section 74(8) of the Constitution. The Committees were further informed that it was suggested to those provincial legislatures that they should consider the possibility of holding joint public hearings in the affected areas. The Committees were also informed that the following motivation for that suggestion was given to those provincial legislatures:
(a) The effect of the suspension of the Constitutional Court's orders of invalidity of the Twelfth Amendment and the Repeal Act is that the provincial boundary between the provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal was changed with effect from 1 March 2006 when those two Acts came into operation. This means that the provincial legislature of KwaZulu-Natal would not on its own be able to hold hearings in the Eastern Cape where, for instance, Matatiele is now situated.
(b) From the Constitutional Court’s judgment in the Matatiele case it is clear that the provincial legislatures of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are required to facilitate public involvement in all the affected areas, in other words in the affected areas that they release, as well as the affected areas that they receive.
(c) It would, from a financial and practical point of view, be more feasible to hold joint public hearings.
(d) Once the joint public hearings have been held, the provincial legislatures of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal should individually consider the question whether or not to approve the Thirteenth Amendment Bill.
It was indicated to the Committees that after the above-mentioned meetings with the Speakers of the provincial legislatures concerned, there is an indication that those provincial legislatures may opt for holding joint public hearings in the affected areas, although the Committee noted that there are other options available to those provincial legislatures.
5.3 Accordingly, the Committee calls on all the provincial legislatures, and more particularly those of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, to take all the steps that, in their view, are necessary and reasonable to comply fully with the spirit and direction of the Constitutional Court's judgment when considering whether to approve or support the Thirteenth Amendment Bill, as the case may be.
Report to be considered.
2. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government on the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Amendment Bill [B 25 – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 75) dated 13 September 2007:
The Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government, having considered the subject of the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Amendment Bill [B 25 – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 75)), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism as a section 75 Bill, reports the Bill without amendment.
The Committee wishes to report further, as follows:
Having conferred jointly with the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill [B 24-2007] and the Cross-boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matter Amendment Bill [B 25-2007], the Committee has noted the report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the Constitution Thirteenth Amendment Bill [B 24-2007] and concurs with its content.
Report to be considered.
3. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services on the Correctional Services Amendment Bill [B32-2007] (National Assembly – sec 75), dated 14 September 2007:
The Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services, having considered the subject matter of the Correctional Services Amendment Bill [B32-2007] (National Assembly – sec 75), referred to it, and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism as a section 75 Bill, reports the Bill with amendments [B32A-2007].
MONDAY, 17 SEPTEMBER 2007
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
1. The Speaker and the Chairperson
The Speaker and the Chairperson called a Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, as follows:
CALLING OF JOINT SITTING OF PARLIAMENT
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms B Mbete, and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Mr M J Mahlangu, in terms of Joint Rule 7(2), have called a Joint Sitting of the Houses of Parliament for Thursday, 20 September 2007, at 11:00 in order for the Houses to commemorate Heritage Day.
2. Membership of Committees
Dr E A Schoeman has been elected as Chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence, with effect from 14 September 2007.
1. Membership of Assembly
Ms F Batyi lost her seat in the National Assembly with effect from 28 August 2007. The vacancy caused by the loss of seat by Ms Batyi has been filled, with effect from 11 September 2007, by the nomination of Mr I E Jenner.
2. Membership of Assembly (floor-crossing)
Membership status of the following member has in terms of Schedule 6A of the Constitution (floor-crossing) changed as follows:
- Mr S Simmons has, on 14 September 2007, left the United Party of South Africa and joined the National Alliance, which is a new party in the National Assembly.
3. Membership of Committees
The following changes have been made to the membership of Portfolio Committees:
Arts and Culture
Appointed: Tshivhase, Mrs T J
Appointed: Vadi, Mr I
Disharged: Mohlaloga, Mr M R; Oliphant, Mr G G
Disharged: Vadi, Mr I
Provincial and Local Government
Disharged: Mogase, Mr I D
Science and Technology
Appointed: Oliphant, Mr G G
Discharged: Tshivhase, Mrs T J
Water Affairs and Forestry
Disharged: Mogase, Mr I D
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
1. The Minister of Trade and Industry
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the South African Bureau of Standards for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements and Performance Information for 2006-2007 [RP 105-2007].
(b) Report and Financial Statements of the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements and Performance Information for 2006-2007.
(c) Report and Financial Statements of the Small Enterprise Development Agency for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements and Performance Information for 2006-2007.
2. The Minister of Housing
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the Rural Housing Loan Fund for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Independent Auditors on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.
(b) Report and Financial Statements of the National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Independent Auditors on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.
3. The Minister of Transport
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the South African Rail Commuter Corporation Limited (SARRC) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 188-2007].
4. The Minister for the Public Service and Administration
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the State Information Technology Agency (Proprietary) Limited (SITA) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 33-2007].
5. The Minister of Safety and Security
(a) Report and Financial Statements of Vote 24 – Department of Safety and Security for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of Vote 24 for 2006-2007 [RP 199-2007].
(b) Report of the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) for July 2006 to December 2006, in terms of section 18(5)(c) of the Domestic Violence Act, 1998 (Act No 116 of 1998).
TUESDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2007
1. Membership of Committees
Science and Technology
Mr G Oliphant has been elected as Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology with effect from 18 September 2007.
Mr I Vadi has been elected as Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications with effect from 18 September 2007.
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
1. The Minister of Finance
(a) Government Notice No 522 published in Government Gazette No 30013 dated 29 June 2007: Exemption for High Capacity Municipalities in terms of section 122(2) and (3) of the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (Act No 56 of 2003).
2. The Minister of Science and Technology
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 131-2007].
1. The Speaker
(a) The President of the Republic submitted the following letter dated 6 September 2007 to the Speaker of the National Assembly informing Members of the Assembly of the employment of the South African National Defence Force in the Central African Republic:
EMPLOYMENT OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE FORCE FOR A SERVICE IN FULFILMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA TOWARDS THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
This serves to inform the National Assembly that I have authorised the employment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel to the Central African Republic (CAR), in fulfilment of the international obligations of the Republic of South Africa towards the CAR. The SANDF members will be deployed, amongst others, to assist with the capacity building of the Central African Republic Defence Force and to renovate military bases in the CAR.
This employment was authorised in accordance with the provisions of section 201(2)(c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, read with section 93 of the Defence Act, 2002 (Act No 42 of 2002).
A total of eighty five (85) members were employed as soon as all logistic arrangements have been completed. The deployment will be until 31 March 2008.
I will communicate this report to members of the National Council of Provinces and wish to request that you bring the contents hereof to the attention of the National Assembly.
1. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Education on the Education Laws Amendment Bill [B33-2007] (National Assembly – sec 76), dated 14 September 2007:
The Portfolio Committee on Education having considered the subject of the Education Laws Amendment Bill [B33-2007] (National Assembly –sec 76), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism as a Section 76 Bill, reports the Bill with amendments [B33A – 2007].
WEDNESDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER 2007
1. Membership of Committees
(1) Mrs T J Tshivhase has been elected as Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture with effect from 18 September 2007.
(2) Mr M Masutha has been elected as Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development with effect from 12 September 2007.
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
- The Minister of Finance
- Report and Financial Statements of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 205-2007].
- Report and Financial Statements of the Reconstruction and Development Programme Fund for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 179-2007].
- Government Notice No 809 published in Government Gazette No 30247 dated 31 August 2007: Determination of interest rate for purposes of paragraph (a) of the definition of “official rate of interest” in paragraph 1 of the Seventh Schedule, in terms of the Income Tax Act, 1962 (Act No 58 of 1962).
- Government Notice No 1062 published in Government Gazette No 30220 dated 31 August 2007: Rate on the interest on Government loans made in terms of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act No 1 of 1999).
- Government Notice No R.815 published in Government Gazette No 30254 dated 7 September 2007: Amendment of Schedule No. 1 (No. 1/1/1342) in terms of the Customs end Excise Act, 1964 (Act No 91 of 1964).
- Government Notice No R.816 published in Government Gazette No 30254 dated 7 September 2007: Amendment of Schedule No. 3 (No. 3/618) in terms of the Customs end Excise Act, 1964 (Act No 91 of 1964).
- The Minister of Communications
- Report and Financial Statements of the South African Broadcasting Corporation Limited (SABC) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Independent Auditors on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.
- The Minister of Science and Technology
- Report and Financial Statements of Vote 31 – Department of Science and Technology for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of Vote 31 for 2006-2007 [RP 200-2007].
- The Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 168-2006].
- The Speaker
- Report and Financial Statements of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 206-2007].
THURSDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER 2007
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
The Speaker and the Chairperson
1. Bills passed by Houses– to be submitted to President for assent
(1) Bills passed by National Council of Provinces on 20 September 2007:
(a) Housing Consumers Protection Measures Amendment Bill [B 6B – 2007 (Reprint)] (National Assembly – sec 76(1))
(b) Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill [B 24B – 2006] (National Assembly – sec 75)
(c) Banks Amendment Bill [B 12B – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 75)
(d) Diamond Export Levy Bill [B 22 – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 77)
(e) Diamond Export Levy (Administration) Bill [B 23 – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 75)
(f) Special Adjustments Appropriation Bill (2007/2008 Financial Year) [B 37 – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 77)
(g) Repeal of the Black Administration Act and Amendment of Certain Laws Amendment Bill [B 34 – 2007] (National Assembly – sec 75)
1. Referral to Committees
(1) Request from the Minister in The Presidency to recommend four candidates for appointment by the President to the Media Development and Diversity Agency Board in terms of section 4(1)(b) of the Media Development and Diversity Agency Act, 2002 (Act No 14 of 2002).
Referred to the Portfolio Committee on Communications for consideration and report.
(2) Request from the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development for the National Assembly, in terms of section 193(5) of the Constitution, to recommend a candidate from the nominations submitted for appointment by the President to the Commissioner for Gender Equality. The nominations and CV’s of prospective candidates have been submitted by the Minister for processing.
Referred to the ad hoc Committee on Filling of Vacancy on the Commission for Gender Equality for consideration and report
2. Message from National Council of Provinces to National Assembly in respect of Bills passed and transmitted
(1) Bills passed by National Council of Provinces on 20 September 2007 and transmitted for concurrence:
(a) Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill [B 21 – 2007] (National Council of Provinces – sec 76(2))
The Bill has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Health of the National Assembly.
(b) Traditional Health Practitioners Bill [B 20 – 2007] (National Council of Provinces – sec 76(2))
The Bill has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Health of the National Assembly.
National Assembly and National Council of Provinces
1. The Speaker and the Chairperson
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the Auditor-General for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Independent Auditors on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 134-2007].
- The Minister of Finance
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the South African Reserve Bank for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Independent Auditors on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.
(b) Report and Financial Statements of the Financial Services Board (FSB) 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 91-2007].
(c) Report and Financial Statements of the Office of the Ombud for Financial Services Providers for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.
3. The Minister of Communications
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 155-2007].
(b) Report and Financial Statements of the South African Post Office Limited for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Independent Auditors on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.
4. The Minister of Health
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the Council for Medical Schemes for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007 [RP 75-2007].
- The Minister in The Presidency
(a) Report and Financial Statements of Vote 7 – Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of Vote 7 for 2006-2007 [RP 194-2007].
(b) Report and Financial Statements of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.
- The Minister of Housing
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the Social Housing Foundation for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Independent Auditors on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.
(b) Report and Financial Statements of the National Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (NHFC) for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Independent Auditors on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.
- The Minister of Education
(a) Government Notice No 496 published in Government Gazette No 29979 dated 8 June 2007: Appointment of ministerial committee on schools that work, in term of the provisions of regulations 20, Part 8, of the Treasury Regulations for Department, Trading Entities, Constitutional Institutions and Public Entities, issued in terms of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act No 1 of 1999).
- The Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs
(a) Report and Financial Statements of the Ncera Farms (Pty) Ltd for 2006-2007, including the Report of the Independent Auditors on the Financial Statements for 2006-2007.